Brother - r =Bother
Jenna sat at her laptop. Checking out one of the social sites that most kids in her school were on. She never noticed before just how many of the comments were insulting, putting others down, or down-right rude. How could she not have noticed this before she started reading about bullying problems on the internet? Some of these comments she had even laughed at!
She knew of one girl in the eighth grade that had been cyberbullied last year. It sounded pretty bad and apparently the school wasn’t doing much about it. There were rumors of the girl’s mother storming into the office and demanding the principal stop it. There were rumors that someone hacked into her account and posted pictures of her changing in the locker room and posted insulting comments about teachers and her friends as if she wrote them. It sounded awful and she had hoped the rumors weren’t true. The girl changed schools though. Jenna found it hard to believe that there were kids her age that were just so mean and horrible to do something like that to another human being. Yet there are many cases like this around the world.
She knew she had to get the word out that you should never isolate yourself and suffer alone when you are being bullied in any way, shape, or form. You need to talk to others and get help. If one adult doesn’t listen, talk to another. Even if you have to talk to thirty adults before someone listens. Sometimes you have to be your own hero, because you are worth it. Jenna wondered how she could get kids that are bullied to realize that they should never let others bully them or let them make you feel like you are not good enough. It is scary and horrible to be bullied, but you can’t let it continue and suffer in silence. You need to have someone you can talk to that can help you out. Instead of letting the bully make you feel worthless, you should get angry and at least think, “How dare you treat me like this!”
“I’m soooooooooooooooo bored!” Yelled her brother as he flopped down on Jenna’s bed.
“Get out, Steven!” Jenna yelled back.
“I’m bored,” Steven repeated as he shoved a potato chip in his mouth.
“Too bad for you, now get out I’m busy,” Jenna said.
“Busy? You’re just chatting with friends online,” said Steven. Then he made his voice sound more like a girls, “Oh did you see that cute new boy in science? I hope he asks me out. What will I wear though? Everything makes my butt look so big. Blech!”
“Please leave before I…are you eating on my bed?” Jenna said as she got up from her desk.
“They’re just chips,” stated Steven.
“Get off my bed now, you pop-tart!” Ordered Jenna.
“You like pop-tarts,” Steven said smiling.
“Not the unfrosted ones and you are unfrosted. Look at all those crumbs!” Jenna said.
“No prob,” Steven said as he swiped them off the bed.
“Now they are on my floor! Out now!” Jenna yelled.
“And you are the leader of an anti-bully club. How ironic that you bully your sweet little brother,” Steven added sadly.
“Oh please! I don’t bully you. I’m busy and you are annoying me,” Jenna explained.
“I’m bored though! Play hoops with me?” Steven asked.
“Fine, just a quick game of PIG,” Jenna said giving in.
“HORSE!” Demanded Steven.
“Fine,” said Jenna as she got her shoes on. “But you are vacuuming up these crumbs after.”
“Only if you win!” Called Steven as he ran out of the room to get a basketball.
“No worries there,” Jenna said to herself. She was pretty confident there was no way her little brother could beat her in basketball. She was four years older after all.
After four games of “HORSE’, in which her friend Katie and some other kids from their cul-de-sac joined in, Jenna and Katie went inside to get some water.
“OMG, I am so thirsty,” said Katie.
“Me too!” Jenna agreed.
“There you are,” said Jenna’s mother as she carried laundry through the kitchen. “Why are there crumbs all over your bedroom floor?”
“Steven ate chips on my bed and swept them onto the floor. So he has to vacuum them up,” explained Jenna.
“Where is he now?” Asked her mother.
“He’s still playing hoops with the neighbors. Can you please wash my tennis stuff for Monday?” Asked Jenna.
“Already in the washer,” Jenna’s mother said. “How are you Katie?”
“Good thank you,” Katie said.
As her mother headed to the laundry room, Jenna tugged at Katie’s sleeve. Katie followed her upstairs.
“Wow, he really did get a bunch of crumbs on your floor,” noticed Katie right away.
“We can sit on the bed,” Jenna said as she turned on some music.
“Did you hear about the big physical altercation at school Friday?” Katie asked.
“No,” admitted Jenna.
“A few eighth graders started this big brawl with a couple of nerdy guys. One of them was Cameron from our bus stop,” Katie explained.
Jenna asked, “Cameron, is that the kid who always has headphones on and never talks?”
“Yeah. I heard he has a black eye and everything,” said Katie. “It was like four against two. The boys P.E teacher broke it up. Since Cameron and his friend needed to be checked by the nurse they got in trouble. The others got away scot free!”
“No way!” Jenna said shocked.
“Way!” Added Katie. “Our school is so messed up. You are right Jenna, there is no justice. I saw Mira crying by her locker after 5th period too.”
“Was she being bullied again?” Jenna asked.
“I don’t know, I didn’t have time to ask if she was okay,” Katie said.
“Did you ever notice on our chat site all the mean things people write?” Asked Jenna.
“I guess sometimes, but it’s mostly kidding around,” said Katie.
“Try reading the comments as if they are all about you, then they won’t seem like kidding around,” Jenna said.
“I will, I get what you’re saying. I think the only way you can solve that problem is by shutting down the site. You aren’t going to try to shut it down are you?” Katie asked.
“No. I want people to think about what they are writing before they post it though.” Said Jenna.
“Oh I think they know exactly what they are posting and happy with the reactions,” added Katie.
“This is going to be so hard,” said Jenna. “Even if we raise awareness and tell people to think about what they say or post online first, will people actually listen?”
“Any caring person with empathy will. You may not change everyone Jenna but you might make some think about what they are doing and saying. I honestly believe you can make a difference,” said Katie.
“Thanks. Hey, is it bullying when your little brother is bugging you and you want him out of your room? I mean where is that line that if you cross it you are being a bully,” asked Jenna.
“Jenna! You are not a bully,” exclaimed Katie. “That is just normal sibling stuff. People get on each other’s nerves sometimes and argue. My older brother has locked me out of the house, given me salt when I asked for sugar, flushed the toilet while I was in the shower making the water ice cold, told me to get in the car and then pull forward before I get in, and all kinds of stuff. He is definitely closer to being a bully but I don’t think he is. I think bullying is when someone uses their sense of power over you. They pick on kids that seem weaker or more insecure or younger and they ‘want’ to make you miserable in some way.”
“I guess you’re right,” said Jenna.
“Of course I’m right…always,” giggled Katie.
Jenna laughed. “Not always my friend. Do I have to mention the great kitchen disaster of 2010?”
“Oh, you promised we would never speak of that! Besides I honestly thought the hole in the blender top was to peek in and make sure everything was mixing correctly,” Katie explained.
“Just one of many things you were wrong about that day my silly chef friend,” teased Jenna.
“I was just a kid,” said Katie. “You have to admit I am a much better cook now.”
“You do make a decent bowl of cereal,” teased Jenna.
“Oh hardy-har-har,”said Katie.
That night at dinner Jenna asked her parents and brother what they considered bullying.
Of course her brother said, “Yelling at your sweet little brother to get out of your room and making him vacuum it.” No one else agreed with Steven luckily.
Jenna learned that her parents had both been bullied at times as well as her younger brother. Her Dad had even been in a fight that turned physical. Just because he danced once with a girl he had just met. Turns out she had a boyfriend there and when he found out he and his buddies went after her Dad! Jenna was shocked. She felt bad that she never knew her brother was being picked on so much when he was in first grade. She was at the same school that year enjoying fifth grade. She would have helped him out somehow if she had known. She might want to put him in a box (with breathing holes of course) and overnight him to the opposite side of the world some days, but she did not like anyone else being mean or saying anything mean to her baby brother. That was never okay. Even if she was looking up shipping costs for an 88 pound package at the time.
Jenna had been bullied at times herself. When she was just five years old some mean neighbor kids all surrounded her and made faces at her. It didn’t seem so scary now but it had been terrifying to her then. She had been made fun of and called ‘teacher’s pet’.
The worst was when a so-called friend told Jenna she wasn’t her friend anymore in third grade and didn’t let Jenna’s other friends play with Jenna. This girl was still mean and in the ‘too cool for school’ group.
In fourth grade Jenna and a few of her friends had had enough of Tara being mean, bossy, and telling kids who they could be friends with and who they couldn’t play with. So they all ignored her and hung out together. Every time they saw Tara she glared at them, but she never bothered them much after that.
Then starting middle school she was invited to hang out with some girls that seemed nice. They made her go through a strange initiation though. They told her to do weird things like crawl down the center aisle of the auditorium while the choir rehearsed, steal a pencil out of some kids back pack, and stand up in the middle of class and just start clapping loudly. Jenna couldn’t bring herself to do these things. Finally she confronted them and said, “Either you want to be my friends or you don’t, but I’m not doing these weird things.” They decided to be friends with Jenna but they were never really good true friends. She felt so lucky to have Mary and Katie as her best friends. Having two true wonderful friends was better than having twenty or more pretty good friends.
At least her parents were supportive of her B.U.L.L.Y. Club idea and said she could have meetings at the house. Her Dad told her not to focus on changing the world. Baby steps were better. Jenna decided to take it one day at a time and do what she could. Her brother asked to be in her club. She had an internal struggle with that request.
On one hand her club was to help all kids become aware of bullies and how they can stand up for themselves and others. On the other hand she was thinking this was a fun and important thing she was going to do with her friends! How could she exclude her younger brother? She didn’t especially want him tagging along but she couldn’t say no, right? Then an idea came to her. She told him he could join her club. However, some meetings were just for her and her friends. Steven was welcome to come to the once a month ‘open to all’ B.U.L.L.Y. Club members. She told him she would even help him start a B.U.L.L.Y. Club with his friends for his school. Steven was happy, she was happy, and she got approving nods from their parents. Phew!

Keep Reading

Chapter 4

Please Don’t Let Me Be A Hypocrite!

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