By | April 22, 2010 27 Comments

The importance of teaching empathy to children

Neuroscientists, psychologists and educators believe that bullying in schools and other kinds of violence can be reduced by encouraging empathy at an early age.

Read How not to raise a bully: The early roots of empathy on

Link submitted by a reader via the Lovefraud Facebook fan page.

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Ox Drover

Very interesting article. I may get hammered for this opinion, and I’m not trying to ‘guilt” anyone who puts their infant into a day care at age 6 weeks and goes back to work, but my observations of the “care” in many day cares for infants is very much like the “orphanage” situation with those children in Romania. They may be changed and fed but the caregivers are always rotating and the time spent with the infant is minimal, and I think that interaction between a LOVING PRIMARY CAREGIVER EVEN IF THAT CAREGIVER IS A HIRED NANNY or in a small day care where one person gives care to several children in a “home” type atmosphere is vastly superior to standard “day care” with 80 or 100 kids with a continual stream of different people providing care.

I was fortunate that the first three years of my life my egg donor lived with her mother and father and I stayed with my grandmother in my grandparents’ home. I have almost no memories of my egg donor from that period of time because I spent 99% of my awake time with my grandparents who doted on me, and very little time with my egg donor. When she remarried, she was not employed outside the home for a year and I have memories of our interactions for that year. When she went back to work and I was placed into a “good” but large day care, I have again, no memories of being with her but plenty of memories of being bullied in that day care. I was extremely unhappy there. I was fortunate to have a good first grade teacher, but in the middle of second grade, we moved and I was placed into a class room where I was physically bullied by another student until my jaw was eventually broken. and the bullying discovered.

One of the local public middle schools in which my son and I have given programs on history for the past 15 years has a NO BULLY policy that is strictly enforced, and the kids are in my observation as good a group as you could possibly expect in any school.

Other schools in which friends of mine teach, the schools are BATTLE GROUNDS with armed police there and cameras in every hall way and still the campuses are not safe from violent crime from students. This week a first year first grade teacher was dismissed because she physically bullied the kids in her classroom, not just discipline, but grabbing the kids by the clothing and lifting them off their feet while yelling in their faces, thumping their ears, or slamming them up against a wall.

As long as violence is tolerated or excused in schools whether it is emotional or physical violence, it will continue and get worse. Both teachers and students in my opinion should be held accountable for bullying. No child should be afraid to go to school.

Thanks to the LoveFraud reader who sent this link in. Thanks to Donna for posting it.


There was a case recently in Texas near where I live of a 9 year old killing himself in school. Another one of an attractive young lady being bullied to death. It is a whole new ball game these days with e-mail, facebook, twitter, texting and whatever else goes on. Kids have always been and will be cruel to each other. Our school district in general does a good job of policing the bullying, but it still happens in P.E., in the halls, restrooms, playgrounds; wherever they feel they can get away with it. Kind of like psycopaths hitting you with low blows when no one is around but being nice in front of everyone else. Well they probably had practice in school from age 5. I try to ask kids what makes you so special that you can cut someone else down? You may be up now, but the day could come that you need help or compassion- things and situations change like in a New York minute. And in some book it says to not be fooled- whatever you sow that is what you will reap. It is hard to hold on to that realization when it seems that the wheels of justice turn ever so slowly sometimes, and when the evildoers seem to have it all while stuffing poop in your face. But tables will turn- just don’t miss out on your life hating in the meantime. People who pick on innocents or people less fortunate really make me mad- don’t get me started.


I’ve seen my one son go from extremely empathetic and compassionate to nasty and mean (during harsh spath years)…..and coming back around.

He was bullied relentlessly as a youngster….and couldn’t bring himself to hit back. even if he got the shiat beat out of him…..
He said he grabbed a kids wrist once and was concerned he’d hurt him…..even thoguh he got punched in the face with a black eye.

Interesting….to watch the changes occur….

I am sure you can lose empathy permanently….depending on situations.
But I also, saw if it’s there…it can come back……


I found that for my son a good martial arts teacher can be a great resource. We studied Aikido which is a self defense gnere and chinese boxing. Giving him the skill and wisdom and sense of power that if he needed to, he could react helped a lot.

After that, he had to learn to be strong on the inside and understand the lesson of you have to care about yourself -first.

He is an amazing young man and I am so proud of him! je was bullied badly for a long time and he was very,very sick. It wasn’t fair or right and the harshness of the classmates and schools revealed to both of us how determinededly stupid people and especially people in jobs where they have virtually no risk can be.


Really enjoyed studying this article closely. It’s great. It’s good news. I rate empathy very highly after meeting a psychopath, having empathy is becoming a rare thing and so, people with empathy should be in top postions of power. Only people of high empathethic skills should govern.

Ox Drover

CREAMPUFF–my computer internet connection is old technology and if there are storms is very poor, and also when a thread is long it gets timed out, so on stormy days wehn I have poor connections I can’t get on a thread that is long or post there easily.

I have read and re-read scriptures that my egg donor had Previously “interpreted” (wrongly) to mean one thing, and I now see that they mean just the opposite. Many times people use scripture out of context to manipulate people, like saying a “wife should be subject to her husband” yet, they do not add that a husband is commanded to “love your wife as your self”—so no true husband would abuse his wife over and over, but that very abusive husband is the one who will twist scripture so that the wife is at fault if she objects to the abuse.

Just so “forgiveness” does not mean RESTORE TRUST if it isn’t earned. Yet my egg donor had me convinced if I didn’t “trust” people or “pretend it (abuse) didn’t happen” that I was bound for hell-fire-and-brim-stone! It didn’t “feel right” to me, but her vision of this terrible angry God up there who was out to get me if I wasn’t perfect (her interpretation of course) was all I saw. Now, after re-reading the Bible and the stories there that actually tell us how to deal with psycopaths—Paul and Jesus both told us to “forgive” (get the bitterness out of our hearts) against people who hurt us but if they did not repent and reform, to “not even eat with them.” That is a direct command I think for NC to those people who will not listen to reason, who continue to behave toward us in a “sinful” and abusive manner.

Read the story of Joseph, whose brothers sent him to slavery. He forgave them, but he did NOT trust them until he had TESTED them well to see what kind of men they had become during the 20-odd years since they had broken his father’s heart by telling him that Joseph was torn of wild beasts. Joseph saw that they now would have sacrificed their own lives to save Benjamin and to save his father from more pain.

ONLY THEN did Joseph tell them who he was.

There are many stories in the Bible if you will read them with NEW eyes, like you have never read them before that will show you how to behave around and with psychopaths and others.

The God of the Bible is to me a loving father, not the hateful old punisher that my egg donor get to “approve” her abuse by using scriipture out of context and black mail of hell fire and brimstone! I like my God better than her god.

I firmly believe there are lessons in the things we have endured, and now that we are no longer flunking the class, I think we are able to “graduate” with a much higher grade point! and to have LEARNED THE LESSON. (((hugs))) and God bless.

Ox Drover

Kids want so much to be approved of by their peers, to be accepted, and when they are not accepted, it hurts so badly. When they are bullied or abused physically and/or emotionally it can be lethal to their souls if not their bodies.

By the teenaged years many people without empathy are in “full flower” doing their taunting and bullying at a very vulnerable group of peers, teenagers. Who I think at that age in their lives are extra vulnerable. If they are “fat” or “pimply” or in any way not the “ideal” physical specimine which is portrayed on the covers of fashion rags or on television or movies, they are degraded further by their school mates.

Kids that age are so wanting to be desirable to the opposite sex and to be “popular” and “successful” at sports or other high profile school events.

That fairly recent thing of the “rich kids” breaking into the homes of “stars” and stealing just for a high, and the one girl, apparently the leader of the gang getting her OWN REALITY SHOW! How shallow to promote this girl with psychopathic traits as a ROLE MODEL for other teenagers. Of course, they don’t want the consequences of being CRIMINALS though. I do hope that they will be put in prison for their behavior, rather than glamorized for their criminal behavior.

Not all bullying can be stopped in school or out of it, but it should be stopped as much as possible and taken seriously by the schools and law.


Empathy is soooo important to teach our children, they have an ability that the disordered just don’t seem to possess. I think the spaths can ‘pretend’ to have empathy, but it just doesn’t feel right.

There was the time that my husband saw an obese man walk around a corner, talking on his cell phone. Husband started laughing about it. I asked our son, “did dad just laugh at that man?” Our son said that dad would never do that. He has our son fooled. Another time I patted my husbands belly and told him I would love him even if he gained 100lbs. I think love supercedes any perceived flaws we have. Husband proceded to tell me he would divorce me if I gained 100 lbs. Apparently, if I’m not the perfect wife, I’m no good.

How someone being overweight is funny, totally escapes me. Maybe I’m too sensative, husband always says so. I thank God that my son has empathy. With the s*** hitting the fan soon, I’ll have to explain that all the love and good intentions can’t force a person to be good. He feels that no one can be so evil, everyone can change. I thought this too, once upon a time.


Who gives a shiat what your S says……..too sensative, too fat, too caring, too rich, too poor, too ugly, too smelly, too blah, blah, blah…..
We areall too sensative, when a spath is exposed……then we become CRAZY!
Don’t let your self esteem be eroded further ….DO NOT.
You are a good wife…’s HIM…NOT YOU!!!!

Love does supercede our flaws…..YOUR LOVE SUPERCEDED HIS SOCIOPATHY HUH?????
Until we recognize the danger in our situations….danger can not be superceded!

BE SAFE…..and plot and plan…..and find your strength…..
and do your recon work…..

Have you changed your passwords on your computer and set up a windows passoword, so you have to log on when you use YOUR computer?
Good idea to do……
YOU DO NOT, want him finding out your plot……


ErinBrock…When my old laptop died, I bought a new one with fingerprint recognition. After finding crap like ‘african girls in bikinis, and lesbian mayham’ on my old laptop, I thought he is setting the stage to blame me for his sicko shi*.

Thanks for caring, I get a little teary knowing that you do care. Tomorrow is the day that my lawyer and I figure out the plan of action. I am first going to talk to my daughter’s therapist and get her opinion on daughter’s safety. There are three options: Order of protection, mediation, file for divorce. I want him out of the house but he won’t leave. When I asked to separate he said that meant I would leave. NO WAY I will let the kids be alone with him. The master of deception.

This may sound goofy, I almost want him to threaten me so I can get his sorry butt outta here. I know that this is when the really crazy stuff starts, but what could be worse than 17 years o’crap.

Still working on the esteem, it takes time because it wasn’t there to begin with.


Ya kknow….it doesn’t sound goofy…..I GET IT!
It is almost easier sometimes…..but I could NEVER suggest this to another…..YOU KNOW YOUR HUSBAND!

At the time I separated, I knew it was a matter of time before it was me or the kids….I felt confident, at that point he wouldn’t murder us, jsut use intimidation with force (just 🙁 )
to try and keep us ‘in line’.
HE DID…..he pushed me down….to the ground….and BOOM….that was IT!

I care….because i walked in similar shoes…..and we are alone….I don’t want another person to feel alone in this process……..

I get it…..I get it…..

Ox Drover

Dear Hope,

Tell your son that the old saying that “it takes two to fight” is NOT true, and that “there are always two (valid) sides to every story” is NOT true. He can probably SEE those as NOT true because I think every kid though they have been TOLD this since early age have been in a fight when they were not fighting! and they know that there are NOT two valid sides to every story.

As we reach adulthood we want to believe these andn some of us convince ourselves, but doens’t make them true.

“there is good deep down inside everyone” NOT TRUE

“Everyone can change” Also NOT true because some people don’t want to change.

Good luck with your son!

Elizabeth Conley

The news article was very thin on suggestions as to how to teach children empathy.

I think that by the time it’s evident that there’s a problem, it’s nearly impossible to “teach” empathy.

The quality of very early human interaction is key to acquiring empathy. If infants and toddlers aren’t nurtured properly, any “fixing” done after the fact is too little, too late. Better to get it right in the first place.

Elizabeth Conley

P.S. From interactions with a child raised in a Chinese orphanage, I’ve seen that MIMICKING empathetic behavior CAN be taught. To what extent these learned behaviors will improve the subject’s relationships over a lifetime remains to be seen.


2 points

1. It is PATHETIC that we should have to teach this in schools. It is the parents’ responsibility to teach such things. It is astounding that parents no longer teach basic social concepts and morals to their children and yet another burden has fallen on the school system. (Maybe that’s because the parents are now busy teaching math and reading, which the schools often teach very poorly.)

2. In many years of coaching and tutoring, I have observed that kids with goals and ambitions and the willingness to work for them are almost always wonderful kids. This includes nearly all of the bright and accomplished kids since most of them got where they are by having goals and working toward them. It also includes the less gifted kids who are willing to work. It includes inner city kids with fewer advantages. What sets the good kids apart is a work ethic rather than an attitude of entitlement or victimization.

Elizabeth Conley

” It is PATHETIC that we should have to teach this in schools. It is the parents’ responsibility to teach such things. It is astounding that parents no longer teach basic social concepts and morals to their children and yet another burden has fallen on the school system. (Maybe that’s because the parents are now busy teaching math and reading, which the schools often teach very poorly.)”

Speaking from the perspective of a parent who tried to make public education work for her family, I can state that it’s entirely unacceptable for the school to attempt to teach basic social concepts and morals.

How dare public educators fail in their role to teach my children the 3 Rs, and simultaneously presume to teach them the things normal children acquire at home? How dare the government PRESUME that our family is dysfunctional, and waste our tax dollars mis-educating our children?!

Talk about adding insult to injury!

If a kid is a bully, yank him out of class and do whatever it takes to properly socialize him, but don’t penalize the rest of the class. Coddling bullies and playing social worker in school deprives the entire student body of the free and appropriate public education they’re entitled to. It must stop.


I disagree that parents are the majority of blame, as they too were raised in a society that deems it acceptable to make it virtually impossible for so many parents to have time and resources to properly care for their children. I am fortunate to have had the ability to balance career and child rearing, along with community involvement and service, but recognize this is far from the norm.

What happened to “it takes a tribe to raise a child”? I think the problem is societal and a result of women’s liberation (and yes, I happen to be one), increasing cost of living requiring two working parents, a break down not only in family but community values and an over emphasis on achievement and consumption as primary sources of esteem.

Empathy would be more superfluous if human lifestyle and society were as conducive as human nature, to the cause! Certainly, change starts with self.





I am currently going to the school (today) to fight for an education for my child. He isn’t even currently living in my home, but the school is really screwing him around.
And it is ridiculous because if I had a 9-5 job, I would have been fired by now as this has been a very time consuming process. I wouldn’t have been able to take enough time off to do this properly. Because there are to many hoops a person has to jump through to get anything done.

Not only is the “village” not looking out for children anymore, even the school system isn’t always considering what is in the best interest of the child. The schools have to many budget cuts and their own agenda to consider.
It really is a difficult world that we reside in.

Ox Drover

There were plenty of psychopaths BEFORE public education. There were psychopaths before it was “illegal” to take a kid out of school and send him home for bad behavior, our educational system doesn’t foster or create psychopaths, so much as they are becoming more visible I think because violence is easy in a school of 1,000 kids with a low number of teachers who don’t really know the students, or the student’s families.

Even in a one-room school with 60 kids and ONE teacher, order was kept and most parents would support the teacher’s keeping of order. The teacher knew the parents, the parents knew the teacher, they all lived in the same community ande reasonable conduct was expected and ENFORCED by the community and the parents.

In schools that have students who have no nurturing at home, and order is not kept in the school room, how can anything be taught? In schools where the parents expect the teachers to teach 3Rs AND morals (but don’t mention God, any God!) and keep order without any authority to do so, or to expell the student.

In Little Rock, Arkansas,40% of the kids go to private schools where their parents pay some pretty stiff tuition to get them in and where BEHAVIOR is mandated or the students are expelled. They generally come out being able to read and write and be ready for college and have some knowledge of how to “behave” in an acceptable manner.

Unfortunately that leaves the 60% of parents who are either unable or unwilling to pay the tuition for their kids to go to private schools. The public school teachers are left with the kids whose parents don’t care about their kids, and the kids who are in “theraputic foster care” (usually for behavioral problems) and the kids from lower inhcome families, or all of the above. Keeping order in the classroom is the “prime directive” but tends to be “where no man has gone before!” Cameras in the hallways, used condoms frequently found on the school grounds, metal detectors, armed campus cops, and so on.

Many people also “home school” their kids because the kids are afraid to go to a public school. That also takes effort, time and money.

I don’t know what the answer is about education in this country but it seems that it is stratifying even more the differences between the haves and the have nots.

One of the local Universities in the town near me had an on-campus killing not long ago. The first day my P-son went to his new high school in Florida there was a murder on campus.

Some schools in some areas are better than others about keeping down violence, bullying, etc, but the huge schools we seem to be getting now, vs the “community” schools, de-personalizes the student to student and teacher to student interactions, I think. Let’s go back to the “one room school” and at least teach them to “read and write and cipher!” That’s more than some schools seem to be doing now!



I can definitely relate to your frustration, and fighting these battles is definitely a full-time job.

My Mom and I are going to an open house at my niece’s school on Sunday.
My niece is 6 years old and in kindergarten.

She has been kicked AND punched in the stomach on 2 separate occasions by a boy in her class named “Jeffrey”.

Of course, my sister-in-law’s lack of concern over these types of incidents is staggering.
“She’ll be all right” has been her generic answer for everything concerning her daughter since she was a baby.”
“I need to ‘break’ her of that” is another favorite line that my sister-in-law uses when she wants to change behavior in my niece….as if this child is a race horse or something.
That line makes me crazy.

So, it’s bad enough what this child is going through at home with her narcissistic/psychopathic mother.
I am not going to stand for bullying going on at school, as well.

Both times the teacher saw what happened and disciplined the little boy, according to my niece. My niece says, “He’s got a chart”, meaning that he has behavioral issues.

I don’t care if this boy has a chart or not, if he’s kicking and hitting little girls, he needs to be put in a ED or BD group.

My Mom and I have practically raised my niece from infancy to age 5. She was not born with a personality disorder, but she was born with the genes.
She has the ability to love and trust (Thank GOD).
But, she also has some con-artistry in her.
Because of the genetic connection to her birth mother, she is an AT RISK CHILD.
So, the environmental conditions and nurturing that this child receives NOW will be instrumental in how she develops in her teen years.

I am not this child’s parent, but I’ll be DAMNED if I just sit back and let the devil take over.

And, the little boy who is hitting my niece is also looking like he could be an at-risk child. It will not be good if he is still hitting girls when he’s 16…or 26.

So, Mom & I going to the school to meet the teachers/administrators at this open house.
I’m not sure how I will start the discussion or what I will say.
But, hopefully I will figure it out.

If anyone has any suggestions, please feel free to share.

Am I even doing the right thing by saying anything at all??
Maybe I should go and just be nice, and try to get a job volunteering at the school or something…work my way in that way.
I don’t want to make a mistake, and I KNOW I cannot educate the world in a day.
As you can see, I am very unsure about how to approach this.

Ox Drover

Dear Rosa,

Having been physically abused on a daily basis by another student, I can empathize very much with your niece. I think if you can talk NICELY to the teacher, and express your “concern” for HER having such problems as trying to control Jeffrey, (a little brown nosing there) but then work in that you are also concerned about how the situation is playing with your niece.

Also talk to your niece and tell her that you empathize with her being upset about this and that you are speaking with the teacher about your concerns. As a NON parent you don’t have the rights to go in and raise HELL, but as a CITIZEN you have the right to be concerned about ANY child.

If you don’t get some results from talking to the teacher you might go up a step in the chain of command. If she/he is not able to control Jef then SOMETHING needs to be done to HELP her….and I do admit she may have a big problem with the kid so the admin needs to step in and help her gain control so that the classroom is SAFE.

So if your “concern” as expressed to the teacher is, do YOU need help from administration to be able to keep the classroom safe, she will feel that you are not attacking her, but empathetic with HER having a difficult job. If it continues to be a problem, and she says “no I don’t need any help” then you know she is NOT able to accomplish this without help from admin, so you will HELP HER by telling ADMIN that the poor teacher needs “help” one way or another so you just come out looking like you are concerned for the SCHOOL and the teacher not a b1atch just griping!


Yes, Ox Drover.
I need to be systematic about this, even though it is infuriating to me.

The child is only in kindergarten, so we have a long way to go.

Ox Drover

Dear Rosa,

Yea, I know, you want to go in there and b1atch slap the kid and the teacher! At least I would! LOL However, by appearing sympathetic with what a difficult job this teacher has with an out of control child (and believe me,, I have worked with these little out of control darlings in IN PATIENT settings with many trained mental health professionals AND drugs and we still had a difficult time corraling some of them.!) So you are not really too far off the mark in empathizing with the teacher. She very well MAY NEED HELP! Like a football lineman to sit on the kid!

I personally believe that violent kids need “special classes” with ‘special teachers” and this deal of “mainstreaming” every kid, even the ones who are severely retarded and not even potty trained into an age appropriate classroom where they scream and shit themselves which to me deprives the kids who have the ability to learn of an education. Around here every kid NO MATTER HOW DISRUPTIVE or how bad the disability has an “aid” to stay by them one on one—which if the kids is mentally competent to learn and not violent is FINE and I think a good thing that helps the kid, but the violent ones need closer supervision and special class rooms in my opinion.

There was a big row in Texas a few years back when all this started and the educators were trying to get the ANCHEPALIC kids into age appropriate class rooms. These kids are at the level of a 1 month old, because they do NOT HAVE BRAINS inside their skulls, which are filled with fluid. They are very delicate and usually don’t live long anyway, but with CAREFUL nurturing and medical care can live to as much as 20 or so. The caretakers of these kids did NOT want these delicate kids exposed to bad colds, etc. and there was NO WAY it would help these kids to be in a “normal class ROOM” LOL

I just want to know where and when ‘COMMON SENSE” in education escaped the classroom and the board room! The teacher may be doing the best she can, so I imagine she will be cooperative with you if you can phrase it as “attempting to help her.” I think you can do this, you’re a smart cookie, Rosa, and you have the patience of Job. I think I would have decked your SIL by now! Maybe your brother as well. (((hugs))))



Im not sure what the guidelines are at your schools Open House, but at all three of the different schools my children go to – we are not permitted to approach the teachers on Open House night to discuss individual/personal issues. I only mention this in case it is also one of the guidelines at your nieces school and you immediately get shut down… just something I wanted to share about our Open House events.

Also, when my now 17 year old daughter was in 1st grade she was bullied by troubled little boy in her grade. So much so that he pinned her up against the lunch table and punched her. He was sent to the principal. My first inquiry would be “Was this child sent to the principal?” How was this child disciplined? Were his parents contacted? IF ANY of these answers are less than acceptable to you or perhaps Grandmom has more of an “in” from the perspective of the school admin feeling comfortable discussing this with her being the “grandmother” — but nonetheless I would simply INQUIRE at open house or via phone that you (and/or Grandmom) would like to schedule a meeting with the teacher and/or Principal/Director. My suggestion is to do the meet and greet and say nothing – and then as a follow up schedule an appointment to discuss the concerns of the incident. You may even be able to meet the parents of the child that night.

What I did was several things. I called the parents and I said I was made aware of an incident involving our two kids. I asked if anything like this ever happened before (fortunately they answered yes)… but I said I had never been exposed to something of this nature. And I wanted to resolve it right away. Should we do it together with both kids and parents (mostly I felt it would intimidate this little boy enough to know this girls Mom means BUSINESS but I also do feel communicating appropriately about these things with kids like that child might really add to less chance of recurrence at least with my child).

I also volunteered to be lunch helper. I made sure to say positive things to this kid like great job interacting with everyone and so good to see youve learned not to use your hands on your classmates. And if I saw anything inappropriate I said would you like to go to Principal or can you get it together?

Lastly, I showed up to a meeting with teacher/principal/guidance counselor. I made sure they were ON TOP OF HIM and kept a keen eye on his behaviors. I really did not take it lightly. Too often it is. But the most beneficial to me was contacting his mother and saying what can we do to help rectify this and have you explained to him that he must never use his hands on classmates…etc…

Again, this was more of an aggressive bully type kid who would lash out for no reason or because he had anger management issues – but at that age when Mom, and parent and teacher come down on them – most times (but not all) they curtail it or they move on I guess.

He was eventually pulled out and went to a private school. And his mother was very proactive and receptive to my call. So that helped. Good luck!!!!!!!


Schools have changed alot since we were kids. ALOT. They are dealing with issues that were not in the front page “news” years ago. Bullying is one of them. Hot Topic in schools now days. Especially since the recent suicide of the young girl and the students that are facing charges for this tragedy.

Addressing bullying in the young grades, WHERE it does really need to START, (addressing it, in a no nonsense approach) probably hasn’t changed as much as we would like it to. Not yet anyway.

I think it would be a great idea if you could donate your time volunteering at the school! Kindergarten teachers almost always could use a helping hand.

And I hate to say it but even in the school system….It isn’t always what you know, but WHO you know that counts.

By volunteering you will get to know the teacher better and how she deals with situations in the classroom just by observing. You will also get to observe little Jeffery.
You will also get to know some of the administration of the school just by being a presence at the school.
Teachers always need extra “hands” on field trips or special presentations ect. And lots of this special stuff goes on late in the school year.
And first grade is no different. You can continue donating your time into next year as well if necessary.

And your voice will be heard differently than if you just came in out of “nowhere” as the aunt with a complaint. Because you will have figured out the best way to approach after your own observations.


You sound like you know what is going on in schools today. It is frustrating dealing with kids who are “mainstreamed” even though they probably shouldn’t be in a regular classroom. I have kids who function on the 1st and 2nd grade level in the 5th grade. And like this wild child Jeff, some kids have Behavioral Intervention Plans which teachers are required to follow by law which include private talks with students about their bad behaviors. So, these kids get to do all kinds of crap while the teacher has to walk on eggshells by following the behavior plan set by a team of people to include the parent.
Anyway, Learning has some good advice there. You have to take action because maybe then something will get done about the situation. We have a kid at our school who is a K student out of control. My 5th grade students tell me that he curses at them every day when they come in the building. And he uses almost every word in the book including the F-bombs. He pulls hair, hits other kids, etc… But part of the free education deal is that we cannot deny students this right. Another trend in our district is that they try to keep the kids in the classroom as much as possible because that is where learning takes place. They almost have to burn the school down to be removed. I had a student who stole a cell phone from another student, charged hundreds of dollars on porn calls with it, and put a porn picture backdrop/wallpaper on it. He was back in class after 2 days.

Ox Drover

Dear Teacher123,

I can top that one, teacher friend of mine (male), jumped in to help a 110 pound female teacher who was being attacked by a 300+ pound male student who was beating her. The student hit my friend on his neck/shoulder joint with his elbow temporaryily totally paralyzing my friend from the neck down and seriously injuring him, leaving him barely able to walk now 3 years later. Kid got suspended for 3 days–that was IT!

And you wonder why people home school their kids or send them to private school? I don’t.

As long as our teachers are expected to try to police this AND teach kids—-LEARNING IN THE CLASSROOM IS not gonna happen.

My step dad was a teacher/coach for many years and none of this behavior would have been tolerated in the schools I went to or he taught at. But even the “dumbest” kid came out being able to read and write and do basic arithmatic pretty close to grade level.

I’m frankly glad I don’t have any kids or grandkids in public school, and would home school them if I did have. That may not be the answer for society, but I think it would be a way to porotect my kids from the violence. The new home school associations around here have all kinds of things and have all kinds of extra aqctivities like ball teams and trips and my son D occasionally teaches classes for a group of home schoolers that bring their kids out here for special classes in advanced science etc. Nice kids, bright kids, and caring parents! Dedicated parents. I know that the interactions in classes are good, but I’d just as soon my kid didn’t get brutalized in public school.

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