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Julie Hertzog, Directors Blog You can also check out our Directors Blog, "Our goal is to be thoughtful and positive in what we do. We work with schools and parents and kids, encouraging everyone to come together to prevent bullying"

Reporting

Posted: 5/23/2011

When I first reported bullying, the school handed me a two page form to fill out. I handed it back because I have a learning disability and needed help to fill it out. They wouldn't offer assistance.

I endured months of bullying until my parents found out by accident. I still didn't tell them everything. They instructed me to report it and followed up for several days. When I still didn't my mom asked why and I told her about the report. She went with me the next day and they told her she couldn't help me with the report. She immediately found the principal and informed him that the policy prevented children with disabilities from having access to reporting incidents of bullying. She told him she was helping me with the form and that he needed to change his policy so that students with disabilities could take the form to their guidance counselor for assistance in filling it out. Make sure reporting procedures are accessible to everyone.

In special education classes there should be monthly discussions about bullying, what it is, what it looks like, how to get help and how to report. I need constant reminders and assistance with things like this because of my disability. Let me know that I can have assistance. In all classrooms teachers need to establish clear policies on how classmates are to be treated and these should also be revisited regularly.

Not one of my classrooms has ever had anything posted about bullying and intolerance of it. I think a visual reminder in all classrooms would be beneficial.

By: Anonymous

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My Disability

Posted: 5/23/2011

i get teased for my hearing aids

By: Anonymous

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The Sad Flower Drawing

Posted: 5/23/2011

I have a 14 yr old son that was recently in a Psychiatric Hospital for 10 days --ultimately due to rejection by his peers at school. It's a long and involved story.  He drew a picture that I think the picture is worth sharing.  He's PDD-NOS, Aspergers, ODD features....a rainbow of Autism.  Not an easy kid, but he did not deserve the treatment he got from the school or the students.

This is my message:

Good Morning Everyone,

I've been wanting to share a piece of art work that my son created on his second day of a recent hospital stay.  Please see the attached drawing that he did--on the back he named his creation "the sad flower."  On my second day of visiting him, he had this taped to the door of his room so that you could not miss it as you entered his room.  He left this picture up on his door the entire time he was in the hospital.

I am sharing this with you to show you what an impact bullying can have on kids.  Especially kids that lack social skills. Some of the bullying that my son was subjected to was very subtle, other times it was very obvious.  He was also someone who did bullying.  There are all kinds of bullying.  The worst kind that drove him to his crisis was the REJECTION that he experienced on the Playground and the Exclusion he felt in Class, Lunch, Activities, etc. He had no friends at school.  NONE.

Please take a moment to look at his drawing and ponder what it's like for a 14 yr. old boy to be repeatedly rejected by his peers, excluded from lunch, excluded from recess and removed from the classroom repeatedly.

There HAS TO BE A BETTER WAY.  Please don't let this happen to more children.

By: A Mom Who Cares

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I Promise

Posted: 5/17/2011

"My little sister has Tourette's syndrome. I'm not even sure that she even really knows let alone tells people. And the kids that she goes to school with have been bullying her since the second grade. She's in the seventh grade now!

She's such a sweet girl, and only tries to help people, and yet all they can do is bully her whether it's in person, on Facebook, through her phone, and all I can try to do is do what's best and stand up for her and any other victims.

And yet she's still nice to them - because she knows how it feels. I'm hoping through websites like this, and organizations, that maybe someday we'll live in a world where kids & anybody can feel safe in their own community. To feel safe in life. So hang in there, whoever you are, wherever you are. You'll only come out stronger in the end. I promise."

By: Emily

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I Used To Bully

Posted: 5/17/2011

THE TIME I BULLIED: My story is of the time I used to bully innocent kids in my class and school. Before being diagnosed with Bipolar and PTSD, I had uncontrolled ranges and it resulted in bullying. I used to hit, scream, spit, and intimidate kids. I feel a lot of bullying is due to undiagnosed mood disorders. I feel that the kids who are undiagnosed are causing some of the bullying. This is an issue that should be addressed from a medical point of view in many but not all cases. I feel this issue should be addressed by teachers, principals, counselors, school officers, and parents as well. I feel my class and school is now a happier and safer place after me being diagnosed. Even kids can change the community, I am 12 years old.

By: Sabrina

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A Mother's Story

Posted: 5/13/2011

My daughter has Asperger Syndrome, which means she had a hard time making friends at school because she doesn't understand social nuance very well. Seven years ago, when she was in 10th grade, a teacher left the room and a bunch of popular girls in the back of the class started talking very loudly. When my daughter turned around to look at them the leader of the girls yelled, "What areyou looking at?"

The room got very quiet because everyone was expecting my daughter to act embarassed.

My daughter may not have the greatest social skills but she also doesn't worry too much about whether or not she's popular. In addition, she has a great sense of humor.  So when the mean girl shouted out to her, she just smiled a big smile and loudly responded, "You!  I'm looking at you!  'Cause you're so pretty!"

The leader turned beet red as the rest of the class burst out laughing at her. She even started hitting her friends and saying, "Stop laughing!" which made everyone laugh even more.

PS: My daughter never did become popular with most of the school but she never felt bad about it because she developed her own circle of close friends.

By: Jackie

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Disability Education

Posted: 5/10/2011

I think that there should be more education on disability, the history of disability rights and how people with disabilities have been treated throughout time. I think it will do for me what learning about the history of racism has done for my parents.

My mom talks to me about how she learned more in class about how to treat people of different races than she ever did at home. She compares it to the reaction related to my brother's disability and talks all of the time about how she wishes the schools would include disability history in curriculum because she believes it will teach the same about communication, inclusion, respect and compassion for students with disabilities that racism studies has done for minorities.

By: Nick's Brother

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Untitled

Posted: 5/3/2011

I've never been the person to really have a voice for something. I'm known to be funny at times, but most of the time, I'm the quietest one in the room. When I do talk, I sometimes have a stutter or I can't enunciate some words as they do. I never really cared about my enunciation problem, because no one ever brought it up. But one day I went into the bathroom and a few seconds later a few girls walked in and were laughing, they didn't know I was in there. They were going on about how I can't read and kept repeating "ta ta ta today junior". Sometimes, the bullying may not be face to face, but bullying behind your back can hurt even worse. The people who you thought were your friends turn out to make fun of you and call you names. That's when it really hurts.

By: Fall Out Girl

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Moving

Posted: 5/3/2011

I was born with Cerebral Palsy that only affected the right side of my body. I can walk, talk, run, write and read on my own. I feel like any other almost fourteen year old girl. In my old neighborhood, the kids knew me well, they never judged me.

When I was seven, I moved. They kids called me things like "The Creeper" or even "It". We had a special language class, we learned the native language. The teacher would always fail me because I couldn't pronounce the words. The kids would mock me for this, saying this like "I don't speak Chinese, Creeper". When I was in gym, some boys would throw their shoes at my face and claim it was an "accident". Then, a boy pushed me into a small creek after school, which was covered in ice. If my friend wasn't there, I might have died because back then, I couldn't swim.

By: AMF

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Notes:

Students with disabilities are often bullied because of the characteristics of their disability, which is NOT something that can be changed. Take the chance to get to know someone who is different from you, you will be glad you did.

Laura's Story

Posted: 4/18/2011

I was teased terribly all through school, beginning in third grade. I remember being humiliated in front of my friends. In forth grade, the students began to call me, "robot." Because I have aspergers syndrome(which I did not know about back then), I walk stiffly and I do not move my arms when I walk. This is why the other kids thought I looked like a robot when I walk. One time when I was at my brother's baseball game, one of the kids said, "look, there's the robot." He started imitating the way I walk. My mom was with me and saw the whole thing. She pulled the boy aside and told him that it was not nice to call people names and that he should stop.

The worst teasing happened in fifth grade. I remember one cold day after lunch, I was about to go out to recess. I was standing by the door and I saw the kids all gathered there waiting for me and calling out my name. I knew that something awful was about to happen, but I did not know what. I went into the bathroom for a few minutes and thought about what to do. There was a paraprofessional standing right by the door and I thought about telling her that something was going to happen to me, but I was too embarrassed.

I walked out the door. All of the other kids held hands and formed a ring around me and would not let me out. They walked around in a circle and said a lot of hurtful comments, which I do not remember. Then they began kicking me. Somehow I broke loose. Every day at recess, I would try to run away from them so that they would not do this. I would hide on the playground somewhere, but I was never safe. They would always find me. When they did find me they would say mean comments and began kicking me just like they did that first day.

I moved from school to school, trying to avoid being teased, but I was never able to get away from it. By high school, I had no self-esteem left at all. I would walk through the halls with my head down, afraid to look at anyone or talk to anyone. I remember these two boys in high school who would prey on this. They would come up behind me and scream in my ear. I would get scared and drop all of my books, spill my lunch, or whatever and the other kids would laugh.

School was miserable for me. I think something dramatic needs to be done to prevent bullying. I feel very strongly about this. The sad thing is, these kids probably do not even realize what an impact their comments and actions had on me. They do not realize what they did to me. I also think that teachers need to incorporate more about bullying into their daily curriculum. They need to educate the students on how to treat each other.

By: Laura

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