So often we see no tolerance to school bullying, classes that direct children to do “X”when bullied, and consequences to bullying. But it is always difficult because many times, the victim of bullying may have a disability like ADHD / learning differences that impact how they react and communicate the incident. There is also fear of retaliation and an escalation of the bullying.
Adults and kids alike can see a potential victim from miles away. A child with ADHD gets into trouble due to impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattention. Socially, he has problems with taking turns, blurting out comments, immature behavior due to a developmental delay, and processing conversation in a timely fashion in order to respond within the group of peers. He appears different and therefore many do not accept him. And worse than that, he many times is the object of accusations when looking for the “kid who did it!”
So imagine my delight at a recent article about 5 boys in Minnesota (shown in the picture above) who decided that the child who learned differently would no longer be the objects of bullying. These 5th grade boys banned together with the goal of bringing this other boy into their group, eat with him, and play with him during recess. They talked about how wrong it is to treat someone so negatively only because of their differences. This child was adopted and lost his new dad to a bike accident. Can you imagine the devastation in this family?
I am so proud of these boys. They serve, as much needed role models as they support and teach their friend with special needs. His mom said they are changing him. They indeed are doing just that. They are only boys and know what the right things were to do for this child. But we adults know that what they have done and continue to do is much more than that.
And most importantly, they have contributed to this child’s self-esteem and acceptance of himself. Because without that, he can not move forward in this journey of school struggles in a positive and effective way, despite a 504 or IEP in place in the classroom.