There have been a few times that my daughter has come home crying about another child causing her grief at school invoking that anger within me to make me want to go up to the school and whoop another child’s ass. But trust me parents. These natural instincts can be overridden through a basic thinking process called, “I don’t really want to go jail, so I need a minute to think this over”. Atiffa Browns’ case is all too familiar to me because last year around this time there was a similar scene like this in my daughter’s school involving my mother. Yes, grandma was on a mission to set a little girl straight. It was a school dance. She walked into the auditorium, unchecked, told the DJ to stop the music, grabbed the microphone and called the little girl to come outside to the hallway. I was not a witness; I just heard from several sources that this is how it went down. Now it never got physical, and I’m almost sure that my mother would have never touched the child, but some of my childhood memories cause me to question that certainty. So, no authorities were called, only pride was hurt (both my mother and the child), and nobody went to jail. My mother however was astonished when my sister and I sat her down and explained to her that she was in the wrong; just as Atiffa is surprised today at the slew of charges against her, “including making terroristic threats, simple assault, reckless endangerment and defiant trespass, stemming from an alleged confrontation with a child inside A.B. Anderson Elementary School in Cobbs Creek Friday.” (Source)
I’m sure Atiffa meant no harm in her actions and surprisingly she is receiving a great deal of community support for her mother lioness actions. It’s a strong possibility the bully had it coming, and while many of us mothers want to stand and applaud Attifa, it would be irresponsible to do so. School grounds are not the place to take on vigilante discipline. It is an institution that operates through a process and in order for that institution to remain successful parents must follow that process. If parents disagree with that process, there is a process for that too. The answer to bullying is not a simple one and it doesn’t start with the bully. It starts with us as parents teaching our children to respect others. This was a program once taught in schools but our obsession with scores and statistics scrapped that program right along with music, home economics, and shop. And let’s face it; some parents just don’t put the effort into raising children anymore that should be. They load their kids up with sugary cereal and drink in the morning and then allow them to be a teacher’s problem for the next 8 hours. Whether you are the slack parent allowing your child to be a holy terror, or you are the involved parents ready to jump a child to protect your own, we all need to do better. We need pay attention to legislation that cuts the education budget leaving us without programs that keep our children from falling between the cracks. We need to support teachers and school officials that are working tirelessly, not for the crappy pay, but because they too believe that children are the key to our future. Stop spending your money in amusement parks and in the club on the weekends. Invest in your local schools and attend school district meetings to see how your money is being spent. We have a voice to change the system, we just have to know when and where to use it.
After my mother went through her little confrontation it was discovered that the incident between my daughter and the other child was typical mean girl behavior being committed by both parties. No, I didn’t teach my daughter to be a bully. But I didn’t exactly teacher how NOT to be either. Parents, we have to take responsibility where responsibility can be taken. Don’t end up being charged with terrorism like poor Atiffa because you haven’t full evaluated a situation before taking action. Take time to think. Take time to Raise Em Real.