Thursday, October 27, 2011

THE SURPRISE VICTIM - Marion Pellicano Ambrose

I have the pleasure of spending a few hours each week with a very smart, young man,
doing some enrichment work with him. We do lot of Math, Science, Writing, and
Reading ,but today we took a little side track.

I had my computer open to “favorites” looking for an environmental game site that we
were going to explore when he spotted a site on Bullying. He immediately wanted to
see it and talk about what you can do if you’re being bullied. I was really shocked. This is a good looking, personable, well rounded 10 year old who would be the last one I would think would be bullied, and yet, the story came tumbling out.
He’s been the victim of bullying since 2nd grade. Other kids have tried to get him to do things he knows are wrong, have called him names, and have spread rumors about him
behind his back. His parents have worked with him and with the school to stop the
Bullying, sometimes to no avail. They've gone above and beyond to protect their son while still teaching him to stand up and be assertive when necessary.
From all he told me, he’s handled it well, ,doing all the right things, but the fact remains that he’s had to deal with the problem repeatedly. He described one incident where
another student grabbed his wrist and twisted it,telling him to say “You’re the greatest
and better than me.” My young friend stood straight, looked the bully in the face and
said “NO” in a loud ,clear, assertive voice. Luckily the bully tired of the event when he
saw that he wasn’t going to win .That was direct bullying, and it stopped for the time
being ,but the indirect bullying continued. ( telling others not to play with my friend,
spreading rumors about him, etc.)
We talked at length today about techniques to use, ways to avoid being bullied and when it’s time to tell. One of the hardest concepts for kids is to learn the difference between telling and tattling. No kid wants to be a “snitch” but they have to learn not to allow themselves to become victims either. We identified bullying “hot spots” and I found that his bus is a major bullying location. Sitting in direct sight of the driver and surrounding yourself with friends can often nip that in the bud.
There are many things we, as parents and teachers, can do to help our children
avoid being the victim of bullies. One important factor is to teach all our children to
be advocates for the innocent. If three of four bystanders stood up for the victim, the bully would most likely give it up. Most bullies are looking for an audience to “admire” them.
Another important factor is BELIEVE THEM! Don’t tell them to “man up” or “suck it up”. Take their fears and frustration seriously and take steps to show them you are there for them and will help them find a way to stop the bully.
We’ve lost too many young people from elementary students to college students because of this epidemic. Teach tolerance! Teach the value of diversity! Teach the need to respect the dignity of all living things. And most importantly: Teach by your example.
When bullies get the message that noone wants them, noone will tolerate them and everyone will work together to bring them down, maybe we can make them an extinct species! Let's at least get them on the "endangered" list! 
Please click on the link below to sign the Anti-Bullying Petition and please share this post with everyone you know who has kids!!


  1. No matter how often this topic is presented, people just "tsk, tsk" and do nothing about it. Until all states have strict laws regarding reporting and actually dealing with bullies like New Jersey does, the problem won't go away. Bravo DRL for continuing to keep this problem in the public eye. Love the petition too but let's hope that translates into action by lawmakers!

  2. hi all, what do you think about South Park?