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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

No More Bullying! Are Our Schools Equipped To Address This Issue?

"Mommy, the kids in my class and on my bus say they think I am a girl and ask if I am gay."



I've had enough!  Too many times has my son come to me with a down-cast look, his shoulders slumped and near tears after hearing an onslaught of taunts from his peers throughout the day.

The definitions of bullying range from "abuse and mistreatment of someone vulnerable" to "unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance...the behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time."  Harassment is defined as "causing the person alarm or distress."  Teasing is defined as "to laugh at and criticize someone in a way that is either friendly and playful or cruel and unkind."  Either of these definitions can apply to what my son is experiencing and I want it to stop.

I don't think our schools are equipped to handle this issue.  At least not the school where our children currently attend.  Why do I say this?  Because the behavior continues to occur without ceasing.

This is not a discussion about sexuality or gender identity.  It is a discussion about my son feeling ostracized and targeted at a place where he spends the majority of his day.  I don't like it.

My husband and I read each of the newsletters when they come home with our children and I do not see any workshops being offered that address bullying.  The school offers themed weeks to deal with drug abuse, team spirit and even future vocation choices, but not one on how to deal with a bully or the consequences of bullying.  Our children even come home discussing the active shooter awareness sessions in which they have participated but not once have I heard about discussions dealing with bullying.

I am tired of telling my son to ignore the comments and "it's not what you are called but what you answer to."  I am sure he too is tired of hearing, "Someone is always going to have something to say about you so you have to deal with it."  Deal with it?  How?

What am I to do as a parent?  Our attempts to appeal to the school's administration on our son's behalf seem futile.  Move him to another school?  Will that truly guarantee that he will no longer experience taunting?  Am I to home-school him until he reaches a certain age?  These choices all seem as if it is my son's fault for his experience.  Or perhaps I should boycott the entire school system until the perpetrators are "brought to justice."

I know my son is not the first to have this type of experience nor will he be the last.  This fact does not lesson the aggravation, disappointment and sheer sadness I feel each time I hear my son recount his day at school.

A recent report shared on dosomething.org states that over 3.2 million students are victims of bullying each year.  There are equally stark statistics regarding how many teens attempt to take their lives due to bullying.  Bullying unaddressed manifests itself in terrible and ugly ways, even into adulthood.

Please hear my son's voice...

"I don't appreciate you calling me those names.  It feels disrespectful and hurtful.  In the Bible it says to treat others as you want to be treated.  Would you say mean things to your mom?"

Something has to change.

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Shatanese is a business owner and author of future books who resides in Atlanta, GA with her husband and their six children.  She enjoys walks on the beach and colorful sunrises.  Shatanese's goal is to find the extraordinary in every day moments.

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Contact shatanese@superextraordinarymom.com

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