It all started in third grade. When I met my favorite elementary school teacher, Mrs. V.
Mrs. V was everything I wanted to be when I grew up, she was smart, outgoing, tough, and extremely caring.
So I started trying hard to earn her good attitude volunteering to erase the board, hand out workbooks, doing my homework for every class etc. The rest of the class started calling me a “teacher’s pet”. That was quite offending you know.
Hi! I’m Ahmed. I come from Syria and now studying at a local school in Berkshire.
Since the first day at school my classmates started bullying me and calling me names. The most offensive one was ‘terrorist’.
I know everyone in the world is afraid of terrorist attacks now and lots of people see us Muslims as potential threat to society. But I come from a quiet respectable family. My dad is a doctor and mom a teacher of Arabic language. Why are they calling me these names? I want to make friends with my classmates but I’m really unpopular.
When my son, Jamie, was 5 years old, he came home from kindergarten one day with a request: Could I buy him a black Spider-Man backpack like the kind his buddy Max has? He no longer wanted to take his plain gray bag to school. When I asked why he no longer liked his bag, the whole story came pouring out: Max had said that Jamie's backpack was boring and, in order to be his friend, he needed to have the much-cooler superhero one.
I was prepared for Jamie to have to deal with peer pressure in high school, middle school, maybe even third grade. But in kindergarten, no way!
Before my daughter, Annabelle, even drops her backpack, she bursts into tears.
"Today she told me I was ugly and said that no matter how cute my outfit is, I'm still ugly," Annabelle cries.
The name-calling has been relentless. This bully, in her twirly skirt and glittery shoes, is 5 years old.
How can kids this little be so mean? I wondered as I kneeled in front of Annabelle's torturer. "You have to stop being mean to Annabelle," I told her. "You are making her feel really bad. You have to be nice to her. To everybody."She looked in my eyes. And laughed.