There are two films being released this Friday. Mirror Mirror starring Julia Roberts, and clearly the underdog film, a documentary called Bully already causing huge controversy over the “R” rating the Motion Picture Association of America slapped on it. The Weinstein company are releasing it without rating in response, since the very teen audience the film is meant to target would not be allowed to see it without a parent otherwise.

Tallulah, Yasmin, Saffron, and Amber LeBon with Julie Anne and Tatjana Rhodes

Tallulah, Yasmin, Saffron, and Amber LeBon with Julie Anne and Tatjana Rhodes, and Levi, Stacey, Layla, Paul and Grady Young

It was the second week of first grade. I was a shy girl, who already stood much taller than anyone else, giving the kids plenty of fodder to ridicule me with – “hey, Jolly Green Giant”, “hey Amazon woman.” I was so relieved to finally make a friend when one of my classmates invited me over to her house to play after school. We soared as high as we could on the swings in her backyard, giggling and talking about all of our favorite things. Not long after her older sister and a friend joined us. They didn’t say much – just stared at me, until the sister’s friend said “you’re Jewish aren’t you?”

With my parents when I was six

With my parents when I was six

I was six, I didn’t really know there were any differences between religions, let alone the hatred of prejudice. I naively answered “yes, I think so.” The next day I was walking home from school alone when the two older girls jumped me, my knees stinging as they scraped the pavement, calling me a “dirty Jew you killed Christ – you killed Jesus” as they continued to kick and hit me. Tears streaming down my face, sobbing so hard I could barely iterate “I don’t know anyone called Jesus, and I would never kill anyone!” As a car came down the street, they ran off, and I limped home feeling ashamed of a phantom crime. Haunted by the incident for life.

I was lucky, I used my height, which also caused endless unkind remarks, coupled with a talent for acting fierce to make the kids afraid of me. No one ever jumped me again. That autumn afternoon changed me, and led me to a depth of understanding about what motivates people from a very early age. I’ve been fighting for the underdog ever since – deliberately befriending any other kid I saw bullied.

Julie Anne Rhodes

Take a stand, I still believe in heroes

But what if you’re not tall, and don’t know how to put on a convincing front? What if you have to endure that terrifying behavior on a daily basis, and what if the adults in your world do nothing about it to protect you? Thirteen million children are bullied in the United States alone, and we are turning a blind eye to the abuse they endure. Abuse so painful it would eventually drive an 11 year old boy to suicide, and sadly he is not alone.

Regardless of rating or lack there of, I would actually urge parents to go see Bully with their children (teens included) anyway, and start the dialogue that needs to happen to bring about change. So look into the mirror and ask “mirror mirror on the wall, whose the fairest of them all?” It doesn’t matter if your children are being bullied, neutral, or doing the bullying – we all need our eyes opened, and to start taking responsibility. I say “bravo Harvey” for championing this film, and I hope all of you will see it.

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  • March 28, 2012
    11:18 am

    I’ve started this comment and erased it five or six times now. I started tearing up reading what you had been through and then that poor little boy came on screen, the parents, the bus scenes. Wow. I hope they let you bring your own kleenex to this movie. Bravo Harvey indeed. SO sick of the excuses they mention in this movie… time people stop burying their heads in the sand and say enough is enough. Thank you Jewels.

  • March 28, 2012
    12:53 pm

    That’s it, I need a time machine… so that I can give 6 year old Jewels a hug. That’s way too young to learn just how ignorant people can be.

    • March 28, 2012
      2:16 pm

      I remember when it was so “Jetsons” to see the person you were talking to on the telephone – now we don’t even need the phone. Won’t it be cool when we CAN time travel.

  • March 28, 2012
    12:53 pm

    I was bullied K-5th grade.I was the weird girl who got nose-bleeds alot and never talked. Even though we lived in an affluent neighborhood my parents couldn’t afford nice clothes. SO I got picked on for that too. I probably developed trust issues b/of this among other things growing up.One bully-girl picked on me daily and made me let her cheat off my tests and homework or she threatened to beat me up. Finally the toughest girl in school, Shelly Hinds, whom I am forever grateful for, stood up to her for me and I was never touched or teased again because EVERYONE knew Shelly could kick all the other girls AND boys asses lol She was a tough girl with a big heart and the only one brave enough against the tyrant bully-girl (whom I won’t name). All it takes is for one kid to stand next to that one kid whose being bullied. Kids in numbers are strong! Thankfully my daughter has not had to deal with what I did and even when anything came close to resembling a bully moment she told me straight away and mama lion came out blazing (but in a nice way lol) to the parents/child. Squashed immediately! Plus now we home school lol.

    • March 28, 2012
      2:17 pm

      M doesn’t strike me as the kind of girl that would let a bully get away with it for long – she’s smart and tough just like her mama.

  • March 28, 2012
    2:51 pm

    This film does exactly what a documentary should and its why I am working on my masters in documentary film! To educate, and inform and be a catalyst for change!

    • March 28, 2012
      9:06 pm

      I totally get that!

  • March 28, 2012
    11:11 am

    I, too, was called “Amazon” in school for towering over everyone. Bullying is horrid behavior. The sad thing is most bullies learn bullying at home where they are supposed to be taught to treat others with kindness. Very sad.

    • March 28, 2012
      11:25 am

      My parents called the parents of the two girls that jumped me. The parents of my friend were horrified their older daughter behaved that way, and her sister apologized to me too. The parents of the other girl said they were proud of their daughter and full heartedly condoned her behavior – sad, but true – prejudice does begin at home, but bullying does not necessarily stem from there, and most parents would do something about it if they knew their child was involved.

  • March 28, 2012
    11:26 am

    Here! Here!

  • March 28, 2012
    2:08 pm

    I applaud your bravery once again. I too was taller than average, a dreamer, and painfully shy, and I was ridiculed mercilessly for it by my classmates. Though I was never physically abused, the emotional scars are still there. Thank you for sharing your story with us, as always. Your strength and courage continue to inspire me.

    • March 28, 2012
      2:19 pm

      Doesn’t this just tell us that we are all much more alike than different? Time to start recognizing the humanity in all of us.

  • March 28, 2012
    2:12 pm

    It really is hard to form words to comment. I was so shocked to hear what happened to you. You were just a baby. It’s sometimes difficult to fathom ignorance and hatred. I wanted to cry watching the trailer. I hope this movie can help make a difference. Too many children have been lost because of bullying.

    • March 28, 2012
      2:22 pm

      It will at least start the dialogue on a grander scale, but the responsibility still falls with each and every one of us individually and as a community.

  • March 29, 2012
    3:01 am

    Wow. Where do I begin? I can relate so much to all of this as I, too, was bullied (verbally and physically) from a very early age all the way through college and beyond. Not just from other kids, either — “teachers,” parents, professors, doctors… even a certain priest (!) all jumped on the bandwagon. I survived and am a stronger person for it; I didn’t let their ignorance define who I am. But, I’m also human and am haunted by a handful of hurtful events — not everyday, but when I hear stories of what others have endured, those identifiable emotions wash over again.

    Being a natural redhead (“ginger”) came with a price in many ways; always targeted and teased since grade school. I dreaded taking the bus as the bullying was relentless by the rougher public school kids (if they saw you in a Catholic school uniform, you might as well have been wearing a bullseye). I kept to myself, sat behind the driver and would read my books on the way home. A particular day in 4th grade stands out, the day I saw stars! One of the rowdy girls sitting in the back came up from behind and whacked me hard on the head with a dictionary and several text books, laughing at me in the aftermath. I told my mom about the incident and she taught me how to defend myself — using my lunchbox or anything else I could to fend them off if she (or any of her friends) approached me again. That’s exactly what happened a few days later… they pushed me on the ground once I got off the bus at our (shared) stop, so I took my lunchbox and swung it as hard as I could out of nowhere, hitting her square in the head (which left a definite dent in my metal lunchbox as well). She ran home screaming and crying — never bullied me again. Consequently, her ‘big’ brother got in on the action and chased me down the street in his pickup truck in retaliation. It only happened twice, but I quickly learned to run through neighbor’s backyards to our house to dodge him. He eventually stopped.

    I hit a growth spurt and ‘blossomed’ in 5th grade, when new levels of bullying continued… (condensing stories:) some girls in class thought I was wearing my mom’s clothes to try to act older than I was (which was clearly not the case), derogatory comments from parents at softball games, having my books thrown at me from across the room/physically shaken by my 6th grade teacher, being screamed at and thrown in a corner by a priest during confession… that was just grade school. Moving to Florida in 8th grade brought yet another set of conditions — merely being “new” was reason enough for some people to harass. Being naturally well-endowed didn’t help, either, as situations escalated to a sexual nature in high school all the way through college, where I was literally moo’ed at while walking across the courtyard to the library. There are many more stories… I could go on and on. All of these people are truly pathetic. They obviously feel immensely insecure, themselves, to resort to bullying others in order to feel superior. The time has come for all of this crap to STOP across the board!

    Sadly, bullying is a growing epidemic that’s touched all of us at one point or another… even celebrities. Have you ever seen Johnny Depp on Inside the Actor’s Studio? There’s a part where he described a bullying incident that happened to him, which resonated with me since it sounded very much like my bus incident.

    During this past Grammy voting season (Oct. ’11), I was approached by a producer who introduced me to his project: “All About Bullies… Big and Small.” After reviewing the collaborative music and the positive messages the project conveyed, I whole-heartedly supported it on my ballot. I was obviously not alone in that sentiment as it went on to win a Grammy last month for Best Children’s Album. If you have children effected by bullying, I encourage you to give this a listen: Stay strong!

    • March 29, 2012
      10:47 am

      As usual, you’ve opened my eyes to another gift to the world, thank you!

  • March 29, 2012
    9:38 am

    I too, was unfortunately bullied in junior high. Time after time my mother and I sat in the office trying to get “help” from officials who always said that kids will be kids. It was one girl that brought it all on to the point where I was afraid to even go to the homecoming game. All because I had openly said I thought a certain boy in school was “cute”. (He later turned out to be the most self absorbed a-hole in town).

    To this day, I still get a stomach ache when I run into her. Our daughters are actually friends now. I bet she doesn’t even remember what she did.

    • March 29, 2012
      10:40 am

      Really interesting Dana –

      To this day, I still get a stomach ache when I run into her. Our daughters are actually friends now. I bet she doesn’t even remember what she did.

      I’ve wondered this too over the years, and thankfully do not still see my bullies. I wonder if this film will make many of us aware of bullying we might have done over the years, that we are completely unaware of? It is really easy for all of us to identify the times we have been hurt by other people’s actions, and completely unaware of our own trespasses. I know I did a fair bit of name calling in retaliation or anger in my day, and that makes me equally guilty – “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is a complete falsehood. Words can and do hurt as surely as a sucker punch can.

      • March 29, 2012
        11:34 am

        From her, I got both the sucker punch and the words. But, having a supportive mother and given the values I have, I was able to find strength to overcome it. I think I’m a better person today for what I had gone through. I’m definitely taking both of my children (10 and 8) to see this movie. So they know what happens on both sides of the fence. And to let them know, I (like my mother) will always have their backs. 🙂

      • March 29, 2012
        11:44 am

        That is my whole point of regardless to no rating or R rating – we should still all use this as an opportunity to see it together and open up a discussion with our kids, and maybe even learn a thing or two ourselves in the process.

        Bullying has progressed immensely along with technology since my childhood. Kids today face it on an often anonymous (no idea who their aggressor is), and hugely more humiliating scale through cyber space. We may need to learn a few new skills and approaches to protecting and supporting our children to be effective.

  • March 29, 2012
    10:19 am

    Jules…your story is heartbreaking. And even worse, I’m sure that you’re not the only one with a similar story.

    Being a victim of bullying myself, my husband and I plan on taking our 9 year old son to see this film. He’s already a very big supporter of the anti-bullying movement, and he’s NINE YEARS OLD. He’s been bullied, and has stuck up for children who are. He also has Aspergers Syndrome…which is why he was bullied in the first place, he’s different.

    Change needs to come, and fast. I’m tired of watching our children die, or live in torment needlessly.

    • March 29, 2012
      10:31 am

      Aspergers Syndrome makes making friends tough, because there is a disconnect with the non literal and verbal nuances of communication, but once people get past that – you couldn’t hope for a more caring, intelligent and loyal friend that will eventually turn that “being different” into a strength he can share with the world.

      The people who are different in whatever way, are the ones that get singled out for bullying, but they are the ones that also hold the most promise. I think you will find many very successful artists and entrepreneurs were once bullied for being different, but it’s that thinking outside the box, that square peg not fitting into a round hole that will be responsible for their ultimate success, so long as they can survive the ridicule.

  • March 29, 2012
    10:29 am

    Being a military brat, I was always the new kid in town and was pretty isolated until I learned “the rules” of the new school, who to talk to or avoid. Clothing styles varied wildly across the US, what was hip in CA was ridiculous in TX, what worked in TX was too preppy for NC. Kids zero in on everything in their effort to put everyone in their proper place. Too tall or fat, green eyes, read too much, mom has a crappy car, too smart…whatever. Being in band in High School really helped, even though there was still cliques we all looked out for each other.
    My husband didn’t fare as well, he was the classic gangly nerd with glasses who was treated so cruelly that he contemplated suicide. He said the only reason he didn’t go through with it was to spare his mother the pain. He developed a great sense of humor to defuse the tense standoffs but worries so much that our future kids will go through what he did or worse. I’m glad that

    • March 29, 2012
      10:31 am

      …this subject is gaining attention, I just know that with kids being kids, will they still continue this mentality when adults aren’t looking? Have we finally evolved past this? I hope so but fear we haven’t.

      • March 29, 2012
        12:44 pm

        Do our kids still smoke, do drugs or a million other things we try to teach them not to do behind our backs – sure some do, but many do, but not all. Once they have been educated to the consequences of their actions, they are much less likely to get involved than before they realized their actions even have consequences.

        In this case I think it is more a question of connecting with our own humanity, and passing that along to our children, than giving them rules and ultimatums. It’s about teaching tolerance and compassion.

  • March 29, 2012
    10:30 am

    Thank you for sharing such a personal story.
    I was born with an open back. My parents never wanted me to go to a ‘special’ home, or a ‘special’ school, so I grew up living with my parents, going to schools that were attended by kids who could walk ‘normal’.
    Even though I wasn’t the only one in a wheelchair (there was also a boy with the same physical handicap, same age as me), I felt very lonely at school: even the guy in the wheelchair picked on me. What! He was the WORST, together with his ‘girlfriend’.
    My Mother always said: “Be strong, and don’t say anything back, don’t fight them. They don’t know any better. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I wish I would have been taught different; up to this day I still don’t know what to do, when young children and even adults say things that are totally unfair, when you think of the fact I can’t help it I was born this way (with a whole in my back). I absolutely don’t (want to) see myself as a victim; I have my way with words, if I want to. If you know what I ‘mean’! 😉
    But I still can’t understand why people are judged by what they look like/are born like.
    Don’t judge a book by its cover!

    • March 29, 2012
      10:46 am

      There is some wisdom to your mother’s words, though. It isn’t fair we are often judged by our cover, but that often means the pages within hold so much more depth of soul and beauty as a result. Yours shines through in spades!

  • March 29, 2012
    10:40 am

    And I would like to add, that your ex husband, and his band Duran Duran, were my only reason, at the time, to survive the ordeals at school.
    And up to this day they give me so much joy and the will to maintain in the things I believe(d) in.

  • March 29, 2012
    10:43 am

    Jewels, that TOTALLY surprises me that you were bullied!!! Its so odd how our minds make assumptions and judgments – and I even KNOW better!! But still, I look at you and I see your physical beauty, your success, creativity, tenacity, the glamour, high profile connections, talent on and on … and my mind just doesn’t wonder about your childhood scars or experiences. This is such a revealing blog of which I commend your sharing, taking a stand and also choosing healing & forgiveness beyond the incident and being a VOICE as your reward 😀

    I want to share in addition to childhood bullying, there IS adult bullying, abusive behavior and emotional insensitivity which is also damaging. The work place is often a breeding ground I’ve been subject to this and observed it in others,it haunts me and disturbs me GREATLY!! I feel addressing this is the next step to awareness as humans treating each other with mutual respect, dignity and compassion.
    One of my examples and a situation that came to mind when I began to read your blog, was for the first time ever, I was called, ‘AMAZON WOMAN’ by a patron at my work place a few months ago. I did’t think it was funny. I didn’t think it was nice (I KNEW the context, HELLO – mine had more to do with my weight and probably my ‘larger then life’ attitude, 😉 nonetheless, it was ‘name calling’, it was inappropriate, it was embarrassing and humiliating in front of others. My peers laughed. The patient thought he was cute etc. I’ve been called ‘too sensitive’ all my life – no wonder I’m out on stress-leave from the work place!! I don’t care how old you are , ill-treatment HURTS others!!!

  • March 29, 2012
    11:21 am

    Sadly, it seems we haven’t come very far from that time in the 60’s when you were jumped for being Jewish. Last week there was a story about peole who were asked to “tweet” to their unborn children. Over 100 tweets had to do with how they would kill their child if he/she turned out to be gay. Couple that with the anti-obama bumper sticker “don’t re-nig in 2012” and the entire Trayvon Martin case, I seriously have to wonder if we’ve made any progress at all.

    I was bullied verbally as a kid (shy, akward, glasses, etc. I was an easy target). Now that I have a daughter (Who somehow ended up everything I wasn’t) I try to impress on her how we are all different, and that’s the way it’s SUPPOSED to be. She seems to be getting the message.

    A little girl with albanism started at her school and Jess was the first one to befriend her. She’s completely taken with the little girl’s pink eyes! I told her I was proud of her for being friends with the little girl since Jess admits she was startled by her appearance at first. Now, Jess makes sure to introduce her to everyone!

    I just pray that one day those of us who embrace our differences can finally outnumber those don’t.

  • March 29, 2012
    11:35 am

    Mel Brooks used to shout out “look, the only Jew from Iowa is here” every time I entered a club we all used to frequent in London. I would try to keep that smile planted on my face, but in reality I longed to dive under a table.

    To him, it was a term of endearment, and he did not mean it maliciously. It was my childhood wound that kept me from finding the humor in it, and I was aware I needed to acknowledge that and let it go.

    As children we are defenseless, therefore bullying can be extremely damaging, but by the time we reach adulthood we should have a better sense of who we are from within, and not be so reliant on our sense of self through what others think.

    It may spark old fears and painful memories, but you do not have to respond as the hurt child within. Why not respond to a comment like “Amazon woman” as an adult by calmly and rationally pointing out that you find that term offensive, and would prefer they refrain from using it?

  • March 29, 2012
    11:59 am

    it’s horrible (more than that) when kids abuse/attack/bully other kids. kids wouldn’t know hate if they didn’t learn it. was bullied for being pale by kids who suntanned. yes. THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS. ridiculous.

    • March 29, 2012
      12:14 pm

      While a great deal of this behavior may be learned at home, I have to disagree with you that it is all learned. Fear is a natural instinct, and we fear what we don’t understand. Someone that stands out, for whatever reason, as being different can provoke this on a primal level. What CAN make the difference is being taught at home and in school not to fear, but to celebrate our differences while recognizing on a human level that we are all much more alike than different. Tolerance.

  • March 29, 2012
    12:53 pm

    I normally don’t comment but this one hits home as my 11-year old daughter is currently going through the same thing. I have gone to the school on three seperate occasions and still nothing has been done. I’ve also requested that the child doing the bullying be kept away from her, yet every day when I ask how her day was it’s always the same. I am currently seeking couseling for her through the school psychologist and can only hope that she can repair the damage that’s already been done. There’s no reason on earth that these babies should wake up every morning sick to their stomachs and scared to death to go to school. It breaks my heart that she hates her life and doesn’t feel it’s worth living when she hasn’t even begun to live yet. All I can say to comfort her is that this too shall pass and that it does get better as we grow older. Hats off to all that have been in that situation and were able to overcome the hurt and are still genuinely sweet and caring individuals like Julie Anne.

    • March 29, 2012
      1:10 pm

      I’m so glad you DID decide to post. I certainly don’t have all the answers or solutions, but maybe by starting the conversations here someone else will read your post, and have great words of guidance for you. It is so hard to see our children in such pain, and feel so powerless over it. At least you are giving all the love, support, encouragement and advice you can at home – you are involved in her life, and she must feel that, but we have no control once we send them to school and the schools DO have a responsibility to protect and educate the children we entrust them with! This is inexcusable that they do nothing.

      Anyone else have some advice for Amber’s mom? I know some of my followers are teachers, perhaps you could help with some insight from your perspective?

      • March 29, 2012
        1:46 pm

        I’m not a teacher, but at what point do you go above the school and just flat out just call the police? It’s called harassment, it’s called battery,and there are LAWS that protect people. Maybe some of these bullys need a little “scared straight”.

  • March 29, 2012
    1:42 pm

    Your post reminded me of an incident that happened when we moved back to the city and I ended up at a new school. I was in the third grade at the time.

    I went downstairs to use the bathroom and two much older girls who were in there grabbed me, one by the feet, the other by the hands, and dragged me all over the bathroom floor laughing the whole time. They didn’t know me, had never seen me before. It was literally my first week of school there. I won’t get too much into the details of why it was done to me, other than to say that much like the incident you experienced as a child, it had to do with being “different”, something I had never thought about before then.

    They also put the fear of God in me not to tell anyone and I was too scared to. My mom couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to go to school the next day because I loved school and was an excellent student – it was very out of character for me. I eventually told my mom what had happened and needless to say, my mother was livid beyond belief.

    She went to the school, straight to the principal’s office to report what had happened. I don’t remember if I ever identified the individuals who were involved (my memory is a little hazy in that regard), but I am guessing probably not since if I had, I am sure it would have been burned into my brain much like the incident itself.

    I remember that my mom didn’t wait to see what if anything was going to be done, she read them the riot act and removed me from the school. I was immediately enrolled in the local Catholic school, where nothing like that ever happened (at least when I went there, we were all too afraid of the nuns to set even a toe out of line).

    I was lucky enough that my mom was able to remove me from that school and put me in another one, but I know not everyone has the means or opportunity to do that. These kind of incidents shouldn’t even be happening with children in the first place, not anywhere, but most especially not in school which should be a safe place. I don’t know what the solution is, but it just saddens me so much to think that there are children like that out there who can behave in such a way towards other children.

    • March 30, 2012
      9:57 am

      If one more person says “kids will be kids”, I’m going to scream parents should parent, teachers should teach, and principals need to keep the children we entrust to them safe.

  • March 30, 2012
    9:32 am

    Wow, this brings back memories. I’m amazed how many similar situations we’ve had. Kids and teachers bullied me in school. It got so bad that my parents transferred me to another school. I was incredibly shy to the point of panic setting in if I was asked a question, wore glasses and like Erin, I’m a red head. I would hear comments like “better dead than red”, “your brain is rusting”. Kids would stick gum in my hair and tease me. One time when I was walking home from school, boy pushed me into the path a moving car and the car wrecked so it could avoid hitting me. The man got out of the car let the kid have it. The boy thought it was funny. I told my mom and I never walked to school again. I don’t remember what happened to the boy.
    It got so bad that my parents spoke with the principal. I’m not exactly sure what was said but my dad said to the principal “well, it doesn’t pay Suzanne to get out of bed in the morning from the way she is treated”. I am so glad my parents stood up for me. I was transferred to another school shortly after that and I excelled and blossomed. Now, I’m very vocal about things, maybe too much but I consider it making up for lost time AND after many hair colors in the 80’s and 90’s, I love my natural hair color.
    I am very

  • March 30, 2012
    9:33 am

    Oops, I wanted to say, I’m also very clear with Aleks as to what bullying is and what he should do.

    • March 30, 2012
      10:00 am

      Funny how the things we grew up taunted over are sometimes what we like most about ourselves as adults.

  • March 30, 2012
    12:57 pm

    Jewels, having been the only Jew in a Catholic all-girl school, I was the subject of quite the same remarks you bravely endured.

    I even had the pleasure of finding swazikas (sp?) drawn on paper shoved into my locker and the teachers and principal ignored my pleas for help.

    Kids can be beyond brutal.

    In grammar school, after my mother died, kids would come up and say, “I heard you momma died because she couldn’t stand being a Jew so she killed herself” and even more things that I can’t even print here.

    The bottom line is that back in those days, no one championed me. No one stood up for me.

    Now, present day – I become ferocious when one of my kids comes home and tells me that he was being picked on.

    My boys’ school has a bullying form that the victim needs to fill out and unfortunately my son, Jaden, has had to fill it out several times this year. Over the same kid.

    This movie needs to be a mandatory watch for every school. I am recommending to the school that this merits a field trip and I will do whatever I have to do to fundraise for it so that all of the kids in Jaden’s class watch this.

    • April 1, 2012
      5:01 pm

      Jodi, what you have written is bringing tears to my eyes. Losing your mother was hard enough without having to endure the monsterous comments. My heart goes out to you and all the others who have shared their stories. We all need to get petitions going to bring this film to all students in all grades.

  • March 30, 2012
    10:35 am

    I was shy and bullied, too. Shy seems to be a target for bullies. I was tall, so that helped, but shy with asthma? Ugh. Like Jewels, I befriended others who were bullied. There was one girl with Fowns Syndrome that the kids were so mean to…I would chase them off. She was always so grateful. 4 years after that I was at a new friend’s house, as we moved and I changed schools often due to moving. Who should answer the door but the girl with Downs Syndrome! She recognized me, remembered my name (as I did hers), hugged me. Her family wanted to know how I knew her and I explained. “That was YOU? Thank you!” More gratitude. I’ve never forgotten seeing what a difference I made in her life by just chasing off kids when I saw her harassed.

    I am now physically disabled. Some of the kids in my sons kinder class had made some comments to me. Not mean, just bordering on what could later be mean, a few years down the line. So, yesterday I gave a short talk about disabilities and what is going on with me, and to never think they KNOW why someone is different, or overweight, or whatever. They were SO GREAT about it. We have to teach at young ages about differences and tolerance. WONDERFUL post, Jewels.

    • March 30, 2012
      10:44 am

      Now THAT is what I’m talking about! Taking the time to talk to Nicolas’s class is such a POSITIVE way of educating kids in tolerance and acceptance before bullying develops. I’m sure it will be more effective in the long run than waiting until an incident occurs, and being reprimanded – I think you just became my hero, Simone. Brave and brilliant move, and clearly a parent who is very involved with both her own children and the school in spite of all the physical challenges you have to face.

      • March 30, 2012
        11:27 am

        His teacher thought it best if the talk came from me and I agreed. She seemed to think it was brave, too, but I’m just trying to help educate these children. I work with them every week and have gotten to know his classmates and teacher well. I did get a bit nervous prior, but it went well. Another parent was helping yesterday, too, and she said I did well explaining it in ways they could understand. Whew! I explained that some of my doctors would have me in a wheelchair but I won’t do it until I have to. I wanted them to really understand that just because I come in there smiling and happy to be there with them doesn’t mean I’m not in excruciating pain or “fine,” so never assume anything about anyone. Xo

      • March 30, 2012
        1:00 pm

        Simone, you are AMAZING!!! You got in front of the issue and enlightened not only the students, but I’m sure the teachers as well.

        I am so proud of you and you set a tremendous example for your children!!

        Jewels, I’m sharing your post with Jaden along with Simone’s and your comments here in the hopes that he feels better and not so alone.

        I’m so so happy for you, Simone! Good for you!

  • April 1, 2012
    4:55 pm

    Wow, this post brought back some memories. I was the quiet, chubby (okay, fat) little girl who was always terrified. I kept to myself and put all my efforts into getting good marks. That didn’t help get me any friends. In later grades, I was still not pop

  • April 1, 2012
    4:58 pm

    Sorry, cut myself off somehow. I guess, the point is, bullying has been around forever and we need to stop it in its tracks immediately. Schools need to bring the film into the classroom and get some open dialogue going. They also need to open their eyes to what goes on in the school yard and do something to stop it. Whilst I realize teachers have a lot to do in the classroom, keeping an eye open for bullying and nipping it in the bud is just as important as reading, writing and arithmetic.