Sticks And Stones And Things That Hurt, Badly

December 8, 2011

Tanner is being bullied. Tanner is being bullied, and it is breaking our hearts, and we don’t know what to do.

All bullying is horrible, of course. I’m resisting the temptation to insist that the bullying of Tanner, who is disabled and terminally ill, is horrible by a whole different order of magnitude than ‘ordinary’ bullying, but the fact of the matter is that to the bullied child, and those who love that child, there is no such thing as ‘ordinary’ bullying. All experiences of being bullied are uniquely, exquisitely horrible.

So it is that our experience of Tanner being bullied, and certainly Tanner’s experience of being bullied, feels uniquely awful and terrible and painful. That he already faces so much disadvantage, that his life is already painful and difficult, that his life will be short makes it all feel like something of a curse. This is how I feel. This is how my sister feels. This is, of course, how Tanner feels, although it must be said that I lack the words to understand or explain how Tanner feels, because I cannot for one instant imagine how Tanner feels, beyond a vague understanding that it involves an order of torment that I have never and likely will never experience.

What’s been happening, in my sister’s words:

Tanner over the past month or so has become colder somehow…yells a lot, says mean things to Sophie, me…and says some pretty upsetting things about himself, his disability, dying… I couldn’t figure it out. He’s never like that. Then he mentioned in casual conversation something about bullies. So I started asking him more pointedly about it… he didn’t want to talk about until just the other day, he finally told me a name and what has been happening to him. It’s a kid in his class. He tells Tanner he is fat and stupid and ugly, nobody likes or cares about him and that he was going to push him onto the road in his wheelchair… gets a couple other boys involved… they taunt him… but Tanner won’t say much else…

That is why he was so shy with the news crew (Tanner is on a Dreamlift trip to Disneyland, and local media interviewed him) – he said kids were just going to make fun of him. They wanted to film him drawing, to share some of his art so they could show the community who the real Tanner is, but Tanner didn’t want to. He is not the boy who was interviewed in NYC. He could barely manage to force a smile.

Chrissie has been fearing this for a long time. You’d think, maybe, that it would be an unreasonable fear – who bullies disabled kids, terminally ill kids? Is that not monstrous? Who does that? – but she knew. She knew.

When Tanner took his first Wish Trip to Disney World – it seems a life time ago….back when he was still walking, running even…before the Duchenne really took hold of his muscles…back when he was “normal” – we stayed at Give Kids the World, a wondrous place dedicated and devoted to sick children and their families, and we met a little girl. This girl of 8 had been badly badly burned, and left with horrendous disfiguring physical scars. I’ll call her Tessa. Tessa’s Mom and I chatted over breakfast as my kids, and others, peeled around the place, laughing. There kids in chairs, kids with no hair from the ravages of chemo… little ones, big ones… all shape sizes colors. Her mom stopped talking suddenly, and burst into tears watching Tessa run around, unselfconsciously, laughing with other kids. You see, those kids saw Tessa, saw her soul, not the burns. Her mom said that most of the time people gasp at the sight of Tessa… and cannot see past the scars… treat her somehow less than human. And so she is shy and tries to hide herself. And then I started to cry….because of the joy I could see on her face, watching her little girl just be. Her scars were invisible to the families, the children, the volunteers there. She was just a beautiful little girl who liked cotton candy! And I cried because fear set in my heart too, as Tessa’s mom was afraid, afraid of not being able to shelter her baby from some of the badness of life, the ugliness of people. She was afraid of not being able to protect Tessa’s heart from hurting when kids taunt her, or – worse, sometimes – ignore her. And I became afraid, and I stayed afraid.

Some people choose not to see because they are afraid and don’t understand. Some people choose to bully because they are ignorant. As a person, I want to feel empathy for such ignorance and have the grace to see beyond that. As the mother of a child who is being bullied, I have only hurt, and rage.

Tanner has been through the experience of being ignored. Tanner’s been through the experience of being teased. Tanner has had few playdates. He’s never been invited to a birthday party. He’s been an outsider for most of his short life, and now he’s being pushed even further outside and it is horrible horrible horrible because he deserves so much joy in the time that he has. He has so much pain already. He deserves joy. He deserves joy. I want to grab God by his dusty lapels and demand that he explain why he cannot let Tanner have even this. I want to know why it is that there are bullies, that there are monsters, that are there are bad, bad people among us. I want to know how this happens.

The monsters that Tanner is facing are other children. How does this happen? How does this happen? Parents: DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN.

From Chrissie:

There is nothing right or okay about bullying, ever. Anyone, regardless of age or abilities or appearance. Period. Parents need to stop and think and talk to their children. What if it was you? How would you feel? It is NOT okay to intentionally inflict hurt on another. All children deserve to be happy and free, children like Tanner in particular need all of the happiness and freedom they can get. Thank you to all of the wonderful wonderful people who DO make a difference in their lives and others (you know who you are) – one day, one week, one moment of happiness in its purest form (thank you Disney) brings joy to them, and to their families too. To see a genuine smile. Those of you who pick on others, ever, in even the smallest ways, and let your children see you do it, so that they learn to do it, a virtual middle finger to you, because I can’t find an emoticon to illustrate it.

Right. That. Fuck bullies, in all their forms.

Chrissie is meeting with Tanner’s school today. It already isn’t looking good, because Tanner’s teacher, and the mother of the child who is bullying (who works at the school), have defended the bully, suggesting that Tanner has provoked him, which, seriously? Tanner can barely FUCKING SWALLOW. He is in a wheelchair. He is dying.

I want to fly out there and throttle somebody, which is horrible, because, like Chrissie, I want the grace to rise above the anger that I feel. But right now, I don’t how to find it. I just don’t know how.

Why can we not all live in love, or, at least, live in a world that rejects hate? Why is this too much to ask?

 

 

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    { 105 comments }

    Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting December 9, 2011 at 12:58 am

    Let me get this straight.. a MOTHER who WORKS AT THE FUCKING SCHOOL dares say TANNER provoked this kid!? Firstly, if the principal believes that.. then the Principal and this mother do NOT deserve to be working with children. Secondly.. how can this “mother” not see her “child” is an animal?

    I say, put a microphone on Tanner’s wheelchair, and record it. Better yet.. put a hidden camera. We’ll all chip in $$ to make it happen. THEN WHAT WILL THAT DOUCHEBAG MOTHER SAY? We photoshopped the video? Eff her and her stupid ass.

    OMG I AM SO MAD!

    Elizabeth Clark December 14, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    I agree! Let’s make sure these people are called out for the douchebags they are!!

    Nancy T December 9, 2011 at 7:55 am

    I’m appalled by the way some kids are and the way some schools like to sweep things under the rug or pass the blame to someone that doesn’t deserve. My DD is in SK and in JK we had to deal with a physically aggressive bully – from my DD getting kicked in the face, hit, pinched, punched….granted the little boy that did the bullying had issues and was unable to deal with them calmly.
    A sister of one of my DD schoolmates (2 years older) has been at the mercy of a bully for the past 2 years. It took the Mom becoming a MAMMA BEAR and going to the school board to get any action on it.
    We as a school society despite the NO BULLYING rule have become complacent in the ‘accept everyone for their differences’ attitude. Too many children are getting away with the bullying that no other child should ever have to deal with. Hopefully with the changes in Ontario it will stop the bullying and save families from the heartache that so many have had to deal with when the bullied decides to take their own life.

    My heart goes out to you, to Tanner and to your family as you deal with this issue. I hope that you are all able to get some resolution and the bullies are punished for their actions and learn what bullying does to someone’s self esteem and frame of mind.
    PS….I would not hesitate to include Tanner in a birthday party, play date etc. He is obviously such a wonderful little boy to be treasured.

    Lisse December 9, 2011 at 10:40 am

    I’ve always said that bullying happens because parents, teachers, clergy, and other adults in the community fail to DEMAND that children treat one another with respect. And too often we see adults behaving as exactly the opposite example.

    Jaelithe is right, it doesn’t matter who started it. The important thing is that the teacher is responsible for seeing that it ends.

    I realize that it shouldn’t be different for Tanner than for any other kid, but I can’t stop thinking “What kind of asshat bullies a kid in a wheelchair?” Ugh!

    Karen December 9, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Here is a link to a .pdf document that spells out exactly how my daughter’s school handles discipline. Page 18 & 26 discuss the things that Tanner is dealing with. http://www.beaverton.k12.or.us/pdf/dist/dist_CD%20Handbook%202011-12.pdf

    If he is being threatened with physical violence – like, say, being pushed out into traffic in his wheelchair – I wouldn’t hesitate to call the police, and at the very least ask for advice.

    I have to say – the leadership at your school has a lot to do with how these things are handled. At my daughter’s school, this would NEVER fly. Last week a classmate got in my daughter’s face and grabbed her wrists. The girl was immediately removed from the classroom and her parents called.

    The one of the anti-bullying programs they use is Steps To Respect. I’ve also heard of a successful program called KiVa.

    Tanner has the right to feel safe and BE safe at school. That is unalienable.

    Angella December 9, 2011 at 11:48 am

    UNBELIEVABLE. Also, unacceptable. My boys have been bullied at times and it is SO HARD.

    Big hugs to you all, friend.

    Thinkmama December 9, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    So sorry that this world is too often cruel. My heart aches for Tanner and all the other bullied kids (and adults). I still remember how it felt to be called fat and ugly when I was 10 years old…it still makes me want to cry. I have no idea why parents and teachers don’t take bullying more seriously. It makes me so angry. My 5 year old just told me this week that one of his preschool buddies called him ‘a baby’, and it made me want to march down to the school and raise hell. And that is a minor, tiny childhood hurt. The only solution I have is for all of us to stand up tot he bullies and the bully enablers. We have to refuse to accept this as “kids being kids”. “Kids being kids” is not kids being nasty little monsters. We teach them that.

    Annie @ PhD in Parenting December 9, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    I think the reason so many bullies are not dealt with by parents and teachers is that they are really good at hiding it. They are sickly sweet and polite and kind around adults, but as soon as they turn their backs, they turn into little monsters.

    If the person being bullied says anything about it, the bully will deny it or say that the other kid started it. And then the bullying will escalate.

    That is why so many kids take it in silence. That is why I took it in silence for years. Unless I had bruises (which I didn’t, because it was all emotional bullying), telling the teachers or my parents would only make it worse, not better.

    Frelle December 9, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Thinking of you. Hurting with you. May justice come to Tanner’s bully.

    mona December 9, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    I can’t say how sorry I am that bullies are trying to take away any joy you may have with him. What they ate doing is inexcusable and I think the parents need to be held accountable. It’s easy to say it’s the kids fault, but it’s the parents Thay have made it ok for them to act this way. I have a 12 year old who is generally healthy who was bullied his first year of middle school. He was taunted, pushed, hit. Even stabbed in the arm with a pencil. He now has PTSD and is in a new school. It spent compare to what’s happening to Tanner.but I understand the pain of a parentforced to watch it destroy rhier child. Please get the patents involved. Make sure this does nor happen to anyone else. And love Tanner with all your might.

    Ethne December 9, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Bullies, I have found, are actually cowards. They are afraid of what they see and the belittle it to make themselves feel better. It’s wrong, it’s despicable and it’s horrible that a child with a terminal illness has to deal with that on top of everything else. That being said – has anyone ever taken the time to explain to his classmates, teachers and parents what his illness is and what it means? Perhaps if they understand, they will not be so afraid – and also be nicer. Ok, I know that life isn’t a disney movie – but it is worth a shot.

    Julie December 9, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    My son was bullied once, it went on for quite a while before I found out. I think it was one of the first chinks in his childhood mantle of innocence. I called the school right away, they assured me they had zero tolerance for bullying and both my son and the bully were called in for a mediation of sorts. Whatever they did, it worked, that particular bully left my son alone after that. It toughened my son a little, but I don’t think it damaged him. If the school can effectively stop the bullying, I think Tanner will recover his sense of self. It’s so painful to know that your beloved child is being mistreated in this way. Maybe they can move the bully to another classroom.

    Blue December 9, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    Remind that obtuse principal about the Phoebe Prince case in Massachusetts and then maybe they’ll at least think of liability issues even if they are soulless and heartless. And that mom is totally raising an a$$h–e of a child. Parents who make excuses constantly are the worst, but I guess the apple won’t fall far from the tree.

    If I found out that my kid was saying things like that to another kid–to any kid, let alone a kid in Tanner’s situation—she would lose every privilege I could think of. I don’t understand how parents can defend that kind of behavior Please let us know the outcome of this situation.

    Jan December 10, 2011 at 2:35 am

    There is a chance that this low-self esteem child that is bullying is doing so without the knowledge of his parent(s). If the teacher can substantiate the problem and talk to the parents it MAY help.

    Her Bad Mother December 11, 2011 at 10:57 am

    The mom knows. She works at the school. And is not responding in the manner one would hope.

    Joanna December 10, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Oh my gosh! I’m so sorry and I so wish that Tanner could move to our town. My kids went to the elementary school with the integrated ISS program. There is a elevator for easy mobility and an all-access play structure. They never thought twice about being around children who were differently abled. Who cares if he is in a wheelchair? The scariest thing is that children learn these hateful things at home. Where is the compassion? My heart breaks for Tanner and my prayers go out to him and your family.

    Christyn@StrivingforSimple.com December 10, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    I was bullied as a kid…never forget those moments. Parents are ultimately responsible and should be held responsible for their bully kids. I practically have to teach my kids self-defense against these future detention center inmates (sorry-but its true if nothing is done to stop them).

    Give me the addresses of these little nuisances……

    Jen L December 10, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    I just have no words. My heart goes out to Tanner and to your family. I hope for a peaceful resolution and a healed heart for Tanner.

    Amy Apple December 11, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    This enrages me.

    I don’t understand how a parent could begin to defend this behavior from their healthy child. I don’t care what they believe the other child has done. I don’t care what justificatons they try to make.

    Please tell your sister to be strong, to fight the good fight, to not give up and beyond all to believe in the goodness of men.

    HLOVE December 11, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    Wow.

    My heart goes out to you, your sister and most of all dear Tanner. I am a teaching assistant for special needs kids in Peel, and I most certainly have witnessed first hand or had kids report bullying to me. I know that I ALWAYS intervene, and if I ever hear or see anything directed at the kids I support, who are already different or disabled I make sure it is addressed. I am curious, does Tanner not have an Educational Resource Facilitator/T.A. working one on one with him? He or She should be one of Tanners main advocates and protectors while he is at school. They should also have the responsibility in ensuring inclusion as best as possible and promoting awareness of his disability among his other classmates. The schools today place such an emphasis on inclusion, diversity, and of course “zero tolerance” when it comes to bullying, however it DOES not seem that this school is taking the right approach to this situation. As many other people here have said bullies and their victims are children, children who come from all types of circumstances, children who sometimes need to be taught and coached on how to be kind, confident and caring individuals. So, no, it doesn’t matter who started it, it matters that there is an end put to it, and that is the adults job.

    Please make this stop. Tanner deserves so much more in the time he has left.

    Best of luck to all of you and bless Tanners little heart.

    Marinka December 12, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    I’m trying so hard not to feel defeated, but this is just heartbreaking. The world is so unbearably cruel sometimes, and then when we consider that these are children doing it to another child- I just can’t.

    Mom101 December 12, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    Can I just say, what she said?

    I am so pained by this. So so pained.

    AutismMom410 December 13, 2011 at 10:57 am

    I agree with everyone here..what kind of person raises their child to think bullying anyone..let alone a handicapped child is acceptable? My older child was getting teased and bullied at lunch a couple years back. One day he had enough, stood up with his fist pulled back and pretty much said stop and leave me alone or I’m going to kill you. While I didn’t care for his choice of words(which made it so he had to be evaluated to make sure he wasn’t a danger to himself or others before he could come back to school) it was clearly a reaction to the way he was being treated. He is midly autistic and does not have violent outbursts but I guess enough is enough.Naturally the other kids denied they were teasing him and the really infuriating part was the principal believed them! After his evaluation (which was heartbreaking for me..my child in a hospital gown matter of factly telling what happened) the principal didn’t want to accept the doctors note because it included the phrase”after being bullied by his peers..” Basically he called my child a liar and since everyone denied everything no proof to do anything about it. I feel so bad for you and your family and I hope everything is resolved to make it better for Tanner.

    Bec December 13, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    I don’t think most people raise their children to think bullying is okay. I suspect most bullies come from loving, nurturing homes. Which raises the question: why do children have such a large capacity for cruelty? Do they simply lack empathy? Is it a developmental thing? Do they just not know any better?

    Boogers Mom December 13, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Hi everyone….met with teacher….trying to digest. I will elaborate in another post…but bottom line she really doesnt believe Tanner is being bullied, has no idea I think on how to deal with children with special needs…Tanner beyond the Duchenne has Asperger’s as well….and basically said Tanner’s ‘behaviour’ is provocttive…that she knows all the kids and they come from good families and homes and believes they are very tolerant….

    zonoma December 16, 2011 at 11:01 am

    We had a case like this in Ohio very recently. The parents finally concealed a voice activated audio recorder on their daughter (without the daughter’s knowledge). The verbal vitriol and abuse that was spewed from the teacher’s and the aid literally made me cry. No child should EVER be treated as less than human, less than amazing. Guided, taught how to discipline their own impulses at appropriate ages and developmental levels, yes.

    For a teacher to not recognize that something is wrong would make me want to investigate it in the same way that the parents I mentioned did. I hope, for Tanner’s sake and yours (it is heart breaking for a mama), that a resolution is found and his heart can stop getting stomped on at school and he can enjoy it as children should.

    Boogers Mom December 13, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    And of course the other child denied saying anything and believes Booger is ‘misconstruing’ what has been said.

    MFA Mama December 13, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Oh, this, I, WOW. I just read the next post (on which comments are closed) and…I want this to just (“just?” well shit, not JUST, but still) be a matter of the teacher being maybe a little ignorant and out of her depth, but probably that’s overly idealistic of me. What the hell is WRONG with people that their kids think it’s okay to pick on ANY other student at school, disabled or not? My kids all know better, and I agree with you wholeheartedly that “tolerant” is not the word to use. In cases of someone with an obvious physical difference, any time my kids have asked questions I’ve simply given them an age-appropriate explanation. I guess maybe mine are a little more sensitive to people who use durable medical equipment, since my youngest had first an NG-tube (for about five months) and then a g-tube, but I like to think they’d be just as blase about those who are visibly different in their physical conditions and abilities even without the issue being so close to home. I like the way my oldest (who was four at the time the youngest was born) tended to handle anyone who’d ask “WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE BABY?” He’d just say “my brother has a really sore throat so his milk goes down that tube and into his belly so he can grow.” Having met Tanner I don’t see how anyone could fail to find him utterly charming (I think our license-plate-spotting ride to the airport was my favorite part of BlogHer ’10), but…well, I just keep coming back to “what the hell is WRONG with people???” I’m so sorry your family is having to deal with this TOO.

    Mummy... December 13, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    I’ve never been to your blog before. But was filled with sadness when I read about what was happening to your son. My son is in 4th grade and has ADD and is seeing the face of bullying. Our school district held a talk on relational aggression recently. Very interesting. There is a pattern, The bullies are often not the highest on the social scale and pick on ‘weaker’ or more sensitive kids to give themselves a higher social status. Being mean elevates them apparently. Your school or school district clearly has a backward approach to bullying. You need to go to a) the principal, and b) the school district superintendent if it’s a public school and make the teacher’s zero response known. You also need to know what the school’s bullying policy is and press for change. The fact that you have a blog and can publicize this actually gives you a lot of clout. My son’s bully (he calls my son ‘demented’ and ‘stupid’, actually broke down and cried when challenged by the teacher last year. It turns out he suffers from anxiety. But he IS mean in order to deal with it. Other bullies my son has encountered often have extremely sweet parents. One pattern I learned about is, that people who use relational aggression (eg overt or covert bullying) often grew up pacifying warring parents and actually think it is socially acceptable to use relational aggression. Holly Pedersen did the relational aggression talk. She’s a psychologist and expert on bullying. This is her email address, http://www.parentsplaceonline.org/content/holly-pedersen She’s does talks at The Parents Place in San Rafael CA which is a parenting center. If all else fails it may be worth contacting her. She knew what she was on about. Also she gave a recommended reading list, which I can dig out if you feel it would help. Let me know! Good luck.

    Victoria Suzanne December 13, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    I just wanted to say that my brother had muscular dystrophy as a child (before he passed away as a very young teen) and while I read this article with interest, what really got me is the photo. He looks a lot like my brother did when I was little – the power wheelchair, something about the shape of his hands, the round face. That little girl looks a lot like me when I was little. I’m 22 today; he’d be 30.

    This was a heartbreaking post. You wrote very real-ly and honestly and I commend you on the voice and article of your blog. I hope things get better for Tanner.

    Her Bad Mother December 14, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    oh, thank you for sharing that. hugs to you!

    Lisalyn December 14, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Kids can be so mean, thoughtlessly or even on purpose.

    Bullying is an encompassing word – it can mean a physical action, verbal cutdowns or threats, excluding someone, a perception, an attitude, a general way of treating someone.

    There doesn’t NEED to be “proof”. If Tanner FEELS he is being bullied, then he IS. And it needs to be addressed. Now.

    A plan of action should be put in place at the school. The teacher is missing an opportunity to educate her kids and set the tone in her classroom – Bullying will NOT be tolerated. This, kids, is what bullying is. This, is why we don’t do it. This, is what happens if you do.

    And at home, Tanner will be reminded he is surrounded by family that loves him – and all the awesomeness that he is – with all their heart.

    Don’t let this drop. Don’t give up. As a parent you are the advocate for your child. It may be hard and frustrating and infuriating. But, it’s what we do as parents, especially when it’s something kids can’t do for themselves.

    I send you all hugs and strength.

    Jessica December 14, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Oh this post hurts my heart beyond belief. I have a daughter with autism and I also had a daughter pass away. Tanner is both of them in one. I just can’t imagine. I wish for this to all go away for your nephew and your sister, I wish for a break for them, just a break, to have life easy for a while.

    And I wish they lived next door because kids with autism have the kindest hearts. My daughter loves everyone she ever meets and never judges them, as I’m sure Tanner does as well. She would love Tanner to pieces and then they would both have a friend.

    (so glad I found your blog, I hope to follow this story and hear good news soon)

    LSM December 14, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    I know you’ve closed comments on the follow-up post, but I had to comment and say that your sister must take this beyond the teacher and on to the school administration. As someone who has worked in administration for years, I find it hard to believe that with all the attention surrounding the issue of bullying and the training that’s occured for teachers that there are still those who are as naive or unwilling to see bullying for what it is as Tanner’s teacher. Your sister was right to take it to her first, but the teacher’s response must be shared with the principal who will hopefully do what should have been done in the first place to fix this situation.

    mollyminks December 14, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    I found your blog on Babble’s top 100 mom blogs. That is quite a distinction, Congrats!I love your article. I hope you love my blog at http://www.thecribhub.com where we have luxurious and affordable baby cribs.

    Jennifer December 15, 2011 at 11:46 am

    I did something mean as a kid — there was a schoolmate in a wheelchair who went home the same way I did. And one day I made fun of him until he cried. I think we were in 4th grade. I never got in trouble and as far as I know no adult ever knew about it. But I started to feel bad about it soon and to this day I see it as one of the most awful cruelest things i’ve ever done in my life. So maybe, the little beast who is picking on Tanner will feel bad too. But it would be best if it was stopped immediately. I think if I had gotten in trouble immediately and been made/given the opportunity to apologize it would have been good for all involved.

    Maybe the above is why, I can’t stop thinking about this horrible situation with Tanner and I want so badly to hear there has been resolution. I want someone to stop this bullying. At the very least can Tanner be moved to a different class?

    Can we help in any way??

    Mary December 16, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    I have a lump in my throat and my eyes are tearing up. Every school official should be made to read this. Nothing but love to Tanner.

    Crystal @ Crystal's Cozy Kitchen December 17, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    I grew up with 3 siblings with severe disabilities so maybe this hit me particularly hard (I actually read the ‘Really World’ post first.) I am sickened that the teacher did not believe the mom. My mom advocates in schools for children with disabilities and so I know that some educators can be VERY difficult. However in this situation, I would suggest talking to the principle and telling them what is going on. That as a parent she doesn’t appreciate her very valid concerns being thrown away. Her son should not have to deal with this while he is dealing with everything else he has to in his life. There are so many resources for parents that they just don’t know about. I wish your sister luck in this. I honestly wish that she didn’t have to deal with it.

    Zoe December 18, 2011 at 12:19 am

    I don’t understand bullies in any form, but going after a terminally ill child? That’s beyond the lowest of lows. i know that kids can’t always wrap their heads around such subjects, and it might be unfair to expect them to fully understand death and inevitability and just how hard Tanner’s life has been and continues to be, but is it really too much to ask that they try to make his days good, because he will have so painfully few? Can there be any excuse not give him the best treatment possible, if not for the sake of being a decent human being, then for the simple reason that his time is so unjustly limited?

    I hope Tanner has friends that are willing to stand up for him. In my (thankfully) relatively limited experience with being bullied, the best thing anyone ever did for me was stand up to the bully on my behalf. Of course parents and teachers need to be involved; there’s no substitute for that kind of intervention. But It’s not always possible for the bullied person to stand up for him or herself, and something very powerful about having a peer defend you.

    Lia December 22, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    I grew up with my brother in a wheel chair and after a while just got used with the look on people’s faces. I would never want anyone to treat him in such a negative way. Your story reminded me of the song: Where is the love? from Black eyed peas.
    “What’s wrong with the world, mama. People livin’ like they ain’t got no mamas”
    “People killin’, people dyin’. Children hurt and you hear them cryin”
    Heart breaking!

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