I Have a Bad Feeling About This Student - Am I Over-reacting?


i'm a float rn, right now filling in at a middle school clinic. it's a very hectic clinic, 6th,7th, 8th graders coming in for all sorts of real and not so real complaints. a boy came in and complained of stomach pain, 'something moving in there', which was atypical of course, so i chalked it up to gas pains and explained that since he had just come from lunch that was probably the cause (after the regular assessment). no, he said, his lunch was taken away, so he had not eaten anything. his affect was grim, depressed, serious. of course i probed about the lunch being taken, and tears spilled from his eyes as he shrugged and said, 'someone took it'. he didn't offer much. he just acted like it wasn't worth explaining. it was like pulling teeth to get information. we walked toward guidance and he was reluctant, saying he didn't want to go. he slumped, literally to the floor. he answered my questions, admitting being bullied but teachers not doing anything, even a dean not doing anything, and the bullying having gotten worse after they found out. he was terrified about being a 'snitch'. he cried and felt the situation was hopeless, he said he was 'just so tired'.

i called his grandmother, with whom he and his mother live (his dad died). his grandmother said that they knew about bullying earlier, that kids had thrown blue kool aid in his face and he had problems on the bus, but that lately he denied any bullying and when they asked him at home he had told them it was all taken care of. this clearly wasn't true. she wondered why he would say that if he was still having problems. i voiced my concerns that he may feel hopeless, that he didn't feel any way of improving the situation and he did not want to go to guidance, or even really tell me what was happening. i told her i was concerned for his psychological safety. (i didn't tell her that last month an eighth grader committed suicide).

i asked her to pick him up instead of ride the bus today and i would keep him the clinic until then due to his state of being so upset.

i bought him pb crackers and let him rest on the cot. going to check on him he pointed to a sort of spot on the wall and said it looked like a person and defined the nose , etc. didn't think too much of that even though i couldnt see what he was talking about, but then he admitted that he sometimes heard voices. (grandmother said this happened once before when he was younger) he didn't want to talk about it, but all he would say was they were mad and yelling but he couldn't understand what they were saying. psychotic break?

school let out, i walked him to find his grandma's car in the car line.

talked to my supervisor, she's aware. apparently he was bullied before, it led to a fight, and the bully and he were suspended, so the dean is aware of the problem.

he seems hopeless. and why wouldn't he? and i have a bad feeling.


142 Posts

Specializes in Med Surg, ICU, home&pub health, pvt duty. Has 10 years experience.

What a good nurse you are. Does your school have a social worker? If so, talk to her and discuss the situation. This problem sound serious.

Best to all


94 Posts

Specializes in Geriatrics, LTC.

This makes me soo angry . . . Why do we have teachers, administrators, etc. who are so oblivious to the dangers of bullying?

:yeah:I'm glad that we have nurses who care advocating for those who are too weak to do it for themselves


686 Posts

You are a good nurse. You were probably the kindest person he had run into at school in a very long time. The principal, parents, social worker, etc. need to get into a meeting and figure something out immediately. This child is struggling terribly and needs help before their is another dead child at your school. Was the other child being bullied too? If the bullying is out of control the police could even be called. Their is a point where it becomes flat out criminal.


454 Posts

Specializes in cardiac, ortho, med surg, oncology.

No, not over-reacting. I would discuss the issue with the guidance counselor and the school psychologist. Maybe get the family in on the meeting and see if a referral can be made for the young man to talk to somebody.

You are a good nurse.

leslie :-D

11,191 Posts

whatever you decide to do, i would do this immediately.

but please, do something...now/yesterday.

and thank you.

you were awesome with this boy.


jschut, BSN, RN

2,743 Posts

Has 20 years experience.

The boy is in need of serious help. Now. Please.. do whatever you can. Before something unthinkable happens.

Thank you for touching his soul with your kindness.

Specializes in OB/GYN, Peds, School Nurse, DD.

I have a bad feeling about this, too. What kind of child/adolescent services are available where you live? I would strongly STRONGLY recommend to the mother and grandmother than this child be evaluated ASAP.

I have some personal experience in this area. My DS23 suffered several bouts of depression from 13-18. One day I got a call from the school counselor. John had showed his arms to some friends and he was covered with cuts--he had sliced himself nearly 100 times! We had no idea this was going on. THe counselor held him until I arrived. One of the cuts was deep and really needed to be closed, but I was too afraid to stop at an ER. I took him straight to a psych facility where they kept him on a locked unit. The first 2 days he was swinging from the chandeliers, talking in word salad. Once the meds started working he finally came down, but I'm telling you it was a very hard experience for us all. He had one more break about 6 months later and was re-hosptalized, but since then he has done pretty well. I am eternally grateful for that counselor because John had a plan,a date, and the means to kill himself. My life would have ended if he had died.

Try to call a conference tomorrow, if you can. This is an emergency.


3 Articles; 289 Posts

Specializes in Psych.

Thank you for the support. I was very nervous even about making this post, worried about having made a mistake or being too soft, but I can't shake this feeling. I'm assigned to fill in there again tomorrow. This is one thing, though...he been pushed around so much...I asked him to please think overnight about talking to Guidance and he was adamant that he would be beaten up if they were notified again.

*The last thing I want is to push him into doing something that is going to put him at risk and make him feel like he is powerless to make decisions after he confided in me.*

How do other schools deal with bullies?


1,046 Posts

Specializes in Corrections, Cardiac, Hospice. Has 18 years experience.

OH MY! This poor child. I am so greatful you were there to help this poor child. I am also so darn angry that this has gone on so long. Please, anyone who is a teacher on site, explain how this can happen. I realize teachers are there to teach, but how can a child be so bullied that they are afraid to let someone know they didn't even eat because someone took their lunch. I must admit, if it were my child, they would take care of it. Either those bullies would be hauled away in a police car, or I would make such a scene DAILY that I would be. When it comes to my children, I have no pride.


3 Articles; 289 Posts

Specializes in Psych.

P.S. This is especially hard because I hold no 'clout'....no one knows me...to them, I'm just the 'substitute'. I really do get the sense that administration, even my own, from another gov agency, does not want to deal with this.


566 Posts

Follow your instincts. I am so glad that you were there when you were. Please keep us updtated.