First, any Zero Tolerance policies for physical touch/play need to be rescinded. While zero tolerance for bullying (actual violence) is generally needed in order to have a safe school, a zero tolerance for aggression will lead to boys hating school and girls not learning all of the problem solving and resilience they can learn from one another and from boys.
Second, whenever a teacher training on the subject occurs, it is crucial that as many parents as possible in the community are also provided with keynotes, training, and resources to better understand the line between healthy aggression and violence/bullying. Parents and teachers need to be on the same page in terms of this vision of child development or one group will fight against the other and the system won’t change.
If, however, a profound conversation occurs among teachers and parents about aggression nurturance, the third part of the process can generally occur: testimonials to the school board or other governing bodies to make policy changes that may be needed in order to protect the school from lawsuits that overreact to a child’s discomfort. New policies will need to be written that redefine “hurt” and “harm” to describe actual trauma rather than discomfort or emotional reaction.
This means, for instance, that my child coming home from school crying is reason to ask the teacher his/her point of view on a day’s interaction rather than a reason to immediately dub the school unsafe. My child’s tears are, thus, a “community moment” among adults attuned to the child–a moment that can increase the child’s maturation–rather than an assumed danger to the child. As always, of course, actual violence, bullying, or abuse will be subject to zero tolerance; most other interactions, however, will become case-by-case and community tools for child maturation rather than reason for litigation.