I had received the letter about a month ago from the school, informing me that “Stand up to Bullying” day was approaching and as a show of solidarity in the anti-bully message, the students were all to wear pink shirts. The order form for the screen printed pink shirts was attached or students could wear their own pink shirts. Fine. No problem. As the day approached, Number Two was getting very excited and informed me that he needed a pink shirt for “No Bullies” day. I went to the store and found a simple pink shirt for him to wear and he loved it and couldn’t wait to put it on the next day. He woke up the following morning and dressed himself in his jeans and new pink shirt and proudly headed into the school. That afternoon, a different little boy walked into my home. He looked deflated, defeated–just the exact opposite of the way he had left for school. He came into the house, climbed into my lap and said to me, “all the kids laughed at me today”.
“Why”, I asked.
“They all laughed at me and teased me because I was wearing a pink shirt.”
He went on to tell me that the teacher did nothing. My five-year old son went to school, on “Stand Up to Bullying” day, wearing the pink colored shirt that was designated for this day and was, ironically, bullied throughout the day and not a damn thing was done. What would have been a perfect opportunity to have a dialogue about the day’s message, was dismissed and not even my son’s teacher stood up for him on “Stand Up to Bullying” day.
See, Number Two has always loved the color pink. He has never seen it as a “girl’s” color. I mean, why would I tell him he can’t like a certain color because he lacks a vagina? That is just stupid. Psychologically, pink is a very soothing and calming color. Number Two has a genetic disease (X-Linked Juvenile Retinoschisis) and, as a result, he is legally blind and could potentially go completely blind at any time. If he wanted his entire room painted and draped in pink, you can bet your ass I would oblige him. My point is, he still doesn’t understand WHY he was teased about the shirt because he doesn’t realize that it is viewed as a “girl’s” color.
How the hell are we supposed to help our children learn to avoid being bullies or becoming bullies if the adults in charge of the main battleground aren’t participating? I was impressed when I received the letter explaining “Stand Up to Bullying” day and proud that my children’s’ school was really taking a proactive stance. As it turns out, though, it was just a chance sell some t-shirts.