Most of you know that my husband accompanied my daughter on her recent trip to Washington. This trip was the highlight of the 8th grade year. The students had been anxiously awaiting the trip all year. On the last day, all of the parents were pulled aside and asked if one of them would volunteer to stay behind on the bus, as there was a girl who was not going to be taking the last tour. The girl had told the teachers she was tired and her feet hurt from all of the walking. The teacher suspected there was more to the story, but the girl wasn’t opening up to her. She needed someone to try to talk with the girl to find out what was really going on. All of the parents hemmed and hawed over having to miss the tour. Not one of them stepped to the plate to help this child. Yes, my husband included. (Believe me, he got an earful for that!) The parents even decided that they would figure out who should stay behind with a coin toss. That didn’t end up happening, but frankly, I am disgusted that it even came down to that. It was decided my husband would stay behind because he was the youngest, and had the best chance of getting the girl to open up to him.
After a bit of talking to the girl, she did, indeed open up to him. My husband said it was like the flood gates had opened, and she just got everything off her chest. Like she never had anyone to just sit there and listen to her. From what he could gather, she didn’t want to finish the tour because the other girls in her group were making her feel bad for slowing them down. She is a heavy set girl and couldn’t move as fast as the others. My husband made the girl walk with him while they were talking. Up hills, over rough terrain, and she did not display any signs that the walk was difficult for her, so it boils down to the girls possibly making her feel bad about herself. So much so, she skipped out on what should have been a fun part of the trip for her as well. Not only that, she has been getting bullied at school by 2 boys. She says she has made a report, but the bullying continues. She actually transferred to our school because the bullying was so bad at the last school, she thought it wouldn’t happen here. Unfortunately, it followed her. Her home life doesn’t sound like the best of situations either. She is surrounded by drugs (I am not sure if it’s from the parents or just other family members- she wouldn’t say) and violence (her older brother was murdered by his wife last year.) Money may be an issue, because she told my husband how upset she was because she didn’t receive any Christmas gifts this year. My husband started choking up then and had to change the subject. Her grades are lacking and she suffers from self esteem issues.
I am beyond upset for this girl. I am angry. Why is it we all stand here and preach about anti bullying, but when we are faced with a situation where we can reach out and help, we turn our cheek and say “It’s Not My Problem?” I am pissed that not one parent came to that girls aid at her time of need. It angers me to think that if my daughter needed help on that trip, she would have been considered a burden by the other parents. I am pissed that the bullying continues after she has made reports. Why does it seem there is no adult standing in and advocating for this girl? My husband says that he feels she is a girl that could possibly do herself harm if this goes on too much longer. That is unacceptable to me.
I want to do something. I want to reach out to her, to let her know that someone does care. My husband says that she is one story in many. I can’t save them all. No, I probably can’t, but I can try to save this one. I will be her voice, and demand something on the school level be done to help her.
I am disheartened at how many people talk the talk, but won’t walk the walk. If you stand there and preach about anti bullying, but do nothing to reach out and help, you are just as guilty as the bully. What about you? Are you going to turn and say “Not My Problem!” or or you going to stand up and do something when faced with this kind of situation?