This week we worked on What would you do if you saw someone being bullied? There were a lot of good comments, but our practice was on speaking the words “In our school we do not treat people like that.” These are not easy words to get out, especially in front of your friends. Hence the reason we must practice them. So we did some role play with our students.
What do you think? There are many ways of reacting, this is just one. The most important one is being careful not to go along with the aggressor by taking part in making fun of another person or laughing at them when others are making fun of them. Start with that – but then find the courage to step up and say – In our school we don’t treat people like that.
Integrity calls for doing what is right even when it is very hard or when there may be results that do not favor yourself. The link below is about a girl that spoke up when it was difficult, because it was the right thing to do, and the results helped her classmate, but led to her being bullied. Here is an excerpt from the story.
He’s a seventh-grader at Tripp Middle School in Turner, active in sports and school plays, friends would say a nice guy. And nearly every day classmates called him “fag,” “faggot” and “queer.” Nearly every day someone punched him, at least one time in the crotch. Nearly every day he was ridiculed, harassed, bullied.
Amanda Fields had never seen anything like it in all of her 13 years.
“Random people. People he doesn’t even talk to would come up to him and say, ‘Hey, fag’ or just kind of use very not good language,” the eighth-grader said.
The boy is a friend of hers. For months she watched his torment and feared for his safety. She worried he’d hurt himself if the harassment got too much. Then, one day this spring, she and a small group of friends told a guidance counselor about all of it. The bullies — more than five, Amanda believes, and less than 15 — were suspended.
Citing student privacy concerns, school administrators refused to talk about the situation or confirm the suspensions. The boy and his parents declined to speak publicly. Other Tripp Middle School students wrote about the incident online, but would not talk about it to the newspaper.
But Amanda would. She agreed to tell the story that started out as the boy’s and has rapidly become her own. Because since she and her friends told the guidance counselor, Amanda’s gotten bullied, too.
Now I share this story because there will come times when we need that kind of courage. Each of us can ask ourselves if we have that kind of courage. Do I have the integrity for the principles, values, ethics, and morals that I stand for, that would make me stand up for what is right, just like Amanda?
Being a good friend is partly about standing up to peer pressure and for what is right.
“If you have integrity nothing else matters, if you don’t have integrity nothing else matters.” Alan Simpson