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Bullying: Are you The One?

Children are dying. A bully is making their lives miserable. A bully is threatening them. Humiliating them. Being mean.

There’s research on the bullies. (No, they are not all troubled children who don’t know how to love. Some of them are just mean. Some of them just like to have power over someone weaker. They enjoy crushing souls.)

There’s research on the silent bystanders. (Yes, they have a share of blame. Their silence gives power to the bully. Some of them are cowards. Some of them, like the bully, believe the child being bullied deserves it because they are different.

Their watching gives approval and encouragement.)

There’s research on why a child being bullied gives up and decides to die.

There’s research on why another bullied child decides to live.

The research says it is all about the number One.

Children who decided to live had at least One caring adult to talk to. They had at least One adult who didn’t tell them they were imagining things. There was One adult who didn’t tell them to ignore it and it would go away (it doesn’t).

They had One adult who said, “I believe you. You don’t deserve this. I’m going to try and stop this.”

There are adults who were successful in getting the bullying to stop and others who were not. Research says that what made the difference is that One adult at least tried.

One adult gave the bullied child a shoulder to cry on and said, “It’s bad, I know. But don’t give up. It gets better.”

The children killing themselves needed One adult to say, “It’s ok to be gay. Don’t give up. It gets better.”

Children who feel like outsiders need One adult who says, “Be proud of who you are. You’re beautiful. Don’t give up. It gets better.”

Children who are not beautiful or stylish or popular need One adult who says, “I love you. I’ll help you. Don’t give up. It gets better.”

Children are dying for One adult to hear them and for One adult to believe them and for One adult to hang in there with them until it gets better.

If you are the teacher, the custodian, the aunt, the minister, the neighbor, the crossing guard, the coach, the cousin, you can be The One.

The question is, of course, will you be The One?

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13 Comments

  1. Donna Marie says:

    Hi Lily,
    What a wonderful blog!
    I had a female student come to me just today about this very thing. She told me that some of the girls in my classroom had used bullying behavior by sending texts and emails to her. They had also deliberately shunned her. It shocked me to hear it, as I had not noticed. I immediately telephoned an assistant principal and asked if she had time to speak with the student. I mentioned that I had read about a official document entitled “a stay away agreement” currently being incorporated in our school district. She confirmed there is such a document. Then I sent the student to the assistant principal’s office. Afterwards, I made myself a promise to inform my students about this document which is available to students who feel bullied. I hope other teachers will do the same.
    Thanks again for airing this problem in our schools! — DM

  2. Diane C. says:

    Children and young adults see a world in the media where bullying and name calling is the norm, where that passes for objective reporting and public discourse. They may hear their own parents express themselves in ways that are mostly “name calling” — where they are repeating this norm without even realizing it.

    What is bullying a deeper symptom of? What might be causing it? In what way is it reflecting on us as adults? Where are we failing in not seeing this and understanding it from a macro and micro perspective?

    In what ways do we intervene with the bullies so that more kids who might otherwise choose to bully get a very clear message about the actions that will be taken if they make that choice?

    If a bully is not stopped when he or she is a child or young adult they will probably go on to bully spouses, family members, colleagues, their own children. A self-perpetuating cycle that we all share responsibility for stopping. What are our most effective actions as adults when we see other adults bullying anyone?

    My heart goes out to any child who is victimized by this destructive behavior. This is a collective responsibility and an important reminder for us to let the children and young adults in our lives know about this issue ahead of time so they are know they will be protected and it’s not their fault.

    Thank you, Lily, for your reminder, for your voice in advocacy for those who can’t advocate for themselves.

  3. Vidy S says:

    I just found this website in the newspaper and it was just what I was looking for. I have a child in forth grade who has been bullied since he started school, aether because of our religious belief or because of our nationality.
    I really hope that more people take this matter seriously and start acting in favor of all this children. I will be sending this Web site to everyone I know. Thank you very much!

  4. [...] Lily Eskelsen has written some great posts on the topic. Take a look at Lily’s post, “Bullying: Are you The One?” and take the [...]

  5. My wife and I have 88 years total of public school teaching- we never had any student ever have a bullying problem that re: homosexuality!

    This new push for bullying is simply a stealth attempt by the gay community to create acceptance of their disgusting, disease spreading sexual activity!

    Some bullying is always going to be there-we teachers dealt with it-without extra incentives and pledges! But no special rights for those campaigning for the 2 % of gays to get their foot (won’t what else) in the door!

  6. Catherine says:

    Lily,
    People like you inspire me! This article really hit home! My son has been a victim of bullying & it has devastated our entire family. Our religion has been questioned as well since this all took place in a Catholic school system. We cannot seem to get any help with the matter here in Indiana. And it hurts me to find out that this is still continuing in the same school to this day. The administration/staff/minister ignore what is going on and the dicipline is just not there. Repeatedly the students are rewarded for their behavior by allowing these students to participate in the same events that the victims take part in. The school is creating the future for these children…What else can we do to keep this from happening? My son is still dealing with the aftermath….

  7. DAVE KENT says:

    I AM A PARENT MEMBER OF THE SYR.CITY.SCHOOL DISTRICT ANTI-BULLYING TASK FORCE .PROUD OF IT. MY MESSAGE IS SIMPLE.I CHALLENGE ALL EDUCATORS TO STAND-UP AGAINST BULLYING IN YOUR SCHOOL DISTRICT,HELP A YOUNG PERSON WHO IS BEING BULLIED IT ONLY TAKES ONE PERSON TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.BE AN UPSTANDER NOT A BYSTANDER.YOU WILL MAKE AN IMPACT IN THAT YOUNG PERSONS LIFE. TIME TO STOP THE BULLY,DAVE THE ANTI BULLY DUDE

  8. Katy Burgess says:

    I am not going to let my daughter become a statistic to bullying! We need to all be aware that it isn’t just the kids doing the bullying, but some teachers and adults as well!! This needs to stop and I will help!

  9. Jen Hansen says:

    Can someone please remove the hate mongering statement by “retired coach”? That mentality is the reason why these kids want to kill themselves.

  10. Mr. Consagra says:

    My students and I are defeating the culture created by bullies by building self confidence and creating value in the word stop. In my classroom. students will say the word “stop.” This word triggers that the person is serious and that they need assistance. We stick together on this issue.

  11. Elizabeth Caples says:

    The teacher or any adult around must keep a watch out for bullying. The bullies are really watching to see if an adult is paying attention to what is happening.
    If they know they are being observed, they may think a secon time before bullying someone.

  12. [...] Silence by teachers, parents and adults gives power to the bully and encourages the bad behavior.  Silent bystanders need to ask themselves, “Am I part of the problem?”, and realize that victims of [...]

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