Punching Back

Long ago, I went to pick the then-6-year-old Son&Heir up from his Catholic school’s after-school care, and found him sitting alone in the corner of the room.

One of the volunteer mommies told me that he’d been isolated for “fighting”.  Now, he wasn’t (and still isn’t) a fighter — unlike his Dad — so I called him over and asked for his side of the story.  Here’s what ensued.

“Ryan was picking on me, I told him to stop it but he didn’t, and when I turned away from him, he hit me in the back.  So I shouted at him to stop it and walked away again, but he followed me, so I hit him on the face — just like you told me to do.”
I turned to the supervisor and said, “Yeah, I did that.  I told him that if he’s being bullied, to try to get way from the bully, but if the bully comes after him, to hit the bully as hard as he can.”
“Well,” said the woman, “we don’t allow fighting in daycare.”
“But you do allow bullying, from the looks of it.”
“We didn’t see him being bullied.”
“So you admit that your supervision was a failure, in other words.”
“No, we just didn’t see anything.”
“But my son already said he shouted at Ryan, and Ryan was hitting him.  So you didn’t hear the shouting, and you didn’t see the fighting — which seems to me to be a failure on your part — and you didn’t do anything until Ryan came over with a bleeding nose.”
“Well — ”
“Did you bother to ask my son what the fighting was about?  You didn’t, did you?  This is the first time you’ve heard about the bullying, in other words.”
“We still can’t allow fighting.”
“Okay;  so what do you want me to do about all this?  Give my son a beating when we get home?”
“Oh no no no, we don’t want that.  We just want him to obey the rules.”
“He will, I promise you.  As long as you tell Ryan about the no-bullying rule.”  And I turned to the Son&Heir.  “Come on, boy.  Get your stuff and let’s go home.”
“Am I in trouble?”
“No;  how could you be in trouble for doing exactly what I told you to do?”

We never heard a peep from the school.

All that was recalled from Ye Olde Memorie Bankes by this article.


  1. When my daughter started public school (we homeschooled until the 6th grade) she was given “three rules” (the last isn’t a rule):

    1. Never hit first.
    2. Always hit back.
    3. If you knock them out (later “choke them out” because jujitsu) you get free ice cream.

  2. you taught your son well. I wish I was given that education earlier in life. In junior high it was always “next time we’ll punish the bully.” and of course next time never came.


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