We exist to inspire, equip and empower every person to create a permanent positive culture change in their school, business and community by starting a chain reaction of kindness and compassion.
Words to live by, right? This is the mission statement of the organization that honors Rachel Scott, the first person shot by one of her school mates on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.
I’m tired of it; tired of the bullying. We raise concern about it, put up posters, hand out flyers, preach against it, swear not to do it, accept Rachel’s Challenge, and yet that isn’t enough. Why not? Why are children still bullied into embarrassment, shame, guilt, or regret?
This past week it became apparent that despite the acknowledgement, the rationalization, the rules and regulations MISD (and most likely many other school districts) have put in place to stop bullying, it is still rampant in our culture, and in our schools.
We live in an area of the state rich in education, income, and moral values. The impression McKinney gives from the outside is that all is right with the world. However, the inside tells a different story.
A young man in the school district was targeted; blamed for the resignation of a teacher deemed popular by his students; a teacher who was escorted from the school in handcuffs by several uniformed law officers. This young man never said a word regarding the inappropriate action of this teacher. He did not give it a second thought. Someone else stepped forward to report the teacher. Why is he being threatened to the extent of having to fear for his life? Why does his family feel his safety is in jeopardy? Why can’t he walk the halls without constantly looking over his shoulder? One word –bullying.
I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion then it will start a chain reaction of the same.
The writing is on the wall at McKinney North and it does not reflect the wisdom Rachel Scott gave us before she died. Instead, it says that if we think you did something, you did it and we don’t like it. We will prove to you how much we don’t like it. There are bullies in our school district and it needs to be stopped. According to the 2011-2012 MISD Code of Conduct, which every student signs, on page 3 it reads:
• Threaten a district student, employee, or volunteer, including off school property, if the conduct causes a substantial disruption to the educational environment.
• Engage in bullying, harassment, or making hit lists.
This young man that I adore, respect for his manners, his strength, his intelligence, his creativity, is now a victim of bullying by his peers, his (what he thought were) friends. How does a child come to grips with this type of harassment? How does one process friends turning a situation into a nightmare of unfathomable consequences?
This young man went to school that day following his normal routine. Everything changed when his teacher decided to cross the line, break the teacher’s code of conduct, and drag his student with him. Aren’t teachers supposed to protect students? Aren’t they supposed to be the example to which we hold our standards? If it is true that this is not the first time this teacher has bullied a student, then the administration at McKinney
North has fallen short of their responsibilities.
The Open Door policy does not work for the kids being bullied. They have witnessed the consequences of “telling”. This student is a victim of the silent epidemic in MISD, victimized first by his teacher and then by his school mates. And he wasn’t even the one who “told”.
Where does the bullying start and when will it stop? My child is vulnerable to bullying. Your child is vulnerable to bullying. Don’t think they aren’t. Yes, folks, it’s happening despite living in the Christian Corridor of the South, where our children attend youth groups, Christian education classes, and recite verse from Scripture. If you say, “Not my child.” think again. They may not be the bully, but chances are they have experienced bullying.
My friend’s life was changed in a day, and from that day forward. We cannot fix the world today but we can start by just being aware. Take off the rose colored glasses and get a clear picture of what your kids see/experience every day.
I want to believe Rachel Scott was never bullied, but she did end up paying the ultimate price by someone who was.
**Author’s note – I am submitting this article anonymously because I cannot count on MISD to keep my child safe. Please share your stories. Others want to feel they are not alone.