I don't typically ask for parenting advice from the Internet, because a.) Are you kidding me? There are a lot of crazies out there, and b.) I'm almost always perfectly comfortable with what I'm already doing (or planning to do). Oh, and c.) Lot of crazies.
But this time I'm open to suggestions. In fact, I'm actively soliciting them. From other moms, ideally. Who have experienced something like this, even more ideally. Or who, at least, can imagine it happening at some point.
It's official: Julia has a bully. OK, that's a little too simplistic. Let me explain.
Remember "Oscar" (not his real name)? The preschool classmate who knocked her onto the floor a week or so back? Well, a lot has transpired since then, mostly in the form of Julia being knocked to the ground and/or hit every day of preschool since then. So far, this child has physically attacked my child four times. So, what's going on?
I've talked with the teachers. They are properly upset by this child's behavior, and (after I made it clear that I want to be told by a teacher every time it occurs) they inform me daily what's going on. Julia's head teacher has told me that this child lashes out physically--out of the blue, without the slightest provocation--at other children too, not just Julia. She informed me that "Oscar" is currently being assessed for EBD (emotionally/behaviorally disordered)/special education status, and that one of the assistant teachers is currently assigned to be one-on-one with him throughout the preschool morning--although, obviously, it's not always possible to do that when the assistant is one of five teachers for 30 children in three different classrooms. And, clearly, it's not always possible to prevent "Oscar" from hurting other children even with this type of monitoring.
From what I can gather--and from what I've heard from another mom who witnessed one of the incidents--the occurrences are being handled appropriately: "Oscar" is quickly reprimanded and removed from the situation, Julia is immediately comforted and checked to make sure she is okay. She doesn't cry; after the first two incidents, she didn't even tear up. At first she was terribly shocked, confused, and somewhat worried about returning to school. Now she seems resigned and a little ho-hum about this boy, though also completely confused by him. Why would anyone run over to you and smack you as you sit quietly playing Play-Doh all by yourself at the clay table? Why would someone race up to you on the playground and out of the blue knock you onto your back on the mulch? (Why, indeed?)
So, moms. What would you do?
Anyone who has ever been a teacher, childcare provider, or pediatric mental-health practitioner knows that you can't always prevent a child from acting out physically, no matter what you do or how you feel about such behavior. Part of me is very angry, upset, and (mainly) sad for my daughter (if you knew her, you'd really understand how shocking this is; I don't think I'm being too biased when I say she's just about the most innocent, sweet-natured, quiet, well-behaved baby rose in the world). But part of me, also, asks, Well, what do I expect the school to do about it, really? Kick "Oscar" out of preschool? Move him out of the Tuesday-Thursday session so he can then go and hit other children, in other classes on other days instead? Yell at his parents? No, of course not.
But it also doesn't feel right to just take the daily report at preschool pick-up ("Julia got hit again today") with resignation and no apparent plan of action for making sure my child doesn't keep getting hit or knocked over every single time she goes to school.
Any ideas, Internet moms?