I'm a Mom of a beautiful 16 year old girl that to the world was confident, outgoing, funny and a talented singer. However, deep inside she was waging a war with bullies. For a long time no one knew, not even me. She was a great actress! I could go on about what they did to her and the list would fill pages, but there was a day that changed everything. I got the call at work that I needed to go to the school as there was an "incident". When I arrived at the school, the police were there and I was warned that what I was about to hear was going to send me into a rage...and they were right. My daughter was waiting at the city bus stop with her one friend and the group of girls who were bullying my daughter thought it would be funny to scare her and start trying to push her into the path of the bus as it was coming down the street. They actually pushed her...all of them. She fell into the road, quickly got up and to the curb but her backpack exploded and the contents of her backpack spilled out everywhere on to the road. As the bus stopped hard he ran over the contents from her backpack...that could have easily been my daughter! As you can imagine, the rage I had inside was almost too much to handle. I demanded that action be taken and the police to press charges...but my daughter didn't want that. She wanted to forgive them, that's right, She wanted to FORGIVE them!!!! What she said next changed everything. At 16 she was able to understand that these girls were lost. They were hurting, they were the ones losing here. She recognized the pain that they were carrying around in their hearts. She explained that a few of the girls had parents who were never home, that even though they were relentlessly tormenting her, it was their own pain shining through. She asked me to forgive them. I was dumbfounded and I was humbled all at the same time. She went on to strongly claim that she was not those names they called her and she was not worthless and not important and she said she knew that because she had parents that made her feel valued, worth it and important. The school suspended the girls and had them go thru a process that educated them about how their actions have affected others. The police gave them all warnings and they were made to take an anti-bullying session that the police run for youth. As I reflected on my daughter's words that day it truly opened my eyes to how children who bully are in pain themselves. That they are projecting that pain on to others because they themselves cannot handle it. You might disagree with my belief, as before my daughter said those things, I would have sworn these children were the devil's spawn...but they are kids. Our kids...our responsibility. You know as adults we have rehabilitation programs for criminals to try and guide them to change, but children we just label and look for who is going to fix it and make this horrible, hurtful and sometimes devastating epidemic stop. My daughter is happier. The bullying has stopped. She has been feeling better and has even gained some new good friends. I feel content that she is ok, but deep in my heart my view of these bullies has changed forever. I want it to stop - all of it, I do, but I believe that the school, the police, counsellors are just a piece if it. It begins at home. Google Developmental Assets, you will see in the long list of things that children need to reduce high risk behaviour, parental presence, involvement and time spent are huge in the fundamental needs of a child. It really makes you think. That day changed everything for me, my daughter and for those girls...the bullies. Because my daughter showed compassion, the bullying has stopped and she is back to being a 16 year old girl, full of life, the way it should be. Thank you for your time reading this. Jo Anne
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