Bullies Beware, Grandmother Patrols in Schools by Betty Mason Arthurs
Maybe it’s time for schools to hang next to their signs, “Drug Free Zone,” a second sign which proclaims, “Grandmas on Patrol, No Bullying Allowed.”
Is anyone else sick and tired of hearing about children being harassed at school? I’m a grandmother of seven and ready to put Grandmother Peace Patrols in every school. We’d wear t-shirts saying, “Free Hugs for Kindness” on the front with the back saying, “You are Loved.” Yes, I know, it’s a simplistic solution when in this internet age bullies can hack into every aspect of your life and the lives of those you love. They secretly prey on the unsuspecting and love-starved people who are looking for love and affirmation in all the wrong places.
Have you had your sweet girl come home from kindergarten with a black eye? When you were five, did an older boy follow behind you and kick you all the way to school? Did a seventh grade teacher call you a “mama’s boy” and make fun of you? Did kids in sixth grade class make fun of your best friend and her outdated clothes?
Bullying is not a new phenomenon. All these above incidents happened to me and my husband in the 1950s and 60s and later in my children’s lives in the 1970s. Yes, my petite daughter came home with a black eye and when I called her teacher and asked, “Why didn’t you call me and tell me she got hit?” She laughed and said, “She cries all the time anyway so I didn’t pay any attention to her.” I called the boy’s mother. Her response was, “We teach our boys not to hit girls so I’m sure it wasn’t my son.” Really? My daughter saw my tears and felt my frustration at not being able to protect her.
A few years ago, one of my grandsons was bullied on the school bus by a neighbor and thankfully the school took action and the bully was kicked off the bus. Two weeks ago a seventh grade girl shared at our church women’s group. “I need prayer. I’m being bullied at school. One classmate keeps telling me that no one likes me.” We loved on this beautiful young lady and reassured her of our love. And yes, we continue to pray for her and the school.
What do you think of my idea of grandmothers patrolling school hallways? Do you think schools would welcome our help or resent our intrusion into their domain? Are you as a parent or grandparent a vital part of their lives so they can share with you ugly email messages or hideous Facebook posts about them? Do they talk about school and problems they’re having? Can we attend school board meetings and get involved in their discussions, checking out their response to bullying? One of my friends, a grandmother of eight, said, “I’m telling you, love-starved kids would line up for those grandma hugs. Yes, it’s about changing hearts, even the meanest ones, with love.”
Please, if you have tackled any bullying in your kids’ or grandkids’ lives and have been successful (or unsuccessful), tell us about your experience by commenting below. Let’s begin a dialogue about bullies and share ways to protect our beloved children.