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GOOD NEWS Bulletin Board:
Robert is "a nice kid with no attitude" who often surprises other kids with random acts of kindness. At camp, a little girl had no flip-flops, so Robert picked her up and carried across the street. At home, he met a little boy who couldn't afford a bike, so Robert decided to give him his own. When he sold his expensive go-kart, instead of keeping the money for himself, he asked his parents to help him find a way to donate the money to feed hungry kids. That's the kind of boy he is!
How could bullying happen to this caring crusader?
KIDS SPREADING RUMORS, THAT'S HOW!
Robert’s first year in middle school as a 5th Grader started out great. A likable, star athlete, he is also “articulate and smart." Robert’s friends included both boys and girls, with lots of typical middle school crushes among them. One day, the ten-year-old complimented a classmate, saying she looked “pretty,” which made another little girl feel jealous. That girl's friends excluded Robert from their group, calling him “mean” and a “cheater” and told classmates, “don’t go near him” and "don't like him!". The family began to get prank calls in the middle of the night calling Robert “ugly” and “fat." Classmates posted on-line photos of him with derogatory captions meant to hurt, like “retard."
Untrue rumors and gossip spread like wildfire through the school and escalated into a year of social, verbal, physical and cyber bullying.
When the BULLYING BECAME PHYSICAL, Robert showed self-control.
A Junior Brown Belt in karate, he could have hurt his bullies. His school had a “zero-tolerance policy” to violence, regardless of who started it, and students were told that police would be called immediately. So, Robert never returned the bullies' violence. Despite, his bullies seemed to be tolerated and their
Robert was grabbed in a bear-hug by the neck and dragged down the hallway. While he ate lunch with his buddies in the cafeteria, Robert was picked up and tossed to the floor. Finally, that lunch incident was caught on school surveillance cameras. The administration put a “targeted student” bullying procedure in place to protect Robert… but it didn't help. A bully hit him in the head with a backpack of books causing a severe concussion, a bruise to the brain that takes several months to get better.
A valued teammate and gifted athlete in baseball and ice hockey, Robert had even been awarded MVP CATCHER of a baseball tournament! He was "devastated" when the concussion injury sidelined him from playing with his teams, due to doctor's orders. Usually a main player in both his baseball and ice hockey teams, Robert was benched to ensure no physical contact. Months later, he is still not yet allowed to play contact sports while his concussion continues to mend.
Robert had to stay home from school for 8 days because of the bad concussion, and then attempt half-days only. When he finally did return to school, his headaches were so
bad, he would end up leaving class to go to the nurse's office. Still, kids taunted him, saying he was “faking it” and “liked going to the nurse.”
Robert became anxious about going to school and didn’t want to go back. He doesn't like to talk much about the bullying, but his mom, a nurse in a children's hospital, says she can see changes. Even very friendly teasing or pushing will trigger Robert into upset and memories of being targeted by his peers. To protect their son's emotional and physical health, his parents removed Robert from that middle school. Just turned 11 in July, Robert will start 6th grade in a new school away from his friends... and his bullies.
One thing is for sure, Robert's new school is about to find out HOW VERY LUCKY they are to have this kind, gifted 6th Grader join their class!
Robert may have been benched by bullies in 2017, but he opens the 3rd Season of the Be-A-Friend Project as our 10th superstar Project Youth to receive a delivery of “FRIEND MAIL”! Help us to surprise Robert with a BIG ACT OF KINDNESS like he does for others! Let's show this adorable boy that he has peer support all across the country!
The Be-A-Friend Project does not give advice, therapy or intervention.
Our one purpose is to send letters and cards of encouragement and caring from kids to kids.
MVP Catcher (10) Benched By Bullies
Thank you to our friends at
Teach Anti-Bullying, Inc. for connecting us with Robert and his mother, and all the great work they do to help young victims of bullying and raise awareness!
Thanks for checking in! We delivered 10/8/17!
We had the honor of surprising Robert with his record-breaking 1,103 letters of peer support IN PERSON by the youth cast of our anti-bullying "The FRIEND STRONG MUSICAL, IT'S EASY!" at curtain call! With rock stars from the anti-bullying world applauding him, such as TEACH Anti-Bullying, Egypt Ufele of "Bullychasers" and UNIFY Against Bullying in attendance, with a "meet & greet" following the on-stage delivery! Our cast and crew is in love with this brave, adorable 11-year-old and we thank him and his parents for allowing us to be part of his healing!
Be-A-Friend to Robert!
We allocate 100% of the profits from our store to help us fund the Be-A-Friend Project and our upcoming production of the Anti-Bullying Musical, "It's Easy!"
Check out our Dramaterials grade school plays & musicals that teach curriculum and character, and Mom's Choice Award-winning books like "The Wishful Penny" that "imaginatively treats the important childhood lesson that everyone is special and valuable in some way!"
Robert has been busy reading all of his letters. Each and everyone of them are so uplifting it is amazing. He has been a different child since that week. We can not thank you and the Be-A-Friend organization enough. ~ Robert's Mom, Donna
SPREADING RUMORS AND GOSSIP
One of the worst, most hurtful kinds!
Spreading lies, rumors and gossip as a way to turn people against someone, embarrass or think badly of someone is a form of bullying. Spreading unkind gossip in person or through social media is not a kind, decent or mature way to act.
Most important, damage done to someone's reputation by rumors and gossip can never be undone. :(
Sadly, when other people see this kind of thing going on, they don't always stand up for what's right. They may become less friendly to the person who is being talked about because they're afraid of becoming the next target.
We don't have to be good friends with everyone — or even like everyone. But not liking another person doesn't give someone the right to spread rumors, gossip, or put-downs. Acting like this shows a lack of courage. It's a false way to gain popularity or status in a group. People who are truly well-liked treat everyone with respect and fairness, even people who aren't their friends.
(Thanks to some wording from www.KidsHealth.org)