'B.U.L.L.Y. Club' Idea
Friday finally came. Jenna managed to survive all seven classes which included two tests, and a quiz. Then she had tennis practice after school. She, Mary and Katie made junior varsity on the school tennis team this year. Tennis team proved to be a good ‘middle of the bus’ type of sport as well as wrestling, golf and gymnastics. None of the popular kids were on the tennis team. They were on the football, baseball, volleyball, basketball, drill and cheerleading teams. The least popular had mathletes, chess, and the spelling bee teams, which seem to be non-sport teams.
After practice the three girls walked toward the parking lot as they emptied a good portion of their water bottles from thirst. Mary’s mother was scheduled to pick up the girls today. Jenna noticed a certain look and a blush between Mary and Kevin as they waved goodbye to each other. Kevin was on the boy’s tennis team.
“What was that, Mary?” Jenna asked.
“What?” Mary asked innocently.
“You like Kevin, don’t you?” Teased Jenna.
“Please,” Mary said.
“You are blushing!” Katie jumped in. “You like him.”
“Whatever,” Mary replied hoping they would drop it.
Jenna smiled at Katie as she said, “Notice she is not denying it.”
“Hey, there’s my Mom!” Mary said as she walked quicker.
Jenna and Katie followed behind singing, “Mary and Kevin sitting in a tree….”
“Stop that!” Mary said as she turned toward them with a pleading look.
Her mother’s car window was rolled down and Kevin and his Mom were driving by. Jenna and Katie gave her a break. At least until there were no parents or a certain ‘boy’ around.
Mary lived in the next cul-de-sac down from Katie and Jenna’s. Mary never took the bus home. If she didn’t have tennis after school, then she went to dance class or a piano lesson. The girls had some carrot sticks and lemonade before racing up to Mary’s room. Her room was by far the girliest of the three friends. Mary knew she had to be the first one into her room but Katie got past her. Katie belly-flopped onto the canopy bed and reached under the far pillow. Mary practically fell on top of Katie trying to stop her. Katie pulled out a very colorful diary.
“Don’t you dare, Katie!” Mary yelled. Katie tried a wrestler-type hold on the diary but Mary had a good hold on her arm.
“Jenna, help!” Yelled Katie.
“No, help me!” Mary yelled.
Jenna simply sat down on a big, comfy purple bean bag and closed her eyes happy to finally relax after a very long week.
Eventually, Mary got her diary back and ran to hide it in her walk in closet. “Thanks a lot for the help Jenna,” Mary said sarcastically as she closed her closet door behind her.
“What was I supposed to do?” Replied Jenna, not really caring.
“You can hide your diary, but I am not leaving until you spill about Kevin,” announced Katie.
“Fine! I kind of like Kevin. No big deal. I just beg of you to promise this does not leave this room,” said Mary.
“Does he like you?” Asked Katie.
“I honestly don’t know and you cannot ask him or any of his friends if he likes me. We will figure it out on our own without meddling friends,” she said looking from Katie to Jenna.
“We promise not to say a word. Right, Katie?” Jenna said looking at Katie.
“Okay, I promise not to say a word. But you have to promise to keep us informed of every little sign of him liking you, hand holding, or even a hug,” said Katie.
“Deal!” Mary said relieved.
Mary turned on some music and sat down on the floor and her two friends joined her. “So Jenna, how is your ‘stop bullying’ plan going?”
“I don’t understand it. I just don’t.” Jenna said as she stretched. “Doesn’t everyone go to kindergarten?”
“Yeah, I think,” said Mary.
“What do we all learn in kindergarten? To share, to be kind, to not waste glue, to line up with no pushing or cutting, to play nicely and take turns, not to lie, and if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all,” Jenna said.
“And never run with scissors!” Added Katie.
“We learn how to act and how to treat others…nicely! So what happens? Over time do other teachers not reinforce what we learned? Ignore it? Not see it? Why do kids start acting like they have never been to kindergarten? I know they didn’t forget it all. When do certain friends suddenly become too cool to hang out with you or not cool enough? Who decides? I mean it’s not like we all take a social placement test each year. Can you imagine getting those results?” Jenna laughed and continued in a teacher like voice, “Well Jenna, you seem like a very nice girl, unfortunately you are just not going to be popular. The good news is that you are not in the least popular group. So you will have a fairly normal and not too rough school experience.”
Jenna changed back to her normal voice, “But teacher, what if I want to be popular? There has to be a way!”
Katie jumped in as the voice of the teacher. “Well my poor dear, you can become a fake popular. Where you’d dress like them, act like them, talk like them, turn your back on those not in the popular group, and stock up on tons of lip gloss. I must warn you, not many can pull it off. And if you do…well you might completely lose the real you.”
Then Mary jumped in as the teacher. “Also Jenna, if you make any mistakes you can easily slide back right into the jaws of the unpopular and become one of them. You must never wear pocket protectors, carry a brief case, and join the chess club or the video game club. Don’t join the Mathletes or sit at the front of the bus.”
Jenna put on a shocked expression. “What if I like chess?”
Katie shook her head and said in her teacher-like voice, “You will become a fake unpopular. You will have to dress like them, act like them, get picked on and ignored, and sit in the front of the bus. Not many can pull it off and you will lose yourself.”
“So…I’m in middle school, and I’m stuck in the middle of the social ladder, and I must sit in the middle of the bus. I’m afraid I’m going to have middle child syndrome!” Said Jenna.
“You are welcome to visit our school counselor. Have a nice day Gina!” Mary said in her teacher like voice.
“It’s Jenna!” Jenna said pretending to cry.
“Middle child syndrome!” Mary laughed.
“Hey, don’t laugh. It is a real and serious thing. Just look at me,” said Katie.
“Please you act like the spoiled youngest in your family,” teased Jenna.
“In my defense I was the youngest until my little sis came along. Now that my older brother is in college I could have been an only child,” said Katie sadly. “So, are you giving up on the bully thing Jen?”
“No way. In fact…what would you say if I asked you both to start a club with me?” Asked Jenna.
“A club?” Asked Mary.
“Now don’t laugh you two,” warned Jenna. “I might not be able to just solve the problem of bullying but I can make people aware of the problem. I want to start a B.U.L.L.Y. Club.”
Katie looked confused. “Wait, you want to start a club for bullies? Why? So you can tell them all to stop bullying when you round them all up?” The girls all laughed.
“No silly! We would be in the club. We could figure out how to spread awareness in our school and hopefully to others too. We can figure out how to help victims stand up for themselves and others. Maybe we can get some bullies to think about what they are doing and stop it,” Explained Jenna.
“So, it’s an anti-bullying club,” said Mary.
“No…yes. What I mean is B.U.L.L.Y. will stand for something,” Jenna said as she reached into her pants pocket and pulled out a folded up piece of paper. She unfolded it and smoothed it out on her leg. “Okay, how does this sound? The B.U.L.L.Y. Club:
The ‘B’ will stand for, Band together.
The ‘U’ will stand for, Understand our differences are okay.
The ‘L’ will stand for, Listen to one another.
The second ‘L’ stands for, Learn from each other.
And the ‘Y’ stands for, Yield- as in harvesting helpful ideas.”
“I like that,” Said Mary.
“Can I see that?” Asked Katie reaching for the piece of paper. Jenna handed it to her.
“So, say we are in this club, what do we do?” Asked Mary.
“First we would find ways to bring awareness to our school. Maybe like, put up posters, make t-shirts, get the principal to set up an assembly about bullying, and maybe we could have once a month club meeting at the school. And anyone can join. Even bullies, if they promise not to bully anymore.” Explained Jenna.
“Oh! I can help you start a blog!” Said Mary excitedly.
“That would be awesome!” Jenna said.
“I’m in,” said Katie. “This sounds pretty cool Jenna.”
“Thank you,” said Jenna smiling. She was so happy her friends liked her idea and frankly a little surprised. She had been worried they would think it was silly.
“Listen to this,” said Katie to Mary as she read more from Jenna’s piece of paper. “All members must promise to:
1. Never put people down.
2. Always stand up for yourself and others.
3. If someone is being bullied band spectators together around the victim if possible. Or:
4. Have someone get an adult.
5. Tell your parents, teachers, principal, etc. about a bully that does harm.
6. Let bad bullies know that the world will not put up with their nonsense.
7. Try to understand what a bad bully is going through if possible.
8. See if you can help bad bullies, and get them to become good B.U.L.L.Y.’s like us.”
“I promise!” Said Mary.
“I promise too!” Said Katie.
“I promise three!” Said Jenna. They laughed. “Hooray for the B.U.L.L.Y. Club!” Added Mary.
“Wow you even have different types of bullying on here,” Said Katie looking at the paper again. “Types of bullying:
-Bystanders are just as guilty as the bully if they don’t try to help. At the very least, get help from an adult! Don’t ignore it.
So I’m a bully because I have seen physical fights and didn’t stop them?” Asked Katie.
“If you are, we all are,” said Mary.
“Well maybe not a bully, but I have read bystanders are just as guilty as the bully if they don’t at least get help. If you just stand there and witness it that isn’t right. Like if you witness a car accident you have to stop, see if they are okay and call for help. It’s the law. So you need to assess the situation. If there are big guys fighting and others egging them on, you should go get an adult or call the police or something. However, if some girls have cornered a smaller girl you might be able to get in front of the victim and tell them to go away. Or if little kids are fighting you can hold them away from each other probably. You just have to do something.”
“I always think a teacher or someone will show up yelling about all the ruckus and stop the fight.” Said Mary.
“Me too, that’s usually what happens,” agreed Katie.
“You know, I don’t understand why all bystanders don’t just start telling a bully to stop, try to step in and stop it, or get help immediately. That’s what we should automatically do. Even worse than standing there afraid and not knowing what to do, are those that start chanting, “Fight, fight, fight!” Are people so starved for entertaining drama? I mean that is messed up right?” Jenna asked.
“Lots of things are messed up. It’s a crazy world we live in,” said Katie.
“Well our Jenna can make a difference,” smiled Mary.
“We all can,” said Jenna. “First we need to make everyone aware of the problem and the fact that we all need to work together to make things better.”
“Then we have to get Jenna to strengthen her backhand swing on the tennis court,” Katie teased.
“Why, you!” Jenna said as she jumped up and swung a pillow at Katie.
“Bully alert! Bully alert! Do something Mary!” Yelled Katie jumping up on the bed.
“Bravo! Wonderful demonstration of bullying,” Mary said clapping her hands.
“Hey! This is not a demonstration,” called Katie’s muffled voice as she hid under a pillow.
“Is tickling bullying?” Asked Jenna as she attempted to tickle one of Katie’s feet.
“Let’s see!” Said Mary as she jumped up and tried to tickle Katie’s other foot.
“Stoooooooop!” Katie yelled through laughs as she kicked her feet around.
Jenna and Mary lay down on either side of Katie laughing.
“Mary!” Yelled a voice from down stairs. “Mary!”
“Yes Mom?” Mary yelled back.
“Are your friends staying for dinner? I’m ordering pizzas!” Mary’s Mom announced.
“Who wants pizza?” Asked Mary.
“Just texted my Mom,” said Jenna. “She said...Yes!”
“I’m staying,” said Katie waiting for her mother to text back. “I’m sure it’s fine.”
“Two guests for dinner Mom!” Yelled Mary.
“Wonderful, thank you!” Mary’s mother replied.
“Waiting for some pizza pie from the pizza guy.
Thinking of that melted cheese just brings me to my knees.
Hoping for some pepperoni, that ain’t no baloney,” Jenna rhymed out loud.
“It better have some pineapple to wash down with my Snapple,” Added Mary. “Eh, that was bad.”
“Yay! I can stay!” Katie announced. “Now you two can stop rhyming. Please.”
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