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Permissive Teachers

Elementary School Expert Advice from Barbara Potts

Q: My five-year-old son is being bullied by the other boys and girls in his preschool class. I noticed him getting more aggressive, and I asked him why he has been so angry. He told me the boys punch him whenever his teacher leaves the room and chase him on the playground.

One day I observed him on the playground and was shocked to see two girls dragging him around by his coat hood and then slamming his face into a metal slide -- they chased him until I broke it up. His teachers weren't watching -- they were looking over papers. I confronted his teacher who told me that they were only playing. I can't believe that she accepts this behavior as appropriate playing. I am disappointed that they did not watch the children closer. I don't want my child to return to school. How should I handle this situation?

A: Children should not be allowed to hurt others in any setting. Since you've talked with the teacher already, make an appointment to talk with the preschool director. Explain what your son has told you and what you have seen for yourself. Let the director know that you expect they bullying to stop immediately and that you expect the teachers to supervise the class more closely both inside the building and out on the playground.

If the bullying does not stop, find another preschool.

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Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

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