But, even with all we know, the ugly ramifications splashed across the news and social media, this continues to be a problem within our schools.
I am not a professional writer. I am, however, a mother to a 12 year-old daughter and a 13 year-old son. My daughter is the shy, quiet type and unfortunately for her, this makes her a target for bullies. We have been in school a little over a month and I have already had to deal with a bully calling her “stupid” and throwing things at her. Fortunately, her teacher was very helpful and has moved the perpetrator; for now it has stopped.
While I’m thankful for the remedy, I’m a firm believer that our schools need to be more proactive and not reactive.
Take Spirit Week. I know, I know, but stay with me. When spirit is a show of energy, pride and enthusiastic support for your school, I think that is a wonderful thing. But, when did it become less about painting banners, school colors, pep rallies and encouraging students to embrace their school as an important part of their life? Now when I hear about spirit week, it’s a week of dressing up to silly themes, none of which have to do with school spirit. Themes like “Nerd Day” or any other days encouraging students or teachers to dress in a mocking or stereotypical way.
When most people think of nerds, we automatically think of smart kids, right? But for many kids, “nerd” is a derogatory term tossed at them on a daily basis. In an attempt to display “spirit,” their classmates dress in over-exagerated Steve Urkel versions of thier lifestyle. High waisted rolled pants, glasses with tape, pocket protectors, suspenders, etc. Do you see the halls flooded with smart kids dressed like this today? Of course not. But the stigma is still there.
If schools are going to continue supporting these ridiculous dress-up days, should we add Dumb Jock Day, Ditzy Cheerleader Day, or Band Geek Day?
This has been weighing on me, so I turned to Facebook together some perspective and was told to “take a chill pill,” because these things are all in good fun. But, I guess I just don’t see how singling out and picking on a population of kids is fun or enhancing the sense of “spirit” within a school.
Have we not already learned the horrific effects of bullying? Am i the only one wanting to stand in the middle of the street screaming, “HAVE YOU PEOPLE NOT HEARD ABOUT KIDS KILLING THEMSELVES, TAKING DRUGS, OR CUTTING THEMSELVES? OVER BEING BULLIED? THIS HAS TO STOP NOW!”
I am a tiny voice in a sea of voices that need to speak together; to inform the community we will not accept this in our schools. Let’s get back to painting banners, wearing school colors, cheering at pep rallies and encouraging students to embrace the beautiful diversity of their student body and school as an important part of their life, not something they dread.
Connie Chrietzberg 40 years young, married to Matt for 14 years. We have a son Brendan who’s 13 and a daughter Ashley who’s 12. We live in Clinton Mississippi. Connie owns Cherished Memories Photography and the photo booth company, Picture the Booth.