My best girlfriend has a daughter Thing One's age. She's had a tough time with middle school, courtesy of the resident group of 'mean girls' in their grade. She and Thing One have known each other since kindergarten and through the years have become very close friends. This girl got on the school bus on Friday afternoon with a storm cloud hanging over her head. As she later reported to her mother, Thing One immediately asked her what the [unkind but fully-justified epithet for the mean girls redacted] had done now. Upon hearing that they had nothing to do with her bad mood, he then asked if her boyfriend (who is a buddy of his) was being an idiot again and if he needed to go talk some sense into him! I'm so glad that those two jump to each other's defenses the way they do and you could NOT pay me enough to go back to middle school. (shudder)
My girlfriend was laughing when she told me that story, but then the conversation took a more somber turn. My friend also has a daughter Thing Two's age, who, due to the nonmutable pecking order of school bus seating that has the oldest kids in the back and the youngest in the front, sits close to Thing Two in the middle of the bus somewhere. Apparently the younger daughter came home on Friday and informed her mother that a couple of the kids on the bus were bullying Thing Two. She and Thing Two have been classmates since preschool and she is VERY protective of him, as is her big sister. The younger girl was absolutely livid. I made some calls, another mother sent an email, and apparently the situation was addressed at the school level today. I'm supposed to get a call tomorrow morning explaining what happened. Independently of whatever happened at school, though, the older daughter also took matters into her own hands. Seems that the girl on the bus who was responsible for the bullying (another fifth grader) got herself read the riot act loudly and publicly by one tall, beautiful and really seriously pissed-off eighth grader after school today! God I love that kid. And her little sister, too.