After reading last week’s post, I took the call to action and talked to my 13-year old twins about bullying. Because of my work, we’ve had lots of chats about violence in families. But we hadn’t yet talked about how kids treat each other at school.
I asked if they say anything when kids call someone “gay” or “faggot.” Turns out they might – if it’s directed at one of their friends. But more often they don’t, because they’re scared and don’t know what to say. Their school has an anti-bullying curriculum, but it hasn’t given any concrete answers to their questions: “What can I do?” “What if they start saying those mean things to me?”
They deserve answers. I can’t be the only adult in their life having this conversation with them. I want their school more involved. I want their teachers to have strategies for integrating bullying prevention into daily school life and I want them to answer those tough questions. I want my kids to learn, as the poet Audre Lorde said “Your silence will not protect you.”
After I talked to my kids I felt discouraged. But then I found that a local organization has become a national expert on this. Did you know The Safe Schools Coalition will intervene on behalf of individual students? And they have great practical advice for kids and teachers. I encourage you to print one of these out and give it to a kid or teacher you know. I did.
2 thoughts on “The tough questions”
I am in the process of educating myself about bullying, specifically relational aggression as this is what my child has been experiencing. The stats are depressing as this has become a widespread problem. Our daughter’s school has the Ophelia project but the kids behavior has yet to be changed and the bullying continues. It’s interesting to me that the school has an honor code, a dress code, but not a bullying code!
You are a great advocate for your daughter. I hope you find the Safer Schools Coalition resources helpful. Thanks for being part of the conversation with our children.
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