Throughout the week, in accordance with our Anti-Bullying initiatives, we will be featuring stories from our very own members in our YakkityYaks forum. These stories are volunteered from people who call our website their internet home and it is just another example of our personal feel and family attitude we pride ourselves in.
That, however, is not the focus of this week. Many, if not all, of these stories don’t need an introduction. They each have a very special message that will speak to us in different ways.
Just a reminder, the stories are unedited and real truths. We have only changed the names of those involved to protect their identities.
My son, Brandon, who is 11, has always had it fairly easy in school. He’s always been an honor student and is friends with everyone. I wouldn’t consider him to be “popular,” because he has friends in all of the cliques and really doesn’t fit in to just one. He likes it that way, because he likes all different kinds of people.
When he was five years old, he was a very bright kid…he still is. It seemed that everything that he would learn in kindergarten were things that he already knew—thanks to his sister, Emily, who is just one year older than him. She would come home from school and tell him everything she learned and he instantly picked it up. So, we had him tested by the state to see if was a candidate to skip kindergarten and move on to first grade. He aced the test, so we decided to put him in first grade with his sister. We were concerned about how things would work out socially since he was a year younger than all of his classmates, but he fit right in and had absolutely no problems with any of the students.
Last year was the first time that Brandon saw first hand a division in his classmates. He and Emily were in sixth grade and they went to the middle school. Until that time, all of the kids, regardless of race were friends with each other. However, at middle school his Mexican friends wouldn’t talk to him (or any other non-Mexican kids) and developed their own clique. The year before, Brandon’s best friend was one of the kids who no longer talked to him. Since he was a year younger, he was much smaller than the other sixth graders (and would have been considered small even if he had been in the fifth grade). He was immediately targeted by his ex-friend and their clique. It started out relatively harmless. They would stand near him and talk in Spanish making it obvious that they were talking about him. As he has been taught, he ignored them thinking they would stop. When they didn’t get a reaction out of him, they moved on to shoving his books out of his hands in the hallway. After a week or so of not getting a reaction, it escalated to them punching him, usually in the arm or the back. Because he is so small, he knew that he was better off ignoring them. One day he came home with a red, puffy eye, so I asked him what happened. He kept telling me it was nothing, so I asked Emily. She convinced him to come clean with me about everything that had been going on. It was at the time that I found out about everything they had been doing to him along with spitting in his face. He had been dealing with that for nearly a month and never let me know what was going on. I was heartbroken to find out that my son had been going to school every day and facing these kids and was so afraid of what they would do to him that he never told me.
The next day I was at the school in the principal’s office to tell him what Brandon had been going through. He appeared to be just as upset as I was that he had no idea this had been happening. After I left, he called Brandon into the office to get his side of it and to get the names of the kids who had been bullying him. After watching the video, every student who had bullied Brandon in any way (from shoving his books out of his hand to spitting on him) was suspended for 10 days. Every student who stood by and encouraged the bullying was suspended for 5 days.
Thankfully when they all returned to school, the bullying completely stopped. Brandon is now in 7th grade and was on the football team with a few of the kids in that clique and they get along very well. They aren’t friends during school, but they work together as a team on the field.
I feel so sad and fortunate at the same time. Sad because he dealt with that every day for so long and fortunate because the end result could have been so much worse.
Thanks for reading my story.
-YY Member, Kristin