Thursday, September 22, 2011

Why are we so mean? The Bully Project

I remember when I was young, there was one mean kid in the school, you know a bully. I attended private schools my entire life, and I loved them. I am shy, or at least I am until I get to know you, (then I will talk your ears off) in any case I liked the insular feeling of the little schools I went to. We moved around a lot when I was young because of my dads work and I really liked the familiarity of little schools where I would always be with my two sisters and brother. In fact I was afraid of public schools because someone at my school said that at public schools kids would hit each other with 2 by 4's. Obviously that was not true but when you are 7 years old and someone bigger than you tells you that, well you believe them. Did I mention that I led a sheltered life?

When I went to high school I attended an all girls school, and I hated it, it was huge. I think it had 400 girls, and I had come from a school with about 75 kids in 8 grades and I do not think that I spoke a word my entire freshman year. My biology teacher told my mother that he never actually heard me speak until sophomore year, and you know what, no one teased me, no one did anything, no one bullied me, they tried to help me feel more comfortable.

There were incidents in my life where I was a victim of a bully, when I was in the 3rd grade a boy from my class who I would not let copy my test followed me home and beat me up. Sister Evelyn stood him in front of the class and slapped him across the face when she found out and told him it was a sin to hit girls, I think he learned his lesson.

Another time in high school I was supposed to take a bus with my sister to my grandmothers because my mom could not pick me up. I was 16 and I had never been on a bus, in fact I had never been anywhere alone! I did not even know what to do, where to pay, or where to get off. Unfortunately for me, my sister got on another bus and I was left on my own. That was the day three girls from the inner city got on the bus and threatened to beat me up and kill me because I was wearing a plaid skirt, a white shirt and Sperry Topsiders. Thank God for the bus driver. She told me to get my butt to the front of the bus and sit next to her, eventually the mean girls got off. But not before taunting me a little more.

That it is it for my sheltered life. I think back now and they were small isolated incidents, traumatic then, but not life altering.  I was never ridiculed, or beat up on a daily basis. I cannot imagine such a horrible way to go through life. Unfortunately, with the advent of Twitter, My Space, Facebook, the Internet, and so many other social networking sites,  mean people  know where you live, what you ate for breakfast, who your friends are, if you are a gay or lesbian, if you have a girlfriend, if you are fat, or skinny or ugly or cute or whatever and these mean bullies use these tools to their advantage to torture you, day in and day out.

Bullying, it is not just confined to children, there is an incident in court right now where a college roommate streamed live on the Internet a date his gay roommate was having, These people are 20 years old, wouldn't you think you would be more mature and not so cruel? I guess once a bully always a bully? I hope not.

Just a few days ago, a 14 year old, young man committed suicide because he said he could not take it anymore, the daily torture and turmoil in his life for being gay. I can not even imagine how horrible this must have been for this poor young man that the alternative was to kill himself to make it stop.

Yesterday on the blog  The Enchanted Home Tina wrote the following:

A TRULY NOBLE CAUSE, THE BULLY PROJECT. I am proud to say I have donated and supported the making of this courageous and long overdue documentary about bullying. Lee Hirsch was the champion behind this project and I cannot sing his praises highly enough. While its such fun to blog about beautiful homes and rooms and fun decor and entertaining ideas,  the sobering reality is bullying is practically an epidemic that we as a society must have ZERO tolerance for. I have been blessed to not have had this personally affect me or my sons,  but my heart truly breaks for any child who has experienced the loneliness and isolation of being bullied. There was another suicide this past Sunday by a 14 year old teenager, who took his life after being bullied. That is why this project is so incredible. PLEASE all I ask is that you click on this link, and take a look at the trailer. If it prompts just  ONE conversation between a mother and her child ( as it did me and my son) I will feel like I did my small part to help raise awareness. Ideally, it will motivate all of you to talk to your children, grandchildren or a child you feel close to. Knowledge is power and just because this might not be affecting us personally does not mean we shouldn't take an active role and stand. Please click here to visit the site and see the short but unbelievably powerful trailer. I PROMISE you will not regret taking less than 2 minutes out of your day to watch a film that might prompt a conversation and ultimately change the fate for a young child. THANK YOU!"

I went to the The Bully Project link and I can tell you that this short clip is so powerful it will bring tears to your eyes, and you will wonder how people could be so cruel! According to the project site 18 million, yes 18 million people are bullied a year! Please go and watch this video, donate money, or at least spread the word so that we can try to eliminate bullies! You can spread the word on Twitter, Facebook or even email. They provide the letter below so that you can send it to all of your email list. Act today before another young man or your woman gets killed or kills themselves to escape the cruelty.

Dear Friend,
The Bully Project is a new movement and film empowering all of us – kids, parents, educators to build a world where empathy and respect rule – not the bullies. Will you join me and demand an end to school bullying?
The Bully Project film follows young Americans across the US as they battle their way through the confusing terrain of the American school system. The powerful film gives voice to the 5 million kids who are bullied each year.
I’m going to see the film when it comes out and do everything I can to fight the bullies. Will you join me? Check out the website, watch the trailer, join the movement, and together we can make our schools safer, kinder, and stronger.

Thank you Tina, and thank you for doing everything that you can do to help someone who is being bullied! Please use your blogs, your links and your email to get the word out about this important project. 

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