Do You Have the Courage to Help Stop Bullying?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Throughout junior high and high school, I was a three-sport athlete, which included school records and state level competition. I attended college on a volleyball scholarship and enjoyed competition and recognition on a national level. Athletics have provided me with some of my most memorable and teachable moments outside of being a parent. They have taught me life lessons that guide me still today.

Sports will be used to tackle the timely topic of bullying in the sixth Family Movie Night presentation sponsored by P & G and Walmart that airs tomorrow, June 11,2011, at 8:00pm EST on NBC. When the star quarterback learns some of his teammates have been bullying the new transfer student, Tyler has to decide what to do. When faced with the choice of standing up for the new student at the cost of friendship and the state championship, does Tyler have the courage to do what is right?

The statistics about bullying are staggering. According to How to Stop Bullying, 77 percent of students are bullied mentally, verbally and physically with cyber bullying statistics fast approaching similar numbers. WOW! According to 2007 bullying statistics, California is one of the worst states for bullying followed by New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Washington.

Bullies also grow up and can show up later in your life as fellow college students, co-workers, in relationships or even as your boss at work. Emotional bullying is one of the most common types of adult bullying. Self-esteem, being assertive and having courage are all important tools when learning how to handle bullying at any age whether as someone directly involved or on the outside watching and feeling uncomfortable.

Family Movie Nights provide opportunities for family and friends to gather around the TV to watch a quality movie with family friendly commercials and teachable moments. If you are unsure how to talk with your children, grandchildren or family friends about bullying, I encourage you to watch or DVR Field of Vision tomorrow night to start the conversation. Then, use some of the resources available at these anti-bullying websites for tools, tips, and techniques to protect yourself and those you love from bullying.

Pacer Center National Bullying Prevention Center

Eyes on Bullying – Preventing Bullying in Children's Lives

Teens Against Bullying

It Gets Better Project

Internet4Classrooms Character Education

Have you or someone you love been touched by bullying? How did you handle it?

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My former business partner was the bully in my life. He made fun of me. He belittled me in front of everyone. He kept telling me that so and so hated me. (People that I hardly knew hated me?) The list goes on and on. I appeased him in the hopes that would buy "protection". What that did was earn his disrespect and fed his reasoning to continue his emotional abuse. I changed how I approached him, stopped appeasing him and that triggered near physical attacks. When he started to physically threaten me, I had to hire an employee to be with me at all times. He did not dare physically threaten me in front of anyone. I was advised the leave the "playground" of the bully. Then I did what was necessary to leave the business relationship and friendship. We both lost a boat load of money. It was a whole life style change for me and my family as we had known each other for over 20 years. Our kids grew up together. My husband and I even had to find a new circle of friends. Our kids are not friends of their kids anymore either. The whole experience was so unnecessary. He never should have been allowed to grow up to be a bully. I learned that I could stand up for myself. It sure surprised him. He had me and my husband all figured out to be forever in his "playground" of torture. Just remember, bullies are not just at school while you are growing up, they are everywhere. I now think of bullying as a criminal activity. Report
I think bullying is taken more seriously now than it was a generation ago. We have tried to teach our kids to be assertive without becoming aggressive. I have a daughter that was bullied many years ago when she was in 1st grade by a 2nd grader. We brought it to the attention of the principal as well as let her older sister and her friends know to look out for her. The principal called the kid into his office and told him the consequences if he continued (suspension). That and older sister and friends helping put a quick stop to it. Telling a kid to just ignore the bully usually doesn't help. It just encourages the bully. I try to teach my kids a range of options on what they can do in these type situations and it helps a lot. It gives them tools and helps them understand the consequences of each strategy. It helps them be proactive and take them out of the victim roll. Report
It's not just the students either...I am a teacher who has just left her position due to the bullying, emotional abuse, disrespect etc. of another colleague who has been joined by the principal as well - despite his actually seeing the first episode and coming to talk to me about it. And it doesn't just end there, others see the effect and the power of the bully, and then it becomes "guilt by association", they don't want to be seen being friendly to me for fear that she will then do it to them.... It undermines your self esteem and makes you feel like you can't do anything right and when the only safe place you feel you have is to stay in your classroom all day with no interpersonal contact except with your students, the isolation does eventually get to you... Report
Yes, sorry to say my Son is starting high school this year, and he has been bullied since elementary school, and what is sad is it's always between classes when the teachers aren't around and during p.e. I'm afraid one day my son is gonna have enough and he will hurt someone, he was diagnosed with anxiety@ADHD and takes meds for both. It's sad that the principals in schools lets this go on. I ask my son to give it back to them and he say why would you want me to be like them? How do you answer a question like that? Report
It was a great show, but the reality is, most people don't have the courage to do the right thing. I will say that at our school of over 2000 students, this generation has made the realization that special needs kids are SPECIAL and I have been proud to watch the kids treat them with respect and rally for them. So kudos to our kids for that. But I have seen the bullying effect also, and that is sad. My kids don't tolerate crap from anyone, and they will stand up for people regardless! Report
My best friend in preschool had cerebral palsy (later in life it was determined to have been a true knot in her umbilical cord and not CP, at 30 we are still good friends). Her speech was affected and she wasn't very coordinated. Although I have no memory of my behavior my mom relayed a story my teachers told her. Apparently some of the kids in our class would pick on her and throw things, my response was to throw them back (I was 5). Not only did the kids begin to leave her alone but I actually completed elementary, middle and high school with some of the same kids...they never again bothered my friend or me. I'm so glad I could help my friend (even if I don't remember my first experience with bullies). I continue to fight for the underdog. In high school I volunteered with at risk teens, I also completely embraced my sarcasm. There were a few who would attempt to bully me or put me down, having a close group of friends helped immensly but I also never backed down if someone called me the b-word, instead congratulating them on figuring it out so quickly. Not quite the reaction they were going for! Yes bullying is a problem but I really don't think I would be who I am today if I had not been tested by small minded people. It's important to have a close group of friends who are there no matter what! Report
Our learning disabled child was bullied all through her school life, and on into her work life, and in her marriage.
We were constantly going to the school and speaking with teachers etc.
We were called & alerted by the principal when she was in 2nd grade because she even took her favorite games to school to try to "barter for friendship."
I can certainly understand the anger the gentleman in Florida expressed when his daughter was bullied on the bus, as I will never forget the day our daughter entered our home after getting off the bus and had ink marks all over the back of her white blouse where the kids had been poking her!
One of the most painful times in our child's life was the school years she was shunned, and made fun of,as well as picked on and threatened . It hurts the parent as much as the child when they are ignored and helpless in these situations, and yes, many times they carry scars of this peer abuse throughout their lives.
Yes, I was once bullied as a child but I did not have to handle it alone. My friends put an end to it. They stood by my side and together we stood our ground united as one. The bully back down.

My son now has to deal with watching his friend being bullied and they are only in second grade. His friend is being bullied by "bigger" second graders. The child won't talk to the teacher or his parents. He is afraid. But my son comes home truly upset knowing his friend cries almost everyday. He tries to stand up for his friends but does not know what to say or do without telling the teachers. He tried talking with the other boys since they like him but it does not help. Well, he talked to me about it and I step in and brought it to the teacher's attention. So, far things got a little better. It disturbing to think that bullying is not only hurting the victim and victim's family but the caring people (friends) around them. It is mentally upsetting to all. I know I was sick to my stomach when I heard this. And it was not even happening to my child. My son empathize with his friend and I also had empathy for both my son and his friend. It truly touches everyone one way or another.
I wish I would have known about this TV show before today 6/12/11, I would have love to watch it with my family. Report
I was bullied and even now do not know how to stand up for myself. I watched the movie last night but am skeptical. When my daughter was bullied in middle and high school, we could get NO help. In 8th grade, one teacher laughed along with the pranksters who dumped sawdust down my daughter's sweatshirt in shop class; another told me 'boys will be boys.' Has it changed in 16 years?

I pulled her out of 8th grade and homeschooled the rest of the year. Got her into an alternative, supposedly progressive high school, only to find the situation worse. When I made 3 appointments to discuss the problems, the teachers involved left the building before our appts, although I needed to ride 2 buses to get there. My daughter called to alert me, and I verified that each trip was pointless since the teachers had gone for the day. Homeschooled from the winter break of 9th grade to graduation; formal graduation with other non-traditional students at the local education center. I don't know how to fight bullying. I find it heart-rending.

Loved the comment about WalMart sponsoring the anti-bullying movie; WalMart IS a corporate bully!! Not just to employees, but to suppliers etc, from what I've heard from folks who work there and make deliveries. Report
My son is in special ed and has had a hard time dealing with this. Especially when one of his friends have gotten bullied. He is the one that will stand up for them. He is also the one that has a hard time expressing himself to tell what happened. Because of his learning disabilities. So he has ended up being the one that gets in trouble and not the ones that should. They have the ability. To lie better. I find it sad. I try to explain to my son to ask your friend to leave a area and if they don't want to go that he should leave so he doesn't,t get into trouble. Sorry my battery is dying so this all I can write.
This is such a sad situation where are the minds of the parents of the bully they are doing their child no favor by letting him/her bully others some day in the bullies life the harm they have caused will be returned to them
Have and always will stop the bully when it can be done
One situation at a time Report
Bullying happens everywhere where someone want more power over someone else. It's something that has happened to ALL of us at one time or another. Why, even here on Sparkpeople, bullying has and is occurring. It's not just in school or business, but socially as well.

Imbalance of power. "I feel bad about myself, but I'll feel better if I can make you feel bad about yourself or afraid..." Report
Dealing with bullying is made even more difficult by widespread denial. More needs to be done to educate adults as well as children on what bullying actually looks like. Too often it's "not my child" or "I'm not a bully." Report
"I'll be watching it in front of my Sony TV eating Orville Redenbacher and drinking an ice cold Diet Pepsi!"

How many more sponsors can we shove in this PSA?

Also, ironic as Walmart is the biggest bully of American workers. Period.
Yes, I was confronted with a bully when I started a new school grade 5, the girl called me out to fight her after school in the school field. As scared as I was I told her I would be there. All day it had me tied up in knots. But, luckily for me when I went to the field after school there was a big group gathered there for the fight but the bully never showed up. The words and the unknown fear had me emotionally drained and I was unable to concentrate on any of my school work that day. Mind you that was in the days before knives and guns were bought to school. I feel sorry for the kids today, with what they have to deal with. Report
I was bullied all through grade school. A little less in junior high. I was mostly ignored in high school except by a few people. Luckily, I didn't have many classes with them, so I was able to avoid them for the most part. As near as I could figure it was just because I was different. I was painfully shy and not athletic at all. I didn't talk much, avoided eye contact and, while other kids played at recess, I sat on the steps reading until time to go back in. I can remember standing up for other kids who were being picked on, but I don't recall anyone ever coming to my defense. I'm still not comfortable getting too close to people. Being told all your life that you're fat, ugly and smell doesn't do a lot for self-esteem. I'm 51 and still have trouble with the idea that I'm worth anything including happiness. I'm working on it. Report
How about let's discuss a non-advertising dollar-driven question: Does SPARKPEOPLE have the courage to stop the bullying? Will anyone in charge of this site EVER find the nerve to tell the reactionary fringe to stop mouthing off to people who don't agree with their politics or their religion and who run to tell their Sparkmommies and daddies when the people they attack try to defend themselves?

Just wondering.

I have a 14 year old grandson with autism. He is very high functioning, but lacks social skills, and is a movie buff, so talks movie talk. He gets bullied. We explain to him, and to the bullies if we catch them, that is definitely not proper behavior, and for my grandson, to just walk away, and not retaliate. Sometimes easier said, than done. Report
As you mentioned, child bullies often grow up to continue to brutalize people physically, verbally and/or mentally. And it's even easier to do when you have the internet to hide behind. Let's also have the courage to stop bullying on SparkPeople and help our community remain open, friendly and inclusive. Report
It is imperative that all adults teach children that bullying is not acceptable. While I understand that most bullies suffer from a lack of self esteem and most of them learn it by being bullied at home by a parent or sibling, it is unkind and unnecessary. One of my nephews started to bully another because he was different - a little effeminate and we did not allow it. The bullying nephew's mother jumped on us with both feet, saying her child could not and would not and did not do it but I had seen it and did not allow it.She said that she'd parent her own child - and I told her that it was the responsibility of every adult to intervene when these things happened - that I would have intervened with any child - hers, mine or a stranger's. I have great relationships with both young men and the one who started the bullying has grown into a nice, gentle man. Report
JIBBIE49-what does the bully being a minority have to do with anything? Report
JIBBIE49 - why didn't your son protect his friend? That would be a good lesson to teach your kids also !!!!! Report
With the social networks - bullying has gotten more out of control. When my four kids lived at home, we had a family computer in the dining room so we could keep an eye out for cyber bullying. As for the face to face bullying, my kids knew I was a "bulldog" when it came to this type of behavior and it would not be tolerated in our home, nor would it be tolerated if they chose to engage in it outside of our home. Kids in the neighborhood would often seek me out - as they knew I would intervene on their behalf if they were being bullied while out in the neighborhood.

This will be a great show - I am going to tape it. Report
My older sister was bullied horribly in school. It started out with her kindergarten teacher making her stand on a table and made the entire class point at her and laugh because she spilled her milk! That gave the class free reign to terrorize her the rest of her school days. She never told my mom about her experience until many years later. The teacher who did that retired the same year she did that to my sister so we couldn't do anything about it. I am now a high school teacher and have actually intervened when I see anything that even comes close to bullying. I do not tolerate bullying one iota. If a student comes to me with an issue of bullying outside of my class I refer it immediately to the guidance department who get on it right away. There is no place in my world for bullies! Report
JIBBIE49- I don't really get your story. Did the big guy stop taking food from your son's friend after that? Otherwise I think it's quite a sad story. Maybe someone else can explain to me?

I was bullied by a boy in my first year. Also went through some stares in junior high, you know those when they stare at you up and down or from the corner of their eye with a look on their face like if someone has farted, that is bullying and happen so often to a lot of people.

We used to have to nominate "support friends" from every class who were supposed to the be sort of people that you could talk to if you got bullied but it's all a bit of bullsh*t in my opinion. They don't really do anything as far as I am aware and the teachers never really seem either to actually notice anything that happens in a classroom or won't do any thing about it. Someone once told me how she was crying quietly during a lesson and that the teacher looked her straight into the eyes but did nothing. Report
I look for any signs that my daughter is being bullied. I contacted her school immediately when I saw negative opinions about her on Facebook. They squashed it immediately (NJ has zero tolerance for any type of bullying).

I was bullied in the 7th and 8th grade by three or four boys, daily and relentlessly - my hair was too short, I was too "fat". We had almost all the same classes and they yelled their horrible opinions down the hall as we changed classes and in the classrooms. Many, many teachers and other faculty saw what was going on and said/did absolutely nothing. It was the only time I dreaded going to school. I chose an all-girl high school just to be sure I would never have to see any of them ever again. Report
I was bullied in second grade by a girl that was 3 years older then me. She would get in my face and taunt me. One day i had enough and jump up and slapped her face. That was the end of her bullying me and others kids that had been picking on me left me alone after that. Report
I was never bullied by anyone in school. I was always a friendly girl who knew everyone's name and spoke to them.
With my five children, I had them start martial arts class at age 4 and continue on. That made them learn to deal with fear.
When my oldest son when to a Magnet High School Program that was at a regular high school. During lunch every day a big boy would come over and take food off of the tray of my son's friend and then he'd walk away with it. One day the friend threw his tray down on the floor and yelled "WHY DON'T YOU EVERY TAKE NICK'S FOOD!!!!!!!!!" This big minority student said "Oh, we all know that he has a Black Belt in Karate and we won't "F" with him." My son said "You better believe it because I'd kick this size 13 up beside your head." So, the boy left. My son came home laughing about it and said "MOM, I never mentioned to anyone about being a Black Belt in Karate, but it had gotten around school somehow." After I thought about it I know it was on some of his "activies" that he wrote about and probably was in his school record. Report
I was bullied from 4th - 6th grades because of being "fat", poor(by other poor children)& some other things not in my control. I'm thanking God for His help in forgetting the pain of it. I notice thicker school aged girls these days & it's more common now. Bullying must stop. Report
My son has ADHD and asperges, three bullies chased him down a flight of steps and he broke a ankle. He had to push his bike and walk on a broken ankle home to me in a flipped out state. I threatened the parents and the school where it happened with the police and state school board..
You bet I know how to deal with bullies, needless to say I was not invited to parent get togethers because house calls means I am flipped off at someone ones little darling..

My son had to stop going to that school as had anxiety attacks like when his dad died.. He was sent to a private school to regain self confidence and now will bash the heck out of bullies..

My son was utterly terriorized.. If it had been his little brother he would have smashed them over one by one.. My youngest body builds and no one teases him- he will take on older kids and hurt them..

Now they are 16 and 18 years old, they don't fight.. My oldest son tries to talk to people whom are rude.. My youngest just walks away or gets a adult to sort out the problem..

I was put in a retard class with biker kids- another fat kid and I were the days high light to teased to tears for a whole year..

I am scared for life having a mother whom didn't care.. I know how it feels to be teased my kids didn't get the deal I did.. I don't care whom teases, they won't do it anymore by the time I read the riot act.. Report
I'm currently being bullied at work. I feel so helpless sometimes because I know my boss really values this person. I feel as though I can't address the issue because nothing will happen except retribution. I was bullied all through school- I guess some things don't change. At least I have a stable home life. Report
I was bullied from kindergarten all the way through high school, mostly verbal. I'm 47 now, and I still have emotional scars from it. Report
I'm a teacher, and I intervene to stop bullying all the time. Problem is that we also have teachers who are bullies, and that is more difficult to deal with! Report
No, luckily. And I taught my daughter to NEVER back down to anyone for any reason. Stand up for yourself -- stand up for others. Report
I will be watching this, my step daughter was bullied a lot this last year in 5th grade. She was bullied to the point it involved physical harm and the child who bullied her being suspended from school. It's horrible watching your child coming home in tears and asking if she can not go back to school ever again :( Report
I will be watching this with my children. Report