A few days ago Genea got off the bus and right away told me that some girls had been hitting her and had knocked into her with their backpacks. I was confused, alarmed and quite frankly really pissed off. The bus had already gone on its way and so I tried to pry out of Genea what had happened.
There were two of them, it seems, and that made me even more angry. What kind of vicious nasty team of future inmates was assaulting my child? My mentally ill child! Some parts of the story came out as we were walking home and other parts throughout the afternoon. The way Genea's brain is structured, she has a hard time giving information in the moment, especially details. So I have to think through the possibilities and ask the right questions.Then, I have to ask the questions in a way that does not lead Genea to give an answer just because she thinks I want to hear it. Or that gives her ideas of things to say that never even happened. It sounds tricky but over time you learn and it gets easier. But I can't just sit her down and say, "what happened?" because then I'll never find out.
Genea was sitting on the bus seat and Future Inmate #1 was next to her in the window seat. Genea was on the aisle, and across the aisle was Future Inmate #2. #1 and #2 are friends. Future Inmate #2 had some thing she was showing to #1, and Genea was looking at it too. One of them told her to stop looking the item. Details are a little fuzzy here, but then one of the little shits hit her! I asked Genea, what did you do, and Genea tells me "I hit her back".
Huh. Really. Really?
Okay, then what?
So it seems there was a series of hits from both of the other students, who incidentally are older, some kicks and some hits with a backpack. And Genea responded to each with an equal show of force.
ROCK ON GENEA!!!!
*ahem* I mean, we don't hit. Hands are for hugs you know.
Seriously though, it wasn't the best response. If kids are behaving poorly the other children are supposed to tell the driver right away. Hitting back is rarely the best choice and not what I would have told her to do in most cases. Probably.
If this had been Teena, things would have been different. I would expect a non-violent response from her that followed the rules. But Genea? I would have thought she would cry. Cry and possibly crawl under the seat trying to hide. Wailing maybe. Her reaction would be uncontrolled, if she did hit back it would be in an ineffective flustered sort of way. She might freeze and stare at the Future Inmates, as they antagonized her more and more trying to get a reaction. She might have said something strange sounding. She would react as the perfect victim, the type of response that would have guaranteed this would happen again and again.
Instead, she gave as good as she got. I think, personally, that sometimes you have to stand up to a bully right away. Following protocol and reporting it is all good but things can also get dragged out and blown up that way. The Husband and I discussed it, and of course we could call the bus company and maybe we should have. But I thought Genea seemed to handle it herself just fine. We coached her on what to do if it happened again.
The next day there were no problems on the bus.