Many 5ks are to raise money for charity, which is why I broke down and ran a 5k this last Saturday. I tell many of my friends who want me to run 5ks, “It takes me longer to get dressed than it does to run the 5k!” which is mostly true in the winter. The cause for this 5k? Anti-bullying. The only way I do run a 5k is if I can hit the starting line at or near the end of my long run and the cause is something I can really get behind.
Bullying is a huge problem in our schools and any gathering spot for kids and teens. Social media has only made the problem worse because kids can’t get away from those that torment them. At its most extreme, it ends in the death of a child, either through murder or suicide. Unfortunately, many adults think that kids should just suck it up and deal with it because of a belief that, “We all get bullied at some point.”
The children who are bullied are the ones who are the least able to deal with the emotional harm bullying causes. Many of the children are different, disabled, powerless, alone, and unpopular. There is no one to stand up for them. Most believe that adults won’t do anything about it or they won’t believe them.
The truth is, the solution really won’t and can’t come from adults because there isn’t much adults can do when they don’t hear it or see it. They are just taking one child’s word against another. The ones who have the power to make a difference are peers. It’s the popular kids, student officers, and school sports teams who have the authority and power to change what happens in the halls and on the internet.
As adults, I think that we can support the students who do stand up for others. As parents, we can teach our children tolerance for those who are different and to stand up for the voice less.
I have had my children on both ends of the bullying issue, being bullied and bullying. I felt powerless when one of my children was being bullied to the point that he would tell me he was sick and miss school. He didn’t want to give names of the children who were mean to him because he was afraid it would get worse. We actually moved out of the school boundaries and I enrolled him in a charter school, which solved the problem for him.
It is heartbreaking to send your child to school when you know they will not be accepted, will be called names, and will hurt by the end of the day.
When I found out that my other son was bullying another student, I was furious and hurt that he would treat another person that way. I took his privileges away at home and told the school to take whatever action they felt they needed to in order to protect the other child.
Bullying happens for many different reasons, but no one students, teachers, or parents should stand by and not do everything they can about it.