I’m sharing a story today of bullying, sponsored by #WWEmoms and The Online Mom, to help spread the word of the alliance between WWE and Be A STAR Foundation. All stories and opinions are my own. (and there’s a Twitter party announcement below, just so you know)
Just last year, in preschool, my boy met up with his very first bully. This was a kid that was younger than Benjamin, but looked like he could easily be 9 or 10. He was large for his age, both tall and overweight. My boy is tall-ish, but he has no meat on his bones.
My boy likes to make friends with everyone, especially new kids in class, and he is constantly trying to make someone smile or feel welcome. I can’t tell you how many times he has been in the church nursery with me and helped me calm down a crying child on their first time away from their parents. He’s just a joy to be around and he wants everyone to be happy with him.
This big boy joined his class suddenly one week and Benjamin tried to make friends with him. The boy hit him and was very mean. Benjamin came home and told us about it and we told him that he could choose to play away from the boy or try to teach the boy how to be nice. He chose the latter.
The next day the boy hit him again and shoved him.
I talked to the preschool teacher and she told me that several children, especially the girls (and my boy tended to play more with the girls), and that quite a few parents had begun to complain. She said they were working with him and trying to help him, but she thought he had a rough home life.
Now, I work in the social work field and I know what it looks like when a child is having a rough home life. I also know that the parents are the biggest influence on this type of life and that it can usually (not always) be resolved with more engagement from the parents. That’s a whole other blog post.
In any case, the bullying didn’t stop and it was a daily battle with Benjamin getting more and more discouraged. He didn’t understand why we couldn’t do anything about it, but all we could do was tell him not to play near this boy and to move away from him if the boy came nearby.
We talked to the school almost every day and they knew what was going on. They were trying, but they weren’t getting good engagement from the parent(s).
One day I walked into the classroom for a party at preschool and saw my boy crying. This bigger boy had SAT on my child because he wanted to sit where Benjamin was already sitting.
I had enough.
I complained to Howard who then came in with me to talk to the director. She cried while telling us that they were trying to give this boy a chance because not many daycares or preschools would deal with a child like him. She didn’t want to give up on him.
I understood, I really did. But my boy comes first to me and I was done letting him down.
That afternoon the director went into the classroom and spent some one-on-one time with the boy. He kicked and hit her and she couldn’t control him.
He was kicked out of the class the next day.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I didn’t wish this boy would be kicked out of preschool or daycare. I didn’t want him to be shunned by his peers. What I really wished and prayed for him is that his mom would stand up for him. What I learned was that he was experiencing his own bullying at the hands of his older sisters at home. He was not being protected in his safe place so he felt he needed to lash out on those smaller than him.
This experience, along with my own experiences as a child, are a major reason I am proud to support the WWE and be a STAR in their partnership in an anti-bullying campaign.
be a STAR (Show Tolerance And Respect) is a multi-platform, global anti-bullying initiative that launched in April 2011 in conjunction with The Creative Coalition. Currently, be a STAR has 48 alliance partners including the National Education Association Health Information Network (NEA HIN), GLAAD, United Federation of Teachers, Scholastic, Inc., and Stomp Out Bullying to name a few.
The mission of be a STAR is to ensure a positive and equitable social environment for everyone regardless of age, race, religion or sexual orientation. be a STAR promotes positive methods of social interaction and encourages people to treat others as equals and with respect because everyone is a star in their own right.
Learn more about the be a STAR campaign by visiting beastaralliance.org or by joining the WWEmoms on Twitter!