See you later Portuguese school.

I had a lot of warning signs. Loads of them. Ferel looking kids beating the crap out of each other.  No teachers in the yard. No toys to play with. No climbing structures. Just a plain yard with cobble stones…as seen here…img_0005

What you don’t see are the jagged rocks that litter the back yard.   A parents worst nightmare.  Wait, it gets worse. There are 90 students in the school from first grade to fourth grade.  How many supervisors in the playground at recess and lunch time for all of these kids?  2.  That’s right, 2.

The teachers bail at lunchtime and recess.  When I would bring Pippa back after lunch, I would see the teachers returning from the bar/restaurant around the corner.  This is not America.  The teachers arrive at school when the bell rings.  Not a second before and often several minutes after the bell.  Pippa said some days they would be waiting outside for a long time before a teacher arrived.

Alright, back to playground supervision.  Two ladies are in charge of the kids.  They dress in candy striper uniforms.  Pink striped tops with white Peter Pan collars.  They have name tags on their uniforms.  One spoke English, one did not.

After Pippa’s fight, I went to the school with a translator to discuss the fight.   The candy striper who spoke English, Claudia, told me that she had encouraged my daughter to punch the boy, who was following her and hitting her, in  the stomach.   She said that once Pippa stood up for herself, the boy would stop picking on her.   I have never had anyone at my children’s previous schools encourage beat downs.     This was a definite first.

 Then I met with the director of the school. She said that indeed fighting was common.     Kids at her school learn to defend themselves without any teacher interaction. When things get excessively rough other students step in and inform the teachers.    She could tell that Pippa was not used to this kind of behavior.     She actually said she was surprised we lasted as long as we did.

Now…welcome to home school.

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