While at school my son has been getting bullied by a boy. They are both in 6th grade and used to be friends until recently, not the boy bullies him. Today I got a call to come get my son because he had been in a fight. At the time my son was in pain but it wasn't bad. By 8pm he was sweating really bad and in a lot of pain. We noticed a large lump on his collar bone and knew he had broken it. We took him to the ER to confirm his collar bone was broken and to get him a sling, the limited but proper treatment.

Tomorrow he is staying home but I plan on going to the school to speak to the dean. I wanted to get feed back on the proper way to handle this situation.

What happened? In short, the boy snatched things from my son then pushed him really hard into a car. This broke his collar bone. A teacher saw it happen before my son got to react other than running from the boy.

File charges? Should/can I file assault charges? He is only in 6th grade and I don't know of i want to be the person to give him a record. Though he did break my son's collar bone while bullying him.

Who pays the medical bills? I do not feel we should have to pay the medical bills. The boy did this to my son, is the school or boy's parents liable?

Should I get an attorney? Is the school or parents liable? Who will ensure proper justice is served? This will cause unneeded stress in my families lives between restriction on my son's activities to financial costs and missed work. Am I getting a head of myself?

Proper school punishment? Should the kid not be punished? Should he be suspended or expelled? He is in all of my son's classes so he will always be around him.

Is there anything else I should know or consider?

Kind of answer I was seeking. I was not looking for legal advice. I wanted to hear from another parent who had unfortunately went through a similar experience and how things worked out. Maybe some opinion on if I should drop the ban hammer or show some leniency because they are young kids.

UPDATE: The Outcome The boy will have 7 days of suspension, the school will pay for anything my insurance won't cover. They will monitor the situation between the boys to make sure there are no more occurrences. We are not pressing charges due to boys being boys. If something else happens I will explore more serious action.

  • 2
    In my opinion, this is actual assault... so, yes, it IS time for legal steps. But you would actually be better off at over at law.stackexchange.com ; could a mod perhaps move? And I hope your son will be well again soon!
    – Layna
    Feb 9, 2017 at 7:16
  • @Layna, it has already been moved there, and moved back. I was not looking for legal advice. I wanted to hear from another parent who had unfortunately went through a similar experience and how things worked out. Maybe some opinion on if I should drop the ban hammer or show some leniency because they are young kids.
    – Tony
    Feb 10, 2017 at 16:33
  • I will say now, not pressing charges seems a very grave decision. I realize it's too late to do anything now. But you have shown your child that people can hurt them and there will be essentially no real consequences. This can have a grave effect on their well-being.
    – Vality
    Feb 7, 2019 at 23:43

1 Answer 1


I think the school will have plenty of experiences with such incidents and will its protocol for them. Where I am, when an incident takes place in school, there is insurance to cover medical costs and carry out appropriate punishment/counselling. We go from teacher, to vice-principal to principal if unsatisfied with the response.

In your shoes, when I approach the school, I will want the incident addressed on two levels - the incident, and the long-standing situation.

For the incident, I will want to speak to my son, one or two witnesses (his friends), and an adult. I will allow the school to get the other child's version, and see how it all piece together. If it was just a shove with unintended consequences (broken collarbone), I will let it go at that, but expecting the other parents to pay for the medical bills if insurance is unavailable.

With regards to bullying/fighting, I have two boys, one in seventh grade and I have noticed that boys often become friends after a period of rivalry/fighting when they suss one another out. It is less common for boys to start off as friends and then it degenerates to bullying. I will want to find out the wider context to that, and have a clearer picture from teachers who take them both, as well as common friends. It is likely there had been either a misunderstanding or a bone of contention, and this needs to be sorted out through third party intervention. The likely outcome after this intervention should be at least a truce.

Unless I think my child is in mortal danger, I would not involve the law. An old teacher once told me that children forgive easily, it is the adults who cannot let go. There is some truth in it. But definitely keep checking on your son, keep the communication line open, and take your cue from him.

If your parenting instincts tell you that the bad blood runs deeper, or he is not getting the appropriate support in school, have that conversation with the school authorities and consider their response. Your child's emotional well being should be at the center of your response, bearing in mind that he will also be facing other kids and teachers in school. If the situation proves untenable, a change in school can sometimes be a healthier option.

  • 2
    Nope, nope, nope, nope. If someone breaks one of my kid's bones by shoving them against a car, this kid should face the proper punishment. This is not something that should be allowed to persist. It's improper behavior on several levels. This is not rivalry, it's assault.
    – T. Sar
    Feb 9, 2017 at 17:50
  • So what if you son breaks some other kid's bones by shoving them against a car? Would you be happy about the other parents calling the cops without even talking to you?
    – Toxaris
    Feb 10, 2017 at 7:50
  • @TSar, I felt the same way immediately. After taking time to analyze the situation and considering the fact they used to be friends I decided to keep it at the school level. If this happens again I cannot promise I will handle it the same. If an adult this to another adult someone would be going to jail.
    – Tony
    Feb 10, 2017 at 16:40
  • 2
    @Toxaris Yes. Yes I would. That's what happens when you act like a criminal. My kids are educated to be responsible for their acts - I'm here to guide them, not to shelter them from acts of violence they did by themselves against everything we taught them. There is a huge difference between accidents and purposeful violence.
    – T. Sar
    Feb 10, 2017 at 17:39

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .