The
B.U.L.L.Y.
Club
CHAPTER
7
Petition Time
“Ugh! It’s too hot to play tennis,” complained Katie as the girls took a water break. “My sweat has sweat.”
“Girls do not sweat, we glimmer,” said Mary.
“Well your glimmer makes you look like you just got out of a swimming pool,” teased Katie.
“Puh-lease, hardly. Oh my-gosh! Some of us do burn though,” said Mary as she looked at Jenna and reached for her gym bag.
“Woah!” Said Katie looking at Jenna. “You’re like some kind of sci-fi lobster girl.”
Jenna who was checking her arms and legs said, “It’s not that bad, right? I don’t see much pink. It might be the heat.”
“Don’t mind her, it’s not bad Jen,” said Mary as she squirted out some suntan lotion into her hand. Then she carefully dabbed some on Jenna’s nose, forehead, and cheeks. Then she handed the bottle to Jenna. “Here, put some on your arms and legs if you like.”
“Thank you,” said Jenna. “It’s not too bad really?”
“Its fine,” said Mary.
“If you like being pink like bubblegum,” teased Katie.
“Did anyone see Mira today?” Asked Jenna as she rubbed lotion all over her arms.
“Nope,” said Katie.
“I don’t think so,” said Mary.
“I hope she’s okay,” said Jenna more to herself than anyone else.
“I’m sure she’s fine,” said Mary.
“Ladies!” Yelled their coach. “No more lollygagging! Break time’s over. Winners don’t waste time. Jenna I want to see you working on your backhand.”
Jenna handed the suntan lotion to Mary and grabbed her racquet. “She’s right, we shouldn’t waste any time.”
“That’s the spirit!” Said Mary.
“We need a plan to change Miller’s mind,” said Jenna. “Maybe if we act more professional-like. We could set up a meeting and type up a business plan…”
“What are you talking about?” Asked Katie.
Jenna noticed both girls were looking at her like she was crazy. “The B.U.L.L.Y. Club,” said Jenna. “Pay attention, much?”
“I’m too poor to pay attention,” whined Katie, playing around.
“You just started on a totally different subject,” explained Mary.
“Whatever,” said Jenna. “We’ll talk about it later.”
“Ladies!” Yelled the coach.
“Sorry Coach,” Mary called back as they hustled onto the court.
That night Jenna face timed with Mary as they both checked the B.U.L.L.Y. Blog together. They answered some of the questions and made suggestions on how to deal with bullies.
“I totally know how leftout10 feels,” said Jenna. “In elementary school, when I was kind of friends with Tara for a bit in third grade, she was so controlling! She told me who I could play with and who I couldn’t play with. Then when we stopped being friends she told everyone not to be my friend. She even kept Katie and I apart for a while!” “That’s terrible!” Said Mary. “There were some kids like that at my elementary school too. Hey… checkout headphone1. Do you think that’s Cameron from down the street?”
“No way,” said Jenna. She read the long post. “OMG! Do you think it is?”
“Sounds pretty much like the story I heard about the jock guys beating up a couple of loser guys,” said Mary. “He talks about the black eye he got and getting detention when he didn’t start it, and the others getting off scot-free. Plus he is always wearing headphones!”
“Wow,” exclaimed Jenna. “I think it might be him. He sounds so depressed. What do we say?”
“We can’t let him know that we know him,” warned Mary.
“I know,” said Jenna. “We should ask him to join the B.U.L.L.Y. Club though.”
“He doesn’t seem like much of a club joiner,” said Mary. “Besides, if we just go up to him and ask him to join, he might figure out we run the Blog.”
The girls came up with some hopefully helpful advice for headphone1. Jenna felt so bad for him, he seemed to be really hurting emotionally. You just never know what someone is going through. He always seemed so confident with an ‘I don’t care’ attitude. She was so wrong about him.
Jenna talked more about her idea to take a more grownup approach with their principal. She thought they should set up an official appointment and leave a signed business plan for him to go over. Mary got excited and said they should dress up too, like they were going on a job interview. Mary helped give her some ideas for the business plan. The girls decided two meetings a month would be sufficient to start with. They would not ask for any money. They could think up ways to raise money themselves with bake sales and car washes. That way they could buy supplies for signs, or pay for an anti-bullying assembly, etc. When Mary had to go, Jenna called Katie. She read her business plan to her. Katie had a couple of suggestions herself, like mentioning the B.U.L.L.Y. Blog and all the viewers and comments it was getting. Jenna printed out the plan and put it carefully in a folder. Mr. Miller just had to take them seriously and change his mind.
That night, she went to bed happy. She was so sure this would work. She had a wonderful dream that the whole school was cheering for her. The principal called her up on stage to congratulate her on her success with the B.U.L.L.Y. Club and for saving their now completely bully-free school. Then the principal grabbed a microphone and began singing to her. It was then that she noticed her principal was Harry Styles. She began screaming with overwhelming joy along with the rest of the school. Well at least the girls… and a few boys. Even Mr. Yarbrough, one of the math teachers, who was standing on the side of the stage had tears running down his face as strange monkey-ish noises came from his extra wide smile. “Eeeeeeeeeeeee, ha, ah Heeeeeeeeeeeeeee, Eeeeeeeeeeeee!” It would have been rather disturbing any other time, but principal Styles was singing to her!
Then she felt a tennis ball hit the back of her right arm. She turned to find herself on the tennis court facing her coach. “Winners don’t waste time Jenna! Work on that backhand!”
Jenna turned back desperately hoping to be back on stage with Harry singing to her. Unfortunately it was just the tall chain-link fence that went around the courts. She saw Mira standing there looking sad. She asked if she was okay. Suddenly Cameron was there and put his arm around Mira. They walked off together. Jenna grabbed the cold chain link fence with fingers curled around the wiry diamond shapes. She just watched them walk away until they disappeared into the distance.
Jenna sat up with a start. Her alarm was blaring some song she didn’t like. She pushed the snooze button and tried to go back to sleep. Before her alarm went off again. her brother jumped onto her bed.
“Jenna!” He yelled excitedly.
“Steven, go away,” Jenna mumbled.
“No, you have to get up, Mom said,” he explained. “Anyways, guess what?”
“What?” She asked annoyed.
“Mom said I could get roller blades! They are on sale and I get them today!” He yelled as he jumped up and down. “Isn’t that awesome?”
“Awesome, please stop bouncing before I hurl,” said Jenna.
“Ha ha!” Steven laughed as he jumped to the floor with a big thump. “Get up, Mom said so!”
“I heard you the first time,” said Jenna.
Steven ran out of the room chanting, “I am getting roller blades! I am getting roller blades!” Over and over.
Jenna squinted at the clock and decided she may as well get up. She smiled as she remembered her dream. Just the part about Harry singing to her, of course. After she showered and changed, she made sure she carefully put her folder with her business plan safely between two books in her back pack. Then she headed downstairs for breakfast.
At the bus stop, she saw Cameron standing there with headphones on as usual. He leaned against the same fence post everyday with his back pack hanging over one shoulder. He was probably four or five inches taller than her, she guessed. He always wore dark colors. She noticed his eye was looking better and there was just a short line where his lip had split.
“What are you staring at?” Cameron said abruptly.
Jenna jumped. She hadn’t realized she was staring at him. “I… I’m... sorry,” she stammered and turned away, embarrassed. Some eighth grade girls showed up giggling and talking about their adventures at the mall.
She was so relieved when she saw Katie heading toward her. As soon as Katie reached the bus stop they heard the low roar of the bus heading their way.
“Will you go with me to the office before first period?” Jenna was asking Katie as the now loud bus screeched to a stop in front of them.
“Of course,” replied Katie.
Then they climbed up into the bus and settled in their middle of the bus seats.
As soon as they got to school, the two made a quick beeline for the office. The strong smell of coffee smacked them in the face.
“Yuck,” whispered Jenna.
“I kinda like the smell,” admitted Katie.
The secretary was on the phone and some receptionists were chatting away with a teacher. Finally one of them noticed the two girls standing there.
“May I help you girls?” Asked Miss Kathy.
“Yes,” said Jenna as her hand plunged into her backpack and carefully pulled out the folder. “I would like to set up a meeting with Principal Miller, if I may.”
“What is this regarding?” Miss Kathy asked.
“We would like to discuss starting an anti-bullying club with him,” said Katie.
“I see,” Miss Kathy said looking a bit confused. She typed something into a computer. “It looks like Mr. Miller is free around… 11:45 tomorrow. That is your lunch period right?”
“Yes,” said Jenna.
“Okay. I put in a note that you will be meeting with him. May I get your names?” Asked Miss Kathy.
The girls gave her their names. Then Jenna asked if she could please make sure Mr. Miller got her folder as soon as possible.
“I’ll put it on his desk right now,” Miss Kathy said, smiling. “Do you need a pass? Class starts in one minute.”
“Yes, please,” Jenna said.
She signed two passes and handed one to each of the girls who thanked her and headed to their lockers.
“This is so going to work,” said Katie.
“I hope so. I mean, it will,” said Jenna.
The bell rang and they quickened their steps.
In English class Jenna was happy to see Mira was back. After class she asked her if she had been sick or something.
Mira simply said, “Sort of. Something like that.”
“Are you sure everything’s okay?” Asked Jenna.
“Yeah,” said Mira. “I better get to my next class. See ya.”
“Okay, bye,” Jenna said. She couldn’t help feeling like there was something more that Mira didn’t want to talk about.
After school Katie and Jenna talked as they walked home from the bus stop. Jenna was worried about Mira. Katie kept insisting she was probably fine.
Jenna found herself locked out of her house. She remembered her brother was getting roller blades. Which meant her Mom was probably waiting for him at his school. She looked across the street. Katie was slowly heading to her front door reading their mail.
“Katie! Katie!” Jenna yelled as she walked down her driveway.
Katie turned and put her hand up to shield her eyes from the sun. “Yeah?”
“I’m locked out!” Jenna called.
Katie waved her over. Jenna ran across the cul-de-sac and up Katie’s driveway.
“Thanks!” Jenna panted.
“No prob,” said Katie. “Where’s your Mom?”
“My brother said something about getting new roller blades today. So I guess she’s meeting him at the elementary school and forgot about me,” said Jenna.
“No key under the matt or anything?” Asked Katie.
“Nope,” said Jenna.
They went inside Katie’s house. Katie’s little sister jumped out from behind the door, scaring both girls. Then she fell back onto the bottom stair, laughing.
“Dani! I told you not to do that,” said Katie. “Why are you home, anyway?”
Danielle coughed and then said, “I’m sick.”
“Well, keep your germy self away from us,” said Katie as she headed for the kitchen.
“I hope you feel better soon Dani,” said Jenna before she followed after Katie.
“Thanks Jenna,” said Danielle before she sneezed.
Katie and Jenna sat on the back deck with some soda and oatmeal cookies.
“This Saturday, I need to get everyone’s phone numbers at the club meeting,” said Jenna.
“Why?” Asked Katie.
“Well, so I can call people if we ever have to cancel a meeting or something. Plus if I had numbers I could call Mira and talk to her,” said Jenna.
“Yeah. So, are you ready for our meeting tomorrow?” Asked Katie.
“Yes!” Said Jenna. “I probably should have told the office lady to tell Principal Miller to read over our plan before our meeting though.”
“You worry too much,” said Katie. “He’ll probably read it.”
The next day the girls met at their lockers before lunch. They were all dressed up and professional looking. They put their backpacks in their lockers. Jenna pulled out another folder with another copy of their business plan in case she needed to refer to something specific in it.
“Ready girls?” Asked Jenna.
“Let’s do this thing!” Said Katie.
“Let’s go,” said Mary.
They walked confidently toward the office. Only the secretary was in at the moment. She was typing furiously on her computer keyboard. Finally she took a break and looked up at them over her reading glasses with her gray eyebrows raised. “Can I help you?” She asked.
“We have a meeting with Principal Miller at 11:45,” said Jenna.
“Really?” Asked the secretary as if she didn’t believe them.
“Yes, ma’am, “said Jenna. “Miss Kathy even put it on his schedule in the computer.”
The secretary looked back at the computer screen and pursed her bright red lips which showed some lipstick stain in some of the many lines around her mouth. Which then brought Jenna’s eyes toward a mole by her nose, which (eew!) had three dark hairs growing out. The secretary suddenly looked up at Jenna. Jenna quickly made sure she didn’t have a grossed out look on her face and tried to smile.
“Well, someone did put a note on the schedule. However he had to leave earlier than planned for a meeting,” said the secretary. The phone began to ring. “It says he left your paper on his desk. I have to answer the phone. You may go in and get it, but do not touch anything else.”
As the secretary answered the phone the girls walked into the principal’s office. Almost right away they spotted their neatly printed club plan on his coffee stained desk with finger print smudges and a great big red ‘X’ on it! Jenna grabbed the papers and went back to the secretary with Katie and Mary at her heels.
The secretary hung up the phone.
“What’s this?” Asked Jenna pointing to the red X.
“Just what it looks like young lady. A red X,” she said.
“Why?” Asked Jenna.
“Isn’t it obvious?” Asked the secretary. “He has denied your request.”
“Did he even read it? This isn’t fair! He didn’t even talk to us!” Said Jenna angrily as she fought the tears welling up in her eyes.
“Jenna,” said Mary calmly.
Jenna balled up the papers, threw them at the recycling bin as she left. She didn’t notice she missed.
“Young lady you pick those up!” Scolded the secretary.
“I’m so sorry,” said Mary as she bent down to pick up the balled papers. “She’s just upset. It’s okay.”
“No, it’s not okay!” Said the secretary.
“Please, she’s usually the nicest girl,” added Mary.
“You make sure she doesn’t act out like that again,” warned the secretary.
“I will, she won’t. Sorry!” Mary said as she went to find Katie who went after Jenna.
She saw the girl’s bathroom door close. Mary went in. Jenna was crying and Katie was trying to calm her down. Mary hugged Jenna.
“Don’t give up Jenna. Please don’t,” pleaded Mary. “We will find a way.”
“This was the best way though,” sniffled Jenna. “We were doing this the adult way.”
“Well then we got to do it our way!” Said Katie.
“What’s our way?” Asked Mary.
“I don’t know yet,” said Katie.
In English class, Mr. Washburn was nice enough to talk with everyone about the B.U.L.L.Y. Club and how they might get their principal to reconsider. Their teacher had the best idea. He said in his day the kids would have gone around with a petition and get as many signature’s as they could to show how much something meant to them. If that didn’t work they would stage a walk out. Everyone would agree on a certain day at a certain time no matter what they were doing in their classes, they would silently put down their pencils and walk out of their classes and out of the school to a meeting spot outside. The girls were happy. They thought this just might work. Jenna asked Mira if she would be willing to sign a petition and do a walk out if it came to that. Mira actually smiled and said she would.
The next day at lunch the girls rushed to their table as quickly as they could. They set up a little sign they made. It said, “Please help end bullying in our school!” They had a handful of pens and they lined up their clipboards with paper to collect signatures. It was a little slow at first, which gave them time to eat their lunches. Then more and more people came over to see what the sign said and ask questions. The tall skinny guy that was tripped and laughed at just weeks ago came over and signed the petition. Other ‘front of the bus’ kids came over to sign it. ‘Middle of the bus’ kids like themselves came over to sign it. Even some ‘too cool for school’ kids from the back of the bus signed it! Just from that first lunch they already had seventy-two signatures. The girls were so excited. Of course there were over 2,000 students at their school, but this was a great start.
After school, the three girls stood by the front doors asking for signatures as students were leaving. Mira stopped by Jenna to tell her she got twenty-eight signatures during her lunch period. Jenna high-fived her. Mira told the girls she had an eye doctor’s appointment tomorrow during English so she would see them Saturday at their next club meeting.
Kevin walked by the girls and told them he was going to make everyone on the boys tennis team sign the petition. Mary told him they would do the same with the girl’s tennis team.
“Will we now?” teased Katie.
“Yes we will,” said Mary as she blushed.
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