For students who are bullied at school, summer is a well-welcomed respite from the daily torment they face at the hands of their classmates at school. For two and a half months, bullied children and teens get to physically and emotionally relax and recharge after enduring nine and a half long months of continuous harassment. However, as we all know, nothing good ever lasts.
With the beginning of a new school year just around the corner, most kids are filled with hope and excitement. Young targets of bullying, however, are filled with only fear, apprehension, and dread. Why? Because they know that they will more than likely face another long year of being physically assaulted and ridiculed, humiliated, and excluded!
With that said, if you are a student about to start a new school year, I urge you to:
1. Offer your friendship to the overweight girl, the underweight boy, the kid with the large nose/big ears and the kid with the braces or glasses.
2. Give and show support for the lonely and heartbroken kid nobody likes.
3. Include the kid who is always picked last for the team, the kid in foster care, or the kid who always wears the hand-me-downs.
4. Sit with the kid who always eats alone in the lunchroom.
5. Show empathy for the kid with the alcoholic father, or with the drug-addicted mother.
6. Speak up for and protect the kid who gets his face slammed into lockers or flushed in the bathroom toilet.
7. Extend your hand and help to his feet the kid being tripped in class and in the hallways.
8. Offer a sympathetic ear to the kid who’s depressed or suicidal.
Be a hero to a classmate who is made by others to feel like a zero. Extend kindness and friendship to a child or teen who is a target of bullying because you just never know. Your positive and encouraging words can re-empower the powerless, restore hope and save a life. Your time, support and kindness could be all the difference between suicide and the will to go on living.
This schoolyear, I challenge you to make a positive difference in the life of a bullied classmate!