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by Abigail Van Buren

Saving Seats at School Concert Turns Into a Showdown

DEAR ABBY: At my preschooler's concert, another parent asked me to hold a seat for her near the front. I draped a sweater over two seats. Shortly after, another family arrived, and the grandfather of another child removed the sweater, claiming the seats for members of his family who were also absent.

Three times I tried to explain that I was holding a seat for a parent with a disability who was having a hard time getting to the auditorium. Each time I was rudely interrupted. The man grabbed me by the shoulder, threatened me and even invited me to settle things outside. He later photographed my wife and children.

Not wanting to be that parent who gets into a fight over a seat at a children's event, I backed down. Afterward, though, I did file a report with the police. Now I am deciding whether to press charges.

I don't want to overreact, but I have heard from other parents that this man has a tendency to bully. I have always been bothered by stories about violence at kids' events and feel this man crossed a line. Should I? -- PROVOKED IN THE EAST

DEAR PROVOKED: If this man behaved as you described and put his hands on you, then you were physically assaulted. If there were other parents who witnessed it and would be willing to testify if you press charges, go ahead and pursue it. When you do, the bully will be in the system the next time he does it to someone.

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics