Wednesday, 5 January 2011

We need safer schools

Shaune's in teacher's college this year. He's part of a new generation of teachers learning to better deal with bullying in schools.

Yesterday in class, they were reminded of Joshua Melo a fifteen year old boy who hung himself from the tree in his backyard because he had been relentlessly tormented by the bullies at his school who believed he was gay.

I know I must have heard and read about this case when it happened in 2004. We live 20 minutes away from where Joshua lived. But last night when Shaune told me about it, it was as if I'd just heard about it for the first time.

In 2004 I didn't have children yet. I didn't have this mother heart that hurts everytime I hear about a child being abused. I didn't know about this thing that happens when children take over your landscape, that when something devastating happens to another parent, it is always too close to home and instead of breathing a sigh of relief that it didn't happen to your child, you think, oh god it still could.

Shaune said the telling of Joshua's story by a doctor who had been involved in the case, left him deeply sad. He thought about Deaglan and Naveen and wondered what it would take to protect them from bullying or becoming bullies.

It gave me some perspective, this reminder of Joshua Melo. When I let myself get carried away with anxiety about things like potty training, and weaning Deaglan from his soother, I need to remember that these are the easy days. They are still small and within my grasp to protect. Sadly this will not always be the case.

Check out Shell's place for some of the other entries.


  1. We're looking into starting T Rex in martial arts. Something focused more on leadership and confidence rather than sparing. I've heard it can really help a child's self-esteem. I'll let you know what we find out but I think this is something that could help our son combat the bullying. T Rex Dad recalls being the subject of bullying and how tough it was on him.

  2. This post deals with issues that literally suck the breath out of me. You are so right about a mother's perspective changing things-when Amy was born it created in me a feeling of vulnerability that will be with me as long as I live-the idea that there is someone in this world I love so much and can't protect from all the evils out there.

    What I see as the best way to combat bullying is to make sure ones kids have a healthy self esteem-the kids I've seen bullied (and I cry over this) are the ones who don't think much of themselves either. I just wish the world could be a kinder place...

  3. I can't imagine being the mother of that child. I can't imagine the pain she goes through each and every day.
    I hear about all this bullying, the things kids do and say. It sickens me! My daughter is in high school, and I hear it constantly. I see it on FB. I even brought one incident to the attention of a parent who's childs words were filled with hatred toward another child. That parents reaction "they are kids, they'll get over it!" Lack of parenting??? I think so!

  4. Sadly the problem with bullies is at home. Schools can teach not to bully but the reality is w/o the parental involvement (where the behavior is learned/unlearned) there isn't much schools can do.

    SO sad that this child took his own life, I hate hearing that.

  5. Such a sad story. There are too many of these stories of victims who are driven to suicide by bullying. I worry about bullying every day. Overall, it has been a good year for my boys. No real problems. But I know of some mothers who are aching each day they send their kids to school. There is a callousness in some kids that is frightening. I find the uncertainty and fear of what kids face each day in school to be very trying on me. There are parents who I know to be very lovely people, but I also know that their kids can be very mean. I really think the parents are clueless. These kids play the good kid for their parents and turn into the nasty kid to show off in front of their friends.

  6. I'm so scared that my kids will get bullied. Mostly my oldest.

    I was a teacher before he was born and I know the reality of how hard it is to actually do anything abotu bullying in schools. Don't get me wrong- I TRIED, I did everything I could, but some is still going to happen.

    But, as a parent, I don't want to know that-I want it all to stop.

  7. All I can say is that the more moms I read, the more I just stand in awe of the strength, the heart, the courage of moms.

    That is all.

    God bless

  8. So true, Kim. As a teacher I have seen the cruelty first hand. I would sincerely MOVE if I had to to protect my kids.

  9. you are so right about how becoming a mother makes you more empathetic. There are times when I watch the news and start bawling when there is a story about an abused child. It's tough enough being a parent, worrying about drugs, sex, alcohol and pedophiles w/o having to also worry about some kid bulling your child. I honestly don't know what the answer is, but I know there haven't been any real deterrents or consequences for bullies.

  10. In my opinion some of the bullying that goes on is over looked by school staff and then they wonder why kids are either killing themselves or bringing guns to schools.

    We need to demand that caring individuals work with our children. We need to demand that at school there will be a zero tolerance for bullying. We need to demand that professionals act like them and get involved and care enough to talk to parents when they sense something is going on.

    Just some of my thoughts.

  11. Bullying in schools is such a problem. What a painful story.

    Thank you for visiting my blog.

  12. We really do need safer schools. It scares me every day for my own kids.

  13. So tragic...we really need to do better as humans.


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