As you are well aware, October is Anti-bullying month. This is your chance to take a stand, speak for those who are afraid to speak up for themselves. You may have noticed that I have been MIA for almost 2 weeks now. It is no secret, I have been dealing with the school system in regards to my kindergartner being bullied. The Principal did not seem to think it was an issue, I did. It is never okay, especially when it gets physical. My son was kicked in the private areas, choked, hit, tripped, and smacked every time he turned around by one particular boy that rode the bus with him that was also in his class. Needless to say, after a meeting with the Principal, and being blown off, I went above her, and the situation has been handled. But, we shall see how long this lasts. What really irked me is how she tried to down play the situation, and tell me that she did not think it was necessary to contact that child's parents. Really? I am not above following the bus route to find out where he is dropped off so that I can notify his parents myself, believe me on that! The school system is well aware that if my child is touched one more time, I will proceed with legal charges and hold them accountable. The Principal also was not pleased when I informed her that I was going to issue my son a whistle to blow any time this child tried to hurt him.
I read this the other day, and wish more teachers would follow suit:
Teacher in New York was teaching her class about bullying and gave them the following exercise to perform: She had the children take a piece of paper and told them to crumple it up, stomp on it and really mess it up, but do not rip it. Then she had them unfold the paper, smooth it out and look at how scarred and dirty it was. She then told them to tell it they’re sorry. Now, even though they said they were sorry and tried to fix the paper, she pointed out all the scars they left behind. And that those scars will never go away no matter how hard they tried to fix it. That is what happens when a child bully's another child. They may say they’re sorry, but the scars are there forever. The looks on the faces of the children in the classroom told her the message hit home.
Maybe that would be enough for a child to understand the severity of their actions?
Bullying is not just "kids being kids". It can have a damaging impact on children, families and communities. As an adult, I know I can help in a few specific ways. Here is my pledge:
I will speak up — I will take a stand about this issue, even before it touches my friends and family, so everyone knows I take it seriously.
I will advocate — I will advocate for children, both my own and others, in need of my help. I will support quality bullying prevention training for all school staff so everyone can effectively help our children.
I will be a partner — I will work with schools, parents, caretakers, coaches, and others working hard to stop bullying - especially if they report my child is involved.
Bullying makes kids want to be invisible. We can show them, through our actions, that we see them, we are listening - and most importantly - they can count on us to make their lives better. Taking this pledge is the first step, so I will forward it to my friends and family to grow a community committed to ending bullying. I will speak up.