Did I do the right thing or did I overreact?

MamaBelle4

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 29, 2016
Let me preface this story by saying: I think I'm right. I think I did exactly what you're supposed to do.

My oldest, K, is in 5th grade (which is middle school here). She still has recess. She was sitting with her friend, C and her other friend L came over. L gave K her phone to play with. C asked to have a turn, to which my daughter replied, "sure" and handed her the phone. L snatched the phone and said to C, "No. I don't like you. I want to kill everyone but K."

I was talking to C's mom and she said that she thinks the guidance counselor is already aware of this. But based on what she was saying, I think she was referring to another incident that same day when L asked another student if she wanted to kill one of their classmates. I emailed the counselor. I think it's the right thing to do. I don't think it's safe to ignore or play around with things like this in this day and age. I have no way of knowing what that child has access to and if she has any intent. And, to me, if she thinks it is okay to talk like that at 10/11 years old, that's indicative of something more going on at home that she may need someone to help her with.

But, I have a tendency to overreact to things, and to try to improve on that I have become unsure of whether I'm doing the right thing. Any feedback, or how you would have handled it differently were you in my shoes, would be greatly appreciated.
 

Searc

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 12, 2018
Let me preface this story by saying: I think I'm right. I think I did exactly what you're supposed to do.

My oldest, K, is in 5th grade (which is middle school here). She still has recess. She was sitting with her friend, C and her other friend L came over. L gave K her phone to play with. C asked to have a turn, to which my daughter replied, "sure" and handed her the phone. L snatched the phone and said to C, "No. I don't like you. I want to kill everyone but K."

I was talking to C's mom and she said that she thinks the guidance counselor is already aware of this. But based on what she was saying, I think she was referring to another incident that same day when L asked another student if she wanted to kill one of their classmates. I emailed the counselor. I think it's the right thing to do. I don't think it's safe to ignore or play around with things like this in this day and age. I have no way of knowing what that child has access to and if she has any intent. And, to me, if she thinks it is okay to talk like that at 10/11 years old, that's indicative of something more going on at home that she may need someone to help her with.

But, I have a tendency to overreact to things, and to try to improve on that I have become unsure of whether I'm doing the right thing. Any feedback, or how you would have handled it differently were you in my shoes, would be greatly appreciated.
Yes, I think you did the right thing. I'd have done the same.

However, she may be hearing similar things from her parents at home. We all know drama queens who dramatically sigh and say "I want to kill everyone today" and this child doesn't have the ability to rationalize those type of words.
 

MamaBelle4

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 29, 2016
Yes, I think you did the right thing. I'd have done the same.

However, she may be hearing similar things from her parents at home. We all know drama queens who dramatically sigh and say "I want to kill everyone today" and this child doesn't have the ability to rationalize those type of words.
I know very little of her home life, other than her parents are going through a particularly rough divorce and it's been really hard on her. I really believe that that is exactly what this is, but I don't think I could let it go unreported, just in case there was more behind it than that. Thank you!
 
  • monsterkitty

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 5, 2005
    I'm a middle school teacher. In this day and age you cannot "over react" to these comments. Call the principal today. It probably was just a sad, angry child statement, but that sad and angry child needs help now. Emails get buried because we get so many ever day. Call or go in.
     

    tvguy

    Question anything the facts don't support.
    Joined
    Dec 15, 2003
    I think you did the right thing.
    OT, but having 5th grade in middle school does seem odd, and this type of situation kind of is a good example why. You have sooo many crazy things going on with maturity and hormones in this age group, having 5th graders mixed in with 7th and 8th graders would be problematic. Middle school is 7th and 8th Grade, or 7th,8th and 9th grade here. And being able to have a cell phone out during school hours is becoming less common here because of problems they have created.
     

    monsterkitty

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 5, 2005
    I think you did the right thing.
    OT, but having 5th grade in middle school does seem odd, and this type of situation kind of is a good example why. You have sooo many crazy things going on with maturity and hormones in this age group, having 5th graders mixed in with 7th and 8th graders would be problematic. Middle school is 7th and 8th Grade, or 7th,8th and 9th grade here. And being able to have a cell phone out during school hours is becoming less common here because of problems they have created.
    "In California, a child must be five years old BEFORE September 1 in order to enroll in kindergarten. Elementary school is kindergarten through 5th grade (ages 5-10), middle school is grades 6-8 (ages 11-13), and high school is grades 9-12 (ages 14-18). " Source https://cardinalatwork.stanford.edu/benefits-rewards/worklife/children-family/school-age-resources
     

    MamaBelle4

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 29, 2016
    Its actually the only thing I do not like about their school. Elementary is K-4, Middle is 5-8, and High is 9-12. They keep the 5th graders separate from the older kids, but they all ride the bus together anyway.
     
  • tvguy

    Question anything the facts don't support.
    Joined
    Dec 15, 2003
    "In California, a child must be five years old BEFORE September 1 in order to enroll in kindergarten. Elementary school is kindergarten through 5th grade (ages 5-10), middle school is grades 6-8 (ages 11-13), and high school is grades 9-12 (ages 14-18). " Source https://cardinalatwork.stanford.edu/benefits-rewards/worklife/children-family/school-age-resources
    Not in Sacramento. But under state law schools have the option of adding 6th grade to Middle School campuses.
    Sac City Unified it is strictly 7 and 8th grade.
    San Juan Unified it is 7th and 8th grade, but there is one special education campus that is K-8.
    Folsom Cordova is 7th, 8th and 9th.
    My kid's private school was 6, 7 and 8 but the 6th graders were fenced off from 7th and 8th grade. They never mised. But that was more a factor of not having classroom space on the Middle School Campus for 6th grade.
    Some Charter and private schools do mix 6th in with 7 and 8.
    But certainly not 5th.
     
    Last edited:

    MGMmjl

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Oct 5, 2018
    OP, I don't think you overreacted at all. In this day and age, you can't be too careful.

    Where I went to school, elementary school was K-4, middle school 5-8, and high school 9-12. But my nephew's school system is elementary school K-6, junior high 7-8, and high school 9-12. I think I like that setup better. He just started junior high and 7th grade. He goes to school in the same state that I went to school in, so I guess it's up to the individual school systems as to how the grades are divided up.
     
  • mrodgers

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 29, 2009
    You didn't overreact. Stuff like this needs addressed.

    The problem I foresee is the reaction of our school systems. The kid needs to learn that is inappropriate. Doubtful at 10 years old there is malicious intent. They are just repeating what they've heard previously at that age. You never know today though how the school system is going to handle it. It could be counseling by the guidance counselor, which would be appropriate. However, I don't trust the school not to take it all out of wack with overreaction and kicking the poor kid out of school resulting in problems for the rest of his/her life from just a kid doing/saying something they weren't guided on previously.

    It's sad that today the schools need to be the parents, but such is the case with so many parents not giving a rats behind about their own kids (in general, not speaking specifically this child.)
     

    AppleDumpling

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2015
    If I knew either of L’s parents well, I might have spoken to them before contacting the school, letting them know what happened and expressing concern for their daughter, in a compassionate way.

    However, I think you reacted appropriately. Unfortunately, in today’s world, any threat of violence needs to be taken seriously. This girl is so young, but it could be a cry for help.

    Going forward, I would watch and listen closely if she comes to your home. She apparently considers your DD her best (or only) friend right now. Maybe let her know she can confide in you with any problems (if you feel comfortable doing that).
     

    HeatherC

    <font color=blue>Alas...these people I live with t
    Joined
    May 23, 2003
    You can never err on the side of caution. Better to be safe than sorry. And maybe by you taking the time to email, this little girl may get help that might have been overlooked. Kudos to you OP for not turning a blind eye.
     

    MamaBelle4

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 29, 2016
    If I knew either of L’s parents well, I might have spoken to them before contacting the school, letting them know what happened and expressing concern for their daughter, in a compassionate way.

    However, I think you reacted appropriately. Unfortunately, in today’s world, any threat of violence needs to be taken seriously. This girl is so young, but it could be a cry for help.

    Going forward, I would watch and listen closely if she comes to your home. She apparently considers your DD her best (or only) friend right now. Maybe let her know she can confide in you with any problems (if you feel comfortable doing that).
    I actually don't know her parents. This is just what I'm hearing from my daughter.

    That's the other issue. K had invited both C & L & two other friends over for a birthday sleepover. I don't want K to disinvite her, but I was thinking of wording it somewhere along the lines of she'd rather spend 1 on 1 time with her and I pick them up and take them somewhere to do something different. Is that an okay alternative?
     

    Hikergirl

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2016
    when I went to school elementary was 1-7 and high school was 8-12. Of course that was the dark ages.
    😉
    My old school was K-8 and still is.
    There are many private schools that do not have separate elementary and junior highs.


    OP, I don't think you over reacted, you can't really know in this day and age. Chances are it's just something stupid the girl said but if it isn't then at least people are now aware.
     

    QueenIsabella

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 17, 2016
    I agree with the PP who said you should make a phone call. That way, you're sure the information gets to someone who can actually do something to help the young lady.

    It's extremely likely that she doesn't actually mean that she's going to kill other students. However, even if the odds are low, they still exist, so an intervention is necessary. It's much more likely that the child is hurting--possibly due to the divorce, but there may be other things going on in her life. She would benefit from having a trusted adult to confide in, maybe who can give her support and some coping techniques and so forth. Not you, personally, OP--it's above your pay grade. But, some kind of counselor could help her find an appropriate outlet for her feelings.

    As to 5th grade being middle school, I've seen all kinds of different divisions in different school districts. When the kids were born, the school was K-6, then 7-12. They changed it to K-5, 6-8, and 9-12. We moved, and it was K-5, 6-8, and 9-12. Growing up, it was K-6, 7-9, and 10-12. Where my DD teaches, it's K-4, 5-8, 9-12. These are different districts in 4 different states (NY, NH, CT, and MA, respectively).
     


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