What are you doing?

Have you seen this article? The one about then 10 year old girl who hung herself because kids at school were called her ugly and fat and a slut? It seems like more and more stories like this are popping up every week.

It’s disgusting. When did kids get so mean? When did teachers get so complacent.

I recall a life lesson I learned. This could never be done in schools because I’m pretty sure it isn’t ethical. In 3rd grade I was a girl scout. My family lived in England, and I was the only girl from the troupe who attended a British school, all of the other girls attended school on base.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but as one of two Americans at my school, I was teased constantly. Mostly for my American accent, but I was often called “Skanky Yankee”.

One night at girl scouts I arrived to see that one of the girls in my troupe had invited a girl from my school – the two of them had dance classes together. Unfortunately, this girl was one of the biggest bullies from my school. As I sat down with my friends at the other end of the table I said something like “That’s the mean girl that picks on me at school.” and then us third graders moved on with our girl scouty craft project.

Apparently, my simple sentence about my bully got back to the troupe leader. See, it was the troupe leader’s daughter who had brought my bully. So instead of her hearing “This is the girl that picks on Jessica every day at school.” she heard “Jessica is picking on my friend/guest.”

So the following week the leader had it in her to teach me a lesson. I showed up to scouts as usual, a little late – and that’s when it started. I heard girls saying that I was smelly. The older girls. The ones I looked up to. One snidely remarked “Don’t you know what deodorant is?” Another girl held covered her nose as she walked past me.

These antics continued for the entire meeting. Shortly before my mother was due to show up the leader called me aside,  “Jessica, how do you feel right now?” I explained that I was upset because the older girls were picking on me and calling me names. To which the leader responded “Well that’s what you did to my daughter’s guest last week. It doesn’t feel so good to be picked on, does it?” After which she addressed all of the girls about how bullying is wrong, blah blah blah.

Then I had to write a letter of apology to my bully.

Justice.

After I told my Mom about this, she didn’t let me go back to girl scouts until we got a new leader.

I’m over this incident now. I realize that adults can be one sided when it comes to their own children. I realize that even bullies can get their feelings hurt, and I realized that the world is not fair. Another thing I learned from that night? Never say anything mean, even if it’s about mean people.

That lesson, though unfair, has stuck with me. I don’t know how to translate it into something useful for other kids (because honestly I was kind of scarred), but I wish there was a way to do it. To make kids realize what they are doing to each other is mean. But… there has to be a better way.

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Also, to the idiots who want pizza in school lunches to count as a vegetable because it has tomato paste…. tomatoes are a fruit,

 

Continue the fun!

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3 Comments

  1. Bully is really a tough subject. Most of the time we find out that bullies are being bullied themselves by either their parents, guardian, or an older sibling. At least this seems to be true in schools with high poverty rates. I have 3 bullies in my class. Usually they bully because they want and crave attention. They will do anything to get it. So I try to be proactive and check in with each of them in the morning to see how they day is going to see if I can minimize the conflicts for the day. I also have long talks with the victims too. We talk about ways to avoid the hurt feelings. It is tough, but some how we manage to get by day by day:)

    1. It does require being proactive – you are such an awesome teacher Jody, and it gets more difficult has the age group goes up, I think. It just seems like in all of the cases publicized by the news, that every one knew there was bullying going on. 🙁

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