My Daughter Is Getting Bullied :( - North Anson,ME

Updated on May 15, 2015
J.P. asks from North Anson, ME
21 answers

My daughter (5 years old and in kindergarten) is getting bullied on the afternoon bus (its about an hour ride). There are two older kids, she thinks they are about 9, a boy and a girl, that have been giving her a hard time. She says they tell her that she's "nothing special" and spit on her. My grandmother and I got a hold of the school and spoke to the main office yesterday. This morning my daughter told me some other stuff they do, giving her the middle finger, and pointing their fingers at her in the shape of a gun. She also said that they are not doing it to just her, but I still feel horrible. If I could I would march right on that bus and slap both those brats silly. I am going to continue talking to the school, but I want to teach my daughter that there are things she can do or say to stand up for herself. I just can't think of the right wording for it that would be appropriate and "the bigger person" of her to say. If I could just jump into her little body for that ride home I would tell them straight where to go. But I want my daughter to learn something from this and not get herself into bigger trouble. Any ideas anyone? I can't believe these two baby-asses think its funny to pick on a 5 year old. If only I knew their parents!

Edit: ok folks, I am obviously not going to approach these kids and slap them or tell them where to go. I am extremely frustrated that these kids are not monitored more, we would have never have gotten away with harassing a small child (nor would we harass a small child to begin with). Also, the actions towards my daughter do file under bullying. Look up the definition please before you tell me that this is not bullying. I apologize if my comments offended anyone, but as I said, I am frustrated and don't take kindly to kids who harass and spit on my daughter. I do not show my anger towards this situation I front of her, that's why wanted to vent and reach out here. I am very supportive of my daughter and I tell her everyday that she is special, beautiful, smart, kind, and loved. I did speak to the school and the bus supervisor is next on my list. As punishment, these kids have to sit behind the bus drivers seat, and since my daughter is in kindergarten (the only kid under the age of 7 on the bus) she has to sit within the first 4 rows. The girl tried tripping my daughter yesterday and then called her stupid. I was just looking for advice for her. Thanks.

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So What Happened?

The school principal FINALLY investigated what was going on. She said that she spoke to the two older kids and they first claimed that my daughter started it all, then later admitted to picking on her and said they were sorry. They both apologized to her and she feels much better. The busses I found out, do have cameras on them everyday, and the kids are being punished at school by taking away their recess and after school activities for a bit. I mentioned some ideas I got from some of these replies, such as a volunteer bus monitor, and she seemed interested in dabbling in that. I made a plan with my daughter that she can take small items with her to school to keep herself entertained on the bus ride home, (she has lost things on the bus before so we are also practicing responsibility). She is very content with a coloring book and a bag of crayons, but I might start doing small "grab bags". Little surprises for her that she can't open until it is time to go home. We took some time to reflect on what happened and she understood she was angry and hurt by what the kids were saying and doing, and that she can very easily make someone feel the same way if she isn't being nice. I am so relieved that the situation has been handled, and that she was able to learn from this.

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answers from Washington DC on

You should also call the bus depot and report the children. Talk to other parents if you know them. The more reports get filed, the more likely they are to take it seriously. When I was a kid, I had a horrible bus route (the worst in the district) and for a year we all fought this family of bully girls. Finally there were enough complaints and enough problems that both the girls got kicked off the bus and the driver was replaced. No problems after that. It was wonderful. The driver should have those kids in assigned seating, away from any other students if possible.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

If they are spitting on her she needs to tell the bus driver so the kids can be written up for it, if they get enough write-ups they will lose bus privileges.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Washington DC on

what is the school doing about it? does the bus driver know?
i think most kids have to handle most situations themselves, with coaching and encouragement from parents. but when it's this egregious, and the age differences this wide, it's definitely a situation where intervention is called for. riding the bus with her a time or two isn't a bad idea, but no slapping or threatening the other kids. you don't want to put across the idea that the biggest person is always the 'right' one to be the bully.
but the school needs to sit down on this hard. make sure they take appropriate action. you shouldn't need to get on that bus yourself, and yes, your daughter should be able to ride the bus home without being terrorized.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Talk to school, principal and bus driver.
The younger kids (and your daughter) should be sitting right near the driver.
Or the trouble makers should be right next to the driver.
There should be some rules of conduct for behavior on the bus.
If these kids are breaking rules - they can be kicked off the bus and their parents can drive them to/from school.
Your daughter should be loud about telling them to stop but do not expect a 5 yr old to be able to handle this on her own.
She/you needs backup from the school.
See that she gets it.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Your daughter is too young to handle it by herself, when these kids are much older than she is. Talk to the bus driver, and the principal.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I am shocked by the posts who say this is normal kid stuff and not bullying. It is the very definition of bullying- the age difference is huge. I am so sorry you all are dealing with this, I can't even imagine the frustration.

I would start by talking to the bus driver if possible. As if he/she is aware of the issue. This might not be allowed/possible. But it's a start.

I would request a meeting with the appropriate person- either the principal or the transportation coordinator in your district. Every district is different in how these matters are handled. If it were me, I would start with the principal.

-Write down what you know- dates, specifics, where kids are sitting.
-Let the principal know that you are expecting action here, but you are open to talking about what makes the most sense and working with the school and their policies. This is huge- if you go in freaking out and with your hair on fire, they have to spend their efforts defusing you, not helping fix the problem. Set the tone that you want to work WITH them.
-They likely have protocol for these issues, ask about that and what will happen and when. Add your two cents- can your daughter (and other young children) sit up front, the older ones in the back?
-Ask for status reports on what is going on- what actions have they taken. Keep following up to hold them accountable.

I do try to remember that the school does not want this happening either. But they have policies and procedures to follow that sometimes are frustrating to us parents. Hold their feet to the fire, but again- work with them.

As for your daughter. There are lots of books on standing up to bullies. Start reading them with her and practice the skills for standing up to them. It's one thing to read them, it's another to role play- this will be powerful for her. And you'll find which things are most suited to her. If she's shy, she won't suddenly be super assertive, you need to find what works for her. You know her best, so you are the best person to help her.

Good for you for not blowing this off or thinking it's normal. Common, maybe, but not normal and not ok. Go get em mom! Good luck!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I would talk to the bus driver when she gets dropped off. Things get lost in translation.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Talk to the district office that operates the school buses - usually it's called something like "Transportation Coordinator". The problem can be reported directly to that bus driver. Find out if they have, or can assign, a bus monitor to observe the children in question and make sure this doesn't keep happening.

Do not get on the bus and discipline those kids yourself. That will come across to the authorities and to their parents as bullying! And please remove terms like "slap them silly" from your vocabulary. You have not seen what these kids do and you cannot take action yourself.

Tell your daughter to sit in one of the front seats near the driver. Bullies hardly ever do stuff in front of an adult.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Please re-read Beth's good response below. I would second all that she says. Tell the driver directly and require that your daughter be seated directly behind the driver. Then report it in person (I would add, also in writing; have a brief and direct letter in your hand at the meeting) to the principal -- today. Do not let the school fob you off with "You need an appointment and she/he can see you next week." But also don't go charging in all angry or all emotional -- you will be taken less seriously.

In some school systems, spitting on another child once might get you discipline but doing it repeatedly would get you suspended. Schools know parents find spitting pretty invasive and disgusting and tend to take it seriously if it goes on repeatedly. It's treated almost like biting in some schools.

Do also give your daughter some tools of her own, such as teaching her to turn away or to make eye contact and say "NO, you cannot make a gun shape at me" or "NO, you cannot spit on me and you must STOP." She needs to learn to say it very loudly and firmly, which will be hard for her. Young kids are taught by us adults to be polite, use good manners, not be loud -- and that can have the unintended effect of making them think they will get in trouble if they raise their voices to tell another kid to stop a behavior. Role-play with her how to speak up, and also role-play how she should then turn to the nearest adult and say as firmly, "Those boys spit on me and they have to stop it NOW." Prepare her for kids to say "You're a tattle-tale!" and to respond that it is not tattling to keep yourself safe and she doesn't feel safe right now.

Still, she is five, they are nine, and among younger kids those four years are a huge age difference. These kids may indeed get worse when she does stand up for herself, though yes, she does need to stand up for herself; however, I agree with Beth's post that your daughter at five needs some additional backup -- namely, you (and dad too if possible) seeing the principal today. I hope you have these kids' names, by the way, as that makes it faster for the school to deal with this.

Do not leave any meeting with anyone at school until you have said, "Now, exactly what step will you take about this, today?" Then sit there and look expectantly at them, clearly waiting for an answer. They will not commit, in your hearing, to any specific thing like "We'll suspend them" etc. -- they simply cannot discuss, with you, discipline for a child who is not your own. But ask the question and wait for some kind of reply, and tell them that you will be calling the next day to ask what is happening.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

Your daughter is too young to handle this herself...there is a 4 year age difference between your daughter and these 9 year old boys. Talk to the bus driver in the morning before you put your daughter on the bus so that he/she is aware. Call the school and ask to set up a brief appt. in the morning with the school principal about the bus situation. When you go in, speak calmly, clearly and firmly...if you go in and yell and holler you won't be taken seriously. Be sure to explain the details, that they gave your daughter the middle finger and made a hand gesture of a gun shooting at her. That behavior will likely get them suspended from riding the bus for a period of time, it is past the point of a write-up. Tell your daughter to ignore the behavior, her saying anything will only worsen the other boys behavior.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Call the bus company as well as the school.
The driver needs to be aware of this.
Can she identify them? Ask the principal for a conference with the kids and their parents.

Teach your daughter to say "I want you to stop."
And "I don't like it when you talk to me."

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

This is pretty much the definition of bullying - several older kids taking the opportunity to pick on one younger kid. Does your school not have an anti-bullying policy? That would be pretty unusual for them not to. In our district, the kindergartners and first graders have to sit at the front of the bus. There are 'bus monitors' - fifth grade volunteers on every bus to enforce the rules. If there are any issues, the school counselor is immediately involved. I would speak with the principal and the bus company immediately.

Your daughter is 5. She does not have the skills or power to prevent this. Please help her.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Spitting not good. All the other stuff is normal kid stuff.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Your daughter is not being bullied. Older kids are giving her a hard time, as kids have always done. Telling her she is nothing special and spitting on her comes close. I suggest that you will receive better help from others if you stop calling it bullying. The word interferes with finding a solution.

At 9 and 10 these kids are also learning how to behave. They need consequences to help them learn how to behave. Your daughter needs to be protected. She is too young to stand up against older kids. She needs support to know that she is someone special and deserves to be treated with respect.

Why isn't your daughter not sitting close to the driver. Why doen't she tell the driver this is happening? Teach her to get help from an adult.

My daughter has direct contact with her son's bus driver. She is given a note from time to time from the driver and she calls her/him. I suggest that any difficulty on the bus needs to be discussed with the bus driver. Call his supervisor.

Please, remember that even tho this situation is quite painful, it's common as kids learn how to behave in their world. Yes, the boys and girl are behaving abominately. Remember they too are young and have a future ahead of them. They need help.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

It is hard, but I would teach her to turn away from them. My daughter went through a little bit of that last year. It was during extended care and the teacher dismissed it as the older kids not wanting a younger one around.

It's tough when they are trying their tough guy skills out on a little one on the school bus.

I guess just keep a journal of the actions and keep the school notified of the behaviour.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I would speak to the bus driver and ask that the older kids sit in the BACK of the bus and your daughter sits behind the driver. I would also ask that the bus driver keeps an eye out on anything that they are doing to her but separating them is your best bet. I understand what you are going through. We had to move my 12 yo to a charter school mid year because his school was not taking it seriously and after he was physically hit in the head and ganged up on I called the cops and filed a police report. That still did NOTHING to stop the bullying so we moved him. I hope you can get this under control but don't give up. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

you've had a lot of feed back already. i am posting to reinforce that this is most absoluely, without a doubt, bullying. i appreciate that part of your request is centered around giving her some strategies for handling this in the moment and standing up for herself but i agree she is too young to face this kind of gauntlet. and your impulse to snatch them baldheaded is also understandable.

my only additional thought is this:::if my kid was bullying someone on the bus like this i would want to know about it and i would do something about it with my son. if you're not comfortable reaching directly out to the parents of these BULLIES then perhaps you can have the principle bring in all parents involved for a discussion with the goal of resolution. these bullies won't stop until a meaningful negative consequence occurs and your daughter is not the one to exact that....their parents are.

keep loving and reinforcing and supporting her and try to see a silver lining here::::that this experience will teach her to never treat other people like that if she's ever in the converse situation.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

The term "bullying" is SO overused and this is not "bullying".

Is it correct behavior, no! It's just older kids taking their turn to pick on a younger kid.

All K students at our elementary are required to sit closet to the bus driver. There is at least 1 attendant on each bus plus cameras.

Of course let the teachers and driver know. Also tell your child it's ok to look at someone in the eye and firmly say... NO, or STOP. Maybe get your child involved in martial arts so she can learn how to say no and stand up for herself.

The 7 years or so of money we spent for our daughter training and achieving her black belt is worth every penny and more.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

My son's bus was having some issues with things like this or general misbehavior and the bus driver decided to do assigned seating. Maybe you could suggest that for a while to separate the kids. Your 5 year old might want to sit in the front near the driver, so they can look out for her. The bus driver also has the authority of sending the offenders to the principals office the next day.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Ah, the dreaded bus. We had lots of problems with the bus in the past, which is why I don't mind the inconvenience of driving my kids to school. Does your bus have a video recorder? Our bus did, but it never seemed to work. If they do, request tapes and make sure to hold the school accountable. Our school got very involved in bus problems. The school and bus driver also implemented semi-assigned seating separating kids by grade level with the younger kids sitting in the front. This seemed to help.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

Other than the spitting, this isn't bullying, it's just kid BS.

When they tell her she's "nothing special," she should simply ignore it.
If they spit on her, she needs to launch the biggest wad of spit she can muster right back, preferably in the face.
Flip her off? Flip them back.
Fingers in the shape of a gun? Panotmime either drawing back a bow or looking down the sights of a rifle.

1 mom found this helpful
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