Where’s the line between annoying and bullying?

For the last few months, we have been dealing with a tough situation at Audrey and Georgia’s school. It all started when a boy, “Robbie,” developed a crush on Audrey. At first, I thought it was kind of cute. After all, my daughter is beautiful and smart (biased much?), so it’s to be expected, right? Audrey was completely uninterested in Robbie, or in any boy for that matter. We have been thankful that her circle of friends has not gotten to the “boy-crazy” stage yet.

But as the weeks went on, I began to learn more about Robbie. For a variety of reasons, he is significantly older than Audrey. He approaches her at lunchtime and at recess, when the children are not supervised as closely as in the classroom. And he is a persistent little guy!

Audrey started out being polite but direct. When he invited her to come to his house (over and over), she said, “No, thanks.” When he asked her if she liked him, she said, “As a friend.”

I went in to school in November for a special day when parents were able to have lunch with their kids. I sat down at Audrey’s lunch table, with all her (girl) friends, and Robbie plopped himself right down across from me. “So,” he asked me, “Did Audrey tell you I like her?”

And he’s forward!

All of this started to really grate on Audrey. So we talked to her teacher about it. Her teacher has separated the two of them even more than they were before, and told Robbie to knock it off. But then a couple of weeks ago he gave her a letter apologizing for his behavior. Nice, right? Except that he had included cash so she “would know he was serious.” The money was promptly sent back.

For a few days, all was quiet on the Robbie front.

Until I started hearing from Georgia.

She reported that Robbie was talking to her after school while she waited for Audrey. Every day, he asked her if Audrey liked him, or said things like, “I haven’t seen you for a while.”

Now, remember, this is a 5th grade boy (old for his grade) talking to a 2nd grade girl.

Then last week, Audrey said that Robbie kept cursing around Georgia.

That just seemed like the last straw to me. I mean, do we really need a big boy teaching that kind of language to our little 2nd grader? I told Audrey that she could tell him to stop.

I told her to tell him that cursing makes him sound stupid.

I think my next step is to email the teacher and principal and ask for a meeting with Robbie’s parents. Either that, or talk to him myself if I see him.

What do you think? Am I overreacting? Is this harassment or just an annoying boy? What would you do to help your daughters work through this situation?

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6 comments to Where’s the line between annoying and bullying?

  • Margaret

    Yeaaaaah that’s inappropriate at best. It may not be bullying but it is harassment and geez, even stalking. Time to meet with the parents/school, and keep following up!
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  • Shannon

    There is definitely something off with this kid. You mention that he’s in fifth grade but older? How old? The fact that he tried to give your daughter money and is now involving her younger sister are red flags. Trust your gut, this is not normal. Go to the school psychologist, principal etc. and let it be known you don’t want him around your daughters. It definitely needs to be made known to the school. I don’t want to come across as paranoid but this is predatory. Trust your gut, don’t let others minimize this to you saying he’s “just a kid” or similar things.

  • courtney

    oh Amy, I am so sorry you and the girls have to deal with this situation. It definitely sounds like harassment. But more so, it sounds like an obsession for the little boy which is not a good situation at all. I think speaking with the school psychologist is a great idea. The girls definitely need to understand how to deal with this boy. Its totally inappropriate for him to be associating with a second grader that is not his sibling or family member. There is no reason for it! He needs to get some help processing his feelings and obsession. Praying for you guys!

  • wow, that’s crazy! Whatever happened? Did you email the teacher?
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  • [...] summers past, I have taken a very structured approach to summer learning. But after a difficult fifth grade year, Audrey was feeling quite burnt out with even the idea of learning. Besides the social stress she [...]

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