My husband's idea of the best way to deal with a bully is to "flatten him, just once" or some such thing. I have also heard this approach suggested by a number of other people of the male persuasion.
Aidan heard it. And didn't heed it. But he didn't have much trouble of this kind.
Sergei hears it and chooses not to heed it. He just lives with the daily torment.
Of course both of them heard me - loud and clear (maybe even shrill)- suggesting that whether or not it worked with the bully, it would do you no good with the powers that be. Of course I suggest more rational approaches - or even irrational ones (like turning the other cheek), but mostly I try to remind them that the rules these days forbid "frontier justice" or whatever you want to call it.
I think Ilya might call it "orphanage justice" and I expect it is still the order of the day in Shuya. Unfortunately it is not acceptable behavior at our nice little Catholic school. As Ilya is learning.
Friday afternoon, unfortunately, he "got into it" with a boy who was either
a) doing nothing at all [the boy's version] or
b) who has for weeks taunted Ilya by calling him names and making vile suggestions, then yesterday pushed his face into the drinking fountain, and in response to Ilya's flicking water at him, attempted to kick him in his private parts. [Ilya's version].
Maybe the truth is somewhere in the middle. Sergei confirms, though, that Ilya is tormented by this boy and a few others on a daily basis. I don't for a minute think Ilya would just attack someone for no reason. However, as I mentioned before, in this day and age you can't get physical with people who are tormenting you. And - of course though I wouldn't recommend this approach I do see that other approaches are useless - which is Ilya's dilemma.
He's told us about this; we've told some of the teachers, and the administration, but bullies don't do their bullying where people in authority can see, after all!
And, Ilya's already under huge stress from just being there all day and struggling to understand English, so I guess being harassed both verbally and physically was too much for him, finally. Though, Ilya also tells us that the boy himself suggested going outside. Perhaps Ilya had the idea that things might indeed be appropriately "handled" outside after class..... But outside the assistant principal's office? No. Bad idea.
Anyway, the result is - he's suspended for a week. Oh! The irony! When my constant and regular, my most vervent prayer and daily effort has been aimed at actually getting him to go to school...now he is not allowed to go to school. I'm awfully afraid that I won't be able to make him go back. I doubt that absence will make the heart grow fonder.
Obviously, among the torrent of feelings and impressions, I'm terribly humiliated by his behavior, doubting very much my decision to have the kids here at the school where I work. How will I be able to work professionally with that family after this? What will I do if Ilya pulls something else? The Asst. Principal even suggested maybe Ilya would need another placement.... Well, I can't think of another placement! Our public school system is absolutely out of the question.... We can't afford any other private school.
Well. I guess it just adds another dimension. A little more flavor to life. :) Lydia just said, "Mom you take this stuff too seriously." So I suggested that she can take care of Ilya next week.
Right now I don't think that Ilya has a very good understanding of the seriousness of the situation. Undoubtedly, coming from a place where such incidents were a daily occurrence, he can hardly expect such a different vision here. Well.... Keep you posted!