The word "bullying" seems to have taken media reports by storm in the past year. But with statistics all over the map -- from "one in four kids have been bullied" to "77 percent of kids have been bullied" -- sometimes it's hard to separate the rhetoric from the reality. A teenage girl named Alye has stripped away all debate in the last month.
Uploaded last month, a video about the eighth grader's history of abuse has gone viral, drawing in half a million views and spawning a Facebook page, Words Do Hurt. So why this girl? Why this case?
Because as Alye puts up placard after placard that tells her story, it's hard not to have a visceral reaction to the horrors of her abuse. Beginning in sixth grade, she says, there hasn't been one day that's gone by without her being called any of the following: "bitch, whore, lesbo, slut, freak, ugly, weird, fag." Watch, but be warned, it's chilling:
Imagining any of those words coming out of the mouth of a sixth grader makes a parent shudder. But where do they come from? Not kids. Every evil thing a child says was once uttered by an adult in a child's presence, and then it made its way into the schools. From there it spreads, kid to kid, and by the tween and teen years, it's out of control.
My kindergartner and her best friend both came home a few months ago using words like "I'm going to scratch your eyes out." We don't use phrases like that in my home, and I was pretty sure they weren't used in her best friend's either ... something I confirmed with his equally frustrated mom. But neither of us could blame the kid who said it either.
We blamed his parents, both wishing we could corner them in the school parking lot one day and give them a piece of our minds. Alas, we're not that confrontational. We couldn't see it ending well, so we let it drop after giving our own kids a thorough talking to about kindness and not making threats. Fast forward a few weeks, and they were coming home with new "choice" phrases from the same kid.
This is the fight we have as parents. We don't want our kids to bully or be bullied. We teach them to be good, kind, honest people. But the bullies get it from somewhere.
Do your kids say things that you just KNOW didn't come from a child's lips?
Image via YouTube