My classmate Faridah was always being bullied. The girls in the grade above teased her for no reason. They passed mean notes, put stinky stuff in her bag, or mocked her in the playground.
Even though my friends and I saw it happen and wanted to stop it, we were scared. We didn’t want to be a target for these mean girls.
But then one of my friends shared an article from Springster about speaking up for yourself, and we all felt really powerful. It got me thinking about Faridah, and how she might be too frightened to speak up. I believe no one deserves to be bullied, I know it is wrong.
I told my friends that next time I saw that group of mean girls bully Faridah, I would stand up for her. I was nervous, but I knew my friends would also support me if anything went wrong. The next day in class, two of the mean girls started to pass a note about Faridah around. When the note came to me I had to speak up, so I got up and went to the front of the class and spoke to our teacher:
“Excuse me Ms Oku, I’ve just received a note that isn’t very nice about one of our classmates. I believe this is bullying and I think it is wrong. I’d really like us all to work together to stop this and be more supportive of each other.”
Ms Oku worked with the mean girls and their parents to teach them why bullying is wrong and can be dangerous for victims. Faridah was so grateful, and began being herself again. Since that day in class Ms Oku has asked me to be the school ‘anti-bullying’ representative and I often speak at the school events to share my tips to help put a stop to bullying.
I tell students how they should report bullying to a trusted adult who can help. Never put themselves in danger or be aggressive back to bullies. Ask your friends to help support you so you don’t have to do it alone. And, most importantly, know that you have the power to put an end to it. It can take just one person speaking up to change someone’s life - stand up today!