(Anti) Bullying Day

So I got my first ever call home from the principal a couple weeks ago.  It was on anti-bullying day, when all the kids had worn orange in support of non bully types, and that day the principal called and said something like this:

“…still figuring out details…got kicked in the privates…making calls to other parents…a little confused…have a great day!” 

Leo’s teacher called with a different message about the incident that had only a little bit of overlap and made the whole thing seem like  a gigantic, real-life game of operator where on one end someone says, “Leo got kicked in the beans,” and on the other end it comes out as, “I like your new jeans.”

It’s actually kind of a sweet and sad story that I pulled out of the boys that afternoon.  Apparently there’s this group of kindergarten boys that had been chasing Rocco at recesses for a week, even though he told them he didn’t want to play chase.  He had tried ignoring them, walking away, and telling a playground teacher, but the boys still chased him and then would tackle him and rough him up a bit.  In a kindergarten kind of way. 

So on anti-bullying day, like all the other days, that gang of kindergarteners  chased Rocco and tackled him and was crawling all over him.  But then, out of the dust and smoke, a hero rose and came to Rocco’s rescue.  It was his little brother, Leo. 

“Get off my brudder!” he told the gang.  “He doesn’t like that!”  The boys ignored him, so Leo tried pulling one of them off and that’s when he got kicked.  Right in the orange shorts.

I know I should be feeling Mama Bear about this whole thing and I am a little, but mostly I am just touched by the whole brother-sticking-up-for-brother thing, especially because it was little Leo standing up for his bigger brother.  It gets me right in the feels, you know?  My boys have a love-hate-hate relationship at home and I’ve always assumed that if one of them saw the other getting it, they might just casually walk off in the other direction, or even join in.  I am so moved by Leo’s act of bravery on his brother’s behalf.

So that’s where we’re at.  Phone calls were made and the chasing stopped, though I’m told that yesterday it started up again.  This time, Rocco is prepared though—he and his friends have a plan that involves flanking, distraction, and a very fast sprint to the playground teachers.

I know it’s been a bit rough for Rocco, but I also look at everything that’s happening at recess and think how he is learning some of his biggest lessons in school out there.  Lessons about loyalty, bravery, self-advocacy, and brotherhood.  And if all this chasing doesn’t settle down soon, he’s going to get to see a Mama Bear in action.

I will be swift and merciful and I will make sure to wear the least bright pair of shorts I have.

Roasted butternut squash

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