Bullying: Look for the signs
Because of the recent tragedy due to bullying, I would like to share my experience with you from a mother's point of view. I hope that it can help give a parent signs to look for, and possibly make a difference in someone's life. My daughter was extremely out going, very active and shared her feelings and emotions with me about everything. A few months into her freshmen year of high school, I noticed changes in her. When she stopped smiling, I knew that something was wrong. She wouldn't talk to me about her feelings anymore. She started becoming very reclusive. She would come straight home from school. She never asked to have friends over, or to go anywhere anymore. She stayed in her room and slept from the time she got home, until time to go to school the next day. And lots of mornings she would beg me to let her stay home from school, claiming to be sick. She didn't want to bathe. Rather than putting on make up, curling her hair and spending half an hour picking out her clothes. She would just pull her dirty hair back into a pony tail, with no make up and put on the baggiest clothes she had. Usually just sweat pants and a tee shirt. With each passing day she became more and more withdrawn. I couldn't get her to tell me what was wrong. She never cried or showed any kind of emotion when I asked her, she would always just say, “nothing”. I lived in fear every time I opened her bedroom door to check on her, of what I might find. She had her own phone line that went through our fax machine. I noticed that she would get lots of phone calls, but never talked very long, which was unusual for her. After a while, she stopped answering it. Since it was cordless, I brought it into my room one night while she was sleeping. It rang, and I answered it. The person on the other end, thinking that I was my daughter, started saying the most cruel things imaginable for at least a full minute, and then hung up. Because of the phone line going through my fax machine, I was able to print out the last 30 days worth of incoming calls. It told the numbers and what times each call came in. The next day, I did let her stay home from school. When I showed her the call log and told her that I knew what was going on, she broke down. She said that she thought if she could just make herself look as ugly as possible, that they would eventually leave her alone. I felt that I had no choice but contact the authorities and the school about what was going on, out of fear of my daughter's life. Not that I was afraid of what they would do to her, but because of what their words and actions would make her do to herself. And I am so glad that I did. The harassment stopped immediately. I pray for those effected by bullying and for their families. I also pray that the ones doing the bullying can realize what horrific consequences can come from their evil actions.
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Editor's Note: This author of this letter is known to Beech Tree News but the name is being withheld to protect the identities of those involved in this situation. -- John Embry/BtN