Son Wrongly Accused of Bullying

Updated on March 28, 2010
C.H. asks from Berkeley, CA
11 answers

Dear Mamas,

My fifth grader boy came home today sad and upset. He told me that at recess some boys pushed around and he fell on top of another boy. He tried to get up and pick up this boy. It seemed that an adult was closed by and thought he was bullying and reported to the teacher who supervised recess, not my son's homeroom teacher. He was disciplined (time out the rest of recess). My son is a straight A student and well liked by all the teachers and friends. My son has been at this same school since kindergarden and I can't really recall any major incident.
I would like to set this straight. Should I talk directly to the teacher who was involved or should I consult with my son's homeroom teacher first?
Thank you in advance.

1 mom found this helpful

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So What Happened?

Thank you so much for All the advices. I will send an email to the teacher asking for an appointment. A many of you had pointed out, it seemed to me as a misunderstanding after all. I would need more details about what happened so I can talk/address my son behavior if needed.

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answers from Dallas on

Something I found very helpful- I always took my children in with me for any parent teacher conference-especially if there was any misunderstanding - that way there was discussion and led to much less problems overall! I found it very helpful for the child to be able to express what had happened and know the solution as well - as I say right from the horses mouth!

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answers from Detroit on

I would ask your son why the lunch monitor thought he was bullying?I would talk to the person who gave him the time out. Just ask can you tell me what happened yesterday? Then see what he says. Ask if he minds letting your son tell his side of the story. The reality is that people misunderstand and sometimes even if your son did not do anything wrong the teacher will not budge on their interpretation. It is a Character teaching moment for a parent on how kids can handle when they are wrongly accused( it won't be the last time in his life). Be prepared you might hear something about your child you do not like, breath and take it slow.
To what degree does it matter to your son. Also teaching them not to take everything too seriously is valuable, really anal perfectionist have very stressful lives(because you can never be perfect) you don't want that either. How much does it matter? Good Luck

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

Dear C.,
To me, this seems like just an incident and nothing more.
I have friends who are teachers and yard monitors and they have so many kids to look after.
It's not fair to be blamed for something you didn't do, or didn't intend, but if his biggest punishment was a time out for the rest of recess, I don't see how this could harm him in the long term in any way.
You could speak to his homeroom teacher about it, she may not even know it happened, and if not, it's likely because it wasn't that big of a deal.
I have a son and it's happened so many times that if so and so throws a ball or trips over someone or whatever, the teacher isn't going to stand there at recess and spend 15 minutes getting to the bottom of it. Someone or all of them lose the recess time and it's over. Done.
You mentioned bullying...that would be something, in my experience, that would be reported to the principal and a huge deal would have been made of it and you would have been called. That doesn't seem to be the case.
If your son is really upset about it, let him tell his teacher his side of things so she knows he didn't mean it and leave it at that. If he's not a problem kid, she likely will know that and it can be done and over. Maybe she can arrange for the recess supervisor to allow him to say what happened and he didn't mean it. But, I can pretty much promise that once the recess time out was done.....the issue was done. Forgotten. Tomorrow is another day.
I don't think they are holding this as personally as your son does or as you might be.
My son is 14 and just told me the other day about kids flicking pennies at the school bus driver. A kid who started that stuff got blamed even though my son said it wasn't him, "THAT time".
Losing recess isn't going to go on your son's academic record or anything and no kids are perfect. Bus drivers and yard monitors don't have time to sort all that stuff out.
Your son knows what he did and what he didn't and if it hasn't gone further than losing a recess....don't take it further.
Just my opinion.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

First of all, "bullying" is when someone is picking on someone else who isn't fighting back - sounds like your son might have been involved in a "conflict" - whether he was at fault or not, he wasn't being a "bully". That's a completely overused term - bullying is very serious, being a kid and getting into conflicts is normal.

Anyway, that being said - speaking as a classroom teacher, I think you should go to the referring adult first if you choose to take this any further. You said yourself that there have never been any major incidents, so why jump straight to the principal? The classroom teacher wasn't even there, she/he probably has no idea it even happened. You might even want to take this opportunity to teach your son about letting things go and not making it too serious - I'm not sure how devastating this is to him; some kids don't worry too much about it. If you do talk to the recess teacher and it continues, I would ABSOLUTELY get the classroom teacher involved and then move to the principal together, with your son's teacher, if things don't change.

This is really unfortunate and I'm so sorry it happened. It's not fair when nice kids get blamed for things that weren't their fault. It's my guess that the referring adult just misinterpreted the circumstances - he/she had a lot of kids and was trying to do the best he/she could considering the chaos of recess! So, if you bring it up to this person I'm sure he/she would be happy to talk with you about this.

Good luck - I dread the day my baby gets "hurt" at school!!! I thought I was pretty empathetic to my students' parents before I had my daughter, but now I REALLY get it!

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answers from Honolulu on

You need to then go to the school, talk to the Teacher, and clarify it and clear up your son's situation.

Or, ALSO put it in writing... and that you want his school records to reflect the correction or taken out completely.

The Adult that reported your son was wrong... so, you do need to talk directly to the Teacher first... or the Principal.

Explain to them, exactly the way you explained the situation here.

good luck,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I'm not sure why there are several answers taking this incident to the next level and blowing it out of proportion. If this was a pattern and your son is continuing to have problems, I would talk to the teacher involved first. Definitely don't go over their head and take it to the principal unless it can't be resolved by direct discussion. Does the homeroom teacher even know about the incident? Do you really need to talk to anybody? I'm a big supporter of letting kids learn to handle their own problems, which prepares them to deal with bigger problems later in life. There's nothing on a "permanent record", and again, if this is a one time incident, it seems like the perfect opportunity for your son to learn that life isn't always fair and to let it go, as other posters said. If your son is still really upset, I would encourage him to approach the teacher himself. Practice with him ahead of time - something like "I just wanted to let you know that when you put me on time out the other day I had been pushed down and accidentally fell on so-and-so. I know you did what you thought was right. I'm still feeling bad about it though, so I wanted to talk to you." It's a hard impulse to resist, but jumping in every time we feel our child is wronged takes away their opportunity to learn and grow. This seems like a low stakes way to learn a few lessons, rather than later over something more important. Misunderstandings are a part of being human, and learning to calmly work it out instead of making it into a big deal is a skill that will greatly benefit your son in the long run. Your son seems to be a great kid with a well-established reputation. Do you really think the staff and students view him as the school bully now? Doubtful. Does anyone else involved still remember the incident besides your son? Probably only if reminded.



answers from Dallas on

I would set up a time to go in to the school and meet with the teacher involved, his home room teacher, the school councilor and the principle. When you go in you need to be open to hearing all sides. But they need to know that this does concern you and I think they will appreciate your concern. At lease my kids school has when I have gone to them with issues like that.

Good luck and God Bless!!


answers from Dallas on

Talk to the teacher and get more details, but I would caution you not to assume anything. Your boy may be right, but in life isn't always fair... and honestly, your son may be wrong. The perspective of a 5th grader and teacher may be very different. Even the best student with a top notch reputation can slip up during 5th grade........the beginning of puberty. Calmly talk to the teacher about what your son told you, but be open to what the teacher has to say. Either way, the consequences have already fallen, so let it go. If you don't agree with the teacher, at least she/he knows you are keeping your eye on things.



answers from Dallas on

Yes to all of the above and do it asap!



answers from Dallas on

As a retired school teacher, I can tell you that mistakes happen when supervising at recess. Mistakes are made and children unfoundedly blamed. Just like in life. Make sure his homeroom teacher knows about this, she is your child's greatest advocate. She and his other teachers know what kind of kid he is and their opinion will not change of him. Your homeroom teacher will possibly talk to this recess monitor and set her straight. Please don't let this concern you nor your son very much! His reputation will remain intact.



answers from Dallas on

I would absolutely talk to the teacher, his homeroom teacher, and principal in a conference. That way there are several ears and perspective from the teacher that was there, the teacher that knows him, and an impartial.

I would also ask is your son the one getting bullied. Why was he being pushed around the cause him to fall on this kid.

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