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My kid was called a "retard" today - I thought he was right to punch the other kid

145 replies

whatever17 · 13/04/2011 02:02

DS2 is going to an independent specialist school (dyslexia based) (LEA court case) in September. He is really excited to be taught with other dys/dys kids and only 6 in a class - I have told him it is a massive deal that we/he won this case against the LEA and to look forward to it.

A kid in his Year 6 mainstream class called him a retard today about going to his new secondary school, therefore my kid bopped him on the nose and said "don't call me a retard or I will hit you again".

He got called into Headteacher's office HT said - "why did you hit him", DS said "cos he called me a retard".

HT said "OK".

I have only heard about this through DS. Frankly, I think "fair enough". I have said, don't hit first, but hit back.

What do you think?

OP posts:

OldLadyKnowsNothing · 13/04/2011 02:10

Fair enough, tbh.

I know it's not the "done thing" to encourage children to fight back, but DS2 was bullied at school up until the day he'd had enough, and hit back. The bullying stopped.


LDNmummy · 13/04/2011 02:13

YANBU, though I do not agree with encouraging children to use fists instead of words, I understand your DS's reaction and anger.


laptopwieldingharpy · 13/04/2011 02:16

they live they learn. Fair enough. YANBU


DiveBomb · 13/04/2011 02:18

Also think it's fair enough. But I'd want him to think about the difference between hitting someone to shut them up (as he did), and really hurting someone.

If you call someone nasty names, you do run the risk you'll get smacked one. Good life lesson for the other kid!


thumbwitch · 13/04/2011 02:19

Agreed really - probablywould have been better not to have punched him but hey, the other kid will remember it more next time he thinks about calling people stupid names, hopefully. And good for the HT for taking it that way too.


Morloth · 13/04/2011 02:20

I am also thinking 'fair enough'.

But would you be screaming blue murder if the kid defended himself physically and really injured your DS? Because I would be pretty much thinking 'fair enough' there as well.

While if you accept that calling people names might get you a smack, you also need to accept that if you throw a punch you had better be prepared for one back.


OldLadyKnowsNothing · 13/04/2011 02:24

Morloth, I wouldn't be thinking "fair enough" if either party was "really injured". No amount of name-calling is worth a chibbing. But a bop on the nose? Yeah, that's OK.


Morloth · 13/04/2011 02:34

Yes, but if the 'bop' on the nose is answered with a proper roundhouse punch? Is that fair enough? Because in my world it is. Annoying brat may well have deserved it, but I do wonder whether the OP would be as understanding of that kid's right to defend himself.

DS1 isn't allowed to throw the first punch, if I ever find out he has, he will be in deep shit. He does, however have our permission to hit back if required. He will probably still be in trouble with the school, but not with me.


OldLadyKnowsNothing · 13/04/2011 02:45

Well, the one time DS2 stood up for himself, it was rather more than a "bop on the nose", tbh, he "went radge" as they say round here and did cause some (not severe, life-threatening or permanent scarring) damage; police turned up on our doorstep and were very sympathetic as the bully was well known to them, as was his family. 6 years later DS2 still won't visit that village for fear of familial repercussions... I guess that's the roundhouse punch in the end?

Like you, I'd told him never to hit first. In fact DH and I spent years telling him to calm down, ignore it and so on. Eventually he cracked, and I couldn't find it in my heart to condemn him for it.

I guess there's no real answer, is there?


whatever17 · 13/04/2011 02:48


I must admit it wasn't a "bop" - DS2 will really punch if he has to. But he never, ever starts it. If annoying brat punched DS2 BACK and won I would tell DS2 to take it on the chin.

Neither DS will get any sympathy or support from me if they throw the first punch - but they get all sorts - ie "you're mum's a prostitute", "you're a retard" and I think they are within their rights to then throw the first punch.

OP posts:

Morloth · 13/04/2011 02:58

Well as long as you are fine with the possible repercussions of your DS taking it to a physical (as opposed to a verbal) level then YANBU.

I do agree that some people need a good smack.


HecateQueenOfTheNight · 13/04/2011 06:59

I must regretfully disagree. I don't think that punching the other boy was the right thing to do. imo, people certainly have the right to hit to defend themselves physically. In fact, I have always told my children that if they are cornered, and they are in danger, or they are being hit, they bloody hit back and make it a good 'un!

But hitting out as a first option when someone says something offensive is, imo, not the best way to go.

Your son would be better served learning how to 'punch' with words, iyswim. You can wound far more deeply with words, chosen carefully. And you have a chance to make someone think about their behaviour.

If your son begins to punch everyone who says something highly offensive - and sadly, he will encounter many such people in life - then sooner or later, he will get the shit kicked out of him. And there is also the danger that the lines will become blurred. At first it is a punch for only the HIGHLY offensive, then a punch for the simply offensive, then a punch for the mildly offensive, then a punch for the 'funny look', then a punch for...

No, I 'm sorry but I disagree that this is the right path to go down.


Tee2072 · 13/04/2011 07:38

Once again, and as usual, I agree with Hecate. (May I be your sycophant? Thank you! Grin)

While I do believe in self defence, hitting someone for name calling is not an equal response. I do not know what your son should have said back, but punching him was over the top. I am surprised that the HT said it was okay.

And what are the other parents going to say?

Turn the tables. Your son calls someone a name. That person punches him. Is it still the right response?

I was horribly bullied as a child and teenager and eventually it led to violence. The other girl was beating me up, I finally fought back and decked her. We both got in trouble for it. If the school had intervened in the proper manner when it was still her calling me names, it would not have gone that far.


Birdsgottafly · 13/04/2011 07:41

I agree with with HQOFN. At what age should we stop hitting each other then? How would your son handle a girl saying something he found offensive? Will he do it as a fifteen year old? Why do we hold children more responsible than adults for what they say? to the point that they can be physicaly attacked for what they say (has he picked this up from his parents?) but we would not do the same to an adult who should know better.

I would rather the school have handled it, it comes under 'hate' language (as in hate crime). The law is currently being expanded to include learning disabilities and parents should push for the schools to address this.
He is to young yet to daily have to re-educate other children but as he gets older that should be his aim.

Speaking as a mother of an SEN child, some of the children that she is at school with (SEN) are not aware of what they are saying and themselves use the term 'retard' and others (sexist, racist) until they are corrected (this can take time). It makes the world a much more scary place for the parents of these children if they are under threat of being physically attacked. It can be the same for other conditions; Aspergiers, Autism etc.


sausagesandmarmelade · 13/04/2011 07:43

As long as he doesn't make a habit of dealing with every insult with violence...

Could escalate


Happymm · 13/04/2011 07:44

In with the sycophants for Hecate Well said as usual, :)


Birdsgottafly · 13/04/2011 07:44

Next time a insult is used in a thread title against a DH 'As in was i within my rights to call him a twat', (type of thing) are we ok to say 'yes gohead but if he gives you 'a bob on the nose' you've deserved it.


Bucharest · 13/04/2011 07:50

Gets in line (also as usual)behind Hecate.


borderslass · 13/04/2011 07:51

I think he was right, DD2 was bullied mercilessly for years mostly name calling but last term she turned and belted one of the boys involved the reason he told her her brother was a R and a Sp there's only so much kids can take.


janajos · 13/04/2011 07:54

Agrees with Hecate, beautifully expressed! You can't condone violence from a child, however provoked. You can understand the reasons why it happened, but you have to work with your own child to give them better strategies for dealing with this sort of thing.

Well done for sorting the school situation. Good luck to your DS.


Birdsgottafly · 13/04/2011 07:58

Being bullied 'mercilessly is very different than a one off name calling incident. If the other boy has got that attitude from his parents then i imagine their response is that all 'retards' (to use their way of thinking) are uncontrollably violent and best off in a 'special school'. It is better to work on removing language and educate people via schools.


Tee2072 · 13/04/2011 07:58

Really good point Birdsgottafly.


Tee2072 · 13/04/2011 07:59

I meant your first one about the domestic violence example, but your second one is also good.

::sets up a 'posters to be a sycophant to' list. Adds Hecate and Birdsgottafly::


HecateQueenOfTheNight · 13/04/2011 08:00

yy birds. I was bullied for years and in the end I tried to kill myself. Constant, daily bullying is a form of torture! and a totally different situation


PrettyCandles · 13/04/2011 08:01

There's a difference between responding with violence to a name-calling, and responding with violence to bullying.

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