Officer Campanelli visits the school
Everyone moved at once. Jenna was surrounded.
“Why do you want to hurt others, Tara? Or any of you for that matter,” asked Jenna holding the folder for Miss Stein tight against her stomach with her arms crossed over it as if she were hugging herself. “We never did anything to you.
A short, curvier girl shoved Jenna, who fell backwards and hit her lower back on the railing. Suddenly there was a high-pitched, ear piercing, horror movie scream. Jenna stood up, ready to get away however she had to. Tara was pushed right past Jenna. Mira grabbed Jenna’s hand as a couple of girl’s were bent down helping a third girl sitting on the floor crying. Another girl stepped in front of them.
Jenna made a fist and sterrnly said, ”Out of the way! Now!” The bell rang, scaring Jenna. The girl moved out of their way. A male teacher was suddenly in front of Mira and Jenna as they started walking down the stairs.
“What’s going on here?” He asked.
“Mr. Staph, the girl’s up there were attacking my friend and me,” said Mira pointing up the stairs.
The teacher took two steps at a time finding the ‘too cool for school’ girl’s still on the landing in between floors. As a bunch of students were at the top of the stairs either needing to go down or checking out what all the commotion was about. Jenna thought she heard Mr. Washburn’s voice up there.
Students were now crowded at the bottom of the stairway too. Jenna and Mira were backed up against the wall. They side stepped until they were behind the crowd. Jenna motioned to the seat by the window.
“Are you okay?” Asked Mira.
“Yeah. I’m definitely going to have a bruise but I’ll live,” said Jenna.
“What was that blood curdling scream, and why was Eli on the floor crying?”
“That was me,” Mira said blushing a bit.
“You?” Jenna asked surprised.
“My cousin likes to make little horror films. I’ve perfected the scream. I thought it might alert one of the teachers,” explained Mira. “Then I used a move I learned on the internet. When someone is behind you with their arms wrapped around your chest, you stomp on their foot with your heel and then drop your weight so they let go. I might have stomped on her foot too hard, but I was scared.”
“That was amazing,” said Jenna. “I can’t believe that scream came out of you.”
“Girls.” Mr. Staph motioned for them to follow him.
Jenna and Mira gave each other a worried look and stood up to follow. They had to speed walk to keep up with the teacher. They entered the front office and Mr. Staph told them to take a seat. He then went into the principal’s office. The girls sat there nervously. Jenna saw the secretary look at them with a disapproving look. She had a mind to tell the woman they didn’t do anything wrong, but she decided it was better not to say anything. A boy from Jenna’s math class came in and handed something to the secretary. As he was leaving, he quietly leaned toward Jenna and said, “Oooooh, someone’s in trouble.” He laughed and walked out the door. Jenna wished she could be just about anywhere but here.
Finally after ten agonizing minutes the principal’s office door opened. Mr. Staph came out and left. Jenna could see Tara sitting in there. Tara glared directly at her. Mr. Miller stepped out and shut the door behind him. He walked over to Jenna and Mira and asked for their side of the story. They told him everything. Principal Miller thanked them and sent them back to class.
Tuesday morning, Jenna and Katie walked to their lockers still feeling half asleep. Mary was already pulling out her books for first and second period.
“Eew! I knew I didn’t forget that orange at home a few weeks ago. Gross,” Mary said as she held a crumpled lunch bag with a wet stain on the bottom at arms-length and headed for the garbage can.
Mira ran over to Jenna. “Jenna, you’ll never guess what happened this morning!”
Jenna looked at Mira. “Oh no! Mira, your lip!”
“Never mind my lip, when I got to school Tara and two of her friends were waiting for me….” Mira said excitedly.
“Tara did that to your lip?” Demanded Katie, angrily.
“Forget my lip,” said Mira, wanting to finish her story. “Tara told me I was going to pay big time for getting them in trouble. Saying things like, ‘You are going to wish you were never born.’ Then Tara grabbed my backpack straps and shoved me against the locker.”
“What happened to your lip?” Asked Mary as she returned.
“Never mind her lip!” Said Katie. “Go on Mira.”
“I yelled at her to let me go,” said Mira. “She put her face close to mine and said that she was going to make sure the B.U.L.L.Y. Club never happened, and that she was going to make my life ten times more miserable. She called me unspeakable names, too. Then we heard a voice clear. A man’s voice. Principal Miller was standing right behind her! You should have seen her face.”
“Oh, I wish I could have,” said Katie.
“Principal Miller told her to let go of me and follow him to his office along with the other two girls. He asked if I was alright and I told him I was,” said Mira.
“So what happened to your lip?” Asked Mary.
“I was so excited that the principal caught her in action that I turned quickly to go see if you were all here yet. Unfortunately, this kid in my class, Jimmy, had just opened his locker and my face ran into it, cutting my lip. It was so embarrassing. Principal Miller suggested I come with them after all to have the nurse check out my lip. It’ll be fine.”
Jenna, Katie and Mary stood there for a few seconds and then burst out laughing. Mira smiled and shrugged.
“I’m sorry about your lip,” laughed Jenna. “I’m so happy the principal finally saw some of what has been going on around here though.”
“Me too,” said Mira happily.
“Sorry for laughing at your misfortune,” said Mary.
“It’s okay, it is kinda funny,” Mira replied.
“Trust me, we all have embarrassing things happen to us. Especially Jenna,” teased Katie.
“Hey! I have plenty of embarrassing stories to share about you,” Jenna teased back.
The bell rang and the girls all walked happily down the hall together.
The following week, the girls walked out of the meeting with their principal, Mr. Washburn, and Miss Atkins. It had been a great meeting. Principal Miller had started off the meeting by apologizing for not taking the time to listen to them. He really didn’t think there was a bullying problem. The girls presented all their ideas. The principal was happy to hear that a local policeman would be willing to hold a bully awareness assembly at their school for free as part of their community outreach program. Jenna gave him the name and phone number to set it up. They agreed to a once a month B.U.L.L.Y. Club meeting for an hour after school on Wednesdays to begin with. Mr. Washburn would sit in on the meetings. He gave the girls permission to put up posters announcing the B.U.L.L.Y. Club, and any bully awareness posters.
“Can you believe the principal apologized to us?” Asked Katie.
“Maybe he isn’t so mean after all,” said Mary.
“I am so happy he liked our ideas,” said Jenna.
“I know. I can’t wait for the assembly. I hope it’s during math class,” said Katie.
By the time they got to English class, Mr. Washburn had already talked with Principal Miller. He was happy to tell the girls the assembly was scheduled for a week from Friday. The girls were so excited and decided they better start making posters. They got some of the boys to help out, too.
Mr. Washburn asked how their writing assignment about bullying was going. He expected rough drafts by the end of next week. Jenna had tried to write hers from the bully’s perspective, but she just couldn’t do it. She just could not understand what a person’s mindset would be like to want to hurt others or put them down. So she decided to write from a bystander’s perspective. She was happy with how her first draft was turning out.
That Saturday Mary, Katie, Kevin, Freddy, Mira, and Laura from science class showed up at Jenna’s to make posters for the assembly. The girls went crazy with the glitter glue while the boys stayed with bold primary colors. Jenna hoped that the boys’ posters would grab the attention of the male students, as she was confident the girls’ posters would grab the attention of the female students. They all had a great time making posters, joking around, eating popcorn, and drinking sodas.
Monday morning, they all showed up early to school to hang up posters. Jenna thought they all made some really cool signs. Miss Mackey commented on how creative all the posters were. They got many nice comments during the day. Jenna saw Tara a couple times during the day. She just glared at Jenna, as usual.
Thursday after school, the girls had a tennis game. They had to win this one to stay in second place. It was hot out, but Mary had made sure everyone had suntan lotion on and their water bottles nearby. They were thankful for towel girl. During the games she would put small towels in cold water, wring them out and pass them to the girls to cool off with. It was heaven.
Katie’s mother picked the girls up after the game. The girls slid into the back seat not saying a word.
“So, who won?” Asked Katie’s mother expecting bad news.
The girls looked at each other and then they all shouted, “We did!”
“You sure fooled me,” Katie’s mother said.
“Please turn up the radio, Mom!” Said Katie happily. All three girls started singing along.
Friday morning, everyone seemed to be looking forward to the bully awareness assembly. Well, mostly everyone. Tara and her friends were not looking very happy. At 10:30 AM everyone filed into the auditorium. There was laughing and chatting until the principal walked on stage and stood before the microphone with his hand raised for silence. He reminded everyone to be on their best behavior and to give our guest their full attention. Then he introduced Officer Campanelli.
The police officer was amazing. He was funny, high energy, helpful, and serious. He really knew how to deliver a powerful and sincere message about bullying. He even had a few of his buddies put on a few short skits. They were funny but very eye opening. At the end of the assembly he announced that they had hung a large mural by the main office. He invited everyone to read and make the promise not to bully on the side and then sign their name on the mural. The police officer got a standing ovation.
The officer stood at the door with the principal as the students filed out. Many were shaking his hand and telling him what a great job he did. When Jenna and her friends got to the door, Principal Miller introduced them proudly to Officer Campanelli. He told him that Jenna was responsible for wanting to stop bullying at their school and got her friends together to make it happen. Officer Campanelli said he was very impressed and hoped she would consider joining the police force one day. She thanked him and said she would consider it.
There was a crowd in front of the mural. Everyone in the B.U.L.L.Y. Club signed the mural, promising to never bully and to stand up for themselves and others. Hundreds of other students signed, too. Jenna stood back to look at all the signatures. Mira joined her.
“It is amazing how many students want this,” said Mira.
“I was thinking the same thing,” said Jenna. “It would seem that with so many signatures we should far outnumber any bullies. Therefore, it should be fairly easy to stop the bullying, right?”
“Easy or not, I know we can do it,” said Mira.
Jenna smiled. “You are a great friend Mira.”
“You are a great friend, too, Jenna,” Mira said.
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