I know bullying.
Personally and through my children. In elementary school, I was smart. Sort of pretty.
A talented equestrian, singer, dancer, and creative writer. I was also chubby. Not obese. Not even fat, really. But not a skinny jeans kind of girl.
Sda sex dating
That strength came from my parents, who believed in me. In turn, I believe in my children.
My oldest son, Jason, is gay. He knew it before I did, and so when the bullying began, he knew why. Never underestimate the power of a mother bear, and I became one.
School counselors told me to leave it alone. Things would get better. To escape the torment in California, Jason chose to live with his father my ex in New Mexico. Wy youngest child, Orion, is almost fourteen. He was teased some in elementary school, but the real bullying began last year, in seventh grade.
One kid was largely at the heart of it. I started hearing his name in September, when he began calling Orion gay. Why does that term, accurate or not, jumpstart abusive behavior?
Over the course of the year, this kid and his friends volleyed relentless verbal attacks that eventually became physical. Orion was shoved, pushed to the ground, hit, and once had his head slammed into a locker.
This time the school had no choice but to get involved. I tried calling his parents. Fortunately, a passerby prevented what might have been an even worse incident. I called the sheriff, who sent a deputy to address the issue.
This year, everything seems to be in a holding pattern. Not only do many Americans tolerate bullying, they stand in the wings and cheer it on. In fact, there lately seems to be a real celebration of violent attacks against people who are different. Forget the fact that most of these people are citizens of the United States of America—a country founded on the principles of religious freedom.
Chubby or skinny; geek smart or challenged; gay or perceived that way; black, brown, yellow, or any color other than the person hurling insults. Any of these things can make someone a target. Some might argue this is simply the evolutionary byproduct of survival of the fittest. That all animals weed out the weak.
But the human animal has a brain capable of compassion. Not only are we reminded daily of those differences by loud-mouthed pundits, but those same political shock jocks encourage fear-based reactions to those who are different.
They whip their listeners into frenzied overreactions, with results like the cab driver who was shot for admitting his religious affiliation. Or places of worship being torched. Picking on others is learned behavior. The kid who manifests violence has learned violence somewhere. Too often, that somewhere is home.
Parents should teach their children to respect diversity. It does take a village to raise a child who embraces all people, regardless of their differences. Which means we must take action whenever we suspect bullying.
Does that make you uncomfortable? Consider these statistics:. Despite those sobering stats, more than half of all bullying events are never reported at all.
GHOSTGIRL: LOVESICK, by Tonya Hurley
So it is our job, as that village, to stand up and take notice. To care enough about every child—mainstream or somehow different—to ensure his or her safety.
That means speaking out boldly against any acts of violence toward those who are different. And also teaching our children that our unique traits make us special, not something to be feared, taunted, or pushed toward suicide.
The authors whose stories follow have chosen to speak out boldly, to unite in a call to action against bullying.
New Look with the Same Maps
They have been bullied. And they have bullied. Hindsight brings a broad perspective to these acts. To help us create safe communities, homes, and schools, where everyone is valued for who they are, not in spite of their differences but because of them.
But I definitely remember you. It was middle school—seventh grade for me, eighth grade for you—and we took the school bus together every morning and afternoon. I remember the first time I saw you: slick dark hair, designer jeans, high-top sneakers, and a leather jacket. That one outfit probably cost more than my entire wardrobe at the time.
Was it my lack of style that made me a target? At first it was just name-calling: dumbdorkstupiduglytrash bagbitchlosercuntuglyassholestuckupsnottyassbitchnastyidiot snobmoronstupidasswipedildoloserscumbaguglybitchdouchebag.
I knew that others were looking, too, checking for my reaction. But instead you just got more people involved.
Other boys not all, but some were drawn to you and helped you out with your ridicule. If any of my friends were around, they kept a distance from me for their own survival. Eventually they stopped taking the bus altogether, opting to have a parent drive them instead. Sometimes I was able to hitch a ride. It went on for months like this before things got physical. Before you started pushing me from behind, shoving me out into the street at the bus stop, tugging my hair, pulling at my clothes, slapping the back of my head, and spitting in my face.
While your cohorts thought it was funny as hell, others stayed out of it, most likely relieved that it was me you were harassing and not them. It was hard for my mom to hear about the terrible time I was having with you. She begged the principal to have a teacher stick around at the end of the school day until the bus came. The principal agreed. My mother told the principal that you were the one harassing me and that it was his job to ensure a safe environment for children.
Again, he agreed. And so one morning, one of my older brothers, the captain of the high school football team at the time, decided to accompany me to the bus stop.
Ghost girl tonya hurley pdf printer
He got into your face. Threatened you. And pushed you back a couple times. In that moment, you seemed intimidated. Your cohorts certainly were. But while they stopped harassing me completely and even apologized for it , you continued the very next day.
And in that time, you managed to push me down onto the pavement and kick me with mud, until I was covered. Until it was in my hair, and in my ears, and up inside the crevices of my mouth. That was the last time I took the bus. From then on I walked to and from school. A couple years later, I changed schools.
Intellicast Maps Are Now Here on Weather Underground
And then flash forward about fifteen years: I was in my twenties, working in the writing center of a college. My job was to assist students with their essays and research papers. One night, just before my shift was over, a student came in, wanting me to help her with an interview assignment. She was asked to interview someone whom she really looked up to and respected, and then to write an essay based on her findings.
The first time you were snapped in the ear with a rubber band in algebra class and were made to sit still in your seat despite telling the teacher, who was also afraid, all while trying to figure out the value for x. The first time you were shaken down for lunch money or tripped in the hallway or the first time you were forced to cower in fear on the school bus or were humiliated in front of teachers and classmates in ways you could have scarcely imagined.
The first time your virginity was publicly disputed in graphic detail before you even really knew what virginity meant. The first time your innocence was taken from you, your faith in people and your illusions about the world and your place in it were thoroughly and irretrievably shattered.
I tried to deal with you, Steven, in any number of ways—by ignoring you, avoiding you, reporting you, and eventually even fighting with you.