As this week of stories unfolded here at WhateverNation, as one of my bestie blogger buddies, Mary McCarthy, and I chatted away about how terrible all of it was, how important the message, bullies had to be stopped. Right then, as we were talking, her daughter was being bullied.
I have three girls (16, 12, 7) and a boy, 5. I have been very, very lucky that so far, I haven’t had too many ‘bully’ confrontations. When my oldest was in middle school, she experienced ‘mean girl’ cyberbullying. She suffered from an eating disorder and was treated for 6 months at age 12. I can’t say that the eating disorder was CAUSED by the mean girls, but I can say it didn’t help that 7th grade girls were counting calories in the cafeteria or sending texts that said ‘fat pig.’
The day before yesterday I ran into a head-on bullying encounter. It made me think of Stefanie, and her incredibly valuable campaign against bullying this week here at ooph.com. So I’m telling this story because I think the timing is right and it made me think about the issue in a different way.
My 12 year old daughter got off her bus and was bawling. When she went to sit down on the bus, THE BULLY (he has this reputation already) told her she was in his seat, and to move. There are no assigned seats on the bus, but Molly (who is very shy), already scared because he was speaking to her, bent down to pick up her clarinet case and backpack and move to the other side of the aisle.
She didn’t have time.
Apparently, he didn’t think she was moving fast enough so he grabbed her and forcibly shoved her across the bus aisle. Her thumb jammed on the clarinet case and her head hit the window hard enough to leave her with a stiff neck. This asshole of a bully physically put his hands on my daughter and shoved her.
What? The? Hell?
I was on the phone to the school faster than a long tailed cat leaves a room full of rocking chairs.
Turns out, in a case of bad luck for the boy, there is a video surveillance camera on the bus. As I write this, I am waiting for the school authority to call back after investigating the tape with the bus driver. Luckily, there’s no school until Monday due to teacher conferences, because Molly is terrified to face the boy.
But guess what happened in first hour I spent waiting for the call back from the school? My daughter cried and cried and BEGGED ME not to tell the school administrator what had happened. Why? I asked her. Don’t you want this boy punished for hurting you?
No, mom, I’m afraid of what he will do to me when he finds out I told.
I was absolutely sick to my stomach.
She’s been basically physically assaulted and now she would rather let this JERK get away with it than get him in the trouble he deserves?
Fear of retaliation.
It was something I had never thought about. Wow, I thought. These poor kids who are being bullied are willing to be silent about it so they don’t have to fear for their own safety? How sad is our world?
I did my best to convince Molly that because her 7 year old sister and 5 year old brother are on the same bus, it is important that we do everything we can to get this boy removed from the bus so he can’t hurt her siblings. She hesitantly agreed, but only because of her sister and her brother and not wanting them to be hurt.
I want to call cops, and lawyers, and get this little bully ASSHOLE thrown off the bus or out of school so he can’t hurt another kid or make another kid scared. Because a world where good kids walk around afraid of what bullies might do to them if they report the disgusting behavior?
Is a world that needs to change.