What Would You Do? Teacher Disregarded My Son Getting Punched...

Updated on January 20, 2012
H.G. asks from Lonsdale, MN
19 answers

My 11 year old son came home yesterday and said this girl S punched him in the face...I asked for details and finally got this whole story out of him: S was throwing a bag of empty pretzels into the trash and she missed so my son said failure (which is apparently what others say also when tossing something and it doesn't go in); S laughed and then punched him just under the left eye. He went to the teacher who was talking to another adult in the doorway and told her S punched him; teacher's reply was "well if you didn't talk to people that way you wouldn't get punched" and left it at that.
SO I'm all about sticking up for my kids and this school has a really bad habit of ignoring bullying...BUT I know (and trust me my son seriously knows now) that the part my son played was not acceptable. He realizes that it was his comment that started the situation and he thinks I'm doing nothing about it because he was being a bully to S...however the longer I think on it the more it irks me that the teacher said that...should I talk to her or the principal or let him learn a hard lesson that sometimes people don't just walk away when you hurt them or make them angry?
Also...my daughter (now in 8th grade)was bullied so badly she transferred to another district.

What can I do next?

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answers from San Francisco on

Talk to the teacher first and find out if that's actually what she said. Always get both sides of the story. If you continue to have a problem have a meeting with the principal.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

In my son's schools, the rule is...you can always walk away. Unless you are trapped and MUST fight to get away, you should not hit the other person regardless of words spoken. Yes, the words can antagonize and will be dealt with but hitting is unacceptable.

You son's words were not acceptable but he was not being a bully...he was being a smart a$$. If he has a habit of it, it should be dealt with but he should not be punched. If he had hit her back, he'd be in trouble. I would certainly go talk to the teacher and the principal.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Austin on

You believe 50% of what your son tells you goes on at school, and I bet the teacher believes 50% of what he tells her is going on in your home.

if you want to know.. Just call and ask, "hey, my son told me a girl hit him in the face yesterday after he made a comment. Can you tell me what went on?"

I bet it will be an interesting story.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

I know that saying "failure" isn't appropriate, but ladies, the boy got hit under his eye. There is a difference in a remark like his and getting punched in the face.

Go see the principal. If you don't, this girl will continue to use her fist on people. I would stand up HARD on this one, regardless of your son's remark. She could have damaged his eye.


4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

First off, I don't see that your son did anything wrong. She missed, he said failure. I don't take that as him calling her a failure; my first thought was that it was a failed try, which it was.

There is NO excuse for the teacher disregarding the fact that your son was punched in the face by another student. And, as I see it, if that's how the teacher feels, she should be punched for talking to your son the way she did.

I believe in paper trails so this is what I would do. I would write a letter to the prinicipal, copied to the superintendent of the school district and the teacher setting out in detail what happened and what the teacher said. Make sure you let them know in no uncertain terms that the issue here is not that the other child punched your son, the issue is the teacher's response and the fact that she took no action to protect your son or discipline the other child. Again, you are not looking for the child to be disciplined at this time; you are looking for the teacher to be reprimanded. At the end of the letter I would put that "I am requesting that a copy of this letter be maintained in Ms. X's personnel file."

That'll get everyone's attention! And they are afraid of paper trails, so that should get you some traction. No one likes to think they're being watched!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

hands on is never good unless you are defending yourself. I hope that this young lady was spoken to her about her actions. This would not fly in our school district. There is a no tolerance for hands on other students. That student would have been suspended.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Do I understand this right? Your son made an off the cuff remark b/c another student didn't make the 'basket' and HE is in the wrong? Saying 'failure' b/c she missed the 'basket' is not bullying or instigating ANYTHING! It may be considered a 'rub' but nothing more than that. Your son is not in the wrong in any way! I'm not sure how that even got construed that way. The girl punched him - that is wrong. If she can't handle an off the cuff comment over something so trivial as the 'failure' statement, she obviously has many other issues.

Yes, you talk to the teacher & principal AT THE SAME TIME. If she left a mark, you could always threaten to press charges, if they blow you off...

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Well I would definitely speak with the teacher, and the principal. Make an appt to speak with both of them, at the same time. Ask the principal what the policy for bullying is, in front of the teacher. Then explain what happened to your son, and what the teacher said. I'd nip it in the bud, because you don't want your son to think that you are not on his side, or he might think it is OK to punch someone, if they say something to him that he does not like. It is hard especially with boys, since they like to rough house anyway. You also may want to make sure that the comment that your son said the teacher said, is correct.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Maybe I am not as sensitive as some of the others on here, but where we live, saying "failure" is almost out of fashion (around here it was "fail" or "epic fail")... and it wasn't mean or bullying at all. It was more of a joke among friends when something didn't go right and was funny.

I think that there is probably more to this than what you were told, even if it isn't sinister, if the girl hit him. And if she hit him, then you need to follow up with the teacher and find out what the rest of the story is.

My 13 yr old son is friends with a 13 yr old girl who can be quite physical. They had always joked around pushing/shoving/grabbing things from each other, tossing paper at each other, etc... and she always appeared more aggressive than my son. Then one day, she snuck up behind him while he was drinking from the water fountain and shoved him (so as to make the water go up his nose)---he turned his face and got a metal spout jammed in his cheek just below his eye. Big nasty bruise/and quite possibly could have had eye damage if he had moved a little differently than what he did. We had a talk with her mom, and took care of the way they interact. No more of the physical stuff.
Then, just last week, son videoed her essentially pulling the same stuff on our daughter (who is 3 yrs younger than the other two). They are ALL FRIENDS. But she is just very physical and doesn't think anything about it. The kind of goofing around stuff that any adult around them might ignore it because they are friendly and do this stuff all the time. Her mom saw the video (ipods! woo hoo) and called me. Said her daughter looked like a bully and she could get in trouble at school if anyone saw the video. So we had to have a talk about her behavior and her daughter is not to be physical any more. She wasn't trying to be mean or bully anyone. But that was what she WAS doing, unintentionally. It had to be viewed outside the normal way we were all seeing it--ohh the kids are playing around again. Seeing it on video was different.

Maybe this girl your son "teased" at school has grown up with the same aggressive behaviors and no one has "called her out" on them before. If not, it is time.

Talk to the teacher to get the whole story. Your son saying "failure" is no excuse for being physically hit.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

One punch does not equal bullying. I am surprised that the teacher said essentially your son deserved it though. I would ask for a meeting with the principal and the teacher. Most schools have a zero tolerance policy towards physical violence.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Cumberland on

She was wrong to punch your son-and at 11, an action should have been leveled against her.....but, instead of saying "failure" your son should have been a gentleman and picked up the trash and thrown it away for her. When a man does not behave like a gentleman then a gal will most likely not behave like a lady-I'm glad to hear that he did not punch her back-good for him! I am shocked at the bullying-when my children were in school-it was not tolerated.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

My guess is that there was more to the story. If she was punching kids for something this small, she would be a known problem. If it is really bugging you, talk to the teacher for the real story. When we were kids and someone really stepped out of line (with their mouth or their actions), they got punched. Now kids are no longer able to do this and settle small problems themselves. I think that is why problems escalate. Kids don't have the skills to always talk through things. Who knows what your son said to this girl in the past? Maybe he has been verbally bullying her and she had just had enough. I don't think what he said justified a punch, but I do think there are occassions when kids get physical and adults can just let it go. I hate to think what some of the kids I went to school with would be like today if some little kid hadn't given them an attitude adjustment early on. That said, I am opposed to bullying, but I think society has gotten way too uptight about kids having a little fight, they are just kids.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I agree that you don't know the whole situation. Remember the teacher heard him say something that she obviously regarded as rude and inappropriate. There are always two sides to a story. I would talk to the girl and get her side. Maybe your son has done other things to her in the past, etc. and she was sick of it. I don't think there is any bullying going on from what you wrote, just kids being kids. Does he have a black eye, or bruising. Has she done this in the past? Is it ongoing with this girl. If not, this is just a one time thing. Keep an eye on it, and if you don't want to talk to the girl, make sure your son understands to stay away from her and not to escalate anything. Just my humble opinion

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I would contact the teacher first and if you don't get any more from her, then go to the principal. It is not acceptable.



answers from Lincoln on

I think that you need to start with the teacher. You can always go "up the ladder" from there. At least let the teacher know where you stand and that you made an effort with your son to help him learn from his actions.


answers from Houston on

How you address this may make your child a target to the teacher. Go to the teacher and DO NOT mention the teacher's actions. Instead let the teacher know that you have disciplined your son on his role in the situation. The teacher will then know that you are informed--and may wonder why her remark was not addressed. She will not do that to your child again...

As for tattling to the teacher, don't you know that principals usually always tell us who reported to them??? Also even if the principal does not say who 'tattled' to him or her--duh the teacher knows who was involved in the situation.



answers from Rapid City on

Go in and talk with the teacher in person. Don't accuse or go in like you are angry, but as a concerned parent, you have the right to expect your child will not be hit in school. I think the way I would handle it is go in for her side of what happened. Kids sometimes give us a little bit less of the whole truth then what happened. I would also ask the teacher how she would have handled the situation if it were a boy who punched the girl in the eye over such a remark. I would also have my son appoligize for hurting her feelings and this will open the communication for her to appoligize for hitting him. It would also teach him a valuable lesson on always make it right.



answers from Omaha on

Oh that is hard. My child has been on the receiving end of bullying. For that matter I wish he'd do something sometimes to stick up for himself but usually I know it's best he doesn't... why because when things that are more important happen I wouldn't get the results I do get, even though I think they are again lax, when he gets into a bullying situation.

I think with this I'd tell my son that in real life if you said or did that you pry should expect some kind of comeuppance if you say something rude to someone. He knew saying "failure" was being rude and making fun of her. There are entire sites dedicated to the fail jokes now. It's like your mama is so fat jokes back when we were little. He knew, She knows... Not to mention something doesn't ring right here. I wonder if you are even getting the full story for your child. There are three sides to every story, his, hers and the truth. I'd want to hear the teachers side of this big time. They are getting a bit older. Maybe it was flirting or maybe perceived that way. Who knows? I'd talk to the teacher just based on that though.

But I would use this as a hell of a teaching experience though. Sure no one should hit anyone ever but your son ought to know better too. Teasing isn't nice but I know you already know that... But I'd drill that into his little head.



answers from Omaha on

I would talk to the teacher or email her at least. I wouldn't go over her head to the principal. Your son shouldn't have said that, but S was definitely not responding appropriately either by hitting him. The teacher should at least reprimand S as well IMO. Perhaps the teacher did talk to S, but your son just doesn't realize it? At any rate, communicating with the teacher in a diplomatic manner is best. This way your good relationship with her remains intact and you can help your child (and S) solve the matter appropriately. Good luck!

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