Okay, I will try to make this short. I have two sons in school, a 5 year old in pre-k and a 6 year old in Kindergarten. The often times go out to recess at the same time. A few months ago the 6 year old told us that another child had pushed his face into the sand and he had swallowed dirt. We asked if he told the teacher and he said yes but that the teacher didn't get the other kid in trouble. We didn't do anything about it because we figured maybe he just didn't see the teacher talk to the other boy so no big deal she surely did. Fast forward to last week and the 5 year old comes home with a bandaid on his hand and when asked what happened he said a kid in Kindergarten pushed him down and when he said the name it was the same boy that had done that to my older son. We asked the pre-k teacher if she had seen what had happened and she said no but she would ask the aid and let us know the next day. Then the next day both kids came home and said the same child pushed the pre-k son again and when they told the aid she told him to stop pushing but when she walked away he said to my 6 year old that he better get his brother to move then or he would show him what hurt is. My kids didn't know that this meant so they didn't say anything to the teacher.
Then later that day a friend called me and asked if whe had ever had any problems on recess because her daughter was coming home crying each day and she had started asking other parents and about 7 had said they had issues with excessive agression(just in general, not all the one boy) and excessive meanness. I told DH and he said two parents had asked him that a few months ago and at that point he had said no and thought nothing more of it.
It was after school hours and I kjnow how busy a teacher's day can be so I decided to email the kindergarten teacher to find out what was going on with my kids and the one boy and then also to see if maybe a group of parents could meet with her and the principal to discuss concerns. I was very careful with my wording in the letter to make sure it stated that we didn't in any way feel the teachers were purposely letting things slide, that I knew how hard it could be with so many children, and that maybe parents could sign up to help out with duty to take some of the load off of the teachers with so many kids, ect. I had one of my sisters who is a principal and one who is a teacher proofread it to make sure it sounded okay.
The next day the teacher called me to talk about it. She said that the two times my younger son had been pushed was in a game of football so he may have been pushed or may have just fallen but that was to be expected. I completely agree and understand that so we had a long talk with the kids about rough games like football or chase and how when you want to play them you may get pushed because that is part of the game so now they understand that isn't something to be upset or tell about. As for the comment by the boy about showing what hurt is she said that student did tend to make in-appropriate comments and that she had talked to him before but that it had to do with his parenting so there wasn't a lot she could do. She also said she clearly remembers when my 6 year old got his face shoved into the sand and he came and told her and she told him if you choose to play with a rough kid that is what happens so if you don't like it you should go play with somebody else. This is also the response she gave another child who told of being kicked. She said all of this is normal behavior for 5 and 6 year old children and that it wasn't a problem. They are rough and that is the way they are at that age. She said that no other parents have come forward so it isn't a problem, that she just addressed my concerns with the one child, and that they watched very closely for anything in-appropriate so I didn't need to worry.
Okay, so here is our question. DH and I, as well as a few other parents, feel that the students are being allowed to get away with too much. I have two boys ages 5 and 6 so believe me, I know how rough they are, lol. When they are playing rough games like ball or chase or screwing around I tell them just as she did that if they don't want to risk getting hurt they need to not play that game. That is when they are playing though. When one of my kids gets aggressive or mean to the other by hitting, kicking, etc, they are told that isn't okay and to stop and apologize. To us there is a difference between rough play and being mean and agressive. Yes, kids that age will often lash out by hitting or kicking or something, but that doesn't mean it is okay and it is a time to teach them that isn't an okay response or action. Are we wrong and being to protective and living in some sort of bubble, or is there a line and are they letting kids cross it and get away with too much?