I’m not an overly sensitive, sentimental person, but there are a couple of issues that get to me. They are mistreatment of kids and animals, and bullying of all kinds and degrees.
To this day, I believe that a lot of my own issues have resulted from two things: sexual abuse when I was very young and constant bullying through middle school.
My son was bullied to the point that we feared he would try to take his own life and we ultimately had to get counseling and other help (what little there was) within the school system. What made the bullying worse was the insensitivity and inactivity on the part of teachers, principals, and the school board when dealing with bullying.
I’ll never forget the worst incident. One of the regular bullies actually lay in wait for Erin and Stuart after school (elementary school) and he and his friends started verbally and physically bullying Stu. At one point they had my kids surrounded and Erin swung her backpack while turning in a circle to keep them off, yelling at them to go away.
My kids and a friend got away and got home all upset and told me about what happened. It turned out they knew where the ringleader lived and showed me while driving to talk to his parents. Just as I got to the door, the kid came up and I asked him who he was. When he turned out to be the bully, I told him that I was Stuart and Erin’s Mom and he was not to bully Stuart any more or I would call the police. His father burst through the door and started towering over me while poking at me with his finger, forcing me backwards down his driveway back to the car. At this point, I was almost in tears and got in the car, drove home and called the police.
I wonder where this boy learned to be a bully?
Now I need to tell you a back story as it has some bearing on what resulted from all of this. Previous to this incident, I had received a notice from a teacher requesting that the parents send a paring knife with the children to school for a craft. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I immediately sat down with a mixture of fear and anger and drafted a note to the principal, enclosing the notice, and informed him that not only was I not going to send a paring knife to school with Stuart, I was not sending Stuart on that day as I refused to have him playing on the school grounds with a bunch of other grade-schoolers carrying knives. I also stated that I would be notifying the school district. Next thing I knew I got a phone call from the principal asking me to drop the matter and not take it to the school board as the plans for the craft had been cancelled and no knives would be taken to school, saying this teacher was quite young and inexperienced and hadn’t thought things through. I discussed the situation with my husband and we dropped it. This teacher was known to us and other than this incident we liked her. A side note – this teacher’s husband was a police officer with the military police, the kids attended a military school and we lived in military housing at the time.
So, back to my main story – the officer that showed up at my door to deal with the bullying incident was this teacher’s husband, and he was not pleasant. I have no idea how much the knife incident had a bearing on this bullying situation, but I found him unsympathetic, rude, and he actually accused me of being the bully by going over there to speak to the parents and speaking with the kid. I was stunned and didn’t say another word. As soon as he left, I burst into tears.
Soon after all of this, we left on a trip to British Columbia to visit family and disembarked the plane in Vancouver to find a message from the principal stating he wished to speak to me because he’d been receiving complaints from this bully and his parents, that Erin was talking about the situation at school and he wanted it to stop.
I counted to ten, held my breath and resolved to call the principal to have words the first chance I got after arriving at our family’s home.
Finally, all of the frustration and anger came forth in this phone call and I told the principal, “I will not tell Erin to not talk about it with her friends. As far as we’re concerned, this boy’s a bully and if he’s uncomfortable with the kids at school knowing what he does and how he behaves, that’s too bad.” …and I hung up.
Up to this point, we had visited this same principal numerous times to be told that there was nothing he could do since most of the bullying was taking place off the school grounds, yet he dared to take us to task in defense of the bully.
Now there is a point to this rather long-winded story. Although bullying is spoken about a lot more frequently, it is still all too prevalent. I do feel the key to stopping bullying is a solid presence by school administrators, teachers, counselors, parents and other kids, speaking up against bullying and supporting those who are bullied. Bullies who do not cease their hurtful behavior should be expelled from school. Let the parents home school them, where they can’t be physically and psychologically harmful to other kids.
Are you or have you been a bully? …been bullied? …a parent, family member or friend? …a concerned citizen? …then watch this video. Everyone needs to see the best example I’ve ever seen of the pain and damage bullying causes. On the surface, you may think this video from the show ‘The X Factor’ is inappropriate to the subject, but you’d be wrong. I, for one, was in uncontrollable tears through most of this video, my heart breaking for her, my son, myself and anyone else who has ever been bullied.
Not only is Jillian Jensen an amazing singer, she teaches us an invaluable lesson we all must learn.