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Sixth-Grader Has Been Bullied Since First Grade
Q: I've been bullied by the same boys since the first grade (now I'm in the sixth grade), and it's worse. My mom has called a lot but nothing gets done. It's still the same kids and the school says that maybe I'm doing something to make them pick on me. I can't go to my mom, because she was told that I have to let go of my elementary years and give these boys another chance because we're in junior high. I no longer sit with anybody on the bus, and my dad tells me I have to get physical, while mom screams to ignore them. My guidance counselor tells my mom to keep calling him every week. I'm embarrassed because he calls my name out right in the middle of class so I can confront the bully, and then afterwards on the way home everyone on the bus laughs at me.
A: No one should have to go through elementary and junior high being constantly harassed and bullied. I am going out on a limb here, but I don't agree completely with your mom ("ignore them"), your dad ("get physical"), or your guidance counselor ("confront them"). It's evident that your school doesn't have a peer mediation program, which would be the best way to deal with this. I encourage you to try a couple of things. First, see if you can find a teacher or another counselor who is willing to help you learn some ways to deal with the teasing. It will help a lot if that adult can help you learn to be assertive. Also look on the Web and see if you can find some sites that talk about mediation and/or ways to cope with bullying. The public library or the counseling office may also have some books that can help you. Finally, don't be alone. Find one or two kids -- girls or boys that enjoy what you enjoy and to whom you can talk. Let me know how you are doing.
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Connie Collins, professional school counselor, worked for 35 years in public education as a teacher and counselor at the middle school and secondary levels. Collins worked daily with the parents of the students in her various schools, and has facilitated several parenting groups.