If I cry, do I look like a victim? Probably. Do I care about looking like a victim? Probably not. I am old and, for that matter, mean enough not to care how I look. I certainly wanted to cry this morning when a friend who was in school last week, said he had noticed that my son was unusually quiet and anonymous in class. My friend described him as "a different boy". Another person described my son's face, normally responsive, as "set" in the last recent while. Sheesh! This afternoon I went up to school to see for myself what was going on. I was informed that the child who had bitten him yesterday, today managed to "accidentally" sit on my son's head. The boy apologised - as you do when you accidentally sit on someone's head. OK, I will buy the fact you can accidentally sit on someone's head. It is possible; a shove, a fall-over, a stumble. Not quite sure about the follow-through kick to the hip. School is a jungle. As an adult, you know deep down that school is a dangerous place, you just choose to forget the dank hurt and slavering darkness. Until the day bleeds out into a tropical sky and you watch your own child disappear into the leaf-heavy gloom, whistling as he goes.
I am assured the school is taking it seriously. The committed and professional teachers seem as concerned as I am. There have been conversations and meetings; next week we go back for an official update with the head who is a woman in whom I have every confidence. You trust teachers with your children's lives, quite literally. I have no idea what happens when you do not trust the teaching staff. Panic horribly and home educate? God. The thought of home schooling brings me out in shingles. My children would get bullied then, by me.
In the meantime, like nice middle-class parents, we are checking with a nice middle-class doctor in case there are "spatial awareness" problems with our son. I am not quite sure how spatially aware you have to be to avoid having your head sat on. In any event, I have issued my son with the first few pages of his jungle survival guide: "Do not sit next to him. Do not stand near him. Do not talk to him. Do not play with him. Do not have anything to do with him. Do not pull a tiger's tail." He looked at me blankly: "What tiger?"