The Bullying Epidemic

The Bullying Epidemic

bullying

Thanks to The Bully Project for sponsoring my writing. Visit their website to join the movement and learn more.

soccer bully
Sweet, Innocent, Pigtails... Bullied

Another little girl (also in preschool) has been picking on my daughter.  She has pushed her down on the playground a couple of times causing a few scraped knees.  But it is the sweet voice of my daughter as she’s getting dressed that really breaks my heart  “I wonder if Annie will be nice to me today.”  (names have been changed) 

My husband had a phone call this morning from our daughter’s preschool teacher saying:

“We are aware of the situation.  We are watching it closely.  But this is the age it starts with girls.”

My daughter is FOUR.  Just 4.  As in her birthday was 2 months ago.

THIS is when bullying starts?  Seriously?

Bullying

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.  After all, this isn’t our first exposure to bullying.

During my son’s conference at the beginning of first grade, I asked how he was doing with friends and he started crying – sobbing really – because another little boy was mean to him during recess.

This other boy, we’ll say Chuck, made sure my son was excluded from any game the other boys were playing.  It absolutely broke my heart to listen to him sob out the story in between the stutter and hiccup that comes with hard crying.  I, sniff, can’t, hiccup, play, sob, with the other boys.   The teacher hadn’t been aware of it and once she was informed she made sure my son was included during recess.  Things got better, but I’ll never forget the way my heart felt as it sunk deep into my chest while listening to my son’s pain.

How Common Is Bullying?

Over 13 Million American kids will be bullied this year.  13 MILLION.  

I know I was bullied as a kid, but I was wondering how prevalent bullying is, so asked this question on facebook:

Were you or your kids ever bullied?

The number of responses I had in less than 5 minutes was amazing.  On Easter Sunday no less.

I asked about bullying on a personal facebook page too.  The responses from moms about the bullying their kids have had to deal with was heartbreaking.

My son pretends he can take it – sometimes maybe he does, but sometimes I watch him internalize it and start to believe it.

My oldest daughter cried every day of 5th grade because of “mean girls”…

.. my baby when she was a kindie would get picked on because she worse glasses and had dark hair while her sister was blonde so they would tell her she was ugly and adopted..

…my nephew is doing online school this year because last year a bully was setting him up to corner him after school and pick on him. The bully would get my nephew’s friends to invite him to their house, then show up and beat on him. It was awful.   …the school didn’t do much – kids will be kids.

My friend’s daughter in preschool had a bully tell her that he was going to kill her if she didn’t give him her snack. Also told her the pool drain would suck her in and kill her. She wouldn’t swim after that. This kid also punched other kids and used scare tactics. The school talked with the kid & told my friend’s daughter to get a thicker skin and understand that she wasn’t in danger. My friend pulled her daughter out of the school.

I didn’t realize that bullying has become an epidemic in America.   But even scarier?  I didn’t realize how dangerous bullying has become.  It isn’t just a “kids will be kids” or “get a thicker skin” situation.  People die.  In fact, one of my Facebook readers contacted me privately and told me that her cousin was bullied so badly in school that he took a shotgun and tried to shoot a teacher and another kid before turning the gun on himself.   The cousin died due to the self inflicted wounds.

This is no longer a story on the news.  It hits home.  Too close to home.

Bully (the movie)

As noted above, this post was sponsored and initiated due to the generosity of The Bully Project .   The Bully Project’s goal is to bring an end to bullying and transform society.  One avenue they are using to bring awareness to this issue, is through the movie they made called Bully.  Bully is a documentary about the often endangered lives of bullied kids and documents why the “kids will be kids” attitude doesn’t work.   The hope is that watching the movie will inspire parents and kids to change how bullying is handled in schools and society as a whole.

Following five kids and families over the course of a school year, the film confronts bullying’s most tragic outcomes, including the stories of two families who’ve lost children to suicide and a mother who waits to learn the fate of her 14 –year-old daughter, incarcerated after bringing a gun on her school bus. With rare access to the Sioux City Community School District, the film also gives an intimate glimpse into school busses, classrooms, cafeterias and even principles offices, offering insight into the often-cruel world of children, as teachers, administrators and parents struggle to find answers.
Bully will be shown in select theaters beginning Friday, March 30.

 

I had so much to say on the bullying topic, that I split it into another post.  Tomorrow’s topic is What you should do if your child is bullied.  I am going to see the movie Bully on Thursday and I hope you will try to see it too.  Together we can make a difference and protect our kids.

I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective.   Find showings in your area for The Bully Project and buy tickets here.

12 Responses to The Bullying Epidemic

  1. As an educator, I pride myself on paying close attention in my classroom to when these types of situations arise so I can immediately nip them in the bud. It is important that schools adopt a zero tolerance policy towards bullying and that they create opportunities for discourse around the topic. You are doing the right thing, as a parent, by monitoring the situation and being proactive in addressing it.

    • Thanks so much for commenting Maria. Your insight as a teacher is much appreciated and I must admit I didn’t handle it very well the first time bullying was raised. I did brush it off in a kids will be kids kind of attitude -Just ignore it. Walk away. Etc.

      I am very glad opportunities like this are raising awareness and helping parents learn how to deal with bullying and the serious consequences.

  2. This is a topic that I’ve been writing about on my blog since about September 2011. There have been so many tv movies about this topic on various stations and then a 20/20 show about it that I covered. Thank you for bringing this to the forefront and I look forward to reading again tomorrow! Thank you! And I’m so sorry to hear what happened to your own children. I think parents (who are rough and gruff at home) are to blame too because they are not teaching their children to be kind and courteous and include others in games. It all starts in the home! Then school is the next step.

    • Thank you Carolyn! Please leave some links to posts you think are applicable – I’d love to read them and I’m sure others would too.

      My kids are not perfect. Not by any means and some learning of social boundaries, behavior etc is expected in school. But the repeated, degrading, simply MEAN behavior astonishes me every time.

  3. Thanks for posting this — this and other articles have really raised my awareness and all the projects out there to perhaps help this national epidemic. It is truly sad and needs more attention than it gets.

    • I agree Ratna. Prior to this post and some of the bullying stories in our group, I was along the Kids will be Kids attitude. I am so grateful blogging has brought awareness to me and taught me a different way to handle this rather than dismissing it.

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