Day Camp Issue

Updated on June 12, 2008
J.J. asks from Florissant, MO
8 answers

Ok I have an issue, my son started Day Camp on Monday and yesterday he was punched in the chest (my son is 6) by another boy in the 6 year old group who is twice the size of my son no one told me of this incident until I got home and my son told me only because his chest was still hurting. When I took him to camp this morning I asked him if the boy that hit him was there and my son pointed him out to me so he was still there. I asked his camp counsler about this incident and come to find out this boy also punched 2 other kids yesterday! Why is this kid still there?? I went in and spoke with the director about this. She asked me if anyone spoke with me yesterday and I said no one told me anything about this. She then explains to me that they have to follow in order the rules of discipline because this is a "special needs kid". Now I've watched this boy in the mornings when I drop off my son and it seems to me the only "special need" he has is maybe ADHD and I'm sorry but to me that's just an excuse. I explained to the director that according to my "Rules and Regulations" paper from registration it states "If a camper strikes or bullies another camper, an immediate suspension will be issued. " I'm sorry but if this kid punched 3 children all in the same day he should be out of there! I'm very aggrivated about this and am wondering if I should go to a higher power on this. Any suggestions please?????

Thank you in advance for all the help!

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So What Happened?

Thank you to everyone for all the responses and advice. I did contact the Center Director and got in on a conference call with the camp director with whom I spoke with yesterday morning. The Center Director-Harold proceded to assure me that this will never happen again and the child who did the hitting now has a "shadow" following him around to make sure that this does not happen again. I told him that I didn't feel that this is good enough, this child should be punished regardless of his "special needs" and that if his "special need" needs attention that this camp can not give to him then he should be put into a camp for "special needs" children. Harold in turn quoted me the ADA (americans with disabilities act law) which states that all childrens regardless of disabilities must have the same opprotunity as others to attend regular camps. I told him that YES absolutly this child should have that chance but at the same time should have to abide by the same rules as the other children! I questioned that had it been my son that did the hitting would he have been suspeneded? All he would reply to that was "this is a different situation and I believe that you know that" I in turn told him ok that's fine however, if this child hits my son or any other child again and he is not removed from this camp I would contact higher ups than him, remove my child, and speak to someone on a legal level as this is all in writing and they are NOT abiding by their rules. I also asked did this boy apologize to the 3 kids that he punched and the Camp Director told me that the boy aplogized to the GROUP AS A WHOLE NOT THE INDIVIDUAL CHILDREN and that she would never single out a child to do that! WHAT?! I was floored! The only reason I have not pulled my son out as of yet is because he DOES enjoy going to camp and is making new friends. Yesterday was a good day and nothing happened so I guess I will just take it day by day and see what happens. The Directors kept trying to reassure me that with this counsler being a "shadow" to this boy that it will never happen again but I don't buy it and why should the other children have to miss out on a counsler who could be helping them? The Center Director also kept telling me that other measures have been taken but that due to the privacy laws he couldn't tell me what those were, not sure if I believe him but I understand that laws are laws. I also thought rules were rules but apperently not.

Thanks again to everyone who responded and listen to me rant and rave! If anything more happens I will update!

More Answers



answers from St. Louis on

Hi J.,

In my mind, hitting is hitting and if the camp personnel can't protect ALL the campers, it is time to demand money back and find other childcare arrangements. Most concerning is not the hitting but how it wasn't handled. If the special needs kid or any other is hitting and that hard, then the child needs arm's reach constant supervision. The camp could even require that the family provide or pay for someone to one-on-one supervise their child to ensure the safety of all the campers.

I'm pretty protective of my kids and that is my opinion.

Good luck with your camp situation.

L. C.



answers from St. Louis on

I am really sorry your 6 year old was hurt. It looks to me like you did everything right.Go back to the director with the "Rules and Regulations" in hand and point out the rule. Then take your children out of camp and ask for a refund of your money. Money talks!!!
I understand this sounds harsh. Unfortunately in our world money runs behaviors.The director may have not been informed by the staff, not good enouph. Money talks, take your son and go.



answers from St. Louis on

Yes, you should go to a supervisor on this. First of all, if your child was hit so hard that it still hurt the next day, obviously they had to know about it at the time. If he didn't cry, he at least showed signs of being in pain. You should have received an incident report on this, or at least a mention of it when you picked him up. That's the first violation, and one I would be very concerned about.

Second, bravo to the camp for allowing a special needs child to attend. However, if they are not able to provide for his special needs, and ensure the safety of the other kids, they have no business keeping the child there. That does not do anyone any good, even the special needs child. No one is doing this kid a favor by allowing him to hit and bully. If they don't have the staff or expertise in place to prevent this from happening, he needs to be sent home.

I would take care of this sooner than later. Good luck.



answers from St. Louis on


As an educator, someone who has worked in various situations that involves groups of children, and a mother of three (17, 14, and 9), I definitely feel that you have a serious issue with this particular day camp. There is no reason to subject your child to that kind of cruelty. Hitting is unacceptable no matter what the "special need" is. If the administration is making excuses, what other types of behavior will they excuse? Yes, you should go up the chain of authority, but I would consider a different environment altogether for your child, especially if this problem persists.
Good Luck!

D. D.



answers from St. Louis on

good morning-

i hate to admit i have been on the other end of this issue. my ss, at the time six, hit another kid at camp. the boys were rough housing- which is no excuse. the camp emediatley took action. it was handled well by the camp. my ss got in big trouble and was given a written warning at camp. he was in even bigger trouble when he got home. after a couple of warnings the offender is not welcome back.

my sis teaches special ed and has kids with iep's who have a different set of "rules" than the other kids in the school. i understand that at a public school, but at a camp that is voluntery and you have to pay for is absurd. i would take this matter up with some higher up in the camp. other kids rights, and safety are being violated for this one individual. it does not make sense.

forgive my spelling errors this a.m.



answers from St. Louis on

I also had the same problem yesterday. My son also started day camp on Monday and came home very happy, he loved it. Then yesterday when I picked him up he was very upset because another child in his group had been hitting him. We teach not to hit back, which doesn't always happen, but in this situation thankfully he didn't. I went to the counselors this morning and made them aware of the situation hoping that they will keep an eye on this other boy. I am going to give it another day and see what happens.

My suggestion would be if it happens again, definately go higher up. Even if he is "special needs", your child needs to be safe and feel safe. I would not let it go. Good Luck and let us know what happens.



answers from St. Louis on

You are obviously protecting your son which I understand. There are some special needs kids that look like everyone else. My son just got diagnosed with ADHD and I always thought that it was crazy until I really did some research. It is a well-understood medical problem that is diagnosed by a MD most of the time. I personally think that something should be done about a child who hits 3 different kids and I know they can't tell you everything due to confidentiality stuff. I'm not sure what you can do except look for another camp if your concerns aren't being addressed. I don't think I was much help but I needed to respond as the mother of a special needs kid



answers from St. Louis on

I know the same thing happened to my Grandaughter in day camp and the price they charge for this camp should mean safety first. If this child has special needs he still needs to be controlled. If they cannnot then the facility is not equiped with the proper training and should not accept children that require those needs. There are other camps that do have qualified teachers.
Anyway my grandaughter was called racial names and punched at 8 and it almost ruined the experience. I suggested they have a proffesional come in and speak about racism and that it runs many ways she is caucation and has really taking alot lately from school and camp on this issue. We are all moving from North county soon. She had a knife pulled on her by another 10 year old and she was only suspended for a week. we too thought there was a zero policy for violance and bullying. I guess it depends on who is doing the bullying. I would certainly not sit back and wait for it to happen again and their excuse is not acceptable. They cannot expect your child or any other to be a target for this child or any other until someone gets really hurt. First I would be angry they did not call you. They failed to call us as well. Good luck.

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