Bullying: Enough Is Enough
When I was in elementary school, I was a victim of bullying. It wasn’t basic teasing, but physical intimidation tactics, used by my peers to try to get me to fear them. The intimidation was mild. I would be approached by one child surrounded by several other younger students, and they’d threaten to beat me up. Luckily the bully also happened to be a closet coward, and the situation did not escalate past threats. Despite this, the bullying made me incredibly nervous. I didn’t know what it was called then, but what I experienced for the very first time was stress.
Some 26 years later, bullying has become far more elaborate and pervasive. Physical, emotional and digital bullying is rampant from elementary age up to adulthood. I’m not about to showcase a bunch of numbers, statistics and polls. Want to gauge bullying in our schools? Find the nearest student and ask him or her what goes on among their peers. The reason I didn’t say “ask a parent” is because we often miss the warning signs.
It has been a few days since we first discussed bullying on the Augusta’s Choice Facebook Wall with several mothers of children who either knew someone who has been bullied or have been bullied themselves. Since then, the public outcry has been tremendous. I interviewed Monica Warner, a woman whose elementary school-aged son was physically bullied by another student so harshly that he had to go to the ER. Monica told me that looking back, the warning signs were there leading up to the tipping point, but without really knowing what to look for, they missed them until it was too late. After Monica shared her child’s story and sought advice and support from the community, a number of parents stood with her in voicing concern for this growing epidemic. What I witnessed happening in front of me led me to join forces with Monica and many other parents in the fight against bullying.
The first direct result of this collaboration is a new Facebook Page: Enough is Enough. The goal of this page is to raise awareness of bullying and to find solutions. And this is just the beginning. Starting today (April 27th), I will be forming a committee to approach the schools, printing shirts to raise money to bring motivational speakers into the area to talk to the children, forming after-school support groups for victims of bullying, and much, much more. If you are the parent of a child who has been bullied, we would like to hear from you. We also want to hear from former bullies who would like to step forward to help. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you soon. Join us on Facebook at facebook.com/enoughisenoughaugusta or facebook.com/augustaschoice.