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How do I say this…

My kid was threatened today while in cooking class at camp with…a butter knife.

I have been trying for hours now to figure out a way to express both the seriousness as well as the ridiculousness of that statement.

Here’s the backstory…

For the last two weeks and two days, J has been teased and frustrated by a boy in his camp. This boy is a year older than J, but activities are combined between two grades at this camp. When they were in the same activity, this boy couldn’t leave my kid alone. He teased him. He made fun of him. My son defended himself with words.

We spoke to J about it every day. His psychologist spoke to him about it. We spoke with the camp. They spoke with us. Every day that an incident occurred, I knew about it. They were on top of it. J was never left alone with this boy. There was always an adult around. J knew that he was not to engage this child, but, rather, go directly to a counselor should something happen.

Jackson complied.

This camp is a camp based around inclusion. It is a safe place for my boy. It is his happy place. He feels loved and taken care of there. He has never felt threatened there before. The flip side to that is that kids who may also have more going on than meets the eye have a right to the same camp experience as J.

Here’s the problem. My kid was not the only one this child picked on. He picked on EVERYONE. When disciplined, he smiled right back at the staff, said “OK” and walked away. THIS is disconcerting.

My husband and I felt bad for this child. That is, up until today. We felt that the boy had some emotional issues and he shouldn’t be punished for what he may not be able to control. But we couldn’t stand by and let our son be subjected to this treatment.

What happened today was that the child went to stab my child with a butter knife, or threatened to. We’re not really sure. You see, it is hard for J to relay things like this back to us. He forgets what happened, the specifics, what was said and done, but he can certainly go on and on about how it made him feel. His counselor, who is an amazing young man, did not give up. He was told by another counselor who was present that the boy threatened J with a butter knife.

As an adult, it’s kind of, sort of funny because WE know that a butter knife is not really a weapon, especially in the hands of a 7th grader, but it really isn’t something I can laugh about. It’s actually really sad. It’s sad that my boy had to feel that way and it is sad that the other boy knew enough to WANT to make my son feel that way.

The camp responded today, after the knife wielding incident, by dismissing the child from camp.

I feel badly for this boy. There is clearly more going on than the camp was informed of. They know their limits and what their staff can and cannot handle. It’s not fair that other children were the victims of his behavior for the last two+ weeks. I do not like to judge others but I have to wonder what his parents were thinking sending him into a situation like this. A situation where differently abled children are accepted and loved and made to feel safe and secure. Did they think that he needed that same acceptance? Perhaps. But it is our duty to make sure our children are in the right environment for themselves, and for others around them. We have a duty to make sure that our children will not impede others’ experiences.

Basically, you need to be realistic about who your child is, and where they belong.

We are so thankful to have found this camp for J, and even more thankful to know that they have his happiness and safety at heart. He has worked so hard to deserve that and so much more.

So, now, his happy place is once again his to own. And that makes me happy too.

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