As sad as it is, the issue of bullying has become very prevalent in our society. Why? Because people don't know how to handle it. At least, that's my opinion. Parents don't know what to do when their child is being bullied at school, principals and teachers just turn a blind eye to it (though I think this is beginning to happen less), and the children who are actually doing the bullying don't realize how much it hurts the victims. I think the key to fixing all of this is to make people aware of what actually goes on. Jodee Blanco did this with her memoir Please Stop Laughing at Me...One Woman's Inspirational Story, and I'm sure many others have as well. But reading books like this gives people an idea of what it's actually like to be constantly bullied. And how kids don't realize how hurtful it can actually be.
Jodee started being picked on in Elementary school, when she stood up for something she believed in, but the other kids didn't agree with. It started something that would last all the way until the end of her high school career; she would never fit in with the other kids. And Jodee's classmates wouldn't stop at just taunting her with words. They would physically abuse her, and it got to the point that Jodee was afraid to go to any adult because it would just mean more abuse. Her whole story was absolutely heart-breaking. But it was beautifully written, and once you finish reading the book, it makes you want to go out and do something to stop bullying. I guess she achieved her goal. :)
I would highly recommend if you're going into teaching, or any type of education, that you read this book. The way some of Jodee's teachers acted just astounded me. Most people assume that the teachers would be the ones that would step in the way, that would help Jodee. But in some cases, they actually add to the abuse that Jodee endured at school. Not to repeat myself, but I think this is because more schools need to work on creating training programs for teachers so they know how to handle situations like this. With this issue, education is key. And perhaps with more education, for teachers, principals, parents, and students, the issue of bullying will stop being so prominent in our society. It would be amazing if no child was afraid to go to school. That would be the ideal world.
So, in light of the topic of this post, I thought I would provide some of the resources that Jodee has in the back of the book (and some of my own that I've found during my own research, which are a little more LGBTQ based, but still work) in case anyone is interested in finding out more about the topic. Here are some excellent websites:
KidsPeace National Centers for Kids in Crisis: www.kidspeace.org
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP): www.AFSP.org
The Bully Project: www.thebullyproject.com
GLSEN (The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network) www.glsen.org
These are just a few of the many resources you can find online to try and help out with this issue. Well, now I'm probably going to start reading things for class, so good bye to leisure reading for a while. Until next time, happy reading! :)