Schools now have signs announcing Anti-Bullying Zones, but sadly kids still get bullied, and we all know the results can sometimes be deadly.
As a child, I was bullied by a popular sixth-grade Barbie-doll lookalike who enjoyed reminding me how un-Barbie I was.
One day the teacher left the portable. There was a rush of whispers, desks were jerked back and there I stood face to face with my tormentor.
Little did Barbie doll know that my dad had taught me to throw a killer punch. My fist made contact with her nose; there was lots of blood. The next thing I knew the teacher was sending bloody Barbie with two friends down to see the school nurse.
I was ordered out of the room. My teacher stepped out of the portable and before I could defend myself, she said, “She deserved that!”
I was never punished.
Last year my son’s elementary school principal called me. Apparently Joshua, who has the biggest heart ever – I mean, I installed it myself – had been smack talking with two boys. She told me that the kids weren’t in trouble. They thought they were all goofing on each other.
What they didn’t realize was that one of the boys was internalizing it all; he went home and said that he didn’t want to come back to school.
I told my son that although the child may have been playing along, inside he was hurting.
“Next year you’re going to middle school and I want you to be a hero,” I told him. “If you see someone being bullied, I want you to be the one to step up and defend the kid. No one likes a bully. If you say something, others will get behind you. If you see a kid eating lunch alone, go talk to him. That’s who I want you to be, Joshua; I want you to be a hero.”
We need heroes.
We need our kids to care about other kids, but they won’t unless we tell them we’re expecting it.
As for my tormentor, she ended up with a broken nose that led to a nose job, making her even more Barbie-esque.
Me, I ended up with a badass reputation – no one ever bullied me again. In fact, they were afraid, so I used that and always stood up for the little guy. I keep my cape in the closet.