Today, as I was walking to pick up the kids from school, I encountered a little, blond hellion of a boy who had just spit on another child and was inciting general violence. It wasn't his first time. I've caught him kicking and hitting at the same group of kids in the past as the sidewalk streams with kids on their way home.
This afternoon, without thinking, I caught him right after he had spit on another child and was dashing away.....and by "caught" I mean that I swooped my arms out and physically stopped him.
Automatic reflex. I didn't even think about it.
He began talking about how the other kids had said something mean to he and his sister on the "first day"...whatever that meant. I replied that it's not OK to spit on people, or hit them, or kick them just because they say mean things. I told his sister, who was older, to take him home and make sure that he stayed away form the other group of kids.
They left, and I finished walking to the school thinking to myself that I had done a really stupid thing by physically stopping the boy. I didn't grab him, or roughly handle him, but I did stop him. And....it's never a great idea to touch another person's child, no matter how completely awful they're being or how gentle the touch.
As I wondered whether or not I had made a huge mistake in intervening in the situation, I figured that I had better talk to one of the teachers and let them know what has been going on for some time.
This is when things get slightly worse. I approached the PE teacher, "Coach", and asked if he knew these children, who I described as a short, little, blond boy and went on to describe his older sister as taller, with blond hair and who is a little bit chubby.
Let's see...how could this go wrong?
Well, in the midst of my description, I hear a woman from about 5 feet away say, "Those are my children!"
Open mouth, insert foot. I hadn't said anything horrible, but who wants their child described in terms of being a "little bit chubby"?
I told the mother what had happened and she left pretty quickly, saying that she was looking for her children anyway.
Later, I went to the office and spoke with the Assistant Principal and told her about the escalating incidents and she took some notes and said that she would work on it.
Now I am sitting here wondering if this is all going to backfire on me and if I am going to have an irate mother in my face tomorrow.
Hopefully, she won't spit in my face and run away.