Saturday, October 27, 2012

the appalling silence

I just read a thoughtful story about bullying called BYSTANDER by James Preller.

Eric is the new kid in seventh grade. He meets Griffin who has good looks and charm. But underneath, pretty-boy Griffin has the dark side of a bully. Initially, Eric doesn't do anything when he realizes that Griffin is a bully. Eric is a bystander because stepping in would make Eric the next target.

Through it all, Eric didn't say a word. He was innocent, Eric reminded himself, he never participated in the pranks. He never lifted a finger to harm David Hallenback. He didn't think it was funny, so he usually walked away, pretending not to see. But Eric did see. Just like all the other kids in the halls. And he slowly began to recognize it for what it was.
Terrorism in jeans. It comes with a laugh and a loose-leaf binder. 

Kids can be cruel (adults too) and it doesn't always mean throwing punches.

Mr. Floyd began by reminding the class of the definition of bullying. He read from the screen,  "Bullying is whenever someone uses his or her power unfairly or repeatedly to hurt someone." 

Are you a Bystander? It's a great question for every tween. Dr. Martin Luther King called it 'the appalling silence'. He said, "In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

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