Last week I volunteered at Ume’s school in the afternoon and I was told by the office assistant that there had been an incident at school with Ume and another classmate. She had my attention; she explained that she stepped in when she saw a commotion between the students and Ume was really upset and crying. When asked what had happened, a few students said that Ume punched another student in the stomach. My eyes got huge, this did not sound like my child. The adult did not see this happen, just the aftermath of the disruption. After Ume was able to settle down and stop crying, she explained that her classmate was tickling her and she told her to stop many times. Then Ume was spinning and spinning, got dizzy, and fell into the other student by accident. The other student didn’t agree or disagree to either allegations. The adult had them both say sorry to each other, which took a while to get the other student to say it loud enough for them to hear it. She explained to the kids that the school has a hands off policy so that both students should apologize and then move on with their day. Ume knew I was coming to school to volunteer, so she asked the adult to tell me about the situation.
I was instantly shocked at the allegation from the other students, because for sure Ume did not punch the kid. Brian and I try to work with her on protecting herself from Violet all the time. Violet will go after her with a toy hammer and hit her with it; Ume would sit there and let Violet hit her and just cry. We are trying to teach her to protect herself, take the weapon away from Violet, and/or move away and call us for help. Her reasoning is that she doesn’t want Violet to cry. That is my kid. Super sensitive and emotional. A true Cancer.
This made me think about situations that happen in every day life where people don’t have all the facts, but they make assumptions that lead to accusations. This then perpetuates rumors and false information to be spread. We are all guilty of doing it at some time in our lives. It is really interesting seeing it from a kids’ perspective, no one has clear facts but they tell a story even if they didn’t see it. Surely the other students did not see Ume punch the other kid but what made them say that? Ume spins around all the time because she loves to be dizzy, so I can see that happening. It can make a kid look like a bully who isn’t or a kid get in trouble without any true reason. Thank goodness teachers and adults who work with children are used to this behavior and have the skills to mediate these types of situations.
When I showed up in class, Ume looked happy like nothing abnormal happened that day. I did my duties as the math volunteer and when I went around to stations. One of Ume’s classmates asked if she wanted her to tell me what happened earlier. Ume said no, but the student proceeded to tell me “Ume punched someone in the stomach”. I kindly let her know that I knew what had happened and that we will talk about it later. Then Ume’s friend chimed in and said, “That is not what happened, it was an accident”. I refocused the students and we finished with the task at hand.
On the ride home from school, I asked Ume what had happened and at first she said she didn’t want to talk about it. After a little more coaxing, she opened up and explained it from her side. It was not a big deal for her and she moved on to tell me about the rest of her day. I am happy she has the resilience to move on and hold no grudges. It was the first of many more situations to occur when there is conflict and she may need an an adult to intervene. We are learning how to do this together.