I’m currently working on the transcript for the next book in the Food With Attitude series and yes Stressed-Out Strawberry, I am feeling a little stressed. The character I’m working on is Bully Bean and I really want to get him right because bullying is such a serious issue.
I had coffee with a friend recently and she wasn’t herself. When I asked her what was wrong she told me that her son had had a major melt-down and did not want to go to school. The boy is in his first year at High School and his mum told me that in recent months his behaviour had changed. His mum told me that in the week prior to our coffee date she saw her son emerge from the shower and noted with horror that his upper arm was covered in dark bruises. When she asked him what had happened he broke down and began sobbing uncontrollably. The story that emerged went something like this….A boy was seated next to my friend’s son in a couple of his classes and began to target him with physical and emotional abuse. When the teacher was not looking he would thump him in the arm repeatedly. He began spreading rumours about my friend’s son and threatened that if he did not give him money, he would post the rumours on Facebook. The bullying was relentless and had gone on over two school terms without the victim telling anyone about it.
Once my friend found out what was going on she made an appointment with the year advisor at school and had the case fully reported and insisted that immediate action take place. The school followed-up admirably and the bully was removed from sitting next to the victim and he was disciplined appropriately. I asked my friend how things were now for her son and she said that her son was relieved that someone had stepped in to help him.
So why did it take so long for her son to tell anyone what was going on?
There are many reasons a victim will not report bullying. Fear of reprisal, not wanting to be a dobber, shame, fear of being seen as weak…
One thing is certain, if this young man had not told his mum what was going on the bullying would have continued. The message from this story is clear. If you are being bullied, you need to take a STAND and say no. Talk to an adult you trust and let them know what is going on. Adults have had more time to deal with bullies and can help you learn about how not to become a victim.