(why am i the only one writing? i don’t want to hog up the “recently on…” posts at hawaiistories! come on! write, everybody!)

sorry, i’m in a mood.

i’ve had to deal with parents in the past who are angry because they were told their child misbehaved. usually they come in and are all, “my child would NEVER do that! it must’ve been somebody else!” they think their children are angels and would never do anything other than listen and follow the rules and be respectful, kind students.

of course, i would know the truth. it’s usually the instigators who have parents like these. they’re the children who know how to manipulate. sometimes i wish i had a video to show them EXACTLY how their children were behaving. of course, then they’d blame it on editing. 😉

imagine my surprise when i came home and found a “notice of concern” from my son’s school, regarding behavior on the bus. apparently, he was “verbally warned 3 times” (though of the 3 times listed, he did not catch the bus on 2 of those days–it was on the weekend). it said he was “loud screaming-talking and playing with students across the aisles” and being distracting to the bus driver.

first thing, as i already stated, two of the days listed were saturday and sunday, so i don’t know how she was able to verbally warn him then. if the third day was a friday, i would’ve known it was made-up because he doesn’t take the bus on fridays. but the third day was monday. okay, he did take the bus on monday, so i’ll give her that.

second thing, anyone who knows my son knows that he does not scream. he’s very reserved and serious. his teacher even remarked that they call him “the little old man” because he’s very serious and focused, and not at all playful. so it was shocking to read that he was screaming and loud-talking. and i imagine it’s hard for him to play with the student “across the aisle” since he sits in the window seat, not on the aisle seat. i really wish there was such a thing as video, because i would really like to see how my son, who usually sits quietly in his seat, waiting for the bus to leave, while the other children are running wildly about outside, leaned over the person sitting next to him, to yell and play with the person across the aisle from him. i just can’t imagine this behavior from my son.

i hate to imagine that i’m turning into the type of parent who wants to argue about this with the person who referred him but it really upset me to get this behavior report. now if it was warranted–if i knew my son could get a little playful and such, of course i’d discipline him. but knowing the way my son acts and seeing the days when this happened, i feel like going up to the bus driver and asking what gives? what exactly did he do and how did he do it? if the days matched up to days when he took the bus, then i’d be more inclined to trust her. and if my son IS acting up on the bus, then by all means, i will have a stern talking-to with him. but i just felt all riled up inside, like a mama bear fiercely protecting her cub.

is this how other parents feel? even if their children ARE doing the things noted, i can imagine how angry it makes one feel inside to receive such a letter. to me, they are angry at the wrong person (the person referring, not their own child!) but there is an anger there. again, if i knew my child could have done this, i would be very angry now at him. but since it’s so out of his nature, my anger is turning towards the person referring. is this what it feels like?

i asked my son about it, and he denied it, saying it was the boy next to him that was playing with the child across the aisle (which makes sense–that boy is in the aisle seat), and yelling and screaming. now, yes, my son has lied before. and we all tend to think our own children are angels. but it still just boggles my mind that someone who is so quiet and who keeps to himself would do such a thing, and i have to wonder if i do have a warped sense of who my son is? what if i think he’s this good, studious child, and then he turns out to be some sort of … ugh. i can’t even think of that. but is the way i see my son skewed in some sort of way? i see it all the time when other parents are defending their children. am i not seeing the whole picture?!?!

i almost want to say, fine, then, don’t ride the bus any more. but then he wouldn’t be able to get to school. i want to say well don’t sit next to that boy. but they have assigned seats. i want to go up to the bus driver and give her a piece of my mind. but if she is correct, and the whole bus is witness, what a fool would i look like? should i write to the transportation department head? his teacher? the principal? the headmaster?

i guess it upsets me too because this is now a matter of his official record. i know most people would think, wow, big whoops. he played on the bus. not like he cheated or hurt someone. i know, i know. but from someone who rarely misbehaved, this is a big shock for me. and knowing how strict the school is and how he can be easily dismissed and replaced with another eager soul really weighs on me. i don’t want to let this go because i feel like if he ever does get another, and i complain then, they’re going to wonder why i didn’t say anything the first time (as i’ve often wondered about other parents). but then again, i don’t want to complain, and then they roll their eyes at my letter and pass it off, saying “another whiner.” which, i admit, i’ve done before, too, to others.

i guess i’ll have to sleep on it and figure out how i’m going to react tomorrow morning when taking my son to the bus stop. should i mention anything to the bus driver? should i talk with the parent of the other boy that shares a seat with him? should i just write a letter asking how he could’ve been warned on saturday and sunday? should i ask for a letter of reference from his teacher, who i think would be just as shocked to hear he was “yelling and screaming” when she can’t get much of a peep out of him? i really don’t know.

*sigh* i remember during my first year teaching, before i had had a child, a parent had told me, “well, you just don’t understand, you don’t have any children,” and i thought, what do you mean? i *do* understand. but now i’m seeing that gosh, i understand all too well! i’m becoming one of them, and it pains me! i now know the other side, and it’s not a nice feeling. 😦 i apologize.



  1. mitchell Said:

    You have to give the bus driver the benefit of the doubt. You know you do, or you WILL be one of THOSE PARENTS. Tell your son you believe him, but you still want to clarify with the bus driver what is going on, and also tell him that sometimes you have to apologize for something that’s not your fault if only to keep the peace.

    Bring your son to the bus driver, make your son apologize (it doesn’t have to be a lie; the apology can be “I’m sorry for anything I did that disturbed you”), and THEN, after the apology, ask in as nice a way as possible for a clarification on the dates and behaviors. Say something like, “Can you tell me where he sits, and which children he’s yelling across the aisle to?”

    My guess is that it’s mistaken identity. If the driver is familiar with your boy, the driver will not let it get this far, even, saying, “Oh I’m so sorry…that’s the wrong child!” If the driver isn’t, and truly thinks this is the boy who’s causing the trouble, make a plan with your son in front of the bus driver for improving the behavior. Perhaps he can say something like, “Instead of sitting here, next to the window in this row, could I sit here, next to the window in THIS row?” Have him ask the driver to keep an eye on him, and agree with the driver that you’ll check up with the driver every couple of days to make sure he’s on target with his behavior. If it truly is the other boy, the driver will notice it. If it truly is your son, well, everyone is involved in fixing the problem, right?

    Then, if your son is innocent, he doesn’t have to worry about a “record,” because heck. He’s only in Kindergarten. You know those things don’t matter if the rest of a record is good! And, if your son is guilty, everyone has done something to improve the behavior. Both cases reflect well on you, the parent.

    Whatever you do, you absolutely CANNOT say, “My child would never do this!” You have to leave that up to SOMEONE ELSE to say. You know it!

  2. […] is actually several weeks old, but since i’m on a roll grumbling…i wrote earlier about a problem with my son getting “notices of concern.” it was confirmed to me by the […]

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