Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Sackets Harbor K-12

Thank you to Sackets Harbor Central School's K-12 students for a great day discussing bullying!!  I spoke with three assemblies of students today in Sackets Harbor, NY, for three very different talks about "being mean" and standing up.

Had a gorgeous young woman approach me after the 9-12 assembly with tears in her eyes.  She shared her story - years of torment from peers, no apparent reason behind their cruelty, and more - until one part struck me: she mentioned having a sit-down with one of the students who has harassing her and asked him, "Why are you doing this?" "Because you made fun of me when we were younger," he shouted back.  Clearly a few years have passed since then, so why is he still mad?  Let's be honest: many of us (me included) fail to discuss our feelings at the time of their deepest onset.

Girls, we are the worst at this. When we let sadness fester, it turns to anger which is the heart of bullying.  We have to talk things out!  Now I am no expert at this, as it's something I have to remind myself to do quite often.  Used to be that whenever someone hurt me, I'd give them a mental evil eye.  Somehow I figured they would get the message.  Wrong.  Got to be direct!  That doesn't mean start throwing your hand in someones face and slapping each other like you're on an episode of Flavor of Love.  Direct means clear and firm.  Let the person know what they did, how it made you feel, and what you'd like them to do.  Example: "It is really insulting when you call me that, I'd like you to stop."  Done.  At this point, the aggressor has two response choices; If they stop, they did it right.  If they continue, they are now acting with preexisting knowledge that their behavior is causing you harm. They are now bullying.  But you?  You've done it right.  If they are going to continue, you should do what you can to stay away.  Those who make the conscious choice to hurt others are not worth your time.

Huge thanks again to the students and staff!!  I came to Sackets Harbor earlier in the year to meet the superintendent and principal.  They are doing such a killer job of keeping their students engaged in positive social experiences, including their Glee Club.  But that's a story for next blog post...I'll be back tonight for another event with Sackets Harbor!

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