On The Coast: Mother And Son Reveal Toll Of Bullying | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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On The Coast: Mother And Son Reveal Toll Of Bullying

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It's an age-old problem: bullying. Ask most anyone, and he or she will remember being taunted by a bully on the playground or in a school bus. Over the years, our definitions of bullying have evolved, and the issue has gotten more attention as new forms of harassment, such as cyber bullying, have entered the lexicon.

But that doesn't mean bullies are always called out for their behavior. One mom who lives on Maryland's Eastern Shore — we'll call her "Rachel" — says her sons have been repeatedly bullied, and that teachers don't always know how to handle this problem.

"I have been dealing a lot with issues at school, with children saying things or spreading rumors about my children, and it's been hard for me to deal with, and it's actually taken a toll on our family," says Rachel. "My children sometimes don't want to go to school because of it."

Rachel says her older son has been coping with bullying for several years.

"It started when he was in the fifth grade with somebody just telling him that nobody likes him... I believe it started when one child didn't like that my son was a best friend of one of his friends, and he started telling kids that nobody likes him," she says. "Unfortunately that spread through the bus, and my son's peers in the neighborhood started to believe that. And if we fast-forward to now, I found out that that kid that first began bothering my son, has bothered many kids and has never been disciplined for it."

Rachel's son, who asked to use the pseudonym "Bobby," says he watched his brother deal with bullying before he himself confronted similar problems in school.

"He started to withdraw from the family," says Bobby. "He started to become more like, alone... We still hung out, but he didn't like to go outside as much."

Bobby says he was first bullied in the third grade.

"I had this really good friend, and I made him my friend near the beginning of the year," he says. "Then near the middle of the year this kid came along, and he had, like, a whole group of people with him. And whenever I tried to hang out with them, they're like, 'No, we're part of this club and you can't join.'

"So they wouldn't let me play with him, so he just stopped hanging out with me as much, and we stopped going over to each other's houses, and then we stopped talking during school."

Bobby says bullying can "really take a toll on a person."

"It can make people lose friends, and make them feel terrible about themselves," he says.


[Music: "Sea of Love" by Tom Waits from Brawlers / "Music For My Mother" by Funkadelic from Funkadelic]

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