THUNDER BAY – LIVING – This past year seems to be the year of bullies… in my world anyways.
As a thirty-three-year-old, woman, I have been bullied by colleagues, supposed friends and in general, people that I trusted my name and my safety too. People that I have donated countless hours and dollars to, people that I did nothing to but help and share my gifts with. Some of those people in turn bit me and bit me hard.
I can handle it-‐ I’m a big girl-‐ I know my worth-‐ someone elses thoughts or words do not and will not define who I am nor do their lies.
However-‐ For a thirteen-year-old girl, things like that could be devastating and heaven forbid, end in tragedy…
This is where the story begins:
Last week I received a phone call regarding my daughter. She was in trouble at school and I was summoned to the office immediately. When I got there I was in shock. As a police officer searched my daughters bag, the principal explained to me the incident. I was appalled and couldn’t believe my daughter would do the things they said she did. My daughter pleaded that the story isn’t what they said but of course I believed the Principal, Teachers and Officer standing there saying otherwise.
My daughter was suspended and I brought her home with me that day. We grounded her for 60 days, no phone, no TV, no internet access, no nothing. Do your school work, house work and help with the company were her only allowed tasks for the past week-‐ the whole time though she kept telling me that everyone was lying and I wouldn’t listen.
During this time the investigation at the school revealed that the original incident my daughter was suspended for was not what it seemed at all-‐ so instead of trying to integrate her back into the classroom, the school searched her belongings, instagram accounts, etc…. you name it they searched it.
In their search they found a picture my daughter drew of the school on fire (“joy to the world” song from when we were children that my husband taught the kids), the picture was a crude rendition of the school with a bus and teachers-‐ just like the song. In context it was simply drawn by an angry 12 year old girl at the time because she felt her teachers were being hard on her, out of context though it looked like my daughter was a sociopath and combine it with the false reason for being suspended well…
My daughter was written off as the “bad one” and was referred to a social worker.
Really?!?! My Kid? The one that used to sing and dance everywhere she went? My Kid? The one that starts a new business every summer?
My Kid? The one that helps every other kid in sight and always has? “What the heck is going on here?” is what I kept thinking.
And then last night happened…
My home was visited by a police officer that the school had sent over due to accusations from the same group of students that caused the original commotion my daughter was suspended for. The officer stated that the parents of these “children” called the school and said that my grounded daughter chased their three teenaged boys with a stick and there was even a witness to the event.
Now remember, my daughter is grounded, she has no access to phones or social media, she was not allowed to leave the sight of my home-‐ so how the heck does she get in trouble?!?
Ah-‐ here’s where the story changes and the truth finally comes out…
My daughter was at home-‐ she was in the field behind my house-‐ the three teenaged boys from my daughters school and bus rode by on bikes with airsoft guns and started shooting at my 121lb thirteen-year-old daughter while surrounding her and calling her terrible names. She grabbed a stick and chased them away and came home-‐ Told my husband there were kids with guns out back but never said a word about being shot at-‐-‐-‐ until the officer showed up-‐ for her-‐ because she had a stick.
Now correct me if I’m wrong but 3 teenage boys with airsoft guns against one teen girl with a stick— logically who should be scared here?
As the officer questioned my daughter everything in me told me to go grab that stupid Ipad just to see if there’s anything that could help her case and name-‐ HALLELUJAH!!!!!
That stupid thing actually helped for once for the notifications on the lock screen were from those “scared” boys calling my daughter out telling her they were standing in front of my home waiting for her from the night before. I showed the officer the messages and he began scrolling up. The entire week that my daughter was suspended for and had no access to the internet was full of those “scared” boys sending the meanest, nastiest messages I have ever read.
The officer kept scrolling up.
For MONTHS those “scared” boys have been attacking and threatening my daughter online daily. The things that she had to read about herself, no wonder she couldn’t tell us. She was embarrassed and couldn’t even repeat the words that were used against her. Those “scared” boys have been coming by my home and tormenting her the entire summer and prior to it-‐ and she hasn’t said a word-‐ just quietly hid in her room daily. Even when I would try to send her outside she would refuse.
For a girl that used to love life and everything in it how could I not know? And then the officer came to the death threats and the racial slurs.
These kids were threatening to kill my dog and beat my daughter-‐ NOW I’M FURIOUS.
How dare you do this to someone?
How dare you take away the safety of their home? How dare you torment my daughter???
How dare you threaten our family pet?
How dare you make up lies and run so far with them that you have ruined the school year and middle school experience for my daughter?
And how dare you play victim when you are the furthest thing from it?
These are people, these are children online, this is bullying at it’s worst. My daughter was receiving the worst messages I have ever read and daily.
No wonder she was sad, no wonder she’s anxious, no wonder she has an “attitude problem”-‐ the kid is a kid and was being ripped apart inside and out EVERYDAY.
I am pressing charges. I am removing my daughter from that school. I am going to rectify this injustice in my Daughters world and hopefully give her some sense of peace.
After the police officer left she said that she finally felt like someone believed her. She finally felt like it might end.
She finally felt a little safe.
Parents-‐: This goes on daily. This could be your child. This could be your world.
I have no advice on this subject really other than to check your child’s online world regularly and talk to them-‐
It broke my heart to know my daughter had to read those words about herself-‐ now imagine how she felt.
We live in an age where it’s so easy to type something mean and hit send just to see what happens.
We live in a world of keyboard warriors and online bullies that truly do use scare tactics to torment people and children.
We live in a world where the sanctuary of your home can be decimated with a single text or email.
How can we protect our children?
How do we prepare them for this world when it’s new to us as parents?
I know I will be keeping both of my children extra close from now on and I will listen to them before I believe anything someone else tells me about them.
I know my children aren’t perfect and neither am I, but no one deserves to be bullied and everyone deserves to feel safe at home-‐ no matter how old you are.
This piece was submitted by a Thunder Bay mother. Her name and specifics of the school are withheld to protect her identity and that of her child.
Thunder Bay Resources: