Bullying must stop

“Bullying can happen anywhere and to anyone.” 1

It’s sad but true.  Were you bullied in school?  I was.
And it was horrible.

7th grade is a huge transitional year for students moving from elementary to jr. high school.  Kids are figuring out who they are and testing the waters of where they fit in.  During the summer leading up to 7th grade, unbeknownst to me, there would be a major revolt amongst the “popular girls,” and things were about to change dramatically in my social circle.

The leader of the pack led an attack against me when school started.  And I still don’t know why.
Later my Mom came up with the explanation that there was just “one blonde too many” which was never one I fully accepted.  It was her way of trying to make me feel better, but of course that explanation explained nothing to a 12 year old.

All I knew was that I suddenly had NO friends and the people I considered my friends for the past seven years were taunting me.  I started to fake being sick to avoid having to go to school and be tortured by my classmates.  (Some days I actually was physically ill, so nervous and scared what the girls would say to me and the humiliation I would feel- that my stomach was queezy.)  It wasn’t until the principal called my Mom and told her that if I missed any more school I would FAIL 7th grade, which was unfortunate considering I was a 4.0 student.

Hang on….
My Mom didn’t know what was going on?
The principal didn’t know what was going on?
The teachers didn’t know what was going on?
Where were the adults in all of this??

This experience is definitely one of the reasons I went into teaching– I wanted to be the teacher who was there for those kids that felt left out or different.  I’m blessed to know that I have made a difference for some of my students- I’ve been the first person 2 of my students have ‘come out’ to.  Another student and I connected after she finally broke down crying and told me that she had OCD.  Other students have asked if they could “hide out” in my classroom during lunch to avoid the drama going on with their circle of friends at lunch- I’m glad to have been available to lend a listening ear.  I’m proud to be a teacher that students trust enough when they know they need to tell an adult what is going on.

But what of all of the other students?  The ones that slip through the cracks?  The ones who are too shy to speak up to an adult (which may have been why nothing happened to rectify the bullying I was facing in 7th grade)?

I’ve recently been made aware of a horrible bullying situation in Missouri.  The daughter of a blogger friend I follow (www.slapdashmom.com) has been harassed and bullied since the first day of school this year and nothing is being done about it.  As someone who has been bullied and someone who works in the public school system, this is absolutely atrocious to me!  Ok, as someone who is SANE and has a HEART, this is absolutely unacceptable to me!

This is a topic I will continue to research and discuss here on The Stress Free Spanish Teacher.  I encourage you to visit http://slapdashmom.com/what-happens-when-bully-victims-fight-back/ and read the story yourself.  I’m writing this post for little Sapphire today- who has begged her Mom to let her stay home from school today because she just can’t handle the harassment she has to deal with on a daily basis.  Please participate in any of the actions suggested by SlapDashMom to help her daughter out!

Thank you!

1  http://www.stopbullying.gov/