There comes a point in time where sometimes we have to step up and say the things we never want to say. We address topics that make us uncomfortable. We defend those we love and fight on. We pour our hearts out and tell our stories. Along will come that “troll” that has to tear us down. To tell us how wrong we are. Insult everything we stand for. Make excuses and then follows up with heartbreaking words that can never be unseen.
Well, Portia and I had that unfortunate experience. To put everything into context, I am going to discuss it. I wish “trolls” wouldn’t get the attention for this but in order to make sense of it all, I will be brief. I’ll focus more on Emelie but I have words that can pertain to everyone. Not just kids on the spectrum like C or Emelie. And I know a lot of people think I should just “let it go”. I’ll address that too.
To begin with, Portia got a message regarding our blogs on Em’s bullying situation and her blogs on bullying, including her letter to Em. The person was cold and cruel. The gist of that message was that our children are freaks. They bring this upon themselves. They DESERVE to be bullied. That and we as their parents need to accept it and move on.
Someone messaged her, a mother whose mission this summer has been to educate and try to end bullying as much as she can, that those who get bullied deserve to be bullied. That Emelie and C DESERVED to be bullied. In addition to that what they told us is that we shouldn’t fight to end the bullying epidemic that encounter more kids (special needs or not) than we know. We are fighting to bring love and kindness in to replace bullying. We are putting together ideas to help combat and protect.
But in this person’s opinion, C and Em are freaks and therefore DESERVED to be bullied. After the shock of reading this wore off, I couldn’t believe what I was reading. My first response to this before I even dig into this blog I’m writing is that NO ONE… Different or not… NOT ONE PERSON EVER DESERVES TO BE BULLIED. I don’t care why you think they do, they don’t.
When I first told people I was going to write this blog there was a disconnect as to why I was bothered by what was said. Sure, I hurt for someone calling Emelie and C freaks but more importantly I was hurt for all the people out there who don’t understand that this is becoming a silent epidemic that kids don’t want to talk about. They hide the pain and hurt caused to them by others. All because they already think that they deserve it, for being themselves. They also start to believe that they are worthless in the eyes of their peers. So why bother?
Middle school is already a tough time in our children’s lives. They are at a crossroads emotionally. Things are changing. Hormones start raging. Puberty sets in. Yet, MOST will tear each other down because they can. Kids should develop a thick skin and they’ll survive, but at what cost? Their humanity and innocence?
Let’s go back to Emelie for a minute. Yes, she was bullied. Yes, she told adults at least several times. Did it stop? No. Did she continue to tell them? Yes and no. She got tired of telling them and lashed out instead. Her anxiety grew. She came home in tears. We chalked it up to transitional changes. Yet now, everything is crystal clear. So what do I do as her mother? I fight back for her when she no longer has the energy or strength to do so.
I could go to the school and demand answers, but that isn’t how I roll. I will go to the school BEFORE it starts in the fall. But I won’t be there to scream foul. Last year is last year. I cannot fix what happened a few months ago; however, I can set up safety nets and plans to protect Em from having that happen again this year.
It starts by talking to the kids I know care about Emelie. These are the kids I wrote about earlier this year in the blog Restored Hope in Humanity. These are the kids had they been aware of Em’s situation would have rushed to her defense. So it starts by making them aware of the situation and weaving a safety net to watch out for Em. These are the ones who would go face to face with anyone calling Em (or anyone else for that matter) a freak. They would be the ones to challenge the thought process that ANYONE let alone Emelie (and C if they knew him) deserved to be bullied.
I would then work with the school to set up a plan for Emelie to use in the event that bullying is happening. So that it can be tracked and addressed promptly and efficiently. I know that by using the same staff member for Emelie to report this stuff to that it won’t seem like an isolated incident if they forget or don’t feel it requires other staff members’ attention.
If we continue to do nothing though we have new questions to address about bullying as a society? The new questions about bullying become:
Do we stop fighting it because that’s the easy thing to do? Just let it happen? Assume people cannot change? Assume people won’t be reached? Assume people just don’t care either way?
Do we continue to educate people on how bullying affects those who are bullied? Fight back and try and change society views one person at a time? Do we hope we can reach one person and foster a dialog that will lead to change? Do we continue to fight for the victims of bullying?
I want to make one thing VERY clear about this blog, I’m not addressing the bully that bullied about the blogs. I’m addressing EVERYONE on why it was wrong. I’m addressing EVERYONE as to why I won’t allow my daughter to be or play a victim. I’m addressing as to why these kids don’t deserve to bullied by anyone. I’m saying NO ONE deserves to be bullied.
I’m one of those that feel that people can change and bullies can be reached and change their ways. I want people to understand so they can intercede if they see someone like Em and C or anyone else being bullied. I want parents and teachers involved. I want kids to watch out for other kids.
Do they deserve my time? YES. YES THEY DO. I feel that even if one person can learn from it, it is worth it. It may change one person’s outlook and pause before they do it again, changing the life of all the people out there that may have been their targets. If it allows one child/adult to stand up for another child/adult it will be worth everything. Will it be easy? NO. Will it be fun? No. Yet, SOMEONE has to stand up and say ENOUGH.
Too many kids are falling victims and we stand by and say, the bullies don’t deserve our time. I disagree. They need our time and love to see why they are wrong If we don’t take time to find out why each bully does what they do when we encounter them. How can we have productive conversations to move forward from this point where we can work together to come to understandings on both sides? It takes conversations. LOTS of conversations.
At the end of the day, the one thing that remains the same is that NOT ONE single person on the planet DESERVES to be bullied. You can ignore them. Or avoid them. Get to know them. Learn who they are. The world becomes so much smaller when you realize you may have something in common with each other.
Just some thoughts for you all to consider.