This beautiful young girl is 'Carol'. She is the sweetest, most affectionate and good natured little girl and all of the staff at her school say the same thing about her. In Kindergarten, she was taken behind a portable building on campus by two girls from her class and one of them threatened to kill her. She was also told Santa Claus “hated her” and was not going to bring her presents. Keep in mind, this was in Kindergarten.
In first grade, four boys took her to the sandbox, and forced her to eat sand. When she spit it out and started to cry they laughed at her. When a yard teacher saw what was going on and tried to intervene, one of the boys hit 'Carol' for getting them into trouble. None of the children were reprimanded, only given warnings. No apologies to her, no further intervention and yet out of the 10 months of first grade, 'Carol' has complained no less than twice per month of being hit and pushed at school. This isn’t counting the ostracization she has experienced at the hands of her classmates. Again, this was in First Grade.
When we looked at the school policy to see what we could do to help this lovely little girl, we found there was no policy or program to combat bullying on campus. That is when we learned it was not 'Carol', but several children in the first grade, and the third, fifth, and seventh grades as well. One of the teachers had to remove her fifth grade daughter from the school due to the bullying and ostracization.
As a Karate instructor, I’m used to parents bringing me their children to teach them skills to give them the confidence and self respect to deal with bullying. In one school, the bullying was so bad that they brought me in to teach at their school. In that class I had two foster children- brother and sister- 2nd and 4th grade, respectively- who were being bullied to such an extent that their foster parents removed them from the school and put them into a school 20 minutes away from their home, in a different city altogether!
In asking the parents and kids enrolled in my martial arts class I learned 75% of them are there because of being bullied.
What was driven home this past year for me was most school’s inability or unwillingness- for whatever reason- to deal with the bullying problems on their campuses. In speaking with the teachers and administrators, they simply do not have the resources to teach effective bully proofing to their students and therefore it was easier to do nothing.
Looking at these stories, it is very easy to see how our teens are now at an increased risk of being bullied to death. Something must done to curb bullying in our Elementary and Jr High schools.
This problem is wide spread in our small community. We have 7 public elementary/middle schools, 3 Charter schools, and 4 private schools all that feed into 1 public High School and 1 Private High School. Although there is a small amount of transfers between schools to escape a bully, overall they will all eventually go to school together in High School.
In order to further our cause, we'll be collaborating with the Olweus Bullyproofing system- the oldest and most successful system for bullyproofing available to design and implement a program into our local schools as well as designing after school school programs, in class education provided by individuals specially trained- taking the responsibility off of the teaching staff- and a full regiment of bullyproofing tools, newsletters and support… all designed to educate and empower the parents and students to take a proactive approach at dealing with bullies.
Our newsletters are age appropriate- being broken up into early grade, late grade, middle, and high school and are designed to relate to the needs of each of these groups, using language and graphics that are not just effective, but are both relateable and interesting to read.
We are scheduled to implement this new program- the Bully Awareness and Response program- in our local schools in the beginning of next school year. Unfortunately there is only one of me. In order to expand this into our schools it takes additional people to undergo specialized training for us to bring programs such as Olweus onto the campuses. This all requires additional funding.
We need your support. We need to raise enough funding for parents and teachers to undergo training and the production of materials we will need for each campus.
Therefore we ask for your involvement. Every contribution helps and we greatly appreciated. You can become involved in several ways.
First make the commitment to help on a grassroot level, attending meetings and give a voice back to our children. Second you can make an in kind donation of an item in which we can auction to raise funds, or third make a financial contribution.
No matter what you decided, we ask for you to remember why we are doing this. We need to raise awareness that bullying is starting a very young age and it is wholeheartedly unacceptable. If you wish to make a donation, we have made it easy for you: