I want my son to grow up in a world where people aren’t bullied simply for living their lives. Part of me thinks this is wishful thinking. But the optimistic, idealist part of me thinks it’s possible.
I’m sharing the infographic below because it’s eye opening, particularly this line near the bottom:
9 out of 10 LGBT kids have experienced harrassment at school.
When I was in high school a long, long time ago, I witnessed that kind of bullying firsthand. I’m happy to say that I stepped in and stopped it, along with my best friend at the time. His name was Brian, and he was openly gay. Our high school (and our town) was pretty close-minded about that kind of thing–about any minority, to be honest. And one day, my best friend and I were driving down one of our town’s two main streets, near the high school, and saw Brian being chased by most of the football team, yelling at and threatening him while they all ran towards our car. We pulled over, opened the door, and urged Brian to jump in the car. Fortunately, he did, and we gave him a ride home.
We protected him that day. But we couldn’t do it every day. I’m pretty sure Brian got beat up a few times during his brief time at my high school. He didn’t stay for the full year, if I remember correctly. I think of him sometimes and hope he was able to get an education in a place that wasn’t so close-minded, so mean.
My high school was chock full of bigots and bullies, now that I think of it. Sure I was a little oddball, with my poetry scribbled on my sneakers and my holey grandpa sweaters held together with safety pins. But I wasn’t a vampire, a lesbian, or a Satan worshipper–all things I was called both to my face & behind my back during the 3 years I went there, and by kids who never took the time to get to know me. It didn’t bother me too much then. But now that I have a son, it does.
It saddens me to think that Jackson will encounter bullying during his education. I hope he isn’t the bully or the victim, but I’m pretty sure he’ll at least witness situations like those I experienced myself. I just hope they’re not worse.
I pledge to teach my son about bullying–why it’s wrong and how to rise above it if it happens to him. I will teach him about accepting people for who they are and that it isn’t nice to label them. How do you plan to teach your child?