jump in, stay out? confused what to do?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by helpangel, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    I usually stay out of my kids drama as much as I can but a little confused in this case. One friend is pretty much leading a lynch mob that is going to crucify a kid with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). This poor girl (foreign adoption at age 4) is very vulnerable, having trouble flying under the radar of other kids and now with the service dog is even more of a target.

    Apparently she let some kids pet the dog but when one girl stressed dog out and was told not to she took it personally and now is trying to get all the kids against girl with service dog. My kid is like the only friend of the girl with the service dog; wanting to protect her but vulnerable herself. Lynch mob girl is my daughters best friend, any suggestions?

  2. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hi Nancy. Lynch mobs are always to be discouraged. I would do whatever you can to defuse the fire.
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Are all these kids in class together? If not I'm going to assume they all go to the same school.

    I would praise difficult child for not only standing by her friend but being willing to come to her defense if the need should arise. Sadly, that doesn't happen often enough these days.

    Then? Well, I know there are bullying rules in place yadda yadda but honestly I've yet to see where they've done any realistic good.

    You can and should report it. However you might want to try an outside the box approach. Hopefully the school will be cooperative as it could wind up being a valuable learning experience for all of the kids involved and even many not directly involved.

    I think Travis was in the 4th grade when the other kids just really started making his life miserable. His vision was going to pot and he had to wear sports glasses (unattractive at best) because otherwise he broke his glasses every other week. There were the social / autistic issues / developmental issues that were becoming more dramatically pronounced as he lost distance with his peer group. The boy has a severely under developed sphincter muscle at the top of his stomach and regurgitates everything that goes into the stomach, making some icky noises and for some horrid breath.

    Long story short, I opted out of punishing the students making him miserable. Instead I got with the teacher via phone with an idea. The students were old enough to understand Travis' dxes if they were explained in terms they could understand. But that wasn't all. We came up with visual effects to give them some perspective on what his day is like.

    Most 4th graders anatomy knowledge is very limited. We used a 2 liter bottle of soda to demonstrate his stomach issue..... simple and effective. For the vision issue.....cheap drug store glasses with clear plastic to distort anything they looked at. She even came up with "work sheets" somehow to show them the issues he has with language ect. She did a very good job explaining his dxes in terms the kids could "get". It let them see that his behaviors weren't on purpose, nor could he change them, it also let them see what he struggled with day in and day out and never complained.

    I didn't know if it would work. If it didn't the school could fall back on policy. But it worked wonderfully. The kids were far more tolerant and understanding, even helpful. The rest of his year went great.

    It not only benefited Travis, but it benefited every child in his class. It is easy to lash out at something you don't understand. However it doesn't feel very good when they were wearing the glasses the teacher made and had difficulty participating or even navigating the classroom while the other kids laughed until it was their turn............It's much harder to lash out when you've stepped into their shoes, even for a few minutes.

    Being teens they have the capacity to understand far more than 4th graders. Perhaps they just need someone to explain and show them.
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    what Lisa describes is what our guidance counselors are ALL supposed to do in the elem grades. In the upper grades, if these issues arise, the same things are done along with assignments in most classes to help the kids understand. Assignments like essays on the impact of disabilities, of bullying those iwth disabilities, etc.... for lang arts and the cause and effect of various disabilities and health issues. The elem J went to for 1-4th grades (elem is only through grade 5 here) had a counselor who did an incredible job with this. NO ONE in J's class made overmuch to do about the kids with disabilities, even the invisible ones. If it started, the other kids would either stop it or get an adult involved to stop it. Then the one fourth grade teacher tried to bully a couple of the kids. Her entire world turned upside down because the other kids ALL staged a rebellion, refusing to cooperate with anything she attempted to get them to do until she started to be kind to the kids iwth disabilities.

    I firmly believe that much of the stigma is because people don't know what is going on, so they make false assumptions, like Travis doesn't have good hygiene or see a dentist because he has bad breath. When they learn what the real problem is, and maybe how it feels, they are more compassionate. If that doesn't work, a few extra homework assignments at least makes it less popular to do.
  5. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    I was talking to the girls mother yesterday afternoon when the issue came up and mentioned to her the only time ANY kid should pet that dog is at their home when the "work vest" is off. I feel sorry not only for the girl but that poor dog; it's still in training and that type stuff has to be confusing.

    I think Lisa is right about turning this into a learning experience and shift the focus to learning about service dogs. If the school suspends or scolds the bully it will just make her mad and make the other girl more of a target. The teacher should talk to the class about the roles of service dogs and as a rule if the dog is wearing it's vest it's working and MUST NOT be distracted from it's job. The harness even says "Don't pet me I'm working" not sure what the trainer was thinking when told the girl if it's calm and she's comfortable she could let people pet the dog. It was kind of setting her up for this type thing, if kids pet the dog today in class they think it's ok to pet it tomorrow in the hall.

    When my daughter was talking to K (angry girl) she told her that; that service dogs are not suppose to be petted or played with while they are working. My daughter was very disappointed because the shopping trip they had planned for yesterday got cancelled. (2 weeks planning, both parents notes canceling bus home etc.) She was also worried about her friend & getting caught in the middle of friends fighting. I commended her for keeping a cool head and supporting her friend.

    My daughter also learned how fast K will turn from friend to enemy over something minor and is a little disgusted that she felt the need to involve every kid they know in this. Also upset about how fast all these kids were ready to join into this "mob mentality". I've come to really dislike that girl (she's a monster and her mother is worse) and hope my kid can find a different "best" friend.

    I overheard my daughter talking to another friend last night and she said "I'm not choosing sides because there is no right side THEY ARE BOTH WRONG!" then went into a mini tirade about "what the H#!! is wrong with these people gonna start a war over something as stupid as petting a dog"?

    I think when I wasn't looking my baby grew up, thanks for listening to me vent and helping me sort this out.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I love the idea of educating the children about service dogs, but I don't know that the school will bother to do it.

    If I was absolutely forced, I'd contact the children's parents and not chastise the children to their parents, but I'd explain about the dog and ask if they'd mind explaining service dogs and their function to their kids. Maybe when the dog has "down time" the kids can even come over and get to know the job when he is not working. Sometimes you can turn bullies into allies and protectors. Not saying it happens often, but it can, especially if the kids were in "pack" mentality. Often they are different one at a time. I would choose the leader and ask if this child would help take care of the dog while it's working....make sure nobody pets him while he is busy, etc.
  7. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    The sp ed teacher did speak to that small class of kids about the service dog today and brought it up that the dog is still in training and it's very important no one touch or try to play with the dog while wearing it's vest. My kids phone call with the 4th girl kind of had the whole group a little aggravated with-K for starting this whole squabble. Anyway the 3 girls sat together on the bus today and they are ALL mad that K's boyfriend forgot her birthday (LOL teen drama).

    I think this was one of those cases of "the more you stir a stink the worse it smells" and we handled it the best not getting the school involved in punishment mode.

    I need a vacation to recuperate from last weekend teen drama, landlord no show - no heat, cat stuck in wall, crazy neighbor ... I need to go get a job so someone can pay me to get away from these people a few hours a day LOL!

  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hey...have you checked into respite? I think you can get it even if your child is an adult if she is disabled. I apologize if I'm wrong. I do know there is such thing as adult foster care.

    You know the golden rule...ya HAVE to take care of yourself :)

    Teen drama can be draining...lol. Going through it myself right now and have to fight myself not to get emotionally tangled up like I once did, but it's not easy!!