Tag Archives: bullying

You know you grew up in…

This last week facebook has exploded with “You know you grew up in….” groups. It’s been a fun walk down memory lane.

I’ll never forget the little store down the street from my house. We’d walk down barefoot to spend our allowance (Usually a quarter.)

I loved the feel of hot asphalt on my feet.

Once I found what I thought was four quarters in the road outside my house. I brought my friends with me to the store to buy us all candy. Turned out I had four Susan B. Anthony dollars! The store owner tried to convince me to save them. No way! We bought TONS of junk and shared it.

Back then we took off out the door as soon as possible on summer mornings and wouldn’t come home until dark. We’d play in the park, run around in the cow pastures, walk all over the place, but we made sure that when the sun went down we were home. If we weren’t TROUBLE followed.

Dark didn’t stop the fun, though. Dark brought ghost stories, and light as a feather, and Bloody Mary, and TV…sometimes.

I remember childhood in small town USA and I smile.

But one of the girls added to the group didn’t smile.

Her first post was “I didn’t really know you people and you made my life hell, why would I want to be in this group?”

The responses were fast: That was 20 years ago, get over it, and I’m sorry, and if you feel that way get off the group, and you’re right, and facebook allows people to apologize and give you peace over those times.

The girl did take herself off our hometown group, but I couldn’t help but think about how intense her emotions were 20 years later. She made sure people knew this wasn’t something she spent time thinking about, she’d moved on, was a success in life now, but that reminder of school years put her right back in that place she’d been when she lived in our town.

We talk about bullying today as if it’s something new. It’s not. Kids can be mean. They can be brutal. And adults have often turned away and let it happen.

I’m going to enjoy looking back on the memories of days gone by as I look at the facebook group, but I’m going to take a lesson from it, too. Our schools can be a place of fun and family, but they can also be a place that hurts. I want to make my class one where hurt is rare.

Sad Day

A couple weeks ago while we were at Publications Camp, a girl connected to several of the students killed herself.

It’s not the kind of phone call you want your kids to get. It’s a phone call that takes place all too often these days.

The girl, a kid in high school, was a victim of cyber-bullying, but she was also fighting depression.

So often teenagers are told their depression isn’t real, that they’ll “get over it,” but in the moment, that promise of being fine one day seems more of a fairy tale than truth.

Last year we did a story in the newspaper about how social networking has made bullying so much worse. Used to you might have trouble with a handful of kids. Now that handful can be hundreds. If the person being bullied has a smart phone, that’s non-stop harassment about their clothes or their hair or their sexual preference or their choice of music or who stole whose boyfriend and who’s a skank-ho. When I was a kid, you could walk away, today the bullying follows you everywhere you go.

I didn’t know the girl who took her life. She didn’t go to my school. But I’ve seen plenty of others like her, just getting by, trying to hold on to the idea that it will get better some day.

We’ll definitely be doing another cyber-bullying story this year. Until it stops, we’ve got to.