This time they apparently bullied a seventh grader. He was apparently not where he was supposed to be (in class) but was instead sitting atop the slide, preventing any kids from going down. Of course, in their minds, this called for a team effort to dislodge him from that location. Several pushed from above and others pulled from below as he was quite large, even by seventh grader standards. This resulted in the seventh grader being "dogpiled" (his words) and "his shoe falling off" (their words). Of course, when his shoe "fell off" it ended up in the hands of a first grader who found himself at the bottom of the slide and then took the opportunity to bury the said shoe in the wood chips. He then realized it would be more fun to return the shoe to its owner, filled with wood chips. So he did. Upon which, the seventh grader took the shoe and started hitting first graders with it. This would have been an entirely amusing story, except for the fact that they picked one our more emotionally unstable seventh graders to pick on (which you may have already figured out since he was atop the slide instead of in class). So he went from thinking this was all funny to being really angry at my students in a matter of seconds. So all of a sudden, he was screaming hysterically, and going about angrily threatening all of my students. This attracted the attention of the VP, and put me in the odd situation of having to defend my students (come on, if YOU were in first grade and a big kid was blocking the slide, what you you do?). But because this kid has a history of being bullied (by seventh graders), the VP decided to give full weight to his side of the story and I actually had to intervene to keep my whole class from losing a lunch recess. I made my kids apologize, but he just shot back an angry retort and rolled his eyes. At that point, I just told my students to stay away from him and don't listen to him (they tell me he swears a lot). Since we've gone from being a K-6 school to K-8, the 7th and 8th graders have been absolutely wonderful with the little kids. I honestly think the presence of the younger children actually motivates the older students to not be as obnoxious as they might normally be (hey, I can say this because I used to teach middle school). My big worry is that events like this might cause them to reduce even further the contact that the middle grade students have with the primary grade students - like they might tell us no outside PE when older students are also outside having PE. That would mean, of course, a complete ban on PE for primary grades, since the upper grades have dedicated PE teachers who have classes outside at any given time of the day.