Sometimes when you think you’ve heard it all, another story comes out that seems to contradict what many are trying to do by creating anti-bullying messages. The below video is the story of a high school girl suspended for creating an anti-bullying project. It seems to me that the school did not handle this correctly and almost seems to be bullying. Do you think the school did the right thing?
Lynda Frederick did not forget the bullying that happened to her 25 years ago in High School, so when her high school reunion group created a Facebook page to announce it, she used the opportunity to share with all her classmates how they treated her.
Lynda posted a poem on her Orange Glen High School class Facebook page. On it she wrote:
The little girl who had to walk to school while others rode the bus
Instead of asking why… you picked on her
The little girl who had bruises and was dirty
Instead of asking why … you picked on her
After this was posted, she didn’t expect the reaction from her former classmates. Some were brought to tears and then they created a scholarship fund in her name and raised $800 to fly her back to California for the reunion.
“I got an outpour of calls and messages, people stepping forward that I don’t even remember that said ‘I know I was one of those that picked on you and I’m so sorry,'” Lynda Frederick said Friday. “It was overwhelming.”
Lynda explained how during her time at school the other children would throw rocks and things at her and would spit on her. Frederick graduated from school early and then moved to New York and had three children, but the days being bullied in high school never left her.
Former classmate Shawn Gordon, of Escondido, said he got tears in his eyes when he thanked her for the anti-bullying message and showed it to his teenage daughters.
His memories included a time when he saw Frederick being bullied.
“One bully tried to keep tripping her,” he said. “I could have said something; never did.”
Lynda Frederick has now been able to connect again and find forgiveness from those children who have now grown up to be adults. “We can’t fix yesterday but we can try to fix today,” Frederick said. “That’s my new motto.”
Information for this article comes from: KNSD-TV, http://www.nbcsandiego.com/index.html and the Associated Press.
The pain a parent feels watching their child suffer through bullying problems is not only real, but also one that is hard to deal with. Even as a person who works on the bullying issue, I struggle to find good solutions to offer to my own children as I listen to what they go through. Michelle shares her own story as a parent below and the all to common issue of trying to work it out with the other parents who are usually difficult at best to deal with. ~Alan Eisenberg
As a parent, I have read a few stories that were posted on a website about bullying. My son was being bullied by someone who he had been friends with for a long time. A fight broke out over the summer and as a result, this child made a disparaging comments everyday to my son for about 7 months. My son told me about it and I told him to avoid his old “friend” and I warned my son not to do or say anything to him.
This turned out to be the worst advice. I was trying to keep the peace because I was very close to his mother and I did not want her to get hurt by the kids fallout. I thought it was just a kid issue that would be worked out by the kids. A mutual friend told me that I had to do something. My son was getting upset everyday and I thought he was just being sensitive. Continue reading
I was honored to be asked to deliver a sermon (really a speech) with a theme of bullying during services at my place of worship recently. I thought I would share the speech that I gave with you. It’s a bit lengthy, but I thought the subject matter appropriate to share… (~Alan Eisenberg)
The bible reading this week is AHAREI MOT, which in Hebrew means AFTER THE DEATH. This is because it takes place right after the Death of Moses’s brother Aaron’s two sons. The reading is also maybe even more significant, because it is also the origin of the YOM KIPPUR ritual.
Interestingly and possibly even intentionally, this reading takes place about 6 months after and equally six months prior to our YOM KIPPUR. It’s as if to say that we should remember that making atonement is not just a once a year event. It has always been a challenge for me to understand the idea of the once a year atonement. I know that some of us believe we have the other 364 days to build up our mistakes so that once a year we can ask for forgiveness, and then even then, we only ask it of god. While in other religions, they go weekly to confess their sins and ask for atonement, but again, only to god. Why to god, as if he is going to tell the people who most need to hear it.
Why do we struggle to say the words ANI MITZTA’ER … Hebrew for I’m sorry! Why is this so hard for us to do? And what does it mean to others when you say it to them, sincerely, and meaningfully.
David Brin, an American science fiction author, has one of my favorite quotes on the subject. He said: “Why must conversions always come so late? Why do people always apologize to corpses?” The author Harriet Beech Stowe said it as well when she said “The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and for deeds left undone.” Continue reading
I am always grateful for the adults that share the stories of their past here, because it is the same reason I chose to. We don’t forget. We don’t forget the bad and we also don’t forget the good. Sometimes, as in the title of this story, someones we don’t forget the ones that didn’t beat us up or pick on us. Not only that, but I am grateful for a writer that shares such clarity in their words as Polly has below. I am honored to share her story. ~Alan Eisenberg
I’m an old woman now, and I still remember one girl didn’t beat me up that day
I’m an old woman now, and I still remember that one girl, pretty and blond and from the South, didn’t beat me up that day the others jumped me in the alley, going home at lunch time. In fact, Lucy–I don’t forget her name–came over during recess where I stood around, alone as always, to warn, “Listen, Christie says they’re gonna get you. You better take the street–don’t use the alley.”
It was autumn, in fifth grade. Golden leaves lay on the lawns. A few of the neighbors had real gardeners–Black gardeners, for this the early 1950s, Washington DC; the gardeners were raking up the leaves. And some of the housewives might be looking out to watch them, or maybe stepping out to get their mail, or looking through the window from a store delivery truck, or waiting for their kid, with lunch all ready on the stove. If I walked home down the street–six blocks, past four or five brick houses with big windows on every block–someone would see me. Someone’s mother, or a friend of my mother’s–anyhow, some neighbor–surely would notice me walking alone. Alone–down the street alone.
A neighbor would come stand outside her door and say “Are you all right? Why are you walking all alone?” And I would have to say, “Because.” And she would say, “Because? Is that an answer? Why?” And so I’d have to tell, full of shame, “No one wants to walk with me. They beat me up. If I go by the alley, they will get me, someone said”–I’d certainly not blab a name–“today.” And surely the neighbor would tell my mother, and my mother–or my father, or both–would lecture me, “You need to make friends, like other little girls. If you would go to school more regularly, you would have friends. Why don’t you make friends, you’re smart, there isn’t any reason you can’t make friends, like other little girls.”
Meanwhile, after lunch my mother would be driving me back to school, for safety, angrily saying, “Why do I have to drive you like a little child, is that what you want? I’m tired, why can’t you let me have some time for myself? You know I have to vacuum the house and do the washing before your dad gets home,” and all the girls would say, “How come your mother had to drive you?” and make jokes.
So I took the alleys. And Lucy was there but she stood at the side, and shook her head, and moved back and forth like she wanted to run away, or go for help, but was afraid, while Christie held me down and twisted my wrist while Barbara and Mary helped and scratched my arms and rubbed me on the gravel and Christie twisted harder to make me scream.
Of course it was I who became a scholar and author and went to a major university, while Christie and Barbara and Mary stayed on as government typists or maybe unhappy housewives in DC. It’s I who joined in the radical antiwar protests and the changes and the women’s movement of the Sixties. It’s I who, sometime in the Seventies, by candlelight laughed with my elegant lover, as we walked our San Francisco hills, at the image of who and what–father of six, mother of eighteen, eternal salesclerk, stockyard worker, clerical aide–our bulliers must have become.
This is a first for me, but I have received a sequel story from Mariah who wrote to me with her “The Loss of Self-Esteem” story. Her words below are encouraging. Mariah has a positive outlook on the progress of her bullying problem and my guess is she has a good support system around her that let’s her write such powerful words as she has below. She has shown me why I continue to share your stories and with the hope that they continue to help others and sometimes ourselves. ~Alan Eisenberg
It’s me again, Mariah. This may seem odd I know, to update you but It makes me feel better. I may start doing this towards the end of every one of my high school years since this is around the end of my Sophomore year and the last one was at the end of My Freshman year. It’s nice knowing that there is a network of people out their who don’t judge and offer encouragement. I responded to so many comments but not all. If I didn’t I apologize but think you for the comfort.
Just as I feared the bullying has not stopped, it has decreased a lot. Honestly, the main change would have to be the way I handle it and my general attitude about it. It used to tear me apart, it used to make me cry and have fantasies of suicide. Now, I let go. I let it all roll of my back in a way that has amazed me honestly. I honestly think it’s because I’ve given up on them. I’ve understand more that their word will not change me. I am the same person I was before they said it. I’ll admit though I’m not above getting hurt every now and then something will get and occasionally i have to comfort myself with unknown thoughts you know basically the whole they’ll all be working for me one day, or the best they’re gonna grow up to be is white trash etc. I stumbled upon my story on your website on a whim. Because I enjoy looking up what others have been through and actually use it to help me with my stories, because they often involve a form of bullying because it’s whats close to me. Than I stumbled upon your site and remembered I had submitted my own. Then I found it I was slightly amazed, the biggest thing I looked at was the title chosen for my story, “The Loss of Self-Esteem.” , and the summary given. I realize it was truly and utterly perfect. People often don’t seem to realize the impact our mere words bring. They can revolutionize the world, shatter a life, and shape a future. Maybe if they had made a different choice of how to use their words I would be different.
Maybe I would have been more encouraged to lose the weight, maybe I would be an athlete, maybe I would have a paramour, maybe I would be a bubbly outgoing girl or maybe I would still be the cynical sarcastic girl just I wouldn’t be writing this. God only knows. Most of the bullying has been cut down, today actually, my physical science class took a field trip to old man’s cave. I ended up lost accidentally walked to miles of the way, on the way back I couldn’t breathe and actually fainted. I was later told by a friend that some girls commented that if I wasn’t so fat I could have walked it. She encouraged me to tell the principal. I ensured it was fine and I didn’t mind because strangely I didn’t. I know I should have like I used to but I really was fine. Because my being overweight has stopped bugging me, I have literally talked to my mom and told her, “I know I’m overweight or fat if you prefer, I will never be thin or skinny I don’t have the body for it. I’m wide-set so I wouldn’t look healthy skinny. So, I refuse to kill myself over an impossibility,” I actually learned I understand food and body shape better than the thinner kids at my school. Besides I just figured if someone almost died and you insult them, your just showing your true colors.
Another of the biggest changes is I’ve realized part of the reason I’m such an easy target besides my physical appearance. In part because of a teacher who one day simply asked me why I sat away from everyone. I sit in the corner away from them. I simply said choosing not to elaborate that I didn’t have many friends in my grade. He said he understood since I didn’t act like anyone my age. When I asked what he meant he said I’m mature, a compliment I love personally, he said I talk and write like a college professor. He mentioned that I seem very isolated and actually comfortable with it, something he says he personally commends. I realized how this is, in fact, very accurate. I am a rare example of a teenager who is perfectly comfortable being alone. Actually preferring it at times, I do enjoy a good chat but I need them to I guess keep up with me.
I have little time for small chat and most of my conversations have to be about my interests or an important issues. If I feel like it’s lacking I can write you off and maybe that offended people. Maybe they found it weird marking me an outsider. No one’s perfect and I’ve made my mistakes. haven’t we all. I choose not to blame myself because fort he simple fact, yes I may be dismissive but that’s no reason to taunt me. I actually took a personality test using the myers briggs system, I came out an INTJ. This shared among Stephen Hawking, Issac Newton and many other famous scientists…and murderers but let’s not dwell on the negatives. This actually helped me a lot not only giving me confidence in my future but also letting me know part of why I was so different. It’s simply part of who I am.
I have been healing I have been recovering. I still believe firmly that I will never be the bubbly little girl I once was. The wound may heal but the scars remain. That’s a fact, ever little insult. Every suicidal thought and every time I cried myself to sleep has changed me. For better or worse, only time will tell. I’m still young. The biggest thing I feel is that my life will change over time, this is just a part of who I am, a victim, a target but it will never be me entirely and you know maybe one day they’ll realize what they’ve done and how it hurt me, maybe they won’t. Maybe karma will get them, maybe it won’t. But I’m still here and I’m still fighting to be whoever I’m meant to be.. Every scar on my soul has changed me in one way or another. Everyone of them a story to tell a leading to an unknown future. I can only hope that whoever I’m meant to be is good person and put that little cynical voice to rest. All I know for now is that I am Mariah Osborne, a book lover, a cynic, intelligent, and sometimes blunt teenage girl living through it growing stronger and hopefully letting wounds heal while dealing with the scars.
I know this was less of my story and more of my thoughts and for that I apologize but I felt I needed to inform you all, I’m getting stronger and letting any victims know once it’s over you will be changed that is an inevitability but you can be stronger learn to love who you are, because that is more important than every little scar you get,
A Stronger Mariah
Taylor sent me this story of her struggle to go back to school. This is becoming more common among bullying victims and in fact, just recently I was reading about the building of Virtual High Schools by some states in order to accommodate public school for those that can’t get to a school. Taylor shares a very personal side to this story. It is the struggle to want to learn mixed with the struggle to want to go to a school that you feel safe at that many deal with on a daily basis. As seems to be the case, there is no easy answer to that issue. ~Alan Eisenberg
I was bullied from 8th grade to 9th. I say when I was in the 8th grade it wasn’t that bad cause it would only be little words here and there and I didn’t care too much about.
It still got me a little sad and all but, didn’t get to me.But when i got to High School 9th grade that’s when i would drop it and really start to fill the pain a lot.
The first day of school already you would have these girls talking bad saying things to bring me down. So I stayed home for two days. As the year was passing, little words would be said here and there, but then all of a sudden these girls I don’t know come up to me trying to start things saying things. It got so bad. I was scared going to school and I would always miss a lot of school. When I did I would go late for I wouldn’t be seen by anybody. It was the last day for me when I finally had enough.
It was lunch time and i was in the computer room and we would like to just hang in there with the teacher and do are projects, when these group of girls were saying stuff and then all wanted to jump me. But the teacher saw what was going on so he closed the door and told me to stay in the class room cause they were all waiting for me to come out the door.
So i thank the teacher for realizing what was going and helping me, cause you don’t see teachers helping a student at all. So after lunch was over and everyone was gone he wrote down everything he had seen and sent me to the office and let me tell you that was the last time I’ve been to school. The schools don’t help with bullying they make it keep on going. I went to them and all they said was they would give those girls a talk and when they told me that I left school cause all that does is make a bully more of a bully if you tell them the victim was scared.
So Its been 2 years now I’m 16 I’ve stopped going to school, I fill bad for myself , my parents make me fill bad, that it’s all my fault, that I was just being a baby I should have stayed in school. They don’t understand going to High School now is a lot more harder than their days. There’s allot more drama and people being bullied. But going through all that and still it’s hard because I remember it everyday. I talk to no one.
I tried going back to a high school but I can’t do it. I’m too scared. I can’t talk to my parents cause all they say is “shut up your just a (expletive removed) up” and they just bring me down. I can’t say dropping out was all because of the bully’s in my life, because I know it’s not…its mine. But when your all alone and no one to help you, you don’t know what to do at this point.