Sunday, October 23, 2011

I couldn't believe it...

I have to share something with you that went on yesterday.  It still freaks me out but I think it might help if I write it out.  Be warned this is long and complicated.

Yesterday was a really extraordinary day with one bad incident.  Lets start with the extraordinary.

My daughter's marching band went to a state competition.  They are excellent in their music, skilled precision marchers but do not have all the flair and fanfare that marching band has evolved into.  It was doubtful they would make finals.  Well, they did make finals.  They were ranked the seventh place team and were going into finals to complete with 12 other bands.

They have awesome and amazing band directors that have taught them its about music and self discipline and to do your best no matter what.  No big win, no big deal.  Just do your best and enjoy yourself.

So, they competed in the finals and played their hearts out.  The music was OUTSTANDING to say the least.  They blew all of their other performances away.

Since they were ranked 7th we expected them to come up a place or two in the standings because, as I mentioned, with no fancy props or dancing, they just couldn't compete with all of the "entertainment".

When the time came for the results the announcer stated he would read the top four places.  Fourth place.  Could we really get that?  Well, we didn't.  And we all said to each other  "oh well, if we didn't get fourth then we didn't place."  But then they announced we had won THIRD place!  The kids exploded!   You'd have thought they had won the entire competition!  It was excellent!  They were so happy, so excited and just beside themselves.  I even screamed a little when they announced it because it was so unexpected!

But, as oustanding as that was, that was not the best part.  When they announced the first place winners (who just happend to be from the school our football team had soundly defeated the night before) ALL of our kids stood up, turned around to face them and applauded for them.  I thought they had been told to do that but they weren't.  They decided to do it on their own because, as my daughter said "they had a really great program, mom.".  Oh, it just swells my heart.

What an amazing day, what an achievement, and what a great show of class and character our kids are being taught.  It makes me so proud.

Then comes the bad part.  I went down to join the kids while they were celebrating.  Now, a little history... earlier in the day I had heard a chaperone talking in a not-so-nice way to her group of kids on their bus.  I'd call it a demeaning and bossy, almost bully like.  She is a mom that is UBER involved in the band, her son is a senior (and is a smart ass by the way).  I have heard her talking to kids like this before, but just tried to over look it because she is, honestly, a little scary, has been around longer than I have, and, well is a little scary (yes, I said it twice).  

So, when I went to join the kids I ended up beside her.  All of the kids were standing on the bleachers, turned around, while their band directors were telling them what an awesome job they did.  A couple of kids were moving around, excited, like every other kid, and one of the kids fell off the bleacher seat to the part below where you stand.  He banged his knee and it started to bleed.  Well, this mother grabbed one of the boys by the back of the shirt and pulled him down off the bleacher into the isle.  She grabbed him by the arm, hard, and sat him down.  Then she grabs the other boy by the shirt, grabs his arm and sits him down.  She then begins to talk to them in the same demeaning and condescending tone I heard earlier in the day.  Now, I was looking at her face.  It's hard to describe her expression but it was more of a cocky, pompus "watch how I handle this" face.  Not one of concern, not one of alarm, but of someone who almost enjoyed having the power to do what she was doing.

I just stood there watching her.  I then looked over to where the kids were standing and one of the senior boys was watching, too.  He looked at me and shook his head and said "that is uncalled for, that was not necessary".  I told him "yes, you're right". 

After what I would call a 'brow-beating' she let the uninjured boy go "join the celebration" (as if she hadn't just ruined it).    The kid who had scraped his knee just sat there with his head hung down.  I watched him for a minute after she got up and walked a few feet away behind me.  I then told him it's okay and he should go back to his friends.  I think she saw me because I heard her say over my shoulder "should we get some ice?".  I just said "no, he's fine."  I didn't look at her again and waited for the band directors to finish.  When the kids were dismissed I saw the same boy who also watched the incident talking to the boy that fell.  I went over to them and told them that what had happened was not okay and if they felt like reporting it they could use my name and I would also back them up.  I wanted it to be their choice.

Then, the boy who was watching turned to me and said something that shocked me.  "A friend of mine was hit by a water bottle she threw at him when he wouldn't be quiet during quiet time."  Now, one thing you must know about these kids: 99 percent of them are GOOD kids, honest, hardworking, so when these kids tell you something they aren't making it up.   Oh boy!  Now I was mad, upset, know the feeling when your heart begin to pump and you know you have to do something but you are afraid to.

I had to report a very well known (though not necessarily popular), very heavily involved mom of one of the kids.  I went to our fearless volunteer leader to ask advice only to learn he was not so fearless afterall.  When I told him what had happened he immediately called over the presidents (husband and wife team) and the vice presidents (husband and wife also) of the band who were standing nearby.  Oh boy...deep breath.  These people are all colleagues of this woman..I'm new to all of this.

So I repeated what I had seen and what I had been told by one of the kids.    They even asked me "are you sure it was ***".  Unfortunately, yes.

Well after that we got on the buses and headed home.  Two hour drive.

When we arrived in the band hall my heart starts pumping again.  Oh boy, is she going to confront me?  Will she turn everyone against me?  I know I did the right thing but, wow, it's hard sometimes.

Right when I walked into the band hall I saw the kid who watched the incident also.  I told him I had told the adults and asked him if it was okay if I gave them his name because "that was NOT okay" for that parent to act that way.  And you know what?!?!?  The kids had already gone to their band director about it!  They did it themselves!  OH boy!  I was proud of that group of kids before but to take her on,  the parent of one of their classmates!?!  Courage!  I was/am so proud of them.

...and, to brag on our band director a little bit, when I walked by his office he already had one of the boys who has been manhandled by this woman in his office with his parent.  Knowing what I know about the director, he is taking this very seriously and will not tolerate it.

I must say there was a huge *WHEW!* moment when I knew the incident was being handled and it was not all on me.  Now, I will probably still have some repercussions from some of the moms, but I can handle that. I may even have to face her again; however, I am sure I did the right thing.

Oh, and when I asked my daughter what she would do if a chaperone ever mistreated her or a friend she said that they are told by the band directors to report that kind of behavior.  That just because they are parents, does not mean they are always right and they will be promptly removed from their chaperone duties.

There are some days you just feel good about whose hands you've placed your kids.

So, that was my big Saturday.  Though I'm still a little nervous about what next week will bring I try to focus on the amazing day the kids had and not let someone ruin it.  I tell myself I did the right thing and that doing the right thing does not mean it will be easy or that there may not be consequences..but it was still the right thing to do.



  1. Some parents never out grow their bullying days. I am so glad you stood up for the kids and that they stood up for themselves. You should be proud of yourself! And Congrats to the band for their outstanding performance!

  2. WOW.
    Ok first of all, congrats on 3rd place, yay!!!! I was in marching band and know that feeling quite well as our band did an excellent job on a trip to Toronto when I was a Senior.

    You absolutely did the right thing!!! Totally uncalled for on her part and it sounds like she eventually will be "cut" from her chaperone duties. I hope she learns something from this experience!!!

  3. Wow that would have taken some guts. But what a caring & unselfish thing you did. ♥