Strangely, over the last two days I have received comments from no less than 2 of Sydney's teachers regarding her demeanor. Yes, this is the same girl who is our straight A student and the same one that routinely receives excellent marks in her behaviour and work ethic.
So, what has happened?
First, the comments came from Mrs. Parks, her spanish teacher. On Wednesday, Sydney put her head down on the table and refused to participate in class. Odd? I agree. Almost immediately, I confronted Sydney to find out what was going on. She was pretty tight lipped about the event. In fact, she would not tell me what happened. When we got home I told her to go up to her room to think about it and that she could leave when she was ready to talk to me about it.
It was amazing how quickly that worked.
Sydney explained that she had been punished when other kids around her in class were misbehaving. For reasons that would not become entirely evident until the next day, she just shut down. At this time, she explained that she was mad and that this was her method of silent protest. We discussed the proper way to handle the situation and that it was necessary for her to talk to her teacher about her feelings. We left the conversation both feeling better and I had assumed we had resolved all of the issues.
I had been led to believe that anyway.
Yesterday, I talked to Mrs. Parks to ensure that we all had an understanding of what transpired and to ensure that Sydney had talked to her. As I was doing so I was also approached by Sydney's homeroom teacher that explained that she too had witnessed Sydney having a tough week. She explained one episode where Sydney was left in tears.
All was not as it seemed. Sydney tried to explain away her behavior as being from tiredness. Afterall, she had not slept well this week. I took that with a healthy dose of salt. Later, when Lynley arrived home from work I gave her the lowdown and left her to her own feminine devices to get to the bottom of the issue.
There were about 30 minutes of talk.
In the end, it looks like Lynley might have discovered the culprit. While we knew Sydney was having trouble with one of the girls in her class we did not understand the depth of the issue. However, we know now that she is clearly the victim of classic classroom bullying. One of the girls in her class is constantly upsetting her. The girl kicks Sydney under the table so often that she actually has a multitude of scabs and bruises along her shins. The girl has told Sydney that if she tells on her that she will lie and say that Sydney has been kicking her as well. On most days, the girl will also squish the food in Sydney's lunch box making it inedible. She has also been known to steal and destroy Sydney's homework. In addition to these physical symptoms, it seems that much of her bullying is psychological. It is clear that Sydney is feeling tortured and her classroom behavior can all be tied to incidents with this other little girl.
Hmmm, I wonder if her new found interest and intensity in sparring could be tied to this as well?
I have to be honest. My first instinct is to tell Sydney to take her out. Although she is much bigger than Sydney, there is no doubt that Sydney could flatten her. And, honestly, that is about the only thing that ever worked for me with bullies. Talking to the parents or the teacher only seems to end up in retaliation and further abuse. None the less, I also know that telling Sydney to "take her out", it is not the "right" thing to do.
I still wish she would.
Regardless, we will be meeting with all parties involved today to see if we can't come to a resolution. I will tell you though.
I will NOT allow this to continue.
That is my purpose we are talking about.