We all know kids can be mean. All of us have experienced bullying on some level, whether we’ve witnessed someone being bullied, been bullied ourselves, or even been the bully. Bullying isn’t only a problem for the one being targeted. It’s a problem for the school, the office, and the entire community.
My friends at Kind Campaign speak out about being the anti bully. An anti bully is someone who stops and prevents this behavior by raising awareness, providing guidance, and being supportive to everyone involved. I want to share with you an inspiring story about an anti bully and a brave boy.
Sixth grader Julian had a pretty big surgery last spring to correct his scoliosis. That fall, Julian started a new school, in a new state, with a fragile back, and two new accessories: a big ol’ brace, and a roller bag. Being the new kid in middle school can be awkward in itself, I can’t imagine having to wear a back brace and haul around a roller bag on top of that. Julian began getting teased almost immediately. A group of older kids were laughing at him, and while an adult might shrug this behavior off and move along, when you’re a kid, being different can be really hard. Suffice to say Julian was not having the greatest school experience.
Luckily, there are teachers like Ms. Chatham, who is the very definition of an anti bully. When Ms. Chatham was told that kids were making fun of Julian, she stepped in immediately. It was actually other students, also rock star anti bullies, who brought it to her attention. With Julian’s permission, she had him unzip his sweatshirt to reveal the brace and show the bullies why he has no choice but to use a roller bag. She explained the teasing was completely unacceptable and had them apologize to Julian on the spot.
“I told the 8th graders that I thought Julian was the toughest kid in our school of over 1300 kids because he gets up every day and comes to school wearing that very uncomfortable brace. I asked them if they knew any kids that could do what Julian does every day and they said no. I asked them if they agreed that Julian was the toughest kids in our school and they said yes,” Ms. Chatham explained. “With tears the 8th grader apologized. Sometimes it is all about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.”
Because of this wonderful teacher, Julian is having a much better school experience and enjoying being an awesome sixth grader! It’s amazing and inspiring to think how a small moment such as this one can have such a huge impact. High fives from me to Julian’s classmates who had his back!
As a side note to Julian, I personally think roller bags are the coolest. They’re so much more convenient than backpacks — and they’re more comfortable, too! I really like this green one you’ve got here. Julian, I think you’ve inspired a trend.
What do you guys think you could do to be an anti bully? Let’s help continue this movement!