They say be the change you wish to see in the world... well, too many times "they" can speak the words but not be the action that so many of us needed. I was a normal kid growing up - had friends and was liked by the kids in my class... until middle school. 5 elementary schools combined on the first day to introduce us to new friends and new torturers... not exactly what a meet and great should be, but what it was. That day began the obstacle course of avoiding the cliques, harassers, bruise-makers and hair pullers that would leave small areas on my scalp bald and welts on my arm from science class, where the teacher told us to "get over it" and could he "move on with the lesson" now that I had interrupted him... for 3 years I bided my time. Friends formed alliances against the cruel jokes and pranks, became more than pals but allies against the school bullies. Bullies smart enough to be in our same classes, but too cruel to care about our emotions or skin cells... 540 days of torture that we trudged through... just to get to high school and have some distance... just to have a gasp of freedom from their mocking eyes and demeaning laughter ... just to be stuck in the same classes but with more kids... even a few feet more was better by that time.
I now am a middle school teacher and will not put up with the very things that made my days a living hell. Every person has a voice and a right to respect. I will challenge the child that thinks harassment is funny, I will confront the parent who blames another child for not standing up to their own, and I will not go quietly into that good night which threatens to be dismissive of the hurt and ache of so many.
Small school or not... I will be the change I once needed and that my students may one day need.
We are all a change in progress, what will cause you to change and make one happen?
By writing some words below, you are showing your support and letting everyone know they're not alone.