Saturday, October 9, 2010

Central High Mafia

The radio station we listen to at work in the mornings was talking about bullies. The discussion was prompted after continued bullying contributed to the suicide of a 13 year old.

When I was a kid, I was the one who stood up to the bullies. In Jr. High, I had some incidents where I was mean. I am deeply ashamed of these things to this day. But I tried to teach my kids to be considerate of other people.

My own kids only went to public schools for a total of 4 years. During their first year at Central High, Chris and Bill were not only the new kids, but they had never been in public schools. Mr C and I had told them they were NOT allowed to fight. This mandate led to a LOT of bullying at school. I finally lifted the fighting ban, telling the boys "You had better not be the one to starts the fight... and if you are going to fight, fight to win."

Within a few days, the school bully had again started picking on the boys. This time, they didn't have to take it.  In a short while, I was called by the school. Due to the situation of fighting a known bully, who had been known to go after the boys almost daily... Chris was not expelled. Once the bully had been publicly defeated, he gave the boys a wide berth. The defeat of the bully gave Chris a respect among his peers he had not had before.

The boys made friends. They talked to their friends, and this group of friends banded together. They called themselves "The Central High Mafia". Their group's aim was to prevent bullying. If someone was being pushed around, either physically or verbally.. the CHM would come to the rescue. They didn't have to fight. They just showed up. It had already been proven that they COULD defeat the bullies.

When the schools can't or WON'T protect the students from bullies... other kids have the power to intervene. Just by showing up. Just by standing with those being bullied. Just by saying, THIS is NOT OK!
Yes, they may have to fight, at least once. And with today's No Tolerance codes, they may get expelled. But if your child gets expelled for fighting to defend someone weaker from a bully... I hope that you will stand by your child. Tell them they have done the right thing.

Doing the right thing starts before you are out of school. Sometimes doing the right thing breaks the rules. Tell your children: Stand up for those who are weaker than you. Don't be mean, and don't side with those who would be mean to others.

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