17 answers

What Is the Best Way to Teach My Son to Respond to a Racial Slur Against Him?

I feel that having him ignore it may invite more of the same.
He is in 4th grade, and it happened at school.
If you've had experience with this, please share!
Thank you!

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks, all for your advice. I reported it to the recreational aides, because it happened at lunch, and figured that since it was so new into the school year, the office staff might turn a blind eye to it at this point in time. One rec. aide told me that this boy comes from a family who does all they can to pump up their own "culture", and is probably hearing the comments against "white-a___s" at home (which is what he called my son).
The boy has also made comments such as these to the rec. aides themselves, so they are totally aware of the problem, and will be more attuned to it in the future.
And although schools seem to have a no-bullying policy/anti-racism policy, it's amazing how much "No child left Behind" has lowered the bar on what will be tolerated and what will not.(sorry to offend, but I have seen it personally in MANY cases, not just my own).
As for my son, I did end up telling him to just walk away and not respond. He didn't respond the first time, and that's what I was concerned about.....will this kid mistake silence for weakness???? I guess that remains to be seen.
Thanks again for all your help!

More Answers

Your son could say, "Woa, I didn't know you were that kind of person!" and walk away.

Ignoring the comment is condoning it. Handle this with grace, dignity, and the law.

Every child has the right to a free education. "Free" not only means gratis, but also free from fear, persecution, feeling vulnerable, threatended, or unsafe.

Familiarize yourself with the district's code of conduct and your state's anti-bullying position (ex: http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/statutes/edtoc.html Look at Ch37)

After the appropriate official(principal, counselor, assistant principal or whomever) has addressed the situation (this shoul be swift), send an email to the district's superintenedent, a letter to the editor of the local newspaper (you can remain anonymous), local radio station, and local television station expressing your appreciation of how the situation was handled (there should be at least one...sometimes you have to put something under the "microscope" to find one positive thing on which to comment) and one way that the process could be improved.

The entire community should know that this is intolerable!

Make sure your child's teacher knows about it; teachable moments shouldn't be lost.

I am a teacher. A similar thing happened several years ago in my 8th grade class. Guess what our research paper topic was! Yep, a biography! Each student was provided a list of people from the referred-to race, and a few of the person's contributions. Each student chose a person; no one could duplicate another's choice. They also had to choose someone opposite from their own gender. Only one parent complained.

People are not for hurting, and sometimes adults have to teach this to other adults. Children do not come into this world with innate intolerance.

3 moms found this helpful

I am sooo sorry this happened to your son! Is the school aware that this occured? If not they should be. And it would be good for there to be some racial diversity classes done (age appropriate of course) at school. This is a toughie, I'm afraid that ignoring it is the only way to deal with it. This is bullying plain and simple and the bully is trying to get a rise out of your son, so don't give him one. I would tell your son that people say mean things to make themselves feel better and that it really has nothing to do with him. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful

Next time have your child ask the bully to put that in writing. if it is not written it is not true.

Then give the note to a history teacher, and have this teacher teach the whole class about the holocaust or the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia. soon these slurs will not be tolerated by any child in the entire school,. The bully becomes the outcast.

2 moms found this helpful

You NEED to tell the school & the Teacher. MOST schools, have a "bullying/harrassment" policy.

ALSO, the school must handle it correctly, AND talk to the offending children(s) Parents as well. There is a protocol to follow...

ALSO, instead of just "verbally" telling them... you need to put in writing.... write a letter stating the problem... and "cc" it to the Teacher/principal etc.

You best take care of this.... as sometimes things like this can escalate...or damage the child.... or cause other children to then pick on the one child too.

I would NOT tolerate this kind of harassment. Because that is what it is, "harassment" and bullying. By the 4th grade, a child knows full well what is right or wrong.

When my girl was only in Preschool, at 4 years old.... there were 3 girls that were kind of "bull" type girls... anyway, one day they told my girl "you can't play with us because we have blond hair and you don't..." (my girl has brown hair and is not Blond haired). So, my girl told them- "Everybody is different on the outside but same on the inside..." and then she went and played with someone else. Meanwhile, I told her Teacher and come to find out...these 3 girls had a history of being bullies... and being exclusionary. SO, they also called in the Parents because it had happened many times throughout the year. My daughter's Preschool Teacher explained, that "even at this young age....a "bully" attitude is already being formed and I can see these girls, if not corrected now, will very likely turn into bullies later....their older siblings are the same way...." You need to nip it in the bud...

Good luck,

2 moms found this helpful

Definitely talk to the school. Our school has a no bully policy and every year has an assembly about it.
Your son has evvery right to stand up for himself. have your son say tell the child it's not ok to speak like that and walk away. Don't have him get angry, the kid could just be looking for a reaction.
On the other hand, some children are being raised by ignorant people. It's possible that the child didn't realize what he said was inappropriate and a slur. If that's what his parents have tought him how would he know otherwise. It would be great if you can turn it into a learning situation for the other kid and classmates. Do the parents of the child know what happened?

1 mom found this helpful

Well as a teacher speaking: I would let the teacher know that this racial slur was said, and allow the teacher to "teach" this ignorant child who said this that this behavior is not acceptable nor tolerated. I would sit with both children and explain why this behavior is not ok anywhere. I would allow both children to speak, and in a safe environment, say clearly that if behavior/slurs are EVER said/heard that the offender will be consequenced. As a parent, if anyone were to speak this way to my child I would be confused and hurt and appreciate that you are asking for guidance and not just "reacting" as this is a sign of maturity and self control. Let your child know you will be letting the teacher know, and let child know he/she has not done anything to deserve this slur being said about him/her and that some people come from backgrounds/chilhoods where right and wrong were not explained to them and what they said was wrong and ignorance is not something you want them to learn from this unfortunate life lesson but that forgiveness is the opportunity, and that you are working on correcting this so as it does not continue.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi R H ignoring is good, if they can';t get a rise out of him they will go pick on someone they can, however i would let the teacher know this happened. J. L.

1 mom found this helpful

Have him stay calm and unaffected and say, "Excuse meyour ignorance is showing"

1 mom found this helpful

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