As a mom of four, I always anticipated I’d have to deal with a bullying situation. I did not expect it to begin in preschool, however.
My triplets are completing a third year of preschool. We opted to do a third year due to the pandemic, and to allow one of them to catch up to the other two.
They ride the bus to and from afternoon preschool.
Last week, my son Isaac told me a boy named Carl* (all names have been changed) was “poking him.” I asked Isaac if he asked Carl to stop, and he said he didn’t. I encouraged my son to stand up for himself, to tell the kid to stop, and if he didn’t, to tell the bus driver.
Fast forward to Monday of the following week. I asked Isaac if the kid poked him. He nonchalantly replied “No. But he did say he was going to stab me with a knife.”
After several attempts at getting a cohesive narrative out of my five year old, we came to the conclusion that he was telling the truth. He had multiple chances to own up to making the story up, and he kept insisting this is what Carl said to him. We explicitly told him what he was saying was serious, and we would not be mad at him if he was making it up, but we needed to know if what he was saying was true. He stated that it was. My other kids did not hear this exchange and could not corroborate the story.
I’ve never been in this situation before. I didn’t know what to do, but ultimately decided to email the school’s principal. I sent her the following email on Monday night at 7:30 PM.
Hello Ms. Deer,
I am sorry to bother you. I am not sure who to direct this to.
My triplets attend afternoon pre-k. On the way home, they ride bus 10, driven by Ms. Smith.
Last week, my son, Isaac, reported to me that another child on the bus, named Carl, keeps poking him. It seemed to bother Isaac. I advised him to politely ask Carl to stop touching him the next time it happened and to tell the bus driver.
I asked Isaac today if Carl poked him, and Isaac said that on Monday afternoon, Carl told Isaac to put his hand somewhere specific, then he kicked Isaac’s hand. At some point, according to Isaac, Carl told Isaac, “I’m going to stab you with a knife.”
My husband and I have both told Isaac this is very serious and if he’s joking he should tell us and we wouldn’t be mad at him. He continued to tell us that Carl made this threat about the knife. Isaac did not inform the bus driver.
We have been told by the kids that Carl might be an older kid who was asked by Ms. Smith to ensure the triplets behave on the bus.
I am not sure what to believe, but I wanted to report it to someone given the serious nature of the allegations, and due to concern for Carl’s home situation.
I know our kids can get rowdy on the bus, but I’m wondering if we can separate Isaac and Carl. I’m not sure the validity of the statement that Carl is the babysitter for the triplets. But, hopefully an aide can be involved, if possible.
We were wondering if there is a camera on the bus and if that footage could be reviewed for anything nefarious between the kids.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Within about 10 minutes, I received a reply from Ms. Deer. She stated she called the transportation department, would investigate the situation in the morning, and would call me in the afternoon. I was impressed by her prompt reply off hours and was glad I wasn’t overreacting.
She called me Tuesday afternoon. She stated she talked to Carl, his parents, his teacher, and the bus driver. She reported that Isaac and Carl would be separated. She requested that if I hear about anything else to let her know, and it was not a bother at all.
My son didn’t seem scared or fazed at all. In fact, I don’t think he would have told us about it if i hadn’t asked if Carl poked him.
It’s a good lesson for me that these tiny humans don’t understand the world and might not always be forthcoming about what happens in their day. I’m going to make a point to ask more questions about school. Hopefully, I get some actual responses instead of goofiness, which is their typical way of talking.
I’m sad that we have to deal with threats of violence at such a young age. What the hell is this world coming to?