October is National Bullying Month. Normally, this wouldn’t be quite on target enough for this blog but please indulge me. We — writers, parents, adults — need to step up and speak out.
I’ve always held this firm belief but let’s just say it was shored up last week when my son was bullied twice. In the first instance, the bully made the mistake of not scoping out the lay of the land. A teacher witnessed the event and immediately took action. In the second instance, the bully tried to make a break for it, fell down and brained himself, managed to get up and then ran into a wall. And then a teacher got involved. Middle school building 2/bully 0.
What I adore most about my son’s school is that they have a take no prisoners approach to bullying. In both instances, a teacher immediately dealt with the situation. Why then is it still so prevalent in this school? These are 7th graders flexing their muscles in a new school.
As an author, take every opportunity to speak up. That’s what these authors are doing:
In Interview with my Bully: The Courage to Remember, Janni Lee Simner talks about an e-mail exchange with one of her former tormentors. In his defense, he was one of many. To his credit, he is the only one of the bullies who actually seemed to remember any of the grief they caused Janni.
The video S&S Authors Speak out Against Bullying takes a slightly different approach. These authors assume that among their audience, there will be a bully. At least one. And their message? Knock it off.
Discouraging but refreshingly honest, Middle Schoolers Speak Out on Montclair Patch is based on interviews with middle schoolers. Said one student, “You can have as many rules as you want, and claim to be serious about them, but if there are no consequences to breaking them, who cares?” This one deserves a read for honesty.
And, of course, there’s the It Gets Better project, which encourages LGBT youth to continue living, to make it through high school and to get the best revenge possible — to grow into a loving, caring self aware person with an amazing life. Check out this video made by group founder Dan Savage.
If the video doesn’t appear above (it was being “twitchy” when I wrote the post), click here to view it on YouTube.
Thank you to all of these people who have had the courage to step forward. If you are an author, please join them. Speak out against bullying.