|Older photo of the grands but......there they are|
Now to the issue at hand. Ry, my sweeter than sweet, kinder than kind and handsome grandson has had, as all 12 year olds do, a bullying time of it at school. Please do not think, I think he is the only oe. He has close friends, he has people he knows and then he has youngsters who for whatever reason just want to make his life more difficult. The interesting part of all this is that is has little or nothing to do with his Asperger's and more to do with the classroom environment.
Last year he had a male teacher and he learned more how to be a boy than any other subject. At his school, the classes are divided by gender and so the boys and girls of the 7th grade don't have that boy/girl tension that is usual in mixed gender classes. The however is, the boys don't have a male teacher this year. They have two very fussy, prissy female teachers (why yes that is a value call on my part). This means that the boys being boys, like they did last year is the last thing that is tolerated in the classroom. No more going out to the field to let them run off their boyness issues. No more treating them like they are just as valuable even if they can't sit still during some boring lecture. These two ladies also don't allow anyone to go ahead in their studies. Everyone must be on the same page at the same time.
Yes, having been a teacher myself, it is easier to teach if all the kids are in the same place, but let's face it, if that was the case, all of the kids would be automatons. It takes a person who is a real teacher to address the entire spectrum of levels and meet the needs of all of the kids. Something neither of these ladies is willing to try or do.
The reason I am irked is because this environment has brewed up some bad juju for all the boys. The kids were supposed to go to a play but because some of the boys were rough housing (no Ry was not one of those boys, although he could have been) all of them had to miss the play. And the teachers decided they would treat the boys with contempt by acting as though the boys were preschoolers for a week. No, shaming kids does not work, it only revs up the anti teacher, anti student feelings. I don't know where these two women went to school, but it wasn't on planet earth. I'm sure they like their paychecks and power.
So consequently, acting out is a common occurrance in the classroom. Ry, who was behind in math for so long has finally gotten the right size funnel applied to his head by his tutor and he is hungry for doing all the math. Going ahead got him in trouble, called out in class for not following the rules and so did the rest of the class because he went ahead in the book. The others paid the price for his new found love for math. He obviously was set up as a scapegoat and so the boys have continued to push, shove, kick and hit him. And the teachers have turned a blind eye. The principal just wrings her hands and does nothing.
We have always told him not to hit. "Being nice matters", but it doesn't mean that you have doormat written on your forehead. We have tried to talk to the administration, the teachers, the other parents of the boys who bully him and came to this spot in the road. RyLeigh has friends with whom he wants to stay in class. We don't want him to continue to be bullied. The School is not willing to do anything about this situation. So we came to another conclusion.
We have a family friend who, in his youth, was a gangster, literally. He is probably one of the nicest people now that he is grown but oh my the stories he tells of his youth. He loves my grands like they are his flesh and blood. His family is entirely in love with Shelley and the grands and that is so special. He has always told the kids, don't do what I did, listen to your grandparents and your mom and be respectful of them, but more, be respectful of yourself. He also has said, kiddingly, but not really, "once you break someone's nose, the rest of the bunch won't mess with you anymore".
My brother taught me to hit when I was five because the neighbor boy was tormenting me. I have always had a bit of a swagger because I always knew that if I needed to, I could deck someone and that gave me power (well not now that I'm old and not so able, but you know what I mean). So, we went to this family friend and said, teach him how to defend himself, oh wise one. So Ry has learned to defend himself. The lessons will continue with the punching bag and weights during break.
The knowledge is almost a burden to carry for him. But I know, if needed, he can strike back at these 4 boys. I am having him take a card with my cellphone number on it to both his teachers (waste of time) and the principal, so that "when" not if, he hits a kid in self defense, I can go pick him up. I hope that this will help him feel compelled to find hope in himself and move forward even if the school isn't quite up with us as far as wanting the best for him. We don't want to compel him to be a "meanie". We want him to start finding some confidence in himself because in this world we live in, he is the only one that he has on his side when he is not with his family. We all need to learn to count on ourselves and be our own well of confidence.
So here I am at my age watching my grandson find out what a good guy really does. He has the power to be good, do good and choose the right time for both. GK, I don't worry about her, she had it in her from day one to be strong and in control. Ry, like his Oma needed to be taught (why yes, he is my birthday twin).
My grands break my heart and heal it back up again in one moment with the knowledge of what incredibly awesome adults they will become some day. I am so proud. They are and will continue to be the best gift ever.
Happy Everything my lovelies,
May all your wishes come true and
all your problems be few,
Smooches and Squoozes, Oma Linda