Friday, January 6, 2012

Stop Bullying Where it Matters

Our schools have a zero tolerance rule about bullying. I think that this has led to a new kind of bullying.

Stealth bullying.

Back when I was a kid, bullies were always HUGE. I remember one such bully plowing through the hallway, shoving people into lockers. If you watch TV, bullies were always giants, lurking with their troll breath over some poor scrawny kid wearing big glasses and Urkle pants.

But zero tolerance has taken that bully and ended them. My son is one of the biggest kids in his grade. He, though, is a gentle giant. He reads (he loves Stephen King and Goosebumps books), does origami, and draws comic strips.

All around, he is a swell little guy. At both his regular daycare and his backup daycare, they consider him a helpful kid, fun to be around and always getting along well with others. He has friends still that he has had his whole life. He befriends underdogs. He is just... a nice guy.

And he is begging me to pull him out of the brick and mortar and homeschool him.

"He calls me a gay fag. He told me that I should just die since no one likes me. He told me that he can tell me how to kill myself if I was too stupid to figure it out by myself."

When my son, who is usually very soft spoken and never cries, yelled these words at me with tears pouring down his face...

My heart twisted in my chest. Why him? Why was someone picking on him? Why would anyone say things like that to another kid?

And there was more. Apparently this child has come to school gloating and educating others on words like 'teabagging' and other phrases that I would love to say my kid didn't know... but he does now. Free education... I guess.

It got me to thinkin... How is all this going on without the school knowing?

I asked if he was bigger than my son-- Bullies, as I said, are supposed to be big enough to kick your ass. He isn't. He actually has called both my son and daughter (according to her) fatasses. (Neither of my kids are even a little overweight and regular doctors visit verify that they are growing up very healthy... leading me to believe that perhaps this child is very small...)

Bullying today isn't like it was when we were kids. No tolerance has lead to a new kind of villain and a new kind of victim.

Stealth bullies.

Whispered words and notes... things teachers can't see or regulate.

And it is sad, really.

Because the biggest victim, in this case as in so many cases of bullying, is the other child.

I am supporting my son. I am behind him 100%. If it needs to happen, I will pull him out of the brick and mortar and he will come home and they won't be able to touch him.

But that other little kid...

Do you realize the kind of environment he must live in? What has he seen... what insecurities is he masking with his attacks on other kids? What has he heard that led to his vast knowledge on topics that no sixth grader should know about (Teabagging, for example)?

How scary is the mental picture of what he goes home to every night?

My stomach is clenching just thinking about it all. I honestly believe that there is no such thing as a bad kid... There are bad parents. There are bad circumstances. But I cannot believe that any soft, sweet warm bundle of life is born BAD.

And though my son is dealing with this, we will get through it. He will be stronger, someday, for having made it through this.

That other kid? It is terribly, terribly sad.

And if I end up having to bring my middle son home...Who will be the next target? Bullies don't stop because the one they were bullying is gone. They find someone else... someone else that will take the brunt of their anger and frustration.

I have asked the school for help. It is the most that I can do. But if your child goes through something like this... If your child is bullied...

Please, I beg of you, remember that the 'monster' is a child, too. Something is making this kid do this.

Kudos to those of you who raised kids who care. I am sorry if you have to deal with something like this. But who speaks out for the bully?

It may not work. But if you can save one kid...
Isn't it worth a shot?


  1. You are such an amazing person! I would never have stopped to even consider this other child because he is terrorizing mine, but yet, here you are. And yes, it does make you wonder. Does this child have an older brother or sister who is bullying him? Or another family member? I think most of us forget that this "monster" is still a child.
    In case I haven't told you to are my hero!!

  2. Virg, I am so sorry for what your baby is going through. I suppose it was only a matter of time for a bully to be redefined. I do admire your ability to see the needs of the other child and you will be rewarded for that wonderful perception. Being the good person you are, it only stands to reason what an incredible mother that makes you. You are and you will find a solution because you won't allow your children to suffer. Kimberly called you a hero. Of course, from my own perspective, I already knew that but I had to come over and see what it was this time. I'm glad I did. You touched me so much on this, I began reading your older posts. Wow...if you ever watched that movie The Blind Side, Sandra Bullock's character was assessed as being like an onion being peeled back to reveal the many different layers. Yep. I'm beginning to recognize that in you. I'm sending up prayers for your little guy and the other one you've shown such compassion for. Love ya!

  3. You guys made me cry...*hugs*
    I honestly believe that people reflect the beauty around them...

    So if I come across as a good person in some way, it is because of all the awesomesauce that is rubbing off from hanging out with y'all. :)

    So flattered... you guys have no idea. Thank you.

  4. Virg! I am so sorry you have to go through this. I do understand. When Koryna (my daughter) was in third grade, she was teased for being fat. Mind you...she is 10 years old and can wear a size 5T. But because she would consume so much food during lunch, she was being called "fat". Needless to say she stopped eating lunch at school. I didn't even realize it until a teacher called and told me. It is a horrible thing. I think bullying has always been around. I do feel that it has only gotten worse. I do feel much of it is due to plain laziness, most which rests on the parents' shoulders. I do feel that society as a whole has gone downhill since the government has deemed spanking as "child abuse". They have also deemed washing a child's mouth out with soap to be "abusing a child through poison". These are my personal opinions and not everyone will agree with me. I think there are too many parents out there that want their kids to be their friend, not their dependent. Kudos to you Virg for stating this!

  5. I agree with you, Danielle.

    My kids have friends. Although I feel that they can talk to me, one of the things I remind them is that I am NOT one of their friends. Respecting your elders is something as important for kids to learn as brushing their teeth.

    If you don't respect your parents, can you respect your teachers? If you don't respect your teachers, how are you going to treat your boss? Not teaching children respect cripples them for dealing with the real world where we then expect them to behave with professionalism.

    Does this mean that I don't want my kids to talk to me? NO.

    There is a difference and, like you, I feel many are confusing it lately.