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"Thomas Gommal Learns about Bullying"


Chapter 1
Thomas Gomel Learns About Bullying

By Shirley McLain


 Thomas' body tried its best to keep him in bed. I don't want to get out of bed. Mom doesn't realize what's beginning.
Emily yelled at him twice to urge him out of bed. The first day of school but Thomas couldn’t make himself move because of fear and anxiety which his body experienced. He couldn't show it. No one saw his real feelings. He'd convinced himself at twelve that he could act. He believed his mother never
recognized his stress which made Thomas rather proud of himself.

A large picture hung over the fireplace of Silas Gomel. His mother's habit of inviting everyone in town to come and see the painting showed how proud she was to be the wife of the great-great-grandson, of the founding Gomel.The painting's appearance made it awkward because of its size, and the down lighting made it the only thing which stood out in the room. Visitors and family thought Thomas and his fourth great grandfather resembled one another. It's hard to understand how two relatives so far apart in years looked like each other.

Thomas' dad, Charles, told everyone they were identical twins except, one of them was 100 years older, give or take a few years. Everyone laughed at his overused joke. Thomas never laughed, but he tried his best to smile. He didn't want to hurt his father's feelings.
Thomas heard his mother call his entire name for the third time, he no longer had a choice, he got out of bed and headed to the bathroom, to brush his teeth and dress.

A twelve-year-old boy didn't care what he wore, as long as it resembled jeans and a T-shirt. What Thomas perceived of himself in the mirror was a geeky, dark-haired, boy who wore glasses, with a body like a stick and no muscles.Little wonder I'm the one Crusher picks on the most. Thomas, you're the biggest nerd in school,  he told himself.

The school put restrictions on what shirts the boys wore, because of all the gang violence going on in the bigger cities. Gomelton never had a real gang problem with violence, but they wanted to prevent it if they could.

Every Monday morning during school, she handed him lunch money and told him not to spend it all in one place and laughed like it was the greatest joke in the world. Thomas thought it was corny but did his best to show her how much he loved her for what she did for him. He stepped in front of her and placed his arms around her middle and hugged her for a long time. Tears sprang to her eyes because of the tenderness her son showed
Crusher's build filled Thomas with self-loathing and fear. The teachers believed him the perfect student because his family had money and his speech was polite around them, and they called him Crusher. Out of the teachers' sight, every kid younger than Crusher was potential prey.

Bookbag in hand Thomas walked down the street toward the school. He observed what a pretty street he lived on with the roadside full of trees and flower gardens. The sweet scent almost made him forget his fears. You're a nerd.”Thomas' mind told him. He cringed and felt his shoulders tighten. Relax, you haven't reached the school yet, Thomas told himself.

Sometimes, his mind flashed back to Crusher and the prior year. I want Crusher out of my mind. He forced his mind back to the neighborhood with the birds in the trees singing, the amazing smelling rose hedge. Anything to keep Crusher out of his head. This year will be the same as the last and the one before. Life at school is total misery.Thomas spent a lot of time beating himself up with his inner dialogue

 Thomas' heart pounded in his chest because of his anxiety over school. Crusher’s parents knew nothing about his secret. The one boy in school who made life hell for any kid he encountered.

Thomas couldn't make himself move fast because of Paul Cusher, otherwise known as Crusher. Crusher looked fourteen or fifteen years old instead of the same age as Thomas. Crusher was muscular and had a work out gym he often used at home. He wore his hair close-clipped to the scalp, which made him appear bald-headed from a distance. He once said he was going to get a tattoo on the back of his head just like the ones, he sees on those prison shows.
 

 

Author Notes Bullying is a nationwide and possibly a worldwide epidemic in schools among male and females. This book is appropriate for ages 10 and above to help them understand and learn ways to deal with bullying. Please feel free to make any suggestions. I want this short book to be a learning tool as well as a fictional story to enjoy.


Chapter 2
Lunch Money

By Shirley McLain

Chapter 2
 
A group of boys hung out with Crusher. They were his cheerleaders. You know the types who always told him how tough he was, and how whatever he said or did is right. Once you got on the school grounds, it wouldn't take long to figure out that his word was law. If he said, "don't talk," everyone around him didn't make a sound.

Thomas remembered back last spring when a new kid came to the school. Crusher groomed him for the group. Crusher told everyone to be quiet so he could concentrate on what he wanted to do next. The noise stopped at once around his table. The new kid made a mistake and asked Crusher a question. Crusher turned, not saying a word and hit the boy in the nose. Before the new kid could register his thoughts, he's on the ground with blood running over his chin. "I told you to be quiet, didn't I?" Crusher had yelled.

The kid nodded his head, and never spoke a word out of turn again, because others in the group told him the rules, within fifteen minutes of joining. Crusher's first rule, "Tell newcomers the rules." If a teacher noticed the swollen nose and asked what happened, the kid made up a story as if he were playing and ran into a tree. What the kid said the teacher accepted without asking questions.

Thomas got to the school grounds and prayed his friends were out front. It didn't work out that way. There Crusher stood by the front door. Thomas looked around for a teacher, but as usual, no one was seen. He ducked his head, pressing his chin to his chest and attempted to walk past Crusher and his gang.

"Oh, look, boys, Four Eyes Gobbler is here. Glad you're at school today. Did you bring your lunch money for the week?" Thomas reached for the door. One of the gang stopped him.

"Leave me alone, Crusher. I don't want problems with you." Thomas kept his head down and spoke almost in a whisper.

"Well, I have a problem with you, Mr. Four Eyes. You believe you're better than everyone else because the town got its name after your family. Isn't that right Mr. Gobbler?" Crusher said as he looked around to make sure there weren't any teachers within his sight.

"No, I don't. I'm like everyone else here," Thomas said in a soft-spoken voice.

Crusher smiled his best smile and said, "Oh no, Mr. Four Eyes Gobbler, you aren't like everyone else, and you're going to pay for it. I want your lunch money."

"Well, you can't have it. It's mine, not yours. Leave me alone," Thomas said, in an agitated voice.

"Hey fellows, guess what? Mr. Four Eyes says the lunch money is his. It looks like we'll be seeing him later."

"What do you mean, Crusher?" Thomas asked.

"I mean you're going to pay for not handing over your money. Me and the boys will take a pound of flesh instead of the money. You'll leave this school when the classes finish. We'll be waiting for you somewhere on your way home. Is my meaning clear enough, Mr. Gobbler?" The other boys laughed, and Crusher put a big grin on his face. His intense black eyes let Thomas know he meant every word.

Thomas' brain flashed a big red "trouble" before his eyes. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the money his mom gave him for his meals. All the while his mind screamed, besides being a geek, you're a coward! He shoved the money at Crusher and said, "Here, now leave me alone!"

"Thanks, buddy, I'll see you later. Come on, fellas, we got someone to visit." Crusher and his boys walked away laughing.

Thomas opened the door to the school and stepped inside before Crusher could think of anything else to do to him. He didn't know how often Crusher took his money over the past two years, but he knew in his heart once was too many.
***
"Hi, Mom, is there anything to eat?" Thomas yelled from the front door.

"There're chocolate chip cookies on the counter. Pour yourself a glass of milk. How was school today? Do you like your new teacher?"

Always a thousand questions. I wish Mom wouldn't ask so many. Everything remains the same. "School is fine and so is the teacher. We didn't do much today except receive our new books and find out what we'll be doing all year. Oh, we found out about the rules the school put in place."
Thomas considered telling his mother about Crusher, but couldn't bring his self to do it, so he said: "No, nothing new."

"Mom, can I go over to Andy's after dinner? I want to tell him about school."

"No, you can't. Andy is still running a fever, and Noreen told me today he isn't feeling well at all."

"Please, Mom, you told me I couldn't get the pox since I've already had it."

"Thomas, I said no, and don't ask me again. Get your homework done."

"I need to talk to him about something," Thomas said in his most imploring voice.

 “I'm not too busy now to talk; can I help you with something?"

"No, but thanks, Mom. We want to talk boy stuff. But I do need the lunch money."

Emily stopped what she was doing and walked over and sat down at the table. "Thomas, come and sit with me."

Thomas sat down in his usual chair. "Now tell me what's going on and why do you need lunch money?" his mother asked in a concerned voice.

"Nothin's going on, Mom; I need money because I lost mine. I didn't eat lunch today. When I tried to pay for it this morning, it wasn't in my pocket. I must have lost it on the way to school."

"You are careful with your money, but I remember a few times you lost your lunch money last school year. You need to learn to be more careful. I'll give it to you in the morning before you leave for school and don't lose it."

"I won't, Mom. Thanks, and I'm sorry. I'm going to do my homework now. Are you sure I can't go to Andy's house?"
A mischievous grin spread across his face as his mother drew back to throw the dishcloth at him. He made a mad dash for the door ducking the wet rag flying towards him.

His mother smiled as she put her arm down from the throw. She realized Thomas volunteered to do his homework without being told for two hours to do it. "Something is going on for sure," speaking out loud as if someone else were in the kitchen.

 
 
 

Author Notes Bullying is a nationwide and possibly a worldwide epidemic in schools among male and females. This book is appropriate for ages 10 and above to help them understand and learn ways to deal with bullying. Please feel free to make any suggestions. I want this short book to be a learning tool as well as a fictional story to enjoy.


Chapter 3
A Plan is Started

By Shirley McLain

Chapter 3
 

Thomas' mother continued to walk around the kitchen doing little odd jobs, worried about what was going on with her son. She needed to talk to Charles.
"I'm home," Charles yelled, heading for the kitchen. He never entered the house without seeking his wife to show her how much he missed her by giving her a kiss and a hug.

"Hi, darlin', I'm glad you're home. Supper will be ready soon. How was your day?"

"A usual day of work. Nothing big happened. I can't complain."

 "I need to talk to you about Thomas. He volunteered to do his homework."

Charles' eyes opened wide. “Is he sick?"

"No, he's not sick, something happened at school, and He won't talk about it. I know both of you, and you two are abrasive to each other when you talk. There's a way for him to talk to someone else."

"Why do you think a problem exists at school?"

"Because he won't tell me what’s gone on at school and he asked me for more lunch money today. He told me he lost the money on the way to school. I can always tell when Thomas isn't telling the truth. It shows in his face when he is trying to lie."

"What's your idea?"

Emily looked at her husband in the eyes as she spoke. "I want you to ask Mike, to talk to him. In Thomas’ mind, Mike does no wrongs and knows everything."

"True," Charles said. "Mike would find out the problem. When Thomas goes to bed, I'll call him."

Emily hugged and kissed her husband again. "Wonderful. We at least have a place to start helping our son. Go wash up and tell Thomas suppers on the table."

Thomas made it through the week. He dodged Crusher and his gang by ducking around corners, walls and flat out hiding. He was their chosen victim, and they’ll take the leverage in any situation to do their bullying. Crusher and his gang followed him around so often that sometimes he couldn’t go into the boys' bathroom during the school day. That made him rush home and hardly made the bathroom in time. Occasionally he wet himself which caused him total mortification.

 He tried to sneak around with his clothes so his mom wouldn't see them. He put them in the closet until his mom ran an errand and left long enough to wash them and hang in the closet. Thomas didn't realize his mom understood what he was doing. However, she didn't want to embarrass him or cause him increased stress.

Friday afternoon there was a car sitting in front of his house he recognized it at once. Great! Uncle Mike is here. Maybe we can go to the batting cages. He entered the house and yelled, "Where are you, Uncle Mike?"  He knew Mike would be in the kitchen with his mom. At this time of day, she's Always in the kitchen.

When Thomas saw Mike, he took a running jump and tackled him. Thomas and Mike hugged each other as Mike continued his conversation with Emily. "Uncle Mike! I didn't know you were coming. Mom or Dad never said a word. Sure, it’s been a long time, and I'm so glad you're here.”

Mike smiled, "They found out I was coming when Emily answered the door and observed my handsome face. I packed my clothes and drove here because I wanted to spend the weekend with you. We need bonding time together. Don't you agree?” Mike laughed, “I'll be here all weekend. Now, I'm visiting with your Mom. Is there any homework you need to do? Now would be a great time to work on it. Nothing should interfere with anything we want to do. I'll be here until Monday morning. I'll go to work as you go to school."

"That's great, Uncle Mike, and I'll do my homework right now," Thomas said. He let out an excited yell running up the stairs two at a time to his room.

"I'm so glad you're here, Mike. We're worried about Thomas. He's been acting as though he were depressed and doesn't talk about school. He stays in his room most of the time and acts like he's scared. I even called the school and spoke with his teacher. She told me he doesn't take part in the class. He's changed his desk to the back of the room.”

If your brother or I ask him questions, he only says everything is okay. He considers parents necessary to provide for him, but we're not to realize a world is outside of the house. I hoped you could help," Emily said.

"I’ll give it my best try. I was bullied a long time ago, and the events get pushed to the back of the mind, but it never goes away. Mine happened because I was the new kid in the class. I wore glasses and didn't participate in sports activities. If you'd rather read a book than play football, there has to be something strange about you. Kids pick up on different quickly. Kids who bully attack people they perceive as different."

"When you told me, you thought Thomas was being bullied, I read information on bullying in Schools and picked up a few pointers. The first problem to overcome is him talking. It's common for kids to deal with it themselves instead of talking to an adult. Isolation is one of the strongest emotions they experience."

"We'd appreciate any help you can give Thomas and us. He's our world and him hurting causes your brother, and I pain," Emily said.

"Don't worry, Emily, with the family working together we can solve this situation and help Thomas.
 
 
 

Author Notes Bullying is a nationwide and possibly a worldwide epidemic in schools among male and females. This book is appropriate for ages 10 and above to help them understand and learn ways to deal with bullying. Please feel free to make any suggestions. I want this short book to be a learning tool as well as a fictional story to enjoy.


Chapter 4
The Batting Cage

By Shirley McLain

Chapter 4

Thomas screamed from the kitchen, "Uncle Mike you ready to go?"

“Down in a minute," Mike called back.

"Mom, is our drinks and snacks ready to go?" Thomas yelled as he headed for the front door but turned and went back into the kitchen.

"Young man, stop yelling. There are none of us deaf in this household. I understand you're anxious to leave, but you've lots of time."

Thomas said nothing back to his mother because he knew he'd be in trouble if he did. He paced around the kitchen picked up items on the counters. His mother looked at him and shook her head.

"You'd think you were headed somewhere important instead of the batting cages with your uncle."

"I don't want to be too late; the best cages fill up fast. Uncle Mike hurry." Thomas shouted up the stairs.

"Wow boy, I'm right here. We're not on a timeline," Uncle Mike said.

"Yes, we are. Come on please,”

Mike laughed as he hugged Emily. "I guess we're leaving now."

"You have a good time." Emily waved as they drove away in Mike's car.

 "Why are you in such a rush, Road Runner?" Uncle Mike asked as they pulled into the parking area of the batting cages.

"You haven't called me that in a long time. I've missed you, Uncle Mike. I'm in a hurry because everyone gets here early. If you arrive late, you can't get the lucky cage which happens to be the best one at the park."

"Now I understand your rush. You should've told me last night. It's hard to read your mind about what I'm supposed to be doing." Mike laughed and roughed up Thomas' hair. Thomas jerked his head sideways and put a hat on and didn't say a word.

 The two got out of the car and headed for cage #3 which was empty. Thomas ran to put his things into the cage so no one would claim it.
"Uncle Mike, you need to go to the park office and sign the book. You recognize which one, don't you?" Thomas said teasingly.

"Yes, I know,” Mike said, laughing as he walked away.

The batting cage was a long rectangular net enclosure. It had chain-link fencing on the outside of the netting to help prevent vandalism. It had a pitching machine which was shoot loaded. Thomas was busy loading balls into the shoot and wasn't paying attention to his surroundings. He heard a voice that sent shivers down his spine. No, it can't be, not today.

"Hey, boys, look who's here. It’s  the four-eyed gobbler." Crusher exclaimed. Everyone had a hearty laugh, and they didn’t see Mike standing behind them.

"Hi, fellas, something I can do for you?"

Crusher stopped laughing along with his cronies. "No, sir, we're fine. Just laughing at a joke one of the guys told. Bye, Thomas."

Crusher and his gang walked on down the sidewalk, but Thomas' demeanor wasn't the same as when Mike left him. "You ready to hit the balls, Thomas?"

"You go first, Uncle Mike. The machine's loaded and ready to go." Thomas said.
 

 
 

Author Notes Bullying is a nationwide and possibly a worldwide epidemic in schools among male and females. This book is appropriate for ages 10 and above to help them understand and learn ways to deal with bullying. Please feel free to make any suggestions. I want this short book to be a learning tool as well as a fictional story to enjoy.


Chapter 5
Confession

By Shirley McLain

Chapter 5
 

Mike saw the mood swing in Thomas. Thomas didn't want to bat first was the first sign, and he was way too quiet. It's as if Thomas' sadness saturated the air. "Thomas, are you doing okay?" Mike asked.

"Yeah, I'm okay."

"Are you ready to hit the balls? I'll bet I hit more balls than you do."

"That's not a fair bet, Uncle Mike, because you've hit balls at this cage longer than I have." 

Mike started the machine and waited for the first ball to come out. He took a swing but missed. The same happened with the second ball. He turned the auto pitcher off and walked back to Thomas.

"You should've made that bet. I couldn't hit two balls. Now let's see what you can do." Uncle Mike said.

"Hey, Thomas, what's with you? You're not the same kid I drove here." Mike put the bat in the rack and walked back over to the table where Thomas sat.
"You want to talk, Buddy? You know you can trust me, don't you?"

"Sure, I know Uncle Mike, but it’s hard to talk."

 "How about I walk to the vending machines and get us a snack and a cold drink, and then we can talk about anything you want. How does that sound?"

"It sounds okay." Thomas looked at his shoes while Mike was talking.

Mike took off for the vending machines, leaving Thomas waiting at the table. Thomas kept his eyes searching around the park to make sure Crusher and his gang were not close.

When Mike returned with their snacks and drinks, he stood watching Thomas for a minute. I have to get him out of this funk.
"We have a couple of choices, "Thomas. Do you want the chips or popcorn? Which do you want, root beer or orange soda? Do you want the drink right now?" Thomas looked around and pointed at the chips and root beer. Mike didn't say a word, just handed Thomas his snacks.

Thomas took a drink and raised his eyes to his Uncle Mike, "This is cold and tastes good. Thanks, Uncle Mike.   

"Any time kid.  You’re my most favorite nephew," Mike said.

"Oh, I do feel special since I'm the only nephew you have." Thomas and Mike both had a good hearty laugh lightening Thomas' spirit.

 "Uncle Mike, I have a big problem, and you've met him."

"I have?" Mike asked, "Tell me more."

"You remember the guy and his gang who were here a little while ago?"

"Yeah, I remember."

"That was Crusher and the gang that runs with him. He bullies me. Besides me, it happens to other kids at school."

"Thomas, explain bullying, so I understand what you're telling me."

He tried to talk twice but couldn't get the words to come out. Thomas wiped his hands on his jeans and tried to speak again.

"Take your time, Thomas. We have as long as you need. I told your mom to expect us back whenever she saw our eyes," Mike said.
  On the third try, Thomas explained about Crusher and his gang. "Crusher is the main one who does it. He's the leader, and the other boys do what he tells them."

"Does what, Thomas?"

"He shoves me around, throws me and my books in the dumpster, calls me names and takes my lunch money, makes sure I never get to play on teams. He hurts other boys and girls."

"Have you told your teacher?"

"Sure, but no one believed us. Crusher never does anything if there’s a witness. And he's always polite and kind when he is around someone. The kids who get hurt make up stories, so it's never Crusher’s fault. The grownups said he's too nice a boy to do something like that. Which is why I think they need to know what he does. We're scared of him."

"What is this kid's name?"

 ‘"His real name is Paul Cusher, but he only goes by Crusher at school. Even the teachers call him Crusher instead of his real name."

"Thomas, do you know what his dad's name is? I'm wondering if I know him."

"I think his name is Carl, yes Carl Cusher. He owns those two big car sales places on the freeway. They sell Cadillacs and Jaguars. Do you know him?"

"I sure do," Mike said. "He graduated high school with your dad."

"Uncle Mike, thanks for talking with me. I feel better," Thomas said. "Can we still hit balls?"

 "Sure, we have a few minutes before our time is up. Do you want to go first?"

 
 

Author Notes Bullying is a nationwide and possibly a worldwide epidemic in schools among male and females. This book is appropriate for ages 10 and above to help them understand and learn ways to deal with bullying. Please feel free to make any suggestions. I want this short book to be a learning tool as well as a fictional story to enjoy.


Chapter 6
Carl Cusher

By Shirley McLain


 
Thomas and Mike had a great time at the batting cage. They were hot and hungry, so they headed to the snack machines for cold drinks and chips.
“Thomas do you know why you are bullied at school?” Mike asked.

“No, I don’t. I’ve never understood it,” Thomas said.

“It makes the one doing the bullying feel better about themselves. Have you ever seen Crusher around his father?”

“No, I haven’t,” Thomas said.
.
 “Well, this afternoon you and I will go car shopping at the Jaguar Dealership and my favorite sport of people watching.  What do you think of that idea?”

“Uncle Mike, I’m not sure I want to go down there. I know Crusher works there on Saturday afternoons helping his dad.”

“That’s the best time to go and watch how they interact. We may learn a great deal about why Crusher behaves the way he does,” Mike said.
Within an hour Mike and Thomas were at Cusher Jaguar looking at the cars on the lot. It didn’t take two minutes before Carl Cusher arrived at their side.

“Want to buy a new car today?  You can’t beat this Jaguar.  It has all the power anyone could want beneath them. Take a look at this motor.” Carl lifted the hood to show Mike the bright shining motor. “This baby can fly down the road. With this 5.0 Liter V8 575 HP Supercharged Engine, it has a Top Speed of 174 mph and can do 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds. You wouldn’t picture a car with this power having Highway Fuel Economy of 23 mpg.”

“You’re right, it’s an impressive car.  You don’t remember me do you, Carl?”

“I can’t say that I do,” Carl said.

 “I’m Charles Gomel’s younger brother, Mike.”

“You don’t say. What has it been 15 years?” Carl said. “I wouldn’t have guessed it.  How is Charles doing these days?”

“He’s doing good. This is his son, Thomas.” Mike said.

Thomas squeaked out a “hello,” and then backed behind Mike.

Mr. Cusher didn’t speak to Thomas but did try to smile.
“I have a son who is 12, even though he doesn’t look like it. He’s a big fellow. The twerp is around here somewhere. 

Do you know him, Thomas?” Carl asked.

“Yes sir, we are in the same grade,” Thomas said.

“Peter told me he works here on Saturdays to help you out, Mr. Cusher." Thomas didn’t look at Mr. Cusher when he spoke.

“Help me, oh yeah, right. Peter is one lazy kid, but his mother makes me bring him down here. He’s got a bunch of boys hanging around here with him. He’s more worried about his reputation and popularity than learning the car business. Sorry, I got sidetracked,” and went back to car selling mode.

 “Well Mike, want to take this baby for a test drive? It’s an experience you won’t forget,” Carl asked.
“I’m sure, Carl, but I’m going to take a rain check. We wanted to make a quick trip to see what the cars were like this year, and we’ve accomplished that.

We’ll be back, and it’s been great seeing you again,” Mike said.

They hurried back to the car and left for home. As soon as they were on the road, Mike asked Thomas, “What did you think of Mr. Crusher?

“He sure didn’t like the fact that Crusher was at the car lot with him. He really didn’t have one nice thing to say” Thomas said.

“Did you notice anything else?” Mike asked.

“One other thing, I guess. Mr. Cusher called Crusher a name. Dad never calls me names, even when he’s mad at me. Mr. Crusher shouldn’t have done that.”
 

Author Notes Bullying is a nationwide and possibly a worldwide epidemic in schools among male and females. This book is appropriate for ages 10 and above to help them understand and learn ways to deal with bullying. Please feel free to make any suggestions. I want this short book to be a learning tool as well as a fictional story to enjoy.


Chapter 7
Thomas Has a Decision To Make

By Shirley McLain



Chapter 7
 
Mike was quiet for a few minutes as he drove back to Thomas’ house. He couldn’t look at Thomas since he had to keep his eyes on the road. Thomas watched the houses they drove past, not paying attention to anything.
 
“Thomas,” Mike said, “you told me a lot of things today you haven’t shared with your Mom and Dad. How do you feel about all four of us sitting down to talk about this problem with Crusher?   Maybe we can work a plan out.”
 
“I don’t know, Uncle Mike. I’m afraid I might get into trouble because of the lunch money.”

“They love you very much, little boy. You can trust them as you do me.  They’ll never do anything to hurt you. Think about it for a while and then let me know. Deal?"

He turned to his Uncle Mike; his face showed a mixture of dread and determination" as he said, "Deal, I’ll let you know.”
Within a few minutes, they were home. Mike and Thomas unloaded the car in silence. Thomas pondered his decision, and Mike stayed silent. He knew 
Thomas had to be the one to make this decision.

 “Emily, we're home," Mike yelled out as they came through the door. They hadn’t even made it into the room before Emily hugged them.

“How was the batting cage? Did you have a good time?”

“Yes, to both of your questions, Mom. I’m going to take my stuff upstairs and lie down for a little while. Is that okay?”

“Are you sick, Son?”

“No, just tired.”

 “All right, I'll call you when lunch is ready".

” Emily, do you still have lemonade made?  I sure would like a glass of it if you do.  I’m thirsty, and the lemonade sounds so good.”

“Come with me to the kitchen, Mike, and I’ll get you a drink fixed.  Can’t have you thirsty.”

After Mike got his equipment put away, he went into the kitchen.  A glass of lemonade was sitting on the table. Mike grabbed it up and took a big drink and let out a satisfying “AH.”

"Do you want to tell me what is going on with my son?"

“I don’t want you angry with me, Emily, but I have to hear from Thomas first before I say anything.  It’s a matter of trust.  You can trust me when I tell you he’s doing fine right now. Let’s give him a little time. I’m hoping the four of us can sit down this evening and have a conversation.”

“Then he did open up and talk to you?”

“Yes, he did, and he wants to think about what he wants to do.  Just give him time.”

“Thanks, Mike.  I knew he’d open up to you.  You’re the best uncle he has.”

 
“Yes, Emily, you are so right since I’m his only uncle.” Mike and Emily both laughed.
 
***
 
Thomas put his gear away and lay down on his bed. He had important thinking to do. He'd made up his mind to decide before going downstairs for lunch. As soon as Thomas got comfortable his eyes became heavy and he drifted off to sleep with Crusher and his parents on his mind.

 
 

Author Notes Bullying is a nationwide and possibly a worldwide epidemic in schools among male and females. This book is appropriate for ages 10 and above to help them understand and learn ways to deal with bullying. Please feel free to make any suggestions. I want this short book to be a learning tool as well as a fictional story to enjoy.


Chapter 8
Thomas Thinks About the Future

By Shirley McLain

 
Thomas’s eyes popped open after experiencing a fitful afternoon nap. He knew he’d been dreaming about Crusher but could remember none of the details. This fear has to stop. I don’t know what I’ll do, but I know where to start.

Mike stood at the door when Thomas opened it. Startled he jumped back and laughed.

 “Woah fella, it’s only me.  Your mom sent me up to tell you lunch is ready.”

A grin slowly spread across Thomas’s face. “You scared the pee out of me, Uncle Mike. I wasn’t expecting anyone to be at the door. Oh, something else. I want to let you know that I came to my decision about talking to Mom and Dad.”

“What did you decide?”

“I’ve decided to tell them what has been happening with Crusher.  I don’t want to go through this anymore.”

“That’s great, Thomas. Let’s get back downstairs; I’m hungry.”

They were met at the top of the stairs by Emily. "Here you two are. I was beginning to think I'd lost both of you to the monster under the stairs.".

Mike’s eyes widened and he stuttered out “monster.”

Thomas and his mother both laughed. “Uncle Mike we don’t have a monster. Mom used to tell me that if I did something she didn’t like. She would threaten to let the monster under the stairs get me. As you can see, I’m still here.”

“Yes, you are, my darling son. That shows how good you are,” Emily said.

Mike looked at Thomas with a smile and winked at him. He ate the sandwich in front of him. “Thank you for lunch, Emily. I was hungry.”

“Mom,” Thomas said between bites. “I want to talk to you and dad tonight after supper. Oh, and Uncle Mike also. Is that okay?”

"We have nothing planned tonight so we can talk. I’ll tell your father when he gets home from work that we will have a family discussion after dinner."
 
 
***

Mike kept Thomas busy all afternoon constructing model airplanes. Uncle and Nephew shared a passion for building models of anything, long as they were building.  “Uncle Mike, why did you become a mechanical engineer?”

“What brought that question on?”

“I was just thinking about how much we both like to build models and wondered if your job had anything to do with it.”

“It has everything to do with it.  When I was a boy, I spent all my time building model airplanes, cars, ships and even built a hotel once. When I grew up, I knew I wanted a job where I could design and build things, and that’s what I do as a mechanical engineer.”

“Did you have to go to school a long time to learn to be one?” Thomas asked.

“I went to college six years and got my master’s in mechanical engineering.”

“I think that’s what I want to do when I grow up is build things.”

“You have lots of time to decide what you want to do in life. Right now,  enjoy being a 12-year-old and the rest will take care of itself.”

They both heard the front door open, and Thomas’s father called out he was home. The two stayed upstairs for a while so Emily would have time to tell her husband about the family meeting.

Thomas felt his anxiety rise realizing again he would be telling his parents about Crusher. I have to stay calm because I’m doing the right thing. I know I am.
 
 

 
 

Author Notes Bullying is a nationwide and possibly a worldwide epidemic in schools among male and females. This book is appropriate for ages 10 and above to help them understand and learn ways to deal with bullying. Please feel free to make any suggestions. I want this short book to be a learning tool as well as a fictional story to enjoy.


Chapter 9
The family Meeting

By Shirley McLain

The evening passed fast for Thomas.  Before he knew it, supper was over, and everyone went into the living room. The three adults sat in various chairs around the room.  The couch was left vacant, so Thomas could sit there.

“Son, your mom told me you needed to have a family meeting tonight, including Mike. Can you tell me why we’re talking?”

Thomas felt as if he'd be sick. He looked at Mike who smiled and gave him a thumbs-up and said “You can do it! Just take a deep breath and start.”

Thomas took a deep breath but couldn’t lift his head to look at his parents. “Mom, Dad,  I didn’t tell you I've had problems at school for the past couple of years.”

“Problems for two years and you said nothing, and I couldn’t tell anything was wrong?” Emily couldn’t wrap her brain around what she heard.
“Son, what problems?”

“There is this boy at school who goes by the name Crusher. He's been bullying a bunch of other kids and me.”

Mike saw his brother stiffen and redness moving up his neck.

“Thomas, why didn’t you pick up something and hit him upside the head?" his dad asked.

“Dad, I couldn’t do that because the school has a no tolerance fighting policy. It doesn’t matter who is at fault. The school suspends both students for a week. Then longer if it happens again.  The third time they put you out, and you go to a special school for bad kids.”

“What has this kid done to you?” Charles asked.

“He usually shoved me around a lot, knocked my books out of my hands, threw me and my books in the dumpster and took my lunch money. He runs around with a gang of boys who help him. Everyone’s afraid of him.”

“This is ridiculous,” Charles shouted as he stood.

Emily cried, and Mike couldn't grasp what was occurring. “Wait a minute you two; aren’t we supposed to listen to Thomas and figuring out a plan to help him. Let’s pull ourselves back together and start again.”

The parents got themselves under control. Mike told them of meeting Crusher and discovering who he was.

“Charles, the bully is the son of Carl Cusher.  His real name is Paul. He’s big and muscular for a 12-year-old.  Thomas and I drove down and looked at cars today at Cusher Jaguar. Carl was the one who helped us. When Thomas told Carl what his son was called at school, he seemed proud of the name Crusher.”

“Dad, he even called Crusher names. He doesn’t like him very much. I told Uncle Mike you'd never say anything like that to me.”

“No, no, I wouldn’t call you names.“Carl was always a pushy kid in school, but I don’t remember him being a bully.  Maybe I should go down and talk to him and let him know what’s going on,” Charles said.

Emily got up out of her chair and walked to her son. She took Thomas in her arms.  “Honey, we love you very much, and we’re going to do what it takes to stop your pain.  Even if that means changing schools.”

“Please, Mom, I don’t want to change schools.  Andy is here, and I would never get to see him.”

“I have an idea,” Mike said. “Why don’t we meet tomorrow night. Over the next 24 hours, we can come up with ideas we think might help Thomas handle the bullying.”

 

Author Notes Bullying is a nationwide and possibly a worldwide epidemic in schools among male and females. This book is appropriate for ages 10 and above to help them understand and learn ways to deal with bullying. Please feel free to make any suggestions. I want this short book to be a learning tool as well as a fictional story to enjoy.


Chapter 10
Family Meeting II

By Shirley McLain

Sunday morning the family looked as if no one had slept. They could’ve been extras on the Walking Dead from the way they looked. Dark circles were present around their eyes, pallid in color with lots of yawning taking place. Everyone spent the night contemplating Thomas and his problem with Crusher. It would be a long day. That evening, Thomas, his parents, and Mike met again after dinner in the living room. This meeting was to
discuss the bullying being done by Crusher.

Mike began the conversation. “Okay, we left this room last night with the notion we’d come up with ways to help Thomas with his bullying problem with Crusher. Thomas, did you think of anything that might be done to help yourself with Crusher?”

“Yeah, I thought about it. That’s why I didn’t sleep well last night. I guess the most important thing is to tell my parents and not try to hide it for so long. I didn't want to get into trouble because of my lunch money and everything that happened because of the bullying."

“Oh, honey, you’ll never get into trouble for telling us about a problem you’re having," Emily said.

“Well, since you spoke up, Emily, what is your suggestion for Thomas? Mike asked.

“Boldly walk up to the kid and confidently tell him in a strong and distinct voice to stop trying to bully you because it’s not going to work anymore. Then turn around and walk off to the nearest adult and let them know what’s happening.”

Charles spoke up, “Sometimes it’s hard to do but walk away before you ever put yourself into the situation. Go into a different door or walk in with a bunch of kids. Bullies don’t like to draw attention from adults to themselves.”

“Crusher is that way. He won’t do anything if one of the teachers will see him,” Thomas said.

Mike sighed, "Let me think. Stay away from the places where Crusher usually bullies you. Always be aware of your environment. That alone can save you problems. If you’re not there, he can’t say or do anything.”

Thomas showed a sad, worried look on his face which made his father ask “Son, what’s wrong?”
 
“I’m afraid if I tell any teacher about Crusher, and they talk to him he’ll make it harder on the other kids and me.”

“Thomas, your mother and I will be here to help you. You have to tell us if he does anything. We are going to make an appointment to talk to your teacher. You don’t have to be in the room.  We want to make sure she knows everything.”

Emily spoke up, “And if that doesn’t work, we'll go to the principal. Your dad and I spoke about talking to Crushers parents about his bullying habits.  We’ve decided not to involve his dad. We both feel Carl Cusher could cause his son bad problems. If I have to, I'll talk to his mom first and get a feel for the situation.”
 
 
 
                

Author Notes Bullying is a nationwide and possibly a worldwide epidemic in schools among male and females. This book is appropriate for ages 10 and above to help them understand and learn ways to deal with bullying. Please feel free to make any suggestions. I want this short book to be a learning tool as well as a fictional story to enjoy.


Chapter 11
Thomas Goes To School

By Shirley McLain

Monday morning Thomas got out of bed and got ready for school without having all the anxiousness. He now had a plan in place to deal with Crusher thanks to his parents and Uncle Mike. Emily placed Thomas’ scrambled eggs and bacon on the table and then yelled up the stairs. “Thomas, breakfast is on the table. Hurry, I don’t want you late for school.”

“I’ll be right down, Mom. Just give me another minute,” Thomas yelled back. He finished what he had to do headed to the table.
 
“Good morning, Son,” Emily said as she grabbed Thomas when he ran by, hugging and kissing him on the head. “Are you all prepared for school today?”

“Mom, if you're talking about Crusher, yes I am.”

“Honey, you know this problem isn’t going to change overnight. Remember when he’s not picking on you; he is harassing someone else. You have to stand up to him and make sure you locate the nearest adult before you go up to him. That way you don’t have to waste time looking for the teacher.”

“Okay, I’ll do that. I almost feel like I’m going to war.”

 
“In a sense you are. You are battling what is wrong with what is right. Your dad and I talked after you went to bed, and we think you should stop calling him  Crusher. It will take a while for him to get used to it. If you can get your friends to call him by his real name, so much the better.  You can expect him to react badly.”

“That’s going to make him very mad, Mom, but I’ll do it.”

“If you need me, go to the office and call me. I'll be right there.  It’s time for you to leave. Have a good day, Son. I love you.”
 
“I love you too.” Thomas grabbed his books, and out the door, he went.

As soon as Thomas walked onto the school grounds, he looked around putting everyone in their place in his mind. A teacher was standing by the bus unloading area and another out on the schoolyard. He spotted Crusher, no, I mean Paul. I have to use his real name. He stood at the corner of the building with a boy backed up to the wall. Here goes, “Hey Paul, how are you this morning?” Thomas asked.

Paul stopped harassing the boy and turned to Thomas. “What did you call me?”

“I called you by your name. Please stop bothering Harry. What you're doing is not right, and I’ll tell the teachers.”

“Well aren’t you the big talker now. Harry, you can leave. Thomas and I are going to talk.” Harry took off running like a scared rabbit.

Thomas looked him in the eyes. “No, Paul, we’re not. Leave me alone.” Thomas turned around and walked to the playground toward the teacher.  “Mrs. Johnson, can I talk to you a minute please," Thomas asked.”
 
Paul walked close to Thomas trying to intimidate him, but when Thomas called out to the teacher, Paul turned going the other direction. Thomas went to Mrs. Johnson’s desk. “Mrs. Johnson, a bunch of the kids and myself, are having a problem with being bullied.”

“What? I mean who is bullying you?”

“It’s Paul Cusher and the group of boys who follow him.”

“I’m sure you misunderstood his actions, but I will talk to Mr. Smith about it in the morning at our teacher's conference. You do remember there’s no school tomorrow?”

“No, I don’t, but thanks for telling me  and for telling Mr. Smith about the bullying.”

Thomas was smiling about not having to go to school the next day and wasn’t paying attention. He was almost at the door when he heard Paul.

“Hey, four-eyes,” Paul called out. “You're a dead kid, you wait. I'm going to make you pay.”

Thomas acted as if he hadn’t heard him and walked into the school. He knew the real trouble was about to start.
 

Author Notes Bullying is a nationwide and possibly a worldwide epidemic in schools among male and females. This book is appropriate for ages 10 and above to help them understand and learn ways to deal with bullying. Please feel free to make any suggestions. I want this short book to be a learning tool as well as a fictional story to enjoy.


Chapter 12
Attention is Paid

By Shirley McLain

 

By lunchtime, Thomas felt intimidated by Paul because of his continual staring. When class dismissed, Thomas made sure he stayed in a group of kids as they left the classroom. When he got close to the Principal's office, he turned left into the office.

“Mrs. Chambers, may I make a phone call home?” Thomas asked.

“Certainly, Thomas.  You can sit there at the empty desk to make your call.”

Thomas sat down and dialed the number for home. Emily picked up the phone after the second ring. “What’s wrong, Thomas?"

 “There is nothing wrong but, can you come after me when school is out?”

“Sure, I can. I'll be there at 3:15,” Emily said.

“Bye, Mom.”

“Bye, darlin’.  See you soon."

Thomas hung up the phone and thanked Mrs. Chambers. He walked out in the hall making sure he didn’t see Paul lurking around and headed to the cafeteria to eat his lunch. Thomas looked around for Andy to see where he was sitting since this was the first day Andy had returned to school after having chicken pox.  After he got his tray, he sat down at the table with his best friend. Thomas was catching Andy up on what happened at school while he was absent when he heard Paul’s voice behind him.

“Hey four-eyes, remember what I said. Your dead meat and I can’t wait to get my hands on you.”

Thomas turned toward Paul. “Leave me alone, Paul. I'm not playing your game anymore.” Thomas raised his hand and called out, “Mr. Edwards, would you please come here?”

“You are a stinking coward!" Paul said as he walked away.

Mr. Edwards went to the table.  "What do you need, Thomas?”

Thomas looked at Mr. Edwards, “I’m having a problem with bullying here in the cafeteria, and I’m not the only one.”

“Who is bullying you?” Mr. Edwards asked.

“It’s Paul Cusher. He told me I was dead meat and it’s not the first time. Andy heard and saw Paul shoving me.”

Mr. Edwards looked across the table, “Is that true, Andy?”

“Yes, Sir,  he and his gang, always harass other kids and us,” Andy replied.
 
“Finish your lunch, boys and I will take care of this for you,” Mr. Edward said.

 “Wow,” Andy said, as they headed out of the cafeteria. “You’re not messing around anymore. What’s with calling Crusher, Paul?”

Thomas looked at Andy and asked, “Don’t you remember anything you're told? His nickname is bad. It makes people afraid, so I’m not using it. You shouldn’t use it either, Andy.”

“I won’t anymore; that is if I can remember." Both the boys laughed and went into their next class.
 

 
 

Author Notes Bullying is a nationwide and possibly a worldwide epidemic in schools among male and females. This book is appropriate for ages 10 and above to help them understand and learn ways to deal with bullying. Please feel free to make any suggestions. I want this short book to be a learning tool as well as a fictional story to enjoy.


Chapter 13
The Parent/Teacher Conference

By Shirley McLain

Thomas sat in the back of the classroom because he didn’t have to deal with Paul’s stares, but he knew after class dismissed there would be another confrontation. I have to stay determined, for me and everyone else. Paul will continue to push us around as he wants. The bell rang, and the class was over, and Thomas dreaded going into the hall. His teacher, Mrs. McAlester, gathered her papers and placed them in her briefcase.

 “Thomas,” Mrs. McAlester called out.

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“Please stay in the classroom and come to my desk in a few minutes.”

Thomas couldn’t imagine why his teacher kept him after class. He carried his books to the first row and left them on a desk and stood by Mrs. McAlester.

“You wanted to see me, Mrs. McAlester?”

“Your mother and I set an appointment for after school, and she requested you wait in the classroom,”

“I’ll sit here in the front until she gets here.  Thank you for telling me.”

 Thomas was relieved he didn’t have to go out in the hall. Since his mother walked him to the car, Paul would leave without causing trouble.
Ten minutes later, Thomas heard his mother knock on the door.

“Mrs. McAlester, I'm Emily Gomel. We've got a meeting set for this afternoon.”

“Of course, Mrs. Gomel. Please have a seat in this chair by my desk. It may only be a folding chair, but at least it will be more comfortable than a desk.”
Both ladies exchanged pleasantries, and then Mrs. McAlester asked, “How can I help you? I have Thomas’ grades I can show you.”

“Wonderful,” Emily said, “but Thomas’ grades aren’t why I’m here.”

“Oh, is there a problem?”

“Mrs. McAlester, for the last two years my son has been bullied by another member of his class and nothing has been done.  My husband and I haven’t heard a word from this school. I want to know what can stop this lack of supervision by the school staff.”

“Mrs. Gomel, I am sorry, but it’s the first time I’ve heard this issue. Please, who is the other student involved?”

 “It’s Paul Cusher.  He runs with a group of boys and randomly picks on whomever they want. They are careful not to be seen by the teachers in the hall or on yard duty.  It’s gone as far as taking my son’s lunch money, and from what Thomas says it happens to others as well.”

Mrs. McAlester looked at Thomas, “Did your mother understand the story correctly, Thomas?”

“Yes, Ma’am, she did. It’s been terrible for a long time. We’d gone to teachers in the past, and no one ever believed us because Paul acted so nice when adults were close.”

 “I understand why you would be upset; Mrs. Gomel and I promise you when we have our meeting tomorrow, this will be brought up to the Superintendent. This behavior will stop. Thank you for meeting with me and telling me.”

“Thank you; I want this issue resolved. The next step will be the school board,” Emily said.

“I’m sure that won’t be necessary, Mrs. Gomel. It was a pleasure meeting you.

“Thank you, for your time, Mrs. McAlester. Come on, Thomas, let’s go home.”

“Gosh, Mom, you certainly told her what was happening. I thought you got mad there for a few minutes.”

“No, Son, I wanted her to understand I meant business and that your father, and I won’t mess around with the situation.”

Thomas looked around for Paul and was relieved he didn’t see him on the way to the car.  At the moment there wasn’t fear and wanted it to stay that way.
When Thomas’ dad got home, and they were at the table eating supper, Emily told Charles about meeting with the teacher and her response. “I also have something else I need to tell both of you.  I spoke with Natalie Cusher today.”

“You spoke with Crusher’s mom?” Thomas asked in a raised voice.

“What are you supposed to call him?” Charles asked.

“I mean Paul’s mom.  Sorry, Dad, I’ll be more careful. I guess I got excited.”

“That’s okay. Let your mom finish what she was going to say,” Charles said.

“I called Natalie on her cell because I figured she'd be at work.  I wanted to set up a time for her and me to get together. To talk about Paul, but I got a big surprise.  After we talked for a while and got caught up on what I’d been doing, she told me she and Carl had been going through a divorce for almost eight months, now. That might explain a lot more of Paul’s behavior besides his father’s influence.”

“It’s good to know more of the story, but it doesn’t change anything, this process will still be one step at a time,” Charles said.
 
 
 
 

Author Notes Bullying is a nationwide and possibly a worldwide epidemic in schools among male and females. This book is appropriate for ages 10 and above to help them understand and learn ways to deal with bullying. Please feel free to make any suggestions. I want this short book to be a learning tool as well as a fictional story to enjoy.


Chapter 14
The Teacher's Meeting

By Shirley McLain

Mr. Cummings, the School Principal, with his robust, deep voice announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats. It’s time to get things started.” 

No one wanted to be at this meeting because of the boring information they received at most other meetings that didn’t pertain to their classrooms. It was about cutting costs statewide and what the State Superintendent did about what was going on with the government or changes from the State Dietician for the cafeteria food. The teachers endured throughout the day without griping or going to sleep after lunch.
After a ten-minute break, everyone was back at their seats. The teachers were expecting this to be an early day so that they would get to leave early. Mr. Cummings asked, “Is there any new business or topic, we need to discuss before we call it a day?”

 Mrs. McAlester, Thomas’ teacher, raised her hand. She stood and spoke. A few of the other teachers made an audible moan.

“Edith, please come to the microphone so everyone can hear you,” Mr. Edwards said.

 Mrs. McAlester walked to the microphone, cleared her throat and talked. “Hello everyone, I have a difficult topic, but it needs to be brought up before everyone.  Yesterday, right after school I had a parent-teacher conference with Thomas Gomel’s mother. She was distraught over the fact her son was bullied for two years, and we didn’t do anything about it.”

Mr. Cummings stood, “We’ve never had bullying at this school since I’ve been the superintendent.” 
“Thomas told me about being bullied in the cafeteria yesterday, and it was witnessed by another student,” Mr. Edwards said. “He told me it had been going on for a long period of time by Crusher.”

Mrs. Johnson stood, “He came up to me in the schoolyard a couple of days ago telling me about being bullied.  He also said he is not the only one who’s tormented.”

“Edith, what type of bullying has Crusher been doing?” Mr. Cummings asked.

“From what he and his mother told me, there has been shoving, books taken or knocked out of his hands. He has also been thrown in the dumpster. And some sort of name calling.  It’s a continual threat, even in class.”

“How could he threaten Thomas in class?” Mr. Cummings asked.

“First, I should say Crusher isn’t doing this alone. He has a group of boys he runs around with, but Crusher is their leader.  When the school session first began, Thomas sat in the front row. He has always been very attentive. Within the first week, Thomas changed his desk to the back of the room. He told me yesterday Crusher and his gang were constantly staring at him and sending him threatening notes. So, he moved. And of course, it stopped the staring and throwing activity. Crusher also took his lunch money several times.”

Mr. Cummings heard the other teachers mumbling among themselves. “Ladies and gentlemen please refrain from talking right now.  This is a challenging event to deal with, and we must do what’s in the best interest of our students. 

Author Notes Bullying is a nationwide and possibly a worldwide epidemic in schools among male and females. This book is appropriate for ages 10 and above to help them understand and learn ways to deal with bullying. Please feel free to make any suggestions. I want this short book to be a learning tool as well as a fictional story to enjoy.


Chapter 15
Teachers Meeting II

By Shirley McLain

Chapter 15
 
 
Mr. Cummings stepped closer to the microphone. "I want to put together a five-person committee to come up with suggestions on how the school can deal with the bullying issue. Edith, as Thomas' teacher, I'd like you to chair this committee. You'll pick the other four people and meet with me in two weeks to give me your recommendations.  Meanwhile, I don't want Paul Cusher and, Thomas Gomel to be unsupervised. Eyes are to be on them when they are out of class but don't make it obvious. Any teacher on duty who fails to follow through will receive a written reprimand on their record. Other questions or comments before we adjourn?"

"Yes Sir," Edith McAlester stood. "I'd like Elaine Johnson, John Edwards, Margaret Leply and the school counselor, Michelle Jones to please stay behind and meet with me."

"Did everyone hear Edith?" Heads bobbed up and down around the room and an audible "yes." "In that case, this meeting is ended. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for your attention today. Tomorrow is a new day in our school and classrooms," Mr. Cummings said.

 The four people named made their way to Mrs. McAlester's table. Once everyone sat in chairs around her, she said, "I wanted to meet with you to set up a time for our first planning meeting. What about tomorrow right after the last bell. We will meet here, and we can set up times accommodating each of us after the meeting."

"Suits me fine," Mr. Edwards said.

The other three members agreed, but Ms. Jones said, “I have an appointment at 5:00 I can't miss. Will we be done before then?"
"School lets out at 3:00 so if we meet

 
here at 3:15 and done by 4:30. Would that give you enough time to get to your appointment, Michelle?"

"Yes, that will be plenty of time."

"All right, begin your thought process and come up with good ideas to suggest. Bye, everyone." Edith McAlester gathered her belongings as did the others and they left the school together.
***

The next morning Thomas sat at the table with his mother eating breakfast. "Mom, would you continue to pick me up at school for a while. I'm afraid Paul and his gang will wait for me somewhere on my way home. I don't want to be beaten, and I know that's what will happen."

"All right," Emily said, “if I’m not there, your father or Uncle Mike will be. We won't give Paul any opportunities."

"Thanks, Mom, you made me feel a lot better."

"Good, I'm glad. Now pick up your bag, and I'll take you to school.”

Once Thomas got to the school grounds, he walked directly to the school door. It was odd Paul wasn't at the door as usual, but he was in the hallway. Mr. Edwards stood not far away talking with Mrs. Johnson. Other kids walked around headed for class.

Thomas walked by Paul, and he mouthed, "You're mine."

Thomas stopped on the spot and spoke in a loud voice. "Paul leave me alone! I'm not yours."

Mr. Edwards walked to where Paul leaned against the wall. "Is there a problem, Paul?"

"No, Sir. I just said hello to Thomas."

"I see, why don't you go on to class?" Mr. Edwards said.

"Yes, Sir," Paul said, as he turned away and headed for his classroom.

 Thomas ended the day with the morning confrontation being the only one he had with Paul. It was an unusual day, but it felt good, especially when his mother picked him up at the door.
 

Author Notes Bullying is a nationwide and possibly a worldwide epidemic in schools among male and females. This book is appropriate for ages 10 and above to help them understand and learn ways to deal with bullying. Please feel free to make any suggestions. I want this short book to be a learning tool as well as a fictional story to enjoy.


Chapter 16
Stac

By Shirley McLain

Over the next two weeks, the committee met four times and came up with a plan for the school Superintendent. Everyone agreed to schedule the meeting on Friday after school. The committees are eager to attend and give their recommendations. They felt the quicker their plan went into effect, the better it would be for all.

Mr. Cummings kept a close eye on his staff to make sure they followed the guidelines. He knew his first plan would work.
Paul sat around an outside table with his gang. The group felt there was a change but couldn't figure it out.

 "Hey Thomas, come over here," Paul yelled.

When Paul yelled, Thomas looked around for the closest teacher who was Mrs. McAlester.

"If you don't come here, Thomas, me and the boys are coming to you." Paul and his group left the table and walked over to Thomas."Do you got money, Four-Eyes? Me and the boys want a soft drink.'
 
Thomas observed Mrs. McAlester walking toward him and Paul. "No Paul, I don't have money. Even if I do, I wouldn't give it to you."

 "Hi, boys, are you having a great day. Isn't it nice out here in the sunshine? What a shame, it's almost time for class again. I don't want to go back into the school. Thomas, you're in my class, aren't you?"

"Yes, Ma'am. I was on my way to my locker."

"All right, see you in class."

Thomas said bye as he turned and headed for the door. Paul seethed but had to control himself in front of the teacher. He called out, "See you later, Thomas."

Mrs. McAlester turned with a smile on her face. "Bye boys." She walked back into the school knowing she’d stopped Paul from doing something to Thomas.

Paul spoke to the group of boys around him, "You guys talked to any of our regulars?"

Every boy there voiced a "no."

"Something happened, we've got to figure out, or our paydays will stop. A teacher always seems to interrupt my conversations, especially in the past couple of weeks. I’ve never seen this many teachers when I was outside the school. Keep your ears open and let me know if you've heard anything." The boys all agreed to pay close attention. 

School dismissed for the day. Thomas walked out to his mother's car in a group of kids. Paul had every intention of confronting him but didn't get the opportunity before Thomas was in the car and gone.

Paul cursed and kicked up the dirt. Four-eyes better keep clear of me because, at the first chance I get, I'll kick his ass.

At 3:30 the door was locked behind him, as Mr. Cummings joined the five members of the team in Mrs. McAlester's room. "All right, I've anxiously awaited this meeting," Mr. Cummings said.

Mrs. McAlester regarded each person around the table before she spoke. "We were anxious also. We've worked hard to think of ideas. We called other State Boards of Education to check what other schools might be using. Who wants to start?"

Michelle Jones, spoke up, "As I'm the school counselor, I decided on finding a plan to go school-wide, all grades, staff included. The best program I found was called STAC which stands for stealing the show, turning it over, accompanying others and coaching compassion. Each one of these steps can be implemented very easily." Michelle handed each person five double-sided printed papers. "What you have is an article out of Counseling Today by Aida Midgett. I won't go over the complete article just a few of the highlights because you can read it for yourself. The best plan to deal with bullying is to start a school-wide program, from the Superintendent to the school cooks and maintenance personnel. If after you read this article and have specific questions, we should meet again then all six of us can hear questions and answers."

"That sounds good Michelle," Mr. Cummings said.

"This program teaches all levels in a school system, strategies they can use as a defense with bullies. This program depends on bystanders who become involved," Michelle said.

"John, would you like to go over the other five points we're suggesting?" Edith McAlester asked.

"Sure, I can do that. These are primary and can be initiated at once.”

. “First, we decided the staff should not use nicknames. For example, we talk about Crusher, and his name is Paul. We’ve contributed to intimidating students by continued use of his nickname.”

· “Recognize there is a problem. This is for the staff. Kids are smart, and they know when someone is trying to intimidate.”

· “Talk to the kids about character development.”
· “Continue what we've already started by keeping students under observation when needed.”

· “Require counseling for bullying. That's both the bully and the victim. Not simultaneously.”

· “Treat the bully as a student who needs special help.”

“These ideas were first brought up by a Mr. Joel Waldron so we can do more research on him to follow up on these ideas.”

"You five did an outstanding job with this. We'll get things arranged tomorrow for a school-wide assembly. These last five recommendations can be implemented without school board approval and started at the assembly. In the meantime, I'll give the Superintendent of Schools at the state a call. Thank you for your hard work." Mr. Edwards said.

 
 

Author Notes Bullying is a nationwide and possibly a worldwide epidemic in schools among male and females. This book is appropriate for ages 10 and above to help them understand and learn ways to deal with bullying. Please feel free to make any suggestions. I want this short book to be a learning tool as well as a fictional story to enjoy.


Chapter 17
The Ambush

By Shirley McLain

 
Thomas wanted to walk home, but Paul and his gang concerned him because of the continued vendetta. Before lunch, Thomas called his mother and asked if she'd let him walk home.

Edith said, "Honey, your Uncle Mike is supposed to pick you up this afternoon. Are you sure you want to walk?"

"Yep, I'm sure. There’ve been no problems for the past couple of weeks, and I want to walk home. Besides, me and Andy haven't walked home together in a while.”

"Okay, I'll give Mike a call and leave you a message at the office. Check before you go to your last class."

"Thanks, Mom, and tell Uncle Mike I'll be fine."

"All right, Sweetie, hugs until tonight when I come home from my Neighborhood Watch meeting. Love you. Bye

"Love you, too." Thomas walked out of the office having no idea two of Paul's gang stood just inside the door of the next room out of sight.

The phone area for the students was not private, so Paul's boys heard Thomas' end of the conversation without difficulty. One pulled out his cell phone and wasted no time telling Paul what was going on with Thomas. The information made Paul's day. Four-Eyes was in his grasp. Today is the day I've been looking forward to for a long time.

Thomas got the message at 2:00 that he could walk home. He hurried to tell Andy they would walk home together.

"I'm sorry Bro," Andy said. "My mom's picking me up because I'm going to the dentist after school. It has been a long time since we've got to walk home together, but maybe we can do it tomorrow. That'll at least give us one day before the weekend.”

 "Sure, sounds good. I'll ask mom again, and she'll say yes."

When the three o'clock bell rang, Thomas walked out with a bunch of kids, laughing and telling jokes. Thomas wasn't in a hurry. He didn't notice Paul and his gang when they left through another door and ran to the location on Thomas' route, they planned to spring their trap.

Thomas looked around not seeing Paul nor any of his group. This is the day Paul decided I'm not worth his time. He enjoyed his walk, letting his mind wander through thoughts of what to do over the weekend. Passing a long row of boxwood hedges on his right, he stopped and looked in the hedge at the birds he heard. He even spotted a sparrow’s nest.

When he got to the end of the row, out stepped Paul and then his gang one at a time. Thomas tried to go around them, but Paul pushed him back. "Look here, boys, look what we've caught. Are you surprised, Four-eyes?"

"Leave me alone, Paul. I don't have money for you. My pockets are empty. My mom is paying for my lunch now by credit card, so I never carry cash."

"I don't care about your money anymore; I just want you stomped in the ground."

A car screeched to a stop right beside the group of boys. Mike Gomel jumped out and slammed the door.

"Uncle Mike, what are you doing here! Didn’t Mom call you?"

"She did, but I decided I wanted to see you anyway. Hello boys, how wonderful you're here. I've wanted a chance to chat with you."

Paul and his gang stood there and didn't open their mouths. Mike kept on with his talking as if a normal conversation. "Paul, my little friend, if you or any of your buddies lay a finger on my nephew, your tail end gets a beating. Then I'm taking you to your father's dealership, and in front of his customers explain to him what you've been doing."

"You can't do anything to me. My dad will put you in jail."

Paul cringed when he thought about his dad. He knew if a word got back to his dad about anything that might affect his business the results would be bad. No one understands what Carl Cusher was capable of except Paul and his mother. Carl ’s temper was frightening, and Paul didn't want his mother paying for something he did.

"Maybe so, but you remember, it will be after I've already kicked your butt.

 How will your dad handle being embarrassed in front of the town when it goes to court? Do you think that’ll help his business?" Mike became angry but kept his control. He clinched and unclenched his fist, and his face turned red. These sniveling little cowards kept running around in his brain.
Mike turned his attention to the gang, "If you think you're escaping repercussions, you're not. The same will happen to you. I know every one of you. I'd give sincere thought to changing my ways. If you want problems, bully your way through school and your life. In the end, it will backfire on you. Do you understand what I said, fellas?"

All the boys except Thomas hung their heads and whispered "yes."

"Now, get out of here, and I don't want to see you harassing anyone again. Go!"

"Wow, Uncle Mike you sure told them."

"Get in the car Thomas, and I'll take you home. I let myself become angry at those boys, and that shouldn't happen. I hope they take my message to heart. It will save them so much trouble in the future. Let's go home."

 
 

Author Notes Bullying is a nationwide and possibly a worldwide epidemic in schools among male and females. This book is appropriate for ages 10 and above to help them understand and learn ways to deal with bullying. Please feel free to make any suggestions. I want this short book to be a learning tool as well as a fictional story to enjoy.


Chapter 18
The Assembly

By Shirley McLain

Monday morning as everyone settled down in their classroom, the overhead speakers pinged a few times. The Superintendent’s voice announced, "Ladies and gentlemen, your attention, please. Today at 10:00 in the gymnasium will be an attendance required meeting. Please take all books and personal belongings to your locker. Once again, this meeting is mandatory at 10:00 in the gym. Thank you for your attention and see you there.”      

Everyone in Thomas' room talked and asked questions about what was occurring. The teacher had difficulty getting everyone settled. They didn't call assemblies first thing in the mornings unless a problem happened. The entire class had a difficult time keeping their minds on their work while they waited for the assembly. The time arrived and everyone loaded into the auditorium to gain the best seats or a seat next to their friends.

"Everyone quiet down and take your seats. Time to get started." Mr. Cummings said. "Ladies and gentlemen today is the beginning of a new school life for you. The school reformed how things are done. These changes are meant for everyone from the cooks, janitors, and teachers and of course the students. Your heads must be ready to explode right now with curiosity because you want to learn what happened. Ms. Jones, the school counselor, will explain the program. Ms. Jones, it’s all yours."

"Thank you, Mr. Cummings. How wonderful to see all your happy faces here this morning. We've been notified by the State Superintendent, due to a rash of bullied student events around the state we are to begin a program to combat this problem. The administration and I met for the past two weeks and came up with a program we're using at this school. The best program I found was called STAC which stands for stealing the show, turning it over, accompanying others and coaching compassion. Each one of these steps can be implemented easily."

First, let me ask you a question, and you may answer by your raised hand. How many of you understand what it means to be bullied?"
Every student raised their hand. Thomas sat close to Paul and his boys, but he had to turn to look at them. They kept their eyes downcast and their hands raised.

"Everyone knows the term, wonderful. Packets of papers are being handed to the end row person. Please pass them down to each person in your row. These are for your parents and you to read."

"The STAC training lasts approximately 90 minutes. Scheduled sessions are available over the next month to accommodate everyone. We'd like to encourage your parents to take part in the training. They can call the school to set up a time or to ask questions." Ms. Jones explained the program to the students, the education classes on motivation, self-awareness, low self-esteem and generally how to deal with bullies.

"This Thursday we are starting "Bullying Awareness Thursday" in which we'll have a contest of the best-created slogan and emblem. Details for the competition are in your packet. I wanted to reinforce the importance of you talking to an adult you trust if you witness someone being bullied or are bullied yourself. Counseling for every student is available when and if you need it. Now I'm turning the microphone back to Mr. Cummings. Thank you."

"All right everyone, what are your thoughts of this new initiative of ours?" Mr. Cummings asked.

The entire auditorium clapped except for Paul and his boys. They understood their time as bullies ended and started a new world for them.

 
 

Author Notes Bullying is a nationwide and possibly a worldwide epidemic in schools among male and females. This book is appropriate for ages 10 and above to help them understand and learn ways to deal with bullying. Please feel free to make any suggestions. I want this short book to be a learning tool as well as a fictional story to enjoy.


Chapter 19
Epilogue and Parent Section

By Shirley McLain

Epilogue
Six Months Later
 
Emily yelled upstairs for the third time as usual, "Thomas, get out of the bed! You have to go to school. Hurry, or you won't eat."
 
"I'll be right there, Mom. Andy's supposed to be here so we can walk together."

Andy stood at the door as Thomas told his mother. The doorbell sounded, and Emily yelled, "Come in Andy, the door is open."

"Hi Mrs. Gomel, Thomas ready?"

"Andy, you know what he's like in the mornings. Cold molasses moves faster than he does."

Thomas bounded down the stairs. "You ready to go, Andy?" Thomas asked.

"Wait a minute you haven't had breakfast yet, young man," Emily said. "Besides, I wanted to ask how the Bully Program at school is working?"

"I'll grab a Power Bar on the way out, and as far as the program goes, it works great. Paul and his guys are different kids at school. Paul tries hard to make new friends, so he's now nice and polite to everyone. Mom, we've got to go, see you after school. Bye."

Thomas grabbed two Power Bars. He gave one to Andy and out the door, they went. They made it to the door of the school, and Thomas heard Paul's voice call out. "Thomas, can we talk a minute."

Andy shook his head, but Thomas turned around and said, "Sure, we can talk." Andy left them alone so they could talk. They sat at an outside table across from each other. Paul looked Thomas in the eyes and spoke, "Thomas, I'm sorry for what I've done to you and the others. It was bad, but I've tried hard to be different. My mom and I had a good talk. Things are still hard for me sometimes, but I'll make it.

"I know you will Paul, and your hard work shows."

"Can we be friends, Thomas, after how I tormented you?'

Thomas sat there for a moment and thought what his dad would do. He put a smile on his face, "Yes, we can be friends." Both boys reached across the table and shook hands.

 
Actual Bullying Experiences

As the author of this book, I thought I would share one memory of how I was bullied. I feel fortunate now I never had to deal with physical bullying, but psychological was almost daily. I attended a small county school. There were 21 who graduated in my class which will let you visualize the school size.  It was Kindergarten through 12th grade, and I had attended since the sixth grade.

I was a California girl who moved into a classroom with kids who’d been together since first grade. The class consisted of more girls than boys, but the basketball and baseball players were the popular ones. I was the outsider girl. The one who talked funny and didn’t fit in with the other girls.
The custom of the school was each class elected a King and Queen to try and win the school Homecoming King and Queen. I was not an ugly teen, but I wasn’t slim, trim, and beautiful.

I was nominated every year for Class Queen, which meant I had to stand and walk outside the classroom while the kids laughed or giggled.  The teachers never said a word. One of the more popular girls would also be nominated simultaneously. I always knew I’d never win, and I was humiliated to be singled out. This continued until my senior year. When I was nominated that year, I stood beside my desk and told the teacher “I respectfully decline the nomination,” then sat back down in my seat. It felt so good not putting myself through the humiliation I had gone through for five years. When I refused to participate in being bullied and the teasing stopped. Then I thought, I wish I could have done that five years ago.  Shirley McLain
 
 

 
Yes, my daughters were bullied in school.
The kids picked on them via the cell phone, verbal abuse. We had to have the police, doctors, and counselors intervene since the school did not intervene.
We even had restraining orders on the bullies. My daughter finally got the cheerleaders and herself to create stop bullying posters at the football and volleyball games. She was a varsity cheerleader, and her coach picked on her, too. She is now taking courses at college for an education degree.
My other daughter stopped youth from suicides at the high school. She told

 
them they were cool. I've helped several women who hid in their bedrooms with suicidal thoughts. We had fun times together.
Three classmates assaulted my daughter, Annie, at a cornfield party. Two guys pulled the three guys off of Annie. She was a designated driver. The three girls were high and drunk and jealous. They each spent a week in jail for the assault.
The doctors, police, and counselors helped us. Being bullied became overwhelming in our community. People need to stop and start awareness. I would like to be a voice in this.
 
 
Nancy Ann Gee

 
Parents Resources

Bullying is a nationwide and possibly a worldwide epidemic in schools among male and females. This book is appropriate for ages 12 and above to help them understand and learn ways to deal with bullying.
 
What is bullying?
   Bullying is ongoing aggression based on a power imbalance.  It’s when someone repeatedly acts to harm another person, or is otherwise hostile toward them, using the power the bully has over the victim.
   A power imbalance in bullying can mean different things:  maybe the bully is physically bigger and stronger than the victim, or perhaps they’re just more popular.
 
 
Types of bullying
Bullying can be physical, verbal, or social
  • Physical:  Hurting or trying to hurt a person’s body or possessions.  Hitting, kicking, breaking things, and pushing are all physical forms of bullying.
  • Verbal:  Saying things to hurt a person’s feelings.  This can include teasing, threats, and name-calling.

     Social:  Hurting someone’s reputation or relationships.  If someone purposely leaves you out, spreads rumors about you, or tells other people not to be friends with you, you're socially bullied.  Cyber: Using the computer or cell phone to harass, use social programs to spread lies, post pictures,

 
Effects
Bullying hurts the bully, the victim, and the bystanders (people who witness it).
People who are bullied may experience anxiety and depression, which can continue into adulthood.  Their eating and sleeping habits can be affected, leading to a variety of physical health issues. They’re more likely to miss school, which can damage their academic performance.

 
Bystander Effect
Bystanders are people who see or hear bullying happen.  A bystander can be helpful (by getting help from a trusted adult, or, if possible, to do safely, intervening by defending the victim or asking the bully to stop) or harmful (by cheering the bully on, joining in, or accepting the situation by doing nothing.)
Bullies
Often continue to engage in risky or violent behavior, including alcohol/drug abuse, fights, criminal activity and abusing spouses and romantic partners as adults.

 
 
What Data Says
 
  • Texters ages 13 and younger experience bullying at 3 times the rate of other texters.
  • Texters dealing with bullying are 3 times as likely to be struggling with their gender or sexual identity, and twice a likely to also be struggling with body image.
The top five distinct words we see in bullying conversations are: cyber, middle, abused, verbally, and rumor.

Warning Signs
  • Injuries they can’t explain
  • Changes in eating and sleeping’ Faking Illness or claiming to feel sick.
  • Headaches and stomachaches
  • Avoiding social situations, including people who were once their friends
  • Decreased self-esteem
  • Self-harm or other dangerous behaviors
        Losing possessions, Worsening academic performance
People bullying others may show these signs:

 
  • Having fights
  • Getting into more trouble at school
  • increased aggressiveness
  • Friends who bully
  • Showing concern about their reputation and popularity
Reference: Crisis Text Line  Https://Stores.Kotisdesign.Com/Crisistextlinemerch
 
 

 
What follows is a Toolkit for use by schools, families or any group that would like to help eradicate bullying.  It was taken directly from stopbullying.gov
Youth Engagement Toolkit
Bullying is a severe problem in many communities. Maybe you have been the victim of bullying, or you know someone that is bullied. Possibly, you know of bullying problems in your school or neighborhood and want to do something about it. The Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention comprised of staff members from a variety of federal agencies, such as the

 
Departments of Justice, Education, Health and Human Services and Agriculture, who work to prevent bullying and help find solutions where bullying exists. We are inviting you to make a difference in your community!
By following the steps in this toolkit, you can join other youth leaders across the country and the Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention to organize a bullying prevention social and educational event. We define bullying prevention “event” as a safe gathering where youth can freely discuss this important topic and create plans to act in local communities.

 
We envision that youth leaders will partner with a staff person from your youth leadership program to help organize and lead this bullying prevention initiative. Here’s what you can do:
Before you start, get in the know about bullying:
Bullying can take many forms. There are three types of bullying:
• Verbal bullying is saying or writing means things. Verbal bullying includes:
o Teasing
o Name-calling
o Inappropriate sexual comments
o Taunting
o Threatening to cause harm
• Social bullying sometimes called relational bullying, involves hurting someone’s
Reputation or relationships. Social bullying includes:
o Leaving someone out on purpose
o Telling other children not to be friends with someone
o Spreading rumors about someone
o Embarrassing someone in public

 
 
• Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions. Physical bullying
includes
o Hitting/kicking/pinching
o Spitting
o Tripping/pushing
o Taking or breaking someone’s things
o Making mean or rude hand gestures
 
 
 
 
 
 
Step 1: Watch Video
Now that you know more about the different bullying, types it’s time to gather up a group of friends or the whole community to learn more about bullying and how to prevent it.
The size of the group does not matter, every person can make a difference.
We have included a link to the Cartoon Network “Speak Up” bullying prevention documentary, and guidance questions to help you host a meaningful discussion

 
About the video, bullying and how to stop it. The Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention hopes this video acts as the starting point for engagement among our youth and helps to bring about a necessary change of decreasing bullying.
ï?¨ “Speak Up” bullying prevention documentary:
(Copy and Paste into the address bar.)
 http://www.cartoonnetwork.com/promos/stopbullying/video/stop-bullying-speak-upspecial-clip.html

 
 
Step 2: Discuss It
After watching the video, start a dialogue with a group. Talk about the video and your personal experiences.
Here are questions you and others can talk about to guide your discussion:
1. Have you or anyone you know ever encountered bullying? What kind was it? Can you
relate to anyone in the video? Did you experience something similar to someone in the video?
2. Where do you feel like most bullying happens?

 
a. If it happens in school, do you feel like it changes the environment at school?
Why or why not?
b. If it happens outside of school, where does it happen the most, and does that
make it easier or harder to deal with than in a school setting? Why?
3. Why do you think people pick on each other for what they look like?
4. What do you think most people do when they see bullying? Why?
5. When bystanders get involved in situations of bullying, what do you feel works or doesn’t work?

 
 
6. Have you ever heard someone stand up for someone being bullied? Describe them –who were they, what did they do, and what made them want to defend the person being bullied?
7. How do friends deal with other friends being bullied? Does being a friend change the
way people see bullying… why/why not?

 
8. What does cyber-bullying look like? Is it different from “traditional” bullying, and if so, how?
9. Think about kids who are bullies in your school or community. Why do you think that they bully, and how does it make them appear to their peers and friends?
10. What are the roles of teachers and counselors in addressing bullying? Do you feel that in your school teachers and counselors provide positive interventions when bullying occurs?
11. What could change in our schools or communities that will make it
easier to speak up about bullying?

 
 
12. What kind of action-oriented project can we initiate in our community?
Reference: Stopbullying.gov
 
 
 
 

 
Bullying statistics for the United States
More than one out of every five (20.8%) students report being bullied (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016).
The federal government began collecting data on school bullying in 2005 when the prevalence of bullying was around 28 percent (U.S. Department of Education, 2015).
Rates of bullying vary across studies (from 9% to 98%). A meta-analysis of 80 studies analyzing bullying involvement rates (for both bullying others and being bullied) for 12-18-year-old students reported a mean prevalence rate of 35% for traditional bullying involvement and 15% for cyberbullying involvement (Modecki, Minchin, Harbaugh, Guerra, & Runions, 2014).
33% of students who reported being bullied at school indicated that they were bullied at least once or twice a month during the school year (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016).
Of those students who reported being bullied, 13% were made fun of, called names, or insulted; 12% were the subject of rumors; 5% were pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on; and 5% were excluded from activities on purpose (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016).

 
A slightly higher portion of female than of male students’ report being bullied at school (23% vs. 19%). A higher percentage of male than of female students’ report being physically bullied (6% vs. 4%) and threatened with harm (5% vs. 3%; (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016).
Bullied students reported that bullying occurred in these places: the hallway or stairwell at school (42%), inside the classroom (34%), in the cafeteria (22%), outside on school grounds (19%), on the school bus (10%), and in the bathroom or locker room (9%) (National Center for Educational

 
 
Statistics, 2016).
43% of bullied students report notifying an adult at school about the incident. Students who report higher rates of bullying victimization are more likely to report the bullying (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016).
More than half of bullying situations (57%) stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of the student being bullied (Hawkins, Pepler, & Craig, 2001).
School-based bullying prevention programs decrease bullying by up to 25% (McCallion & Feder, 2013).
 
The reasons for being bullied reported most often by students include physical appearance, race/ethnicity, gender, disability,
religion, sexual orientation (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016).

Effects of Bullying
Students who experience bullying are at increased risk for poor school adjustment, sleep difficulties, anxiety, and depression (Center for Disease Control, 2017).
Students who are both targets of bullying and engage in bullying behavior are at greater risk for both mental health and behavior problems than students who only bully or are only bullied (Center for Disease Control, 2017).
Bullied students indicate that bullying hurts how they feel about themselves (19%), their relationships with friends and family and on their school work (14%), and physical health (9%) (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016).
Students who experience bullying are twice as likely as non-bullied peers to experience negative health effects such as headaches and stomachaches (Gini & Pozzoli, 2013).

 
Youth who self-blame and conclude they deserved to be bullied are more likely to face negative outcomes, such as depression, prolonged victimization, and maladjustment (Perren, Ettakal, & Ladd, 2013; Shelley & Craig, 2010).
 
Cyberbullying
Among high school students, 15.5% are cyberbullied, and 20.2% are bullied on school property (Center for Disease Control, 2017).
The percentages of individuals who have experienced cyberbullying in their lifetimes have nearly doubled (18% to 34%) from 2007-2016 (Patchin & 
Hinduja, 2016). 90% of teens who report being cyberbullied have also been bullied offline (“Seven Fears and the Science of How Mobile Technologies May Be Influencing Adolescents in the Digital Age,” George and Odgers, 2015). 23% of students who reported being cyberbullied notified an adult at school about the incident (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016).

 
Only 40–50% of cyberbullying targets know the identity of the perpetrator (Patchin & Hinduja, 2016).
Those who are cyberbullied are also likely to be bullied offline (Hamm, Newton, & Chisholm, 2015).
Statistics about the bullying of students with disabilities
When assessing specific types of disabilities, prevalence rates differ: 35.3% of students with behavioral and emotional disorders, 33.9% of students with autism, 24.3% of students with intellectual disabilities, 20.8% of students with health impairments, and 19% of students with specific learning disabilities face high levels of bullying victimization (Rose et al., 2012).

Students with specific learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, emotional and behavior disorders, other health impairments, and speech or language impairments report greater rates of victimization than their peers without disabilities longitudinally, and their victimization remains consistent over time (Rose & Gage, 2017).

Researchers discovered that students with disabilities were more worried about school safety and being injured or harassed by other peers compared to students without a disability (Saylor & Leach, 2009). When reporting bullying youth in special education were told not to tattle almost twice as often as youth, not in special education (Davis & Nixon, 2010).

Successful strategies to prevent bullying among students with disabilities include (Rose & Monda-Amaya, 2012):
Teachers and peers engaging in meaningful and appropriate social interactions. Creating opportunities to increase social competence and positive interactions.
Schools adopting appropriate intervention strategies that encourage
social awareness and provide individualized interventions for targets with disabilities.
Statistics about bullying of students of color
25% of African-American students, 22% of Caucasian students, 17% of Hispanic students, and 9% of Asian students report being bullied at school (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016).
More than one-third of adolescents reporting bullying report bias-based school bullying (Russell, Sinclair, Poteat, & Koenig, 2012).
 
Bias-based bullying is more strongly associated with compromised health than general bullying (Russell, Sinclair, Poteat, & Koenig, 2012).
Race-related bullying is significantly associated with negative emotional and physical health effects (Rosenthal et al., 2013).
Statistics about the bullying of students who identify or are perceived as LGBTQ
74.1% of LGBT students were verbally bullied (e.g., called names, threatened) in the past year because of their sexual orientation and 55.2% because of their gender expression (National School Climate Survey, 2013).
36.2% of LGBT students were physically bullied (e.g., pushed, shoved) in the past year because of their sexual orientation and 22.7% because of their gender expression (National School Climate Survey, 2013).
49% of LGBT students experienced cyberbullying in the past year (National School Climate Survey, 2013).
Peer victimization of all youth was less likely to occur in schools with bullying policies that are inclusive of LGBTQ students (Hatzenbuehler & Keyes, 2012).

 
 
55.5% of LGBT students feel unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation, and 37.8% because of their gender expression (National School Climate Survey, 2013).
30.3% of LGBT students missed at least one entire day at school in the past month because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable, and 10.6% missed four or more days in the past month (National School Climate Survey, 2013).
For bullied LGBTQ students (Duong & Bradshaw, 2014) and bullied students in general (Morin et al., 2015), if they identify one supportive adult in the
school they trust, they are less likely to face adverse consequences.
There are fewer rates of LGBTQ bullying in schools with clear bullying policies that are inclusive of LGBTQ students (Hatzenbuehler & Keyes, 2012).
Students were less likely to report having experienced homophobic bullying and report more school connectedness in schools with more supportive practices, including (Day & Snapp, 2016): 
Adequate counseling and support services for students.
Think about sanctions for student violations of rules and policies on a case-by-case basis with a wide range of options.
Providing effective confidential support and referral services for students needing help because of substance abuse, violence, or other problems.
Helping students with their social, emotional, and behavioral problems, and provide behavior management instruction.
Fostering youth development, resilience, or asset promotion.
Bullying and Suicide
There is a strong association between bullying and suicide-related behaviors, but this relationship is often mediated by other factors, including depression, violent behavior, and substance abuse (Reed, Nugent, & Cooper, 2015).
Students who bully others are bullied, or witness bullying is more likely to report high levels of suicide-related behavior than students who report no involvement in bullying (Center for Disease Control, 2014).
A meta-analysis found that students facing peer victimization are 2.2 times more likely to have suicide ideation and 2.6 times more likely to attempt suicide than students not facing victimization (Gini & Espelage, 2014).
Students who are both bullied and engage in bullying behavior are the highest risk group for adverse outcomes (Espelage & Holt, 2013).
The false notion that suicide is a natural response to being bullied has the dangerous potential to normalize the response and thus create copycat behavior among youth. (Center for Disease Control, 2014).
Interventions
Bullied youth were most likely to report that actions that accessed support from others made a positive difference (Davis & Nixon, 2010).
Actions aimed at changing the behavior of the bullying youth (fighting, getting back at them, telling them to stop, etc.) were rated as more likely to make things worse (Davis & Nixon, 2010).
Students reported that the most helpful things teachers can do are: listen to the student, check in with them afterward to see if the bullying stopped, and give the student advice (Davis & Nixon, 2010).
 
Students reported that the most harmful things teachers can do are tell the student to solve the problem themselves, tell the student that the bullying wouldn’t happen if they acted differently, ignored what was going on, or tell the student to stop tattling (Davis & Nixon, 2010).
As reported by students who have been bullied, the self-actions that had some of the most negative impacts (telling the person to stop/how I feel, walking away, pretending it doesn’t bother me) are often used by youth and often recommended to youth (Davis & Nixon, 2010).

 
Bystanders
 
Students need not be the targets of bullying to experience negative outcomes. Observing bullying is associated with adverse mental health outcomes (Rivers, Poteat, Noret, & Ashurst, 2009).
Bystanders’ beliefs in their social self-efficacy were positively associated with defending behavior and negatively associated with passive behavior from bystanders – i.e., if students believe they can make a difference, they’re more likely to act (Thornberg et al., 2012).

 
Students who experience bullying report that allying and supportive actions from their peers (such as spending time with the student, talking to him/her, helping him/her get away, or giving advice) were the most helpful actions from bystanders (Davis & Nixon, 2010).
Students who experience bullying are more likely to find peer actions helpful than an educator or self-actions (Davis & Nixon, 2010).
The Youth Voice Research Project (2010) found that victimized students reported the following bystander strategies that made things better: spent time with me (54%), talked to me (51%), helped me get away (49%), called me (47%), gave me advice (46%), helped me tell (44%), distracted me (43%), listened to me (41%), told an adult (35%), confronted them (29%), asked them to stop.

References:
Center for Disease Control, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (2017). Preventing bullying. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/bullying-factsheet508.pdf
 

 
Davis, S., & Nixon, C. (2010). The youth voice research project: Victimization and strategies. Retrieved from: http://njbullying.org/documents/YVPMarch2010.pdf
 
Day, J. K., & Snapp, S. D. (2016). Supportive, not punitive, practices reduce homophobic bullying and improve school connectedness. Psychology of Sexual Orientations and Gender Diversity, 3, 416-425. Retrieved from http://psycnet.apa.org.ezp3.lib.umn.edu/fulltext/2016-41520-001.pdf

 
Duong, J., & Bradshaw, C. (2014). Associations between bullying and engaging in aggressive and suicidal behavior among sexual minority youth: The moderating role of connectedness. Journal of School Health, 84, 636-645. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25154527
Espelage, D. L., & Holt, M. K. (2013). Suicidal ideation and school bullying experiences after controlling for depression and delinquency. Journal of Adolescent Health, 53. Retrieved from http://www.ncdsv.org/images/JAH_Suicidal-ideation-and-school-bullying_7-2013.pdf

 
Gini, G., & Espelage, D. D. (2014) Peer victimization, cyberbullying, and suicide risk in children and adolescents. JAMA Pediatrics, 312, 545-546. Retrieved from
http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/1892227
Gini, G., & Pozzoli, T. (2013). Bullied children and psychosomatic problems: A meta-analysis. Pediatrics. Retrieved from pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/09/11/peds.2013-0614
GLSEN. (2013). The 2013 National School Climate Survey. Retrieved from

 
 
https://www.glsen.org/sites/default/files/2013%20Nationa...
 
Hamm, M. P., Newton, A. S., & Chisholm, A. (2015). Prevalence and effect of cyberbullying on children and young people: A scoping review of social media students. JAMA Pediatrics, 169, 770-777. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26098362

 
Hatzenbuehler, M. L., & Keyes, K. M. (2012). Inclusive anti-bullying policies and reduced risk of suicide attempts in lesbian and gay youth. Journal of Adolescent Health, 53, 21-26. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3696185/?tool=pmcentrez
Hatzenbuehler, M. L., & Keyes, K. M. (2013). Inclusive anti-bullying policies and reduced risk of suicide attempts in lesbian and gay youth. Journal of Adolescent Health, 53, S21-S26. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23790196

 Hawkins, D. L., Pepler, D. J., & Craig, W. M. (2001). Naturalistic observations of peer interventions in bullying. Social Development, 10(4), 512-527. Retrieved from http://bullylab.com/Portals/0/Naturalistic%20ob...
 
Kann, L., Kinchen, S., & Shanklin, S. (2014). The United States 2013 results. High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey, Center for Disease Control. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/ss/ss6304.pdf

 
McCallion, G., & Feder, J. (2013). Student bullying: Overview of research, federal initiatives, and legal issues. Congressional Research Service. Retrieved from http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R43254.pdf
Modecki, K. L., Minchin, J., Harbaugh, A. G., Guerra, N. G., & Runions, K. C. (2014). Bullying prevalence across contexts: A meta-analysis measuring cyber and traditional bullying. Journal of Adolescent Health, 55, 602-611. Retrieved from http://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X(14)00254-7/abstract
Morin, H. K., Bradshaw, C. P., & Berg, J. K. (2015). Examining the link between peer victimization and adjustment problems in adolescents: The role of connectedness and parent engagement. Psychology of Violence, 5, 422-432. Retrieved from http://psycnet.apa.org/buy/2015-45377-003
National Center for Educational Statistics. (2015). Student reports of bullying and cyberbullying: Results from the 2013 school crime supplement to the National Victimization Survey. US Department of Education. Retrieved from

 http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2015056

 National Center for Education Statistics. (2016). Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2015. U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=719
National Center for Education Statistics. (2016). Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2016. U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2017/2017064.pdf
Patchin, J. W., & Hinduja, S. (2016). Summary of our cyberbullying research

 
(2004-2016). Cyberbullying Research Center. Retrieved from http://cyberbullying.org/summary-of-our-cyberbullying-research
Perren, S., Ettekal, I., & Ladd, G. (2013). The impact of peer victimization on later maladjustment: Mediating and moderating effects of hostile and self-blaming attributions. Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 54, 46-55. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3527635/
Reed, K. P., Nugent, W., & Cooper, R. L. (2015). Testing a path model of relationships between gender, age, and bullying victimization and violent
behavior, substance abuse, depression, suicidal ideation, and suicide attempts in adolescents. Children and Youth Services Review, 55, 125-137. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0190740915001656
Rivers, I., Poteat, V. P., Noret, N., & Ashurst, N. (2009). Observing bullying at school: The mental health implications of witness status. School Psychology Quarterly, 24, 211–223. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ866091
 
Rose, C. A., Monda-Amaya, L. E., & Espelage, D. L. (2011). Bullying perpetration and victimization in special education: A review of the literature. Remedial and Special Education, 32, 114-130. Retrieved from http://rse.sagepub.com/content/early/2010/02/18/0741932510361247.abstract

 Rose, C. A., & Espelage, D. L. (2012). Risk and protective factors associated with the bullying involvement of students with emotional and behavioral disorders. Behavioral Disorders, 37, 133–148. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ989490
Rose, C. A., Espelage, D. L., Monda-Amaya, L. E., Shogren, K. A., & Aragon, S. R.   (2013). Bullying and middle school students with and without specific learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 3, 239-254. Retrieved from

 
http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0022219413496279
Rose, C. A., & Gage, N. A. (2017). Exploring the involvement of bullying among students with disabilities over time. Exceptional Children, 83, 298-314. Retrieved from http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0014402916667587
Rose, C. A., & Monda-Amaya, L. E. (2012). Bullying and victimization among students with disabilities: Effective strategies for classroom teachers. Intervention in School and Clinic, 48, 99-107. Retrieved from

 http://journals.sagepub.com.ezp3.lib.umn.edu/doi/abs/10.1177/1053451211430119
Rosenthal, L., Earnshaw, V. A., Carroll-Scott, A., Henderson, K. E., Peters, S. M., McCaslin, C., & Ickovics, J. R. (2013). Weight- and race-based bullying: Health associations among urban adolescents. Journal of Health Psychology. Retrieved from http://www.yaleruddcenter.org/resources/upload/docs/what/communities/WeightRaceBullying_Phys….
Russell, S. T., Sinclair, K., Poteat, P., & Koenig, B. (2012). Adolescent health and harassment based on discriminatory bias.
 
American Journal of Public Health, 102(3), 493-495. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22390513
Saylor, C.F. & Leach, J.B. (2009) Perceived bullying and social support students accessing special inclusion programming. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities. 21, 69-80.
Shelley, D., & Craig, W. M. (2010). Attributions and coping styles in reducing victimization. Canadian Journal of School Psychology, 25, 84-100. http://cjs.sagepub.com/content/25/1/84

 Thornberg, T., Tenenbaum, L., Varjas, K., Meyers, J., Jungert, T., & Vanegas, G. (2012). Bystander motivation in bullying incidents: To intervene or not to intervene? Western Journal of Emergency Medicine, 8(3), 247-252. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3415829/
U.S. Department of Education, (2015). New data show a decline in school-based bullying. Retrieved from https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/new-data-show-decline-school-based-bullying
 
Wright, T., & Smith, N. (2013). Bullying of LGBT youth and school climate for LGBT educators. GEMS (Gender, Education, Music, & Society, 6(1). Retrieved from https://ojs.library.queensu.ca/index.php/gems/article/view/5010
Youth Risk Behavior Survey. (2015). Middle school YRBS. Centers for Disease Control. Retrieved from https://nccd.cdc.gov/youthonline/App/Default.aspx
Youth Risk Behavior Survey. (2015). Trends in the prevalence of behaviors that contribute to violence. Centers for Disease Control. Retrieved from

 http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/yrbs/pdf/trends/2015_us_violence_trend_yrbs.pdf  Updated: December 27, 2017

Referrals

Anti-Bullying Guide for Deaf Children
(https://schoosnet.derbyshire.gov.uk/site-elements/document/keeping-children -safe-in-education/anti-bullying-and-deaf-children-professional-guide.pdf
 

 
Cyber Civil Rights Initiative
(https://www.cybercivilrights.org/)
Stomp Out Bullying
(http://www.stompoutbullying.org/)
Office Hours
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., CST, Monday – Friday
Address
Minneapolis Office:
PACER Center, Inc.
8161 Normandale Blvd.
Bloomington, MN 55437
Get Directions
Los Angeles Office:

 
 
PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center
80 E. Hillcrest Drive, #203
 

 
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360
Phone
952.838.9000 or 800.537.2237
Fax: 952.838.0199
E-mail: Bullying411@pacer.org
Social Media
 National Bullying Prevention Center
 @pacer_nbpc
 pacer_nbpc
 PACER_NBPC on Pinterest
Leadership
Paula Goldberg, Executive Director, PACER Center
 

 
LA Office
Judy French, PACER's NBPC, LA Office
 
Media Contact
Bailey Huston, Associate, PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center (952.838.9000)

About the Author
Shirley McLain is a Christian with the love of God being first and foremost in her life.  She makes her home in Sapulpa Oklahoma with her husband and their fur family of five dogs and a cat. She also has two grown children, six grandchildren, and three and a quarter great-grandchildren.  She has/is living a full life.
 She retired after working thirty-two years as an RN and then began a full-time writing carrier. She and her husband enjoy their five-acre country home.  It is a perfect setting to let Shirley’s Muse work its magic.
Shirley is an eclectic writer and has always enjoyed the writing process. Shortly after her retirement, she woke up one morning with the thought she would write a book. She didn’t stop writing until she’d finished her first book.  So far, she’s published five books now on Amazon. Her goal is to bring enjoyment to her readers.
 

 
Published Work
 
1.        Secrets and Retributions: Samantha (Sam) Jensen works for her brother Allan, as his assistant.  Allan owns IDEA (International Diagnostic Environmental Agency).  We cover the world providing consultations and investigations into any situation which affects the environment or the people.
Sam finds herself in a foreign country, without a memory of who she is.  A full-scale investigation is started by her brother Allan.  The story takes you from Oklahoma to the continents of South America, Europe, and Asia.  It has mystery, action, romance, betrayal and murder, all tied with Sam and her brother Allan.
You follow the lives of Sam and Allan as they try to close Sam’s kidnapping experience.  You also follow each criminal to the final outcome for each.  Each character in the story has their own agenda, and trying to have those agendas agree, leads to twists and turns you won’t expect.
2.        Verses for My King: This little eBook is a collection of Christian poetry with illustrations.  Shirley shares her faith and love of God through her poetry.
3.        Shirley’s Shorts and Flashes: This eBook is a collection of short stories.  These stories show Shirley’s flexibility as a writer because they are of different genre, love, supernatural, crime, horror, and mystery. It also includes some Flash Fiction, which are full stories in a very limited word count.  She loves the challenge of Flash Fiction.

4.        Tapestry of Words is a longer collection of short stories. These stories show Shirley’s flexibility as a writer because they are of different genre, love, supernatural, crime, horror, and mystery. This book contains the stories in Shirley’s Shorts and Flashes plus more.
5.        Dobyns Chronicles:  Dobyns Chronicles is a captivating celebration of the life of Charley Dobyns. His life began in northeast Texas near Bonham, on the Red River. His Cherokee mother and cowboy father strove to survive on their river valley ranch. Tragedy ended this way of life for Charley in 1888. Follow him through Chickasaw Territory and on to McAlester in eastern Oklahoma.
 
 
 
 
Blog:  http://shirleymclain930.wordpress.net/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShirleyMcLain93
Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1JW3sQ0
 
If you would like to contact me, please do so at Shirley_mclain@yahoo.com
 

Author Notes Bullying is a nationwide and possibly a worldwide epidemic in schools among male and females. This book is appropriate for ages 10 and above to help them understand and learn ways to deal with bullying. Please feel free to make any suggestions. I want this short book to be a learning tool as well as a fictional story to enjoy.
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