by jmom08 (486 Posts), Mon Feb 15, 2010 08:00 pm
I hope this is OK to post here -- it's unrelated to PE other than the fact that DS and I are PE survivors, and I think I'm especially jumpy/worried about DS being injured because of everything we went through during my pregnancy.
DS attends a church preschool, his class has 10 kids. He really loves his classmates, his teacher, and his school. The problem is that another boy with behavior problems seems to have singled DS out and plays really rough with him, and has now hurt DS twice. The first time, when I picked DS up from school, he looked like he had been crying hard and had bruises & raised bumps on his forehead & temple and around his eyes, and he told me that a particular boy had climbed on top of him when he was playing in a "tunnel" (plastic play equipment) in the gym on a rainy day, and the boy wouldn't let him get up. Two of the girls in the class came up to me independently to tell me that DS "hit his head." The teacher didn't see the incident & tried to downplay it, but the bruising looked worse by the time we got home, so I called the nurse and because of what the girls said & the raised knots on DS's head, they had me wake him up during the night & watch for signs of concussion. I told the teacher afterward about the nurse's advice, and told her which boy was involved, and asked her to please watch to make sure it didn't happen again & also talk with the other teachers watching the classes on the playground/gym. She assured me she would.
This time (5 weeks later), when I picked DS up, the teacher said DS came to her crying in the gym and told her the boy had been naughty. Again she downplayed it, but when I asked DS about it at home, DS got tears in his eyes and said that when he was climbing on *top* of this same tunnel, the boy pulled DS down onto the floor, and that DS's head hit the floor. That evening he suddenly started vomiting (no prior symptoms, no fever), so the pediatrician's nurse had us go to the ER, where the doctors insisted that we needed a CT scan (apparently the way he was vomiting & the timing was classic symptom of concussion). The scan was normal, so we just had a stomach bug and rotten luck on timing, but we are not happy about another possible injury (this time with CT scan radiation exposure). When we called to update the pediatrician's nurse, she said that we should tell the school that DS doesn't need any more CT scans because of that child, and that if DS were her son, she would have already done something about the other boy. So I feel absolutely horrible for not taking more action after the first incident.
DH & I notified the teacher we want a conference, and are meeting with her & the director on Wednesday, but in the meantime, she called, and I was disappointed with her reaction. She seems to think that it will be sufficient for her to watch the two boys more closely by herself (keeping them in the same class), and that she can keep them separate on the gym/playground. My concern is that she was supposed to be watching after the first incident, yet DS got hurt again (and no adults saw it happen), and I'm not sure how it's possible to keep 2 kids apart while watching 10 kids at once with 20 other kids running around (all age 3 classes have playground/gym time at once). I know I couldn't do it.
DS is developmentally on track, and is pretty articulate & accurate about telling us what happens to him, so we don't feel that we have a reason to doubt that the incidents happened the way he says they did. In addition, during a class party, I personally saw this other kid drag my son across the room by his wrist (the boy's hand was wrapped so tightly around DS's wrists that the boy's knuckles were white; the boy's mom walked over and asked her son nicely to stop, the boy didn't listen, and she didn't physically separate them, meanwhile my son is still being pulled across room). DS tells me regularly that this boy is too rough with him and that he wants the boy to leave him alone. Each time I talk with DS about staying away from the boy and telling the teacher when something happens, but I wonder how much DS can really be expected to assert/protect himself at age 3 - 4, and in the incidents where he got hurt, it doesn't sound like there's anything he could have done differently. When we invited the whole class to DS's birthday party, DS begged me to have someone keep the boy away from him so he wouldn't "be rough with me." The teacher has indicated that all the boys enjoy playing together, and it sounds like all the boys in the class can get rowdy at times -- but this boy seems to be the only one hurting other kids, and DS is the one getting hurt.
The teacher admitted on the phone that this boy has regular behavior problems and that she's talked with the parents "many" times and that it hasn't done any good (either talking to parents or attempting to discipline boy). So I was especially surprised when she suggested having my son go to play at a playground time with another age group. My son loves his friends, and some of these kids will be in his elementary school later on. I hate to see him punished / singled out because of another child's problem. I don't think the boy is doing it maliciously, I think he actually likes DS, but he doesn't seem to be able to understand (despite repeated warnings from the teacher) that it's not OK to physically drag/push DS around. And now we've had two possible head injury scares and a CT scan because of it.
I'm wondering if anyone has advice on convincing the school to take appropriate action to address the situation. DH and I feel that the teacher can't handle it on her own, especially given how soon the second incident happened after the first one (& that she'd been put on notice already about the issue). If the child remains in the same class / playground time as DS, we feel additional staff need to be involved in making certain the boy stays away from DS.
Pulling DS out of the preschool would be a last resort, both because DS loves the school and his friends, and because our options are really limited now that other preschools in the area have enrolled for next year (to the extent they had any 4 yr old openings to begin with). Preschools are frustratingly competitive around here, and we did dozens of hours of research (on safety, teaching styles, observing teachers, etc.) before picking this one. When we reenrolled in this school, we relied on the teacher's assurance that she would handle the situation and that things were OK -- I asked about it at DS's conference recently, I even asked if I needed to do anything else in helping DS about staying away from rowdy boys/play, and she basically said everything was fine. DS has continued to tell me about this boy being too rough with him, however, and I wish I'd listened to him instead of to the teacher. I believe that she hasn't seen DS getting beat up by this boy, but it seems like there are things she's not seeing.
I would be grateful for thoughts from anyone who's been through anything like this! Please feel free to message me privately too. I'm sorry for the long post... I'm just so stressed about the situation and the teacher's reaction, partly because I'm upset about the CT scan, partly because it would break DS's heart to have to leave the class/school. Both DH and I feel that we just can't take any more chances with head injuries.