Last year my grandson had some trouble with a kid who just seems like he gets his kicks from being mean. Really mean.
Yesterday, he came home from school. He said, "Today a kid was being mean to my friend, Chris. Chris told him to leave him alone, or he was going to tell the teacher. Then the kid slapped him so hard his glasses flew off and told him that if he told a teacher, he'd beat him up."
I said, "So. Did he tell the teacher?"
He looked at me all agog. "He couldn't! Walter told him..."
I said, "So the bully won today."
My grandson said nothing.
I said, "What did you do? You witnessed an assault. Did YOU tell a teacher?"
He hung his head.
"Bullies feed on your fear. If you are afraid to act, it makes them feel strong and powerful. DO NOT GIVE THEM THAT POWER. You tell. You always tell." We also went through the proper response if ever the bully laid a hand on him.
Middle school is tough, and it is especially tough here. I don't know why it should be, but it is. The second half of last year, it was totally out of control, and this was from the teachers themselves. Promises were made to get the situation under control. It was very discouraging to see the same kid behaving the same way so early in the school year. Actually, escalating his behavior. Last year he threatened to hit. This year, he was doing it.
I couldn't stop thinking about the boy. I knew his name was Chris. I knew he was in seventh grade. I knew that he wore glasses, and it bothered me that he was a kid who needed help but was afraid to ask for it.
I sat down and wrote a facebook post, giving a brief summary of what had happened. I closed it with "If you have a son named Chris, who is in seventh grade at Beaty and wears glasses, talk to him. Find out if he needs help."
This morning, my grandson went off to school. "I'm going to stop in the office and report what happened to Chris."
I am happy to say that my post was forwarded to the school superintendent. At least on the surface, they are taking this seriously.
Late Edit: The post spread like wildfire. I am pleased to say that Chris' mom was contacted by a bunch of people while he was at school the following day, all of them wanting to know if it were her Chris. She was not sure it was him until she talked to him. It turns out that Walter has targeted this kid, and that he's been ashamed and afraid to tell. His mother told him that it had been reported and that the principal knew what happened, and he broke down and told her the whole story.
She messaged me to thank me. She doesn't think Chris would have said a word.