How Are Treasure Valley Parents Handling Bullying?
A fifth grader from Grace Jordan Elementary School is recovering after attempting suicide. Her parents say it happened after their daughter received hateful notes from classmates.
According to KIVI-TV, the parents found their 11 year-old daughter unresponsive after falling out of her bed. While the family was at the hospital with their little girl, a relative searched the home for clues as to what may be happening. They found the girl's notepad that spelled it out. After relentless bullying from her classmates for years, things reached a head when she found a series of notes on her desk calling her a "fat cow" and telling her to "just kill herself."
After the girl's mother's Facebook post regarding both the notes and attempt went viral, the Boise School District sent home a note to parents saying that they are not able to discuss the steps they've taken to protect a single student's safety, but that doesn't mean there's a lack of action on their part. While they do actively try to confront bullying through a "Bullying, Hazing and Harassment Policy" the school reminded parents that children are looking to all adults in their lives for guidance in how to interact with other students respectfully. That includes opening a dialog in the home.
In complete transparency, I'm a childless woman in my 30s. I've never had to think about what that conversation sounds like. So, I'm curious as to how our listeners are addressing bullying with their children. Please feel free to start a positive dialog in our comments section. Advice from one parent to another may help save a kid's life.
My Message to the Little Girl
It breaks my heart to see you going through this. I was just at your school reading Dr. Suess books for Read Across America Day a few weeks ago. Had I known you or any of the other students at the school were going through this and you grabbed me to talk longer, I would've stayed and listened as long as you needed me to.
I went through it too. The kids on my bus relentlessly made fun of me for just about everything. They called me fat (words I couldn't shake and developed an eating disorder my freshman year of high school,) told people I smoked because my family's garage door opener looked like a cigarette pack and said I'd never have any friends because I was ugly. When I was your age, I sat in Mr. Brenner's Home Room every morning writing stories about how things would be if I just disappeared or if my family would move far, far away from the school I went to. I hated myself.
But then I started running track. Being able to finish a mile made me feel more comfortable in my own body that I so hated because of what those kids said to me. The girls on my team didn't poke fun at or gossip about each other. During the school day, we all fell into different cliques but on the track we were a sisterhood that fiercely protected each other. And our coach? She taught us respect and compassion for our teammates, competition, teachers and other students. If you didn't fall in line, you were off the team. Being on that team changed everything and I truly believe that track saved my life.
Friends and experiences like that are out there for you. I pray that they find you sooner rather than later, because you are so loved by this entire community and deserve them. You've probably heard it before, but once you're out of school you will never hear from these bullies again. It's true. Their words won't matter anymore. You'll grow up to be an incredible woman who's going to be the first person to stand up for a child you see going through it and really make an impact on their life.
My door's always open. When you're feeling better, if you'd like to come hang at the radio station with me, I'd love that. Keep fighting. You've got this.