08 January 2008

Worrying About A Monster...

Yesterday was not a good day for Bugaboo at school. He seemed to drag himself out of the building and moped to the car. I try to stay upbeat when he has days like this, so we talked about what he'd had for lunch, what kind of homework he had and what he and his friends built in the snowpile on the playground during recess.

Once we exhausted those conversation avenues, he piped up from the backseat and asked, "Nonnie, why is Mrs. F so mean to me?" My heart dropped. I've not had good feelings about this teacher-student pairing all year, but I had thought things were getting better.

It seems that Bugaboo was missing a sheet in his folder (which was entirely MY fault, and that I had contacted the teacher about) and when the teacher asked the students to pull it out yesterday, he just sat there, knowing he didn't have it. Mrs. F then went over to Bugaboo's desk and repeated her instructions. He told her he didn't have it, and she proceeded to dump all of the contents in his desk on the floor. She then told him that he'd be staying in from recess to clean up the mess, and went on with the lesson. Bugaboo sat there while the rest of the students did their work, and finally was able to borrow a sheet from another student to complete his work. Recess was a ways off...depending on who you ask, it was either two hours (Bugaboo's estimation) or an hour (the teacher's) and Bugaboo sat with all of his things strewn around him on the floor for that time.

Recess came and Bugaboo stayed in to clean up the mess. He was left completely unsupervised in the classroom during this time. That just added to my fury over the way he was being treated.

So, after getting the story from Bugaboo yesterday and quizzing him on the details fifteen different ways to see if the story changed (it didn't), I called my ex-husband. We discussed the situation and agreed that I'd go into talk to Mrs. F today.

When the final bell rang today, I was waiting outside the classroom to talk to her about this. She saw me and stated she didn't have a lot of time, but she wanted to let me know that they'd had a couple of bad days. Apparently, Bugaboo was very defiant and disrespectful today. Which, while I don't condone it, I could certainly understand after the way he'd been treated yesterday. I asked her to tell me what happened yesterday, and her story mirrored Bugaboo's. I explained to her that I was very concerned at her actions towards Bugaboo in front of the other students and that I was concerned at the fact that he had been left unsupervised. She acknowledged that she had let her frustrations get the best of her, but she was hardly contrite.

After we got home today, I talked to Bugaboo, and let him know that while I understood that he was angry with Mrs. F, he needed to give her the respect her position deserved and that he needed to be on his best behavior. I then called my ex again to let him know what she had said, and he wasn't happy with the resolution. He and his wife fired off an email to the principal and copied the teacher on it this evening.

No sooner than my ex had sent the email, and the time was allowed for someone to read it, but his phone rang. Fifteen minutes later, my phone rang. It was the principal. Mr. S had been working late at the school and when the email came in, it caused him great concern. He wanted to have the full story from our side of things, so that he could discuss it with Mrs. F tomorrow. He apologized to both my ex and I for the situation and made sure we understood that he would be dealing with it immediately.

I'm very happy with the response we received from Mr. S. I think that it shows great concern for his students, that he would take the time late in the evening to contact a parent due to an email we'd sent. He could have left it for the morning, but he had the integrity to contact us tonight. This is Mr. S's first year as principal at my son's school and while I've had no contact with him until this point, I'm pleased to know that he (from all appearances) has a great deal of interest in his students and their ability to receive an education that is stress and bully free...whether that bully is the teacher or not.

However, I'm worried about the backlash that Bugaboo might experience because of this. I don't want to be an over-protective parent, but yet something like this needs to be addressed.

So, I'll be sitting on pins and needles for the next few weeks to see how it all shakes out. Cross your fingers that Bugaboo will come out of this without any retaliation and that things will improve in his school life.

Until later....