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kindergarten violence

Yesterday Nitsi became really ill and couldn’t get out of bed. I therefore had the privilege of fetching Carmel from the kindergarten myself. I came in, going near lots of other children which were having their noon nap and looked very cute when one of the assistants approached me saying “Carmel got punched up a little bit today… its nothing serious but she has those little red areas on her nose…”

I wasn’t sure how to react and all I wanted was to see her as soon as I can. “I see. Where is she” i asked quietly with a forced smile, trying putting my good guy face on. “She is there, playing. she is all right now…” I heard the assistant voice already going to the direction she was pointing at.

Then the kindergarten teacher heard they were calling Carmel’s name so she left her previous business and approached me with the same news. “Yes, I just heard that” I said. “Did you see how it happened”? I asked, remembering the previous event, which was also the first, when she came back on her second birthday with a small human bit on her arm. “Another child hit her with this small plastic shovel but we didn’t actually see it until a few seconds”.

Increasing number of kindergartners coming to our attention for aggressive behavior

At this point Carmel and I noticed each other. She was lying down – alone – on one of the mattresses and stood up immediately. About 0.3 seconds later she was smiling ear to ear in my arms, hugging me in the most amazing way. Nothing else in the world compares with that feeling.

As you can see in the picture (right above the little pieces of the lunch) this is really not a very serious event (all right, the red marks can hardly be spotted but they are there!) but for Nitsi and me it still is a worrying one. I have done some googling about kindergarten violence yesterday evening when I became ill as well (temperature up, bad feeling, sweat, shakes, you name it I had it last night). Not many horrific stories seem to have popped up in the prominent worldwide media very recently and thats already a good sign. Yet, it might had more to do with me getting ill as Nitsi and failing to preform the search properly…

As expected, don’t get too optimistic as things don’t seem to be heading the “good” direction on this matter. Michael Parker, program director of psychological services at the Fort Worth Independent School District, USA, which serves 80,000 students., said in a 2003 Time interview:

I’m clearly seeing an increasing number of kindergartners and first-graders coming to our attention for aggressive behavior… We’re talking about serious talking back to teachers, profanity, even biting, kicking and hitting adults, and we’re seeing it in 5-year-olds.

And these are not the kids who have been formally labeled emotionally disturbed, says Nekedria Clark, who works in Parker’s department:

“We have our E.D. kids, and then we have our b-a-d kids.”

In the first four months of 2002, according to USA Today, under new schools chief Paul Vallas, 33 kindergartners have been suspended from Philadelphia public schools, up from just one during the same period last year. Israeli media has more recent reports of kindergarten violence. This article for example suggests some aspects depend on the parents.

OK, my temperature goes up again. I am ill, remember? Less than a year ago, few weeks after Carmel started going to this kindergarten I happened to manage “upgrading” such a simple flue to an real pneumonia and found myself visiting the local hospital. I think i am going to sign off now and rest for a while. I don’t feel like having another round of this extremely expensive hi-tech antibiotics I was eating three time a day for 10 days back then.


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