Hello, I'm usually on the peripheries but desperately need to talk to someone who isn't biased about something that happened to my 9 year old son at school yesterday - I'll try and keep it brief.
My son loves his school and his class mates. Most of his friends are of African descent and they are wonderful kids. He also has two close friends that are mixed race (this seems like a mad ramble but you'll understand why in a minute).
He has always had trouble with one boy in the school from the word go. When ever I was told that my son had been hit or was in trouble it was always because of this boy (he's white btw). I have in the past tried to concilliate between them and it has worked for a short time (they have very similar interests and are both clever) but it never lasts for long and my son would inevitably say that he'd been picked on again.
When my son was in year two he got so sick of this "bullying" that he retalliated several times, each time the other boy would cry and report him to the teacher. My son was punished by the school of course and took it on the chin.
Anyway, it calmed down a little in year 3. We even had the lad over for tea and my son was delighted as he hates conflict. It didn't last long and before long my son was coming home saying that this boy was trying to get him into trouble by goading him into fighting. If he didn't fight he was a coward and if he did the boy would tell.
Two days into year 4 autumn term my son was approached by the head of year telling him to stay away from this other boy. She told me that it was because they had clashed so much in year 3 that she didn't want a repeat of it in the new school year. My son hates being told off and obeyed but gradually the little whispers and digs started again. He did a good job of ignoring it and would tell me everything that happened but yesterday this boy and his friend attacked my son in the playground when he was alone. He punched him in the head, called him retarded and then got his friend to try and choke him. My son was terrified and upset and childishly called the boys friend a racist name that I cannot even put into print (it's really old fashioned and starts with "b" and ends in "ie") and of course got into as much trouble as the other boys did.
When my son was telling me what happened his first words were that he wished he could go back in time and change it. He hates racism and didn't know where the word came from he said that he was scared and upset.
I know its no excuse and we've reprimanded him at home ( I was a child of immigrants and know what racial slurs can hurtful) but he's been so unusally quiet since he told us and he's so thoroughly ashamed.
I'm so worried that his friends will hold it against him and won't understand why he said it and he'll be left friendless because noone will want to be associated with a racist.
My husband thinks I'm overreacting and it will all sort itself out. I plan on going into the school on Monday.
I'm not sure your husband isnt right. I don't think I would interfere unless it was clear there was a problem, especially as your son clearly communicates well with you and will tell you if it has caused a ruckus.
Poor little bullied children don't usually come out with racist insults. I think you need to perhaps open your eyes a bit to your sons behaviour. He's hardly going to tell you anything is ever his fault is he?
The teachers obviously feel that he is as much a problem as the other boy.
I don't really have any advice I'm afraid, you paint the picture of your son as the victim but him using that language unfortunately paints the picture of him being a racist thug.
I am not blind to my sons faults but they do not stretch to racist thuggery. I'm sure, and I hope, that is friends of the last four years will under stand what being frightened can do. The boy that did it used to be a friend and came to his birthday party.