My son is making fun of other people and I don't know what to do

Modern Parent

Yesterday, my 16-year-old daughter walked to pick up her 12-year-old brother from school. My son's school is in our neighborhood, while my daughter's bus stop is close to his school (about 2 blocks from our house). When she came home, she was extremely upset and immediately started calling her brother a terrible person and saying she hates his friends. She told me that there was a little boy who had just had his hair done in braids and was walking with two of his friends, minding their own business in front of my son and his friend group when they started talking unkindly about this boy's hair. They made fun of it, saying his hair looked like snakes and he needed a new hairdo, among other things. My daughter said the kid looked embarrassed and sad, so she yelled for them to be quiet and leave the kid alone. The boy was maybe two years younger than them.

I have always taught my kids to stand up for anyone being bullied and to always intervene if their friends are picking on someone rather than join in. My daughter has always been very good about that, and my son was too until recently. I am not blaming his friends, but there is one kid in particular who is just a horrible little person. There really is no other way to describe him. I have heard him dozens of times being rude to other kids, and I always tell him to be nice. He pushed a smaller child down the slide once, and another kid into a mud puddle, he gets into trouble at school constantly, and we don't allow him to come to our home very often because he is disrespectful and doesn't respect boundaries. Multiple parents and teachers have tried talking to his parents about his behavior, but they simply believe it's everyone else's fault, and they forbid him to hang out with the kid whose parents come to them because they're a bad influence.

Anyways, my son is my problem, and that's what I will focus on. I will not tolerate my child being a bully. I've never dealt with this before. I've dealt with my kids being bullied before, but now I'm on the other side of it. My son has been bullied before, so he knows how it feels, and I can't believe he would do it to someone else. This kid's parents haven't reached out to me, but I thought about making my son apologize to the child. But is that really enough? He knows better. I do not want to deal with this again. I do not want this to be a problem. It needs to stop now. I could use some advice on how to really get through to him.

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