September 16, 2009

Playground Flip Out

So there was a little girl crying on the playground at drop off this morning.

I watched as one of the other moms asked her what was wrong. The mom's daughter, who'd been talking to the crying little girl, explained what the problem was. The mom put her hand on the little girl's head and said something comforting. The little girl flung her arms in the air and ran off screaming and crying.

There's a group of grade 5 or 6 girls at the school who help out in the JK and SK classrooms. They're usually really good with the little kids. I saw them notice the girl and try to comfort her. She flung herself around, waving her arms in the air, slapping anyone close enough to reach and screaming, "No!"

I decided not to involve myself.

The bell rang and I helped Monkey on with his backpack and encouraged him over to where his class lines up to go into the building. He was loudly complaining that he was hungry and wanted to eat his snack, "right now, mommy!"

I was thinking, 'Argh! Stop, kid! People are going to think I didn't give you breakfast,' but I was saying, "If you eat your snack now you won't have anything for snack time. You had a big breakfast, you'll be fine."

While I was convincing Monkey to stop complaining and line up with his class, the grade 5 and 6 girls were still trying to help the little crying girl, who continued to slap and scream, "No!" Finally another mom who obviously knew the little girl approached and asked what was wrong. The girl explained calmly enough and the mom led her over to where her class was lining up. The problem? The girl couldn't find her friends on the playground. She calmed down when approached by someone she knew and she was happy once she was lined up with her friends.


I have two questions:

Where the hell were the teachers (who are supposed to be supervising the playground in the morning and taking responsibility for other people's upset children)?

And would you have stepped in to help?

.....

25 comments :

Lee the Hot Flash Queen said...

Yeah, I would have stepped in. The teachers were boning up on their caffeine in the lounge.

L~ said...

yes I would have jumped in. AND I have often wondered who's helping the kids before things go really badly. The sad, the hurt, the scared...

Loukia said...

Yikes... where were the teachers, indeed? That is a scary thought... and also, yes, I would have gone to see what was wrong... or, rather, I would have gone to tell a teacher to go see what was wrong...

Mama Karebare said...

I'm so scared for when my kids hit the age to go to school! Scary stuff!

Reluctant Housewife said...

If you asked me what I would have done in this situation yesterday, I would have said I would help... and yet I made a decision this morning not to approach her. I kept an eye on her and made sure she wasn't leaving the school or hurt but that's all I did. Am I simply sub-par?

The playground was full of parents. Why didn't anyone else approach the girl to help? Are the local parents simply sub-par?

Have you heard about those psychological studies that show that the more people who witness someone needing help the less likely anyone is to step forward and help. Maybe this was one of those cases - everyone was holding back waiting for someone else to help her.

You all say you would have helped. I'm not so sure.

The girl clearly didn't want to be approached. She wasn't hurt. She wasn't trying to leave the school yard. She was hitting and screaming.

Would you really have put yourself out there?

Beck said...

I know from personal experience that I would have gone and asked her what was wrong - but who WANTS to help a bratty, flipping out kid, really? Why ISN'T this the teacher's job?

Beck said...

By which I mean - where WAS the teacher? That might be something you might want to tactfully ask her.

Reluctant Housewife said...

There are supposed to be teachers supervising. They tell us we can drop our kids off at 8:15 and they'll be supervised until the bell rings at 8:30.

Most of the parents who drive, walk or bike their kids to school hang out until the bell but the kids who come on the bus don't have a parent there in the morning.

I think this little girl must have been a bus kid. Where WAS the teacher?

Jen said...

I have been know to step in and help crying children and I would do it again.

scrappysue said...

i would've assessed the situation and possibly left well alone but kept an eye on her.

teachers can't be everywhere. parents drop their kids off earlier and earlier and hope someone will supervise them, but really - kids should be dropped off in time for school.

teachers have enough to do!!!

Little Nut Tree said...

If I knew here, I would have stepped in. If not, then no. But I might well have left my own child with someone he/she knew and gone inside to find a teacher. Are you going to write in and complain?

Feeling Fit With Dana said...

Stopping by from SITS!

I think I'd have stepped up to help the poor thing. There is nothing worse than feeling lost. However, it sounds like she wasn't open to help. I know that the teachers can't be everywhere. I feel for them these days. It's a thankless job.

Twincerely,Olga said...

I would have stepped in and tried to find out what was wrong! Where are all the teachers?? Scary thought! Great post!

Erin M. said...

I definitely would have stepped in...I think mostly because I have been that crying girl. And because I have little girls of my own and I'd want someone to try and help them, especially if the teachers were MIA. I wonder too--where the heck were the teachers? The situation was so easily resolved, the poor thing didn't have to go through all that. Sheesh.

Elaine A. said...

I'm honestly not sure what I would have done. I would probably have to actually be in the moment to make my decision as to what action to take but I probably would have gone to find a teacher who could take control of the situation.

My Semblance of Sanity said...

I have become more and more aware of the lack of interest some teachers/counsellors/aides have in the children they are responsible for.

The school our children go to has A.MA.ZING teachers so maybe it's the 'everything else pales by comparison' syndrome. But my kiddos went to camp this summer and I couldn't believe the stuff they came home and told me was going on unbenounced to the counsellors (none were parents themselves which explains their naievity) - I pulled them out of camp!

Would I have involved myself? YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT - just as I would want someone to help my child when NO FRIGGIN' TEACHERS WERE!

Poor thing! Makes me sad. You know she will remember that day forever! :(

MissKris said...

When I see any child or elderly person in distress I always step in. I don't even think twice about it. I've been told more times than I can count that I have a very soothing, non-threatening way about me. I dunno about THAT, but I've always gotten along enormously well with the young and the old. In situations like the one you described here, what others around me think doesn't enter the picture, either. People in distress need help. That's what I try to give them. And I am a new reader, BTW...can't remember where I came from, but I've been enjoying reading what you have to say.

HoneyB said...

It seems to me someone offered to help and she didn't want the help...actually, more than one person offered to help. I think you did the right thing honestly. To step in and try to help someone who has obviously thrown a fit at anyone who already tried to help her would not work. Watching her to make sure she stayed safe, that is right. That all said, this is a schoolyard where there are people who are paid to look out for the best interest of the children. Where were they?

Mary G said...

If I had done anything, it would probably have been to go and find the teacher. Or a teacher.
Sometimes (for my 6 yr old grandkid, for example) another stranger just makes it worse.

John Deere Mom said...

Yeah, the kid didn't sound like she wanted much help. After people offer a time or two and she is safe...not hurt...she just needs to be left alone to chill.out.

AmberRay said...

I would not have helped the little girl, only because I have a hard time dealing with my own kids fits, let alone a child's that is not mine. Since she did not know you, she probably would have threw another fit. You did the right thing in my opinion. I can't believe how some people are like that "Poor" Thing to me she sounded like she was throwing a tantrum.

Shirliana said...

I wouldn't have stepped in. We teach our kids not to talk to strangers for a good reason.

Fun Gal Julie said...

If I don't know the child, I'm not sure that stepping in will help. If she's clearly unhappy a stranger is not the best thing. I would have kept an eye on her and asked if there was an adult who knew her and could help.

Lani said...

Hmm. I like to say that I would have stepped in, but it's a situation that I wasn't in and it's one of those things that I think you have to be in your shoes and see exactly what was going on, to know what you would do. It's not like she was running into the street, and it's not like no one else tried to help.. I'm not judging:)

mama-face said...

Oh, I feel for the little girl not being able to find her friends!

I would be afraid I'd make her more upset. Not saying that's the right attitude...its just me.

Way to go 5-6 graders!