When things got serious–that is, when one girl threatened to hit my daughter–I did what I’ve understood we’re supposed to do: I encouraged her to speak to her school counselor about it. I told her that schools take bullying very seriously.
When she did, I got a call from my sobbing daughter after school. The counselor’s solution was to segregate my daughter from everyone else; to give permission to make my daughter the odd girl out.
My daughter and I had recently attended a session with Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabees (the inspiration behind the film Mean Girls). I fully expected the counselor to deal the “mean girls” in a way that would permanently solve the problem; I was not prepared for the idea that she might make the situation worse.
These girls were emotionally poking at my daughter; they knew how to make her cry and took full advantage. So when the counselor told the girls to stay away from my daughter, they were tacitly gave them permission to taunt her more, “Mrs. D said said you can’t sit next to us. Mrs. D said you can’t be near us.” I ended up apologizing to my daughter for encouraging her to go see the counselor.