“Did you remember to bring home your spelling words?” I asked.
“Yes,” she replied.
“What grade did you get on today’s science test? (for which we have been studying for two weeks) I asked.
“A” she answered.
“Did you bring home papers with bad grades on them?” I questioned.
“Nope” she answered, still wearing her down-in-the-dumps expression.
“Then why do you look so sad?” I asked.
She reluctantly reached into her bag and pulled out an envelope. She said, “I have a note for you. I got sent to the principal’s office today. But before you read it, can I tell you what happened?”
I sat down at the kitchen table and closed my eyes for a second, resting my forehead on my hand. Taking a deep breath, I told her to go ahead and explain.
It seems that as she was riding on the bus on the way to school, a boy from her class named Connor started grabbing kids’ papers and throwing them out the open bus window. She told me that he is always calling everybody names and doing mean stuff to people. She said one of her friends started crying because he threw her homework out the window, so Maggie told him to stop, but he didn’t listen. He then proceeded to call her “Miss Afro-puffs” and threw another paper out the window. Apparently at this point, the bus driver told her to sit down, but she had had enough. She got out of her seat and went across the aisle to his, grabbed HIS papers and threw some out of the bus window.
I then took a look at the form she had brought home from school. It pretty much reiterated everything she had told me, but also enlightened me to the fact that if she gets in trouble again on the bus, she will have a 1-day bus suspension. I told her to go up to her room for a little bit and that I would talk to Daddy about it and decide what was to be done. Chris was just getting home, and I explained the situation to him. After I was done, we both looked at each other and started laughing. It shouldn’t have been funny, except it was.
Isn’t this very thing what I try to teach my students in Sunday School each week? I tell them that when someone is being picked on, they have three choices: 1) join in 2) do nothing 3) stand up for someone else. How was I supposed to punish Maggie for doing exactly what I have been promoting?
In the end, we talked to Maggie and explained that we were not upset with her, but that there were better ways to get her point across than to do what she did. She promised to think before she acted next time - - I could tell that just being sent to the principal’s office was enough to shake her up that she didn’t want to visit there again. Her “big” punishment was no dessert that night.
Hey – I bet it’s more than Connor got.