Friday, September 19, 2014

The 3-year old bully

In the last week, a lot has happened between O and Quinn (and Teagan). You can read the back story here.

All weekend long, the girls talked about O. They worried that he would be at their ballet class, their swimming lesson and even The Wigg.les concert. They worried that he would be there and would bite them. Quinn still has huge bruise on her thigh a week later. And then, on Monday morning, I received another call while the girls were at school. O had bit Quinn on the back and grabbed Teagan's face so hard that it left a bruise. Both attacked were totally unprovoked. I signed two more incident reports. Three reports total in just two weeks of school. After a chat with both of their teachers, it sounded like this wasn't going to stop. They were doing their best to watch him, but with 13 other children in the class, they could only do so much.

I came home, gave the girls lunch and put them down for a nap. I then wrote a carefully worded email to the person who owns the school. I filed a formal complaint. I couldn't have my children fearing for their safety at school any longer. She called me an hour later. She has known Teagan and Quinn for over a year now and knows that they are "kind and sweet" little girls (her words). She was going to bring a substitute Early Childhood Education (ECE) teacher in who speaks O's language. Hopefully this teacher could help his transition and prevent some of the aggressive behaviour.

The first day with the ECE teacher went well. There were no issues. Day two (today) was another story. O pulled Quinn's hair so hard that she peed her pants. Her first accident in over a week. I received the call an hour before picking them up to give me the heads up. When I picked them up today, the supervisor said that she would be having a meeting with the owner to find a solution to this problem once and for all. The solution would involve eliminating all contact between Quinn and O.

I received a call a couple of hours ago to tell me that O would be removed from the program.

While the girls napped today, I folded laundry and couldn't stop thinking about this whole situation. I can't imagine how scared O must be; a new country, new school and most challenging of all, a new language. But, his behaviour can't be justified by that.

I've seen bullying in the past. I was never a bully myself and was never the recipient of bullying though. I've heard experts talk about it on the radio; they talked about the reasons kids do it and why they pick particular children to bully. Why Quinn? I honestly don't know. While she can be a bit shy and standoffish at first, she warms up quickly and seems to get along well with other children. She's assertive, clever and not a pushover. It breaks my heart to think that my 3-year old was being bullied. Fortunately, she doesn't seem too bothered by it so I think that I will be the one with the scars. I'd rather that. I'm a worrier by nature and can't help but think about how bullying will be dealt with in three years when they're in grade one. 20+ children in a class. One teacher can only do so much. Time on the playground with hundreds of children. They'll be fine. I know that. But, for now, the wounds are fresh. They're cuddled under a blanket together in their fleece footie pjs watching Max and Ruby. Can't I keep them like this forever?


  1. That's so hard. I'm sorry she had to go through that. I'm glad the school dealt with it the way they did. It sounds like they tried hard to help O stay in the program but it didn't work out. It's hard because at that age, hitting and biting is fairly normal, but targeting one or two kids like that sounds different, and it doesn't seem like it was going to change.

    We've been so lucky. Neither of our kids have been bullied yet. I worry about it a lot, though.

  2. As a former preschool teacher, I encountered something very similar. A young boy had been adopted from Russia and as his parents had spent something like 6 weeks there finalizing the adoption, they promptly dumped him in preschool within 2 days of returning to the United States so that they could return to work. The boy spoke NO english. He had picked up none in the short time that he had been with his new family. He was barely 3 and had been institutionalized for 99% of his life. Out of sheer frustration, and honestly because no one else was accomplishing anything with the kid as far as combating hitting, biting, kicking, shrieking (Oh my goodness, all these years later I can still hear that shriek!), I began using very basic sign language with him and he actually picked some of it up. There was slight improvement but in the end, he was kicked out of the program for essentially the same stuff you mention here with O. It just kept happening. I believe that you and the school handled this awful situation as well as could be accomplished. I am glad that T and Q have bounced back from this, I think us parents are more traumatized by these things than our children actually are. Resiliency and youth go hand in hand.