In this case study, the aggressive way in which mom reacts points to a history of this type of behavior.  One does not simply react this way in public without first reacting in a similar way at home in private.  At home, this abuse must have happened before and was allowed. Just as the father did not intervene at the conferences, he probably does not intervene at home.  This behavior, or lack thereof, feeds mom’s belief that this type of treatment is alright.  Unfortunately, verbal abuse is typically not significant enough for protective services to get involved. There needs to be physical or sexual violence which is severe or occurs multiple times.  Verbal abuse, although detrimental to a child’s emotional and social development, is not a huge deal in the eyes of the law. 

That said, this boy’s teacher should look out for signs of physical violence on the boy.  Chances are good that mom will eventually advance to physical violence if the verbal tirades are not serving her as well as she’d like.  The teacher should talk to the boy, encourage him in his schoolwork and social life at school.  She cannot inject herself into his home life, but she can make a huge difference in his life (and self-esteem) the 40 hours he spends at school each week. In addition, the teacher can talk to the school’s counselor or social worker on behalf of the young boy.  Basically, she should be a supportive figure in his life.