Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Biter Strikes Again

Last week we got an incident report from Lily's school (her second one, her first was she got a bump on her forehead after bumping heads with someone in the bouncy castle), she was bitten by another kid.  (I will call this kid "The Biter" to protect her/his privacy).  The report was worded to share blame and said something along the lines of "Lily was being irritating to another student and the student bit her hand. Skin wasn't broken. Washed with soap and water and iced." The teacher handed it to me personally last week and gave me the explanation that Lily was pulling on The Biter's jacket and The Biter bit her hand.  Lily told me that The Biter was chasing her (sounds like they were being mutually irritating, i mean, aren't all 2 and 3 year olds irritating?) and she later told us The Biter [she used the name] is a Jerk!... which made us giggle.  I wasnt too upset about it, kids are kids and whatever.  But Lily didnt let it go.  That night she told her grandma and aunt that The Biter bit her, and she couldnt understand why she/he would do that.  She said her hand hurt for days (though there wasnt much of a mark) and when we went on vacation for 4 days for Thanksgiving, she told her dad and our other friend all about it.  She was really upset about it, she couldnt let it go.  We explained that The Biter made a mistake and she had to give her/him another chance, etc. and not to say "jerk" to her/his face, that wouldnt be nice.

So Monday comes and Missy went in to pick Lily up (i waited in the car) and one of the teachers gave her another paper and said that Lily was bitten again, by the same student.  Lily came running up holding her hand out with two red welts on it.  Again, the form shared blame and said that Lily took The Biter's toy and so The Biter bit her. But in speaking to the teacher and the front desk person, the story we got was that they were in the sandbox outside and The Biter put down a shovel for a second and Lily picked it up... but The Biter wasn't done with it and just bit her hand immediately... there was no altercation or fight or words... just the instinct to bite first.

Missy explained it to me in the car, but i decided to go back in and talk with the administrator.  I told her i wanted to understand what was going on.  Is Lily being SO obnoxious that this kid loses her/his mind?  She assured me that Lily did nothing wrong (and even if she did, biting isn't the answer) and that The Biter has the problem. I asked if they were sending letters home to The Biter's family (mine were accident reports because of the injury) and she assured me with an "oohhhh yeah" they were sending home letters and calling the parents in.  The school and the forms dont actually name the child by name, but Lily told us The Biter's name.  And i asked if anyone else was getting bitten, or is Lily somehoe targeted and/or unable to get along with this one kid?  And she told me... ALL the kids have been bitten.  While that makes me feel better on one hand (that it isnt anything to do with Lil specifically and she's not being singled out), it also disturbs me a little since there are a dozen kids in class - does that mean she/he has had 13+ biting incidents and still nothing has changed?  She told me that if The Biter keeps it up, she/he may not be allowed to come to school anymore.  And she said that they can't really prevent it, because The Biter bites with almost no provocation, there is no warning, no fight to break up, no yelling first... it just happens so fast.

I'm not sure what the solution is, but I worry about Lily - not so much the physical aspect of it, but emotionally.  I dont want her to be afraid to go to school, she loves school so much.  And i don't want The Biter provoking her to act out back, she's normally a really well behaved and timid girl - i don't want her to think violence is OK and to learn to bite/hit back.  But i also don't want her to feel like a target or a victim, this is bullying at it's earliest stage.  We're teaching her to tell him "that hurts, i don't like that" and to choose not to play with/near him if she doesnt want to, but kids are pretty unpredictable.  I also hope that The Biter's parents are taking this seriously... i have no idea what the child is like other than this, but it's totally unfair to the rest of the class.  I also imagine it's disruptive.  Lily cries every time... i imagine a teacher has to hug her and get her ice, etc.  So is that 15-25 minutes where one teacher is focussed on calming down ONE child and leaving the other to deal with nine other kids? And who is disiplining The Biter during this time?  Lily is only there for 4 hours - so is 1/8 of the day spent dealing with biting and it's aftermath?  Certainly unfair.

I don't know how the school will handle it, and i'm not the kind of person that will make any sort of demands... but i hope this stops.  Today.


Anyone else deal with anything like this in school?


8 comments:

  1. it happens.. someone needs to bite the biter just one time- it will stop.

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  2. So sorry this is happening to Lily! Sounds to me like The Biter needs to be seen by a doc. A friend's nephew was a biter because he was not a good communicator. He was kicked out of school. He needed tubes and has been much better since. Perhaps he/she should have his speech/hearing checked...sounds like the school needs to do a better job to protect these kids. Hope they can work it out!

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  3. great photo :)

    i kinda agree with anonymous.

    when i was first bullied, my dad taught me how to guard my face and square up to throw a punch. i was told that if i was ever in trouble for fighting as an act of self-defense that i should tell the principal to call him because he gave me permission to protect myself. he also bought me a karate training tape, a Chuck Norris karate training tape to be exact.

    i understand that in saying this, i am "promoting violence" and i'm well aware that violence is NOT the answer...HOWEVER, i think that a lesson about self-defense is important and i think that every little girl needs to know how to guard their face and square up to throw a punch from the hip. there are too many crazies in this world and it would be a shame not to know what to do if ever caught in a situation with your back against the wall.

    on another note, my dad always made sure i'd know what to do just incase i was kidnapped. big moves for little kids are:
    going for the eyeballs
    karate chop to the adam's apple
    kick directly under and up into the kneecap

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  4. @poo - you forgot the most important self defense move... the KICK to the GROIN!!!

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  5. Sounds like the school needs to take stronger measures with The Biter and The Biter's Parents. They are leaving themselves open to liability claims.
    Once bitten *may* be excused if monitored, but a second biting incident is NOT tolerated. Especially since it was the very next day! :[ Poor Lilly!

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  6. True. They should just remove his teeth.

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  7. We dealt with this last year, except the kid was breaking skin and once we had to take Evie to the Dr for antibiotics to treat it :-/ The school did offer to pay for the visit and meds (we declined). They were trying anything short of suspension to get the biter's behavior to stop. Eventually the biter outgrew it but in the mean time I asked for her to be kept away from my kids (she attacked both Evie and Lex).

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  8. I have been on both sides of this fence. My oldest was constantly getting bitten, so I understand your frustrations COMPLETELY. My 2nd child WAS the biter. Please dont write the parents off as not caring, just because it isnt stopping TODAY. Biting at this age is COMPLETELY age appropriate and we worked for WEEKS with the teachers and administrators on ways to get it to stop. She bit because she didnt know how to communicate, she had teething pain, we changed her diet, worked with speech therapists, thought she had spacial issues with kids in her "bubble", etc. We were open to trying anything and everything and I felt HORRIBLE every time she bit another child. She didnt bite at home, so there were no good "teachable" moments to bite her back or to really discipline her at 2 years old. My husband and I would go to the school and secretly observe her, waiting for her to bite so that we could bite her back, EVERYTHING!!! It was eventually just something she had to grow out of. Kicking a biting child out of the school really doesnt do anyone any good and most good schools dont have this policy, as there is usually a biter in almost all of the classrooms. I agree with the other commenters that as much as you dont want to teach your child to retaliate, sometimes it is necessary to get biter to know NOT to bite her. I'm sorry you are going through this - I know it is hard. My oldest child (that was getting bit) has no memory of any of it.

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