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.
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.
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?
at 10:47 AM