More and more every day we are hearing or reading about children being bullied in our schools, in our neighbourhoods and in our communities. It is beyond epidemic level. I was sadden this week to read about the death of another local child. I first read a post on Yummy Mummy and then today the Toronto Star had the child on their front page. It has become a plague that has now practically become a right of passage for our children. Children are being bullied at younger and younger ages. No longer is it just teens killing themselves because it, the victims who take their own lives to escape it are getting younger and younger.
My dear daughter was almost one of them. At the age of 10 she told me she wanted to die. Her exact words were “Mom, I would rather be dead then have to go back to that school for one more day”.
She was in grade 5 when the bullying was at its worst. I orginally wrote about the bullying on my old blog here.Once she was beaten up on the 5 minute walk home from school and was left black and blue. All those children that attacked my daughter were under the age of 12. What child learns that it is ok to beat up another child? What child thinks it is ok when 8 gang up on one? My daughter at the time attended a school in small town Nova Scotia. I called the principal who said because it happened off school property there was nothing he could do.I called the police but because they were all were under the age of 12 there was nothing they could do but speak to the kids. My dear daughter never came home from school alone in that town again. On another occasion, she was pushed down on the ice by 3 of those who had been involved in the previous attack at recess. The principal wrote if off as an accident. Well that accident left my daughter needing 5 stitches for a lip that was torn and bleedingfor 3 hours. Again the school, and then the trustee and then the board did nothing to protect my child. I blogged it, I wrote the paper and I talked and talked and found it was written off as rough housing. My daughter changed in front of me. She withdrew. She hated life. She became a bully herself as I moved her the following year.
It has taken 2 years, therapy, anger management training and some wonderful people intervening in her life and blessing her for me her mom to hear joy in her voice again, to here her really laugh and for her to really begin to smile. It took a move to Toronto, and a new school after a false start to get her to where she is now but slowly we have been able to get beyond the bullying.
Now for us to get beyond the bullying though as a community we need to really grasp how serious an issue it is, we need to be talking about it more, we need parents to wake up and smell the coffee especially when it comes to this issue. If we don’t we will lose more kids, and we will lose them younger and younger. We need more of a dialogue on bullying, we need everyone at the table. Kids, Parents, and the community as a whole needs to stand up and be counted, and work together or I am very afraid the next parent who hears what I heard may end up burying a child and what a loss that would be. Are you ready to stand up and do your part?