It’s the beginning of the school year and many kids – as well as their parents – are dreading the return. Because of bullying.
Though the issue seems to have corrected itself in the last months of the last school year, my daughter was the subject of bullying and nasty rumors in the eighth grade. We had just moved to the area and she was one of a handful of new kids in the middle school of 800+. Not a “misfit” by any definition, being the “new kid” was still enough to make her a target.
The bullying and rumors started a couple of months within the school year. But I only started taking note that something was dreadfully wrong in December when my daughter was in a consistently somber mood and we noticed severe behavior change. Over time, she finally told us what was happening, of course forbidding us to talk to her teachers as she did not want to be seen as a tattletale. Still, the situation was serious enough that I called the school, who was completely ineffective in handling the problem. Eventually, my daughter’s assertiveness and rebuttal to her attackers made an her undesirable target. The bullies moved on. But, who was their next victim?
So, when the publicist of Jodee Blanco’s book, Please Stop Laughing at Me, offered to send a copy, I quickly said yes, eager to read about the author’s own story and see what recommendations she might have…
The book is actually a memoir, written in an easily digestible tone which makes it perfect reading for pre-teens and teens. And I believe that it should be mandatory reading for all students. Bullying victims would see that they are not alone, while bullies would gain a better understanding of the deep pain they actually inflict on others. The Phoebe Prince suicide, among others, is a good reminder that we should all be alert to the issue of bullying. The book should also be read by parents to enable them to read the signs of bullying and by educators to alarm them to take any bullying incident and to take action.
I have never been a victim of bullying or have bullied myself, but the stories of abuse as told in the book had a way to make me completely empathize with the victim and feel how truly painful bullying can be and how it can have a damaging lifelong impact.
Here’s a helpful excerpt from an article written by the author:
Also, please visit Jodee Blanco’s website for more information. She is touring the country speaking to students and teachers about the perils of bullying. I encourage you to speak to your school about this program. All schools can benefit from this. The book is available in bookstores and on Amazon.
In the meanwhile, here’s to a healthy, happy and successful year for all students and their families. Fingers crossed.