Thursday, April 1, 2010

Bullies are not welcome here.

Although today is April Fool's Day and the beginning of the best month ever (hello it's my birthday month, haha) and I originally had a very lighthearted post ready to go I just couldn't put it up with something else so serious on my mind. A couple of days ago I saw this story on the news about a high school girl that committed suicide and nine of the kids that continuously bullied her are being charged for various crimes contributing to her death.

Basically it makes me so incredibly sad and angry all at once that nothing is done about bullying when so many severe cases end with either suicide or a school shooting. How can this not be a serious issue that is addressed before it's too late???

For example, when I was younger a guy in my class would harass me and make fun of my ears, no big deal. However one day he followed me and my friend home (I lived around the block from the school) shouting obscenities and just being plain mean. Needless to say it scared the crap out of us and the first thing I did when I got home was tell my dad.

The next day my dad was at my school talking to my teachers telling them what happened and was even allowed to talk to the boy by himself. Now I don't really know what my dad said to the kid but he never harassed me again. Heck I don't think he ever made fun of anyone after that and even sort of became a friend. My dad even gave him a basketball at Christmastime because he realized the kid didn't really have any support at home and just needed someone to listen to him and help him change his ways and that's exactly what my dad did.

Now I know that what I experienced is nothing compared to what this girl went through and what any kid can go through these days now that there's Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, texting, etc. but it still hurt and I was glad someone listened to me and took it seriously.

I just wish that more people would either one. stop bullying because it's just ridiculous or two. listen to the people that are getting bullied and see if there's a way to help. Yes a little banter here and there is not too bad but when it comes down to daily harassment and ridicule, something needs to happen before it goes too far.

Although bullying is not a new issue, I'm glad that it's finally getting a new spotlight albeit at the expense of a young girl's life. Let's just remember, bullying is not something to be taken lightly.

25 comments:

Momcat said...

Your dad sounds like an absolute star because most dads would have wanted to beat the kid or his parents up or at least to get some punishment for the offender. What your dad did was much better and quite possibly may have changed that kid's life for the better.

Chrissy said...

Your dad is an angel for reaching out and recognizing why the boy did what he did.. I think bullying stems from low self esteem, wanting attention and also control... Your dad was right tho, lack of parental attention plays a huge part and when u don't have that its due to the characteristics I listed above. No matter how small or big the bullying is, hurt is hurt...

alyndabear said...

It's so sad, hey? :( So many issues of this happening at the moment. School used to seem so much easer back then.. but I guess things happened just as they do now, they just weren't publicly called out like the media can do today.

Wow, rambly comment much, Alynda? ;-)

Your dad rocks! And I'm sure your ears are lovely. :)

Julie Q said...

Its so sad to hear about bullies. I used to have a girl pull my hair all the time during 7th grade math class- i didn't think it was a big deal- but when i told my mom- she went straight to the school and my hair never got pulled again. I'm glad the bullying stopped for you as well (spoiler alert- the girl ended up dating my brother most of the years i was in college) ha! she had grown out of her 7th grade bullyingness, thankfully!!

amanda said...

aw, bullying makes me sad. i'll never understand it. when i watch movies, and read books where such horrible stuff goes on i always wonder if that stuff REALLY happens. it kind of breaks my heart.

dads to the rescue!

Anonymous said...

i love your dad.

j$

lspoon said...

I was bullied in middle school. The kids on the bus would take my backpack and tear up my schoolbooks and throw my stuff out of the windows. And then they'd get off at my stop and follow me home. And one day I couldn't take it anymore and I went inside and got a knife (just to scare them, not to kill them). We had to report the kids to the police b/c they stole my house key and my sister totally spilled the beans about the knife and while I got in the serious trouble I deserved, I didn't ride the bus again until my 8th grade year when I learned to make some snappy comebacks to the mean and hurtful things the kids would say to me and then all of a sudden I was somehow cool. I hated middle school..obvi but it did toughen me up quite a bit.

Also, years later I read the book 'Born on a Rotten Day' and my birthday description totally mentions that I'm not above threatening people with a butcher's knife. Right hand to God. That book is eerie :)

Allison M. said...

We think alike- I was going to write a post about this. It's terrible and heart breaking because the bullying must've been so bad that she felt the only way out was killing herself.

I only remember being made fun of for getting good grades and I think a boy or two who had a crush on me called me the "teacher's pet."

That's nothing compared to what a lie on Facebook can do to a kid's self esteem.

Parents need to be there for their kids. Monitor their online habits. and talk with them.

Jane said...

I was bullied once in junior high. Note, I said "once." My parents complained, and the school administration cracked down very seriously. Some of the worst bullying (i.e. mean girls) is hard to deal with with current policies, though. Girls can be vicious.

Her said...

I was bullied by this girl in the 2nd grade--my mom had a 'discussion' with her, and we became the best of friends and eventually college room mates. It's amazing what a little touch of intervention can do--props to your dad!

Nora said...

Your dad should run a seminar on how to help & deal with bullies. I know that there are a lot of broken families and rough situations out there and I have compassion for those kids, I really do, but someone does need to be there to help and realize that bullying is often a cry for help. What worries me most is that with the education budget cuts I'm afraid teachers and school counselors won't have the time, energy or incentive to pay attention. It's all such a slippery slope.

I was made fun of in middle school a lot, for things I don't even remember now, but I do know that it was terribly uncool and so awkward.

Great post, Katelin.

alyssa said...

I just heard about that incident yesterday. I think it's just crazy. I am probably naive but I didn't really experience anything like that or know anyone that had gone through anything extreme like that. I think it was awesome of you Dad to realize that the kid didn't have much of a role model, because that's how those kids end up like that :-/ Sad.

Grace said...

Well said. Thank you for posting this. In school I always stood up to the bullies. There were guys who constantly harassed other kids so I would swoop in and yell at them and let the kid get away. They never did anything to me because I wasn't an "easy target" but thinking back to those days I was the only kid that stood up to bullies at my school and I never saw a teacher do anything. You're right. We need to have something better in place.

Rahul said...

Your dad was cool. When I was bullied my dad said "deal with it".

So I did.

By tying their sneakers to their desk.

Take that suckas!

The Modern Gal said...

I'm glad to hear of your dad's response. Bullying needs to be stopped from the source, and I think many bullies are victims themselves somehow. As we all grow up and have kids, we all need to be responsible to teach kids (and adults too!) that bullying is wrong and life is better when you respect everyone around you.

san said...

To be honest, I think often times it's the parents ("behind" those bullies) that are the REAL problem... because they don't teach their children manners and they don't cooperate with the school/teachers.

It's really sad to see this go so far. A little banter is part of growing up, but you need to draw a line somewhere.

Jamie Pickle said...

Great post. It is so scary what kids are doing to their peers these days.

Bravo to your dad for sticking up for you and taking the time to understand the real issue for the kid bothering you.

Belle Renee said...

I'm glad your bullying situation was taken care of in a timely manner and didn't go spinning out of control like the article you mention.

What makes me so angry about the article's story is the fact that everyone's been calling it "bullying" when, in fact, she was RAPED by two of these kids. The media needs to call a spade a spade and not sugarcoat rape and assault by calling it simply bullying. I am incensed over that.

Andrea said...

I love this post, Katelin. It is definitely worth saying again and again.

samdotcom said...

Excellent post Katelin.

Bullying is horrible. And yes, there are the extreme cases we hear about as they result in suicides and shootings - it just breaks my heart. But what we don't hear about are the kids who don't take the extreme action, but have become so self conscious they are living as a shell of a human being. I mean, how long can you take being called names, being looked down upon before you slowly start to believe parts of what is being said? Worse still when it turns to physical abuse. It is awful, and happens way more often than most would ever fathom, or admit to.

Ali said...

So, SO true. It's a small act to some people that often has MAJOR consequences.

Jessica (Bayjb) said...

The latest stories on the TODAY show about bullying and people being beaten or committing suicide because of it is really sad. I cannot imagine being in those shoes.

Sarah said...

so glad you posted about this. BUllying isn't something to be taken lightly and now it is brought to a whole new level because of technology. It is so sad that this poor girl had to lose her life to bring notice to this topic.

alexa - cleveland's a plum said...

i was very mean to a girl in the 7th grade and it actually caused her to change schools, to this day it's one of the things i regret most about myself! i was so mean, i wish i knew how to get a hold of her and apologize.

Kristan said...

Ditto what Momcat said. The good part of this story is that you told someone; the better part of this story is that that someone helped you address the problem; the best part of this story is that the bully got help too.

Sigh. The world can be so sad and scary sometimes. Stories like yours are great, because it gives hope, and direction. Thank you.