Back to School & Back to Being Bullied
My dogs are super excited that school will be starting soon. We have an elementary school near us, so they like to sit in the window and greet (i.e., bark) at everyone that is walking by. Some of the kids wave at them - I try to tune them out.
Unfortunately, back to school carries with it the potential for “back to being bullied”. I know that being bullied hurt Keven to his core. It made him hate school and filled him with anxiety every single day, wondering if the bullies would call him names and be mean to him that day.
He was bullied by other students and in 6th grade was bullied the entire year by his teacher. (I share in my book how I handled this - I went all the way to the superintendent of the school district and they refused to remove him from her class. Of course, after I did this, she treated him even worse).
I’m hoping that if you have school-age children or grandchildren that you are able to talk to them about bullying. It's simple to do a Google search on “How to talk to my child about bullying”, I just checked and there are hundreds of articles.
Your school district probably has a policy on bullying. I checked ours and it reads:
Programs and activities shall be free from harassment/ bullying with respect to a student's actual or perceived sex, gender, or gender expression, ethnic group identification, race, national origin, religion, color, physical or mental disability, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics. This policy applies to all acts related to school activity or school attendance occurring within a school under the jurisdiction of the Superintendent. [BP5145.3]
Any gestures, comments, threats, or actions written, verbal, or physical, which cause or threaten to cause or are likely to cause bodily harm or personal degradation are prohibited during school or at any school activity whether on or off campus. Any type of behavior that is motivated by hostility to the victim as a member of a group is considered a hate crime. Students are expected to be kind and show respect to others. Depending on the severity of the offense, the student may be counseled, assigned Saturday School, be suspended, and/or recommended for expulsion. In addition, the Orange County Sheriff Department will be called when warranted.
Just like talking to our kids about drugs is important, bullying is an equally important topic. Keven refused to tell anyone about it (other than me) because even at an early age he didn’t want to be a “snitch”. But it's so important to let someone know if you see bullying happening around you or if it's directed at you. Studies show that one reason bullying is so prevalent is because it often goes unpunished.
Here is a link to an article called that explains signs of bullying in detail. The most common indications are:
Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.
Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem
Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide
I know quite a few people who were bullied throughout their childhoods and turned to drugs in their teens.
I hope that your children have an enjoyable and educational school year.
Thanks for reading.