mardi, avril 24, 2012

The Boy, the bullies and the battle

Yesterday I was driving down to the middle school to pick up my son (AKA the Boy).  Next year he's going to add marching band to his menu of after-school options, and as far as I can tell, he's going to need to rent a classroom overnight to keep up with his schedule.

I didn't use to think so, but the Boy is one of the fortunate ones.  Though he's had his share of negative attention from kids on the bus, and at school (recall the infamous incident of the broken eardrum), he has learned to cope.  Adroitly, if I may say so.

Recently he said to me that after these incidents, he's figured out "how to choose  friends that will defend me."

But Kenneth Weishuhn was not so lucky.  Described as a fun-loving, sweet boy, Kenneth came out to his school recently -- and was tormented.  Picked on so badly that a hate group was formed on Facebook -- and joined, apparently, by kids he thought were his friends.

 A few weeks ago, he hung himself.

Read the editorial in the Sioux City Journal for more information.  ( .

The Sioux City school system, as noted in the article, is the one where much of the documentary "Bully" was filmed. And they HAVE an anti-bullying program. It's very sobering to think that even with intervention, kids can be hit and mocked, insulted and treated as though they weren't human.

You don't have to be gay to have your life made so miserable that you consider killing yourself. You just have to be considered "different."  A minority in a majority school.  A girl on a boy's team. Developmentally disabled.  The new kid.

We need to understand why people bully -- and why some of us choose not to bully.

And then, instead of averting our vision because it's too awkward, or scary, or we simply can't believe what we are seeing, we need to have the cojones to stand up for the child (or adult) who is victimized.

Inside of all of us, there is both a bully -- and a victim.

Who will win the battle in your life today?

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