Monday, July 15, 2013

An open letter to the mother of the boy bullying my son...

This letter is to the mother of the boy that is bullying my son at summer camp.

You do not know me, nor do I know you. I have no idea what you look like, where you live, what you do for a living, what kind of car you drive or whether or not you are a good mother. I have crossed your path under circumstances which I wish were different. I wish we met at camp pick up and laughed over some common camp lunchbox mix-up situation and became fast friends, but that is not the case.

You do not know my child. He is an astounding + amazing boy with different abilities, strengths and weaknesses. He is a child on the Spectrum and he is simply extraordinary. I am honored to be his mother. He is a sweet, kind, funny and a beautiful soul. He wakes up with a song in his heart. He has attended this summer camp for several years now. This camp is quite a distance from my home, but my sons love it so much, I happily make the trip out and back there each day. Sometimes 60 miles a day~because my children really enjoy the camp experience, the counselors and all the fun they have. My sons looks forward to this special time each and every summer.

Your son is a year or two older than mine. My children have been at the camp for years-this seems to be your child's first year. My child is the one that your son was "spanking" and smacking on the behind last Friday. Your son was chasing my son, pinning him down and "spanking" him because he was not moving fast enough to where he wanted my son to go next. He was giving my son commands and my son could not move fast enough, so your son was hitting him as punishment. My son told him to get off him and to stop smacking him, your son would not. My son finally ran free and frantically ran to a friend he saw and begged for help. This friend was also then "spanked" by your son. The friend found a counselor and reported everything. I had no idea any of this had gone on until I got back into the car on Friday afternoon. My son mentioned it as soon as he entered the car and I kept asking him what he meant "by getting spanked?" He could not really describe it-he does not have the best of communication skills, but he was clearly upset by it. Because I know my son and I always give every single child the benefit of the doubt, I asked my son a hundred times if he was bothering your son or doing something inappropriate or just playing with your son and it escalated from there. He said "no." He did not talk about it the rest of the weekend. I tried to put it out of my mind did not think about it much the remainder of the weekend. I just thought it was a fluke and would not be any kind of issue in the future. Maybe you spank your son, maybe you don't, but your child is clearly aggressive and violently inappropriate.

I arrived at camp this morning and was surprised to be pulled aside by the Director. She wanted to speak to me about what had happened on Friday. She explained that they were aware of everything, taking it very seriously and had just talked to you about your son's behavior. I was kind of surprised that it was discussed this morning, but I was happy that at least they were all aware and taking it seriously. I went on my way and day and returned to camp around 1:00pm-about an hour early due to the extreme heat-and I saw my son sitting on the bench, staring at the parking lot~waiting for me. As soon as he saw me, he started crying. He told me he "just really missed me." This was extremely unusual behavior.

I got the boys into the car and I casually asked him if that boy had bothered him today...He said "yes." I was shocked and asked him to tell me what happened. He did not want to tell me...I asked his brother and the other boy I had with me to tell me and they were just trying to get my son to say it...He finally said that your son called him some names. I asked "like what names?" He did not want to tell me. He did not know the one word and did not want to say it. I told him it was okay and he was not going to get into trouble. He told me that your son called him a "nigga."
I could not breathe and I could not believe what I had just heard and I asked him to repeat it and he did. He then asked me, along with the other two boys what that word meant. I have never felt such rage in my entire life. Ever.
Why anyone, let alone a child, would use a word like that is a mystery beyond my comprehension. Deplorable. Disgusting. I immediately got out of the car and advised the Director of this and she told me that your son has been using language like that since the first day of camp. She advised me that she did speak to you about that as well. She also let me know that your son will be suspended for two days because they have to  follow "protocol" for legal reasons when a child disobeys the rules.

I got back into my car and started the drive home and then my son dropped the other bombshell-your son told my son that his Minecraft baseball hat was "gay" and that he was "gay." I almost drove off the side of the road. I also hear how your son picked on another sweet developmentally delayed child because he was wearing a Disney t-shirt. And...I also hear how your son was chasing a little kindergarten girl in the field that had to be stopped by the Director. Maybe you know all this, maybe you don't, but I hope you are listening to what I am saying.

Again, I do not know you. You do not know me. But what I do know is your child has crossed the line with my son, with my family, with several other kids at camp. You were made aware of this on Friday, but, yet he continued this sickening behavior on Monday. You might be a great mom, you might not, but you need to be aware that your child's actions have taken something from my child. Your son's disgusting vocabulary has changed my sons today. Your son is a bully in every sense of the word. Picking on children that will not or cannot fight back is grotesque + shameful. Beyond comprehension. Maybe you have taught him better, maybe you have not, but he is clearly a lost child that needs some guidance. Children with different needs are always the easiest target for a coward. All of the children your son is picking on are so much younger which makes it all even more heinous. I cannot fathom how he would ever think it appropriate to hit another child or to use such disgusting words let alone think them.

I cannot quite put my finger on the feelings I have for you~maybe rage, pity, disgust, confusion. This is not an isolated incident~your son needs serious help. He is so young, but so old. Please do whatever it takes to get him the help he needs.Most likely, your son will do something else horrible in the next week which will have him removed from camp entirely. If he touches a hair on my son's head or a freckle on his sweet nose, I will call the police without a moment's hesitation.

I hope this serves as a reminder to all of us to teach our children kindness and right from wrong. We all need reminders now and again.

My beautiful sons are changed today in a way which disturbs my soul. Innocence lost to a bully. I could not protect them or shield them from your child's vile mouth or his hands. I will live with that guilt, but I cannot change what has already been done. I would do anything to erase this all from my kids' memories. I will choose to use this as an example of how never to behave. I hope you are wise enough to really listen and take action for the sake of your family and so many others.