Boy Gets Suspended For Sticking A 'Kick Me' Sign On A Classmate's Back — But Is That Bullying Or Teasing?

Fri, February 18, 2011 3:11pm EDT by 4 Comments

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A 9-year-old student got kicked out of school for playing a classic prank on another classmate. Do you think he deserved that punishment? VOTE!

With all the bullying that has been happening in schools, administrators have taken extreme measures when it comes to one classic schoolyard prank. PS 158, an Upper-East side school that enforces a zero-tolerance anti-bullying policy, kicked a 9-year-old boy out of school for sticking a yellow “kick me, please” Post-it on a fellow student’s back. Too extreme or did the prankster get what he deserved?

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This situation has caused a lot of controversy among parents, including the mother of the young boy who says her son was simply “playing around.” But, another parent called the Post-it prank “maliciousness — it’s not kid’s play.” The school’s reaction to the incident should come as no surprise though, considering New York City schools banned bullying in 2008.

“School authorities might not have the leeway to do things differently,” Richard Gallagher, director of NYU’s Child Studies Center tells the New York Post. “We have to be very careful about zero tolerance and how it gets implemented. Teasing behaviors are pretty typical. But the boundary between teasing and bullying is different.”

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The little boy’s behavior caused PS 158 Principal Darryl Alhadeff to warn his parents and suspend him from school for two days for “engaging in bullying behavior.” According to a Department of Education spokeswoman, this “was just the latest incident between the students. The principal followed procedure, held parent conferences and offered counseling.” So was this really bullying? A student says no!

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“[He] was probably teasing,” a fourth grader tells the New York Post. “[The boy] either teases you or he tells you he’s going to start hitting you, but he never does.” HollyMoms, what do YOU think about this schoolyard situation?

–Leigh Blickley

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Natalie

Posted at 5:48 AM on June 8, 2013  

There’s (in my opinion) worst pranks that somebody could pull off on you! In my case, being ignored or teased about relationship when you’re just ten is worst!

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hilary

Posted at 12:57 AM on February 20, 2011  

Alright Melissa you have to chill out yes what the kid did was dumb and mean but hes 9 years old and should not have gotten kicked out of school for it thats just rediculous

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Melissa

Posted at 8:10 AM on February 19, 2011  

This was NOT a prank! I am now 37 years old and I can VIVIDLY remember the day this “prank” (I choke on the word) was used on me nearly 25 years ago. It was humiliating, it was crushing, especially to someone who was already shy and prone to other “pranks” such as this. It is BULLYING, pure and simple. You don’t have to be physically injured to be bullied. This kind of bullying is even more devastating, because there is no immediate way to deal with it.

Some of you will say, “Oh, it’s just boys being boys.” Or, “You need to grow a thicker skin.”

Really?

Have you ever experienced being picked on day in and day out and then have something this *public* done to you? It makes you a target. I am stronger now than I used to be, but it took a LONG time to get there. I’m also a teacher now and I *still* use this example of what happened to me when talking to my students about bullying, to show that their actions are not over the moment the act is done, that the consequences of those actions can last for *years*.

I don’t think a 2 day suspension was out of order if the child had previous incidents on his record (which the article doesn’t state, so I cannot be certain of this), but I would be willing to bet he WON’T be doing this again. And that’s a GOOD thing.

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robin

Posted at 11:31 PM on March 8, 2011  

I agree with you. My son has been tormented for so long in school now that he has become suicidal and now is in therapy. Bullying does not have to be only physical. The things that are said hurt the most. I know this boy is only 9 but his punishment is an example.

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