Tracking the Bullied–Not Just the Bullies–in Schools
Poem Written by Gabrielle Arrowsmith in the Summer of 2012
Little Gavin Gray,
Complete with heart of gold,
Sped through the hallway
To meet his friend of old.
Just outside her door
His friend heard him pleading-
Giving them one more
Reason for the beating.
She sent them away
With disappointed words.
She rescued his books
And battled what she heard.
Now to a meeting
For her sweet Gavin Gray,
Her heart still bleeding
That they treat him this way.
But nothing to do;
This wasn’t their repeat.
Only Gavin Gray’s-
Until his sad defeat.
I am Gavin Gray’s friend in this story. I am the teacher and friend to many students who, unfortunately, are the victims of bullying. In reading the final stanza, you can probably see that I was frustrated at the time by the fact that when instances of bullying were being tracked in schools, they were being tracked according to the bully and not also the bullied.
You see, there were many ‘Gavins’ who were bullied by Tom in Mrs. L’s class, Stacey and Felicia in Mr. M’s class, and Brian and Lucas at recess. I believe, in general, teachers and other school personnel were doing a good job of reporting the bullies, but we were not tracking who the verbal and/or physical attacks were being committed against–Gavin. Gavin’s teachers didn’t know why he was down and/or acting out, and neither did his parents. That’s scary when we remember that it’s estimated that at least half of the suicides among young people are related to bullying (http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/bullying-and-suicide.html). School systems need to be tracking both the bullies (they have a high suicide rate too) and the bullied.
In the school district that I work in, we have initiated a new reporting program in which both the bully/bullies and the victim/victims are monitored. This way, administrators can alert both parents and school personal when it seems a child has been bullied, especially if it is recurring. This is an age-old issue, but I believe we are coming to a time when it will be the norm to seriously attack the issue of bullying from both sides. Hopefully, this will decrease the number of student deaths related to bullying, suicide and shootings, which have been on the rise for far too long.
Concealed In The Shadows by Gabrielle Arrowsmith
Sydney Harter has long awaited September 12th, 2033—her eighteenth birthday. She can finally apply for guardianship of her sister, who is her only family and entire world. She hopes they will be lawfully reunited, but is prepared to defy authority and risk everything to escape the captivity of Miles County so that they can be together.
Escaping will be difficult and dangerous. Citizens are bound to their county by sophisticated chip implants that deliver shocks to those who dare to cross the electric barrier. Sydney is very clever, but her trickery is limited against the all-seeing eyes of technology. Even if they were to survive the escape, disappearing into the forgotten forests and towns of the past seems an impossible task.
What Sydney doesn’t know is that she is the particular interest of two opposing forces. With deceit, fear, and warfare surrounding her—can she trust the party that aims to help with her fight against the other? Can she open her heart to receive and return unexpected love? When her sister’s life becomes jeopardized, Sydney will have to weigh a new love against the only enduring love she has known. The cost could be deadly…
How will she choose?
About Gabrielle Arrowsmith:
GABRIELLE ARROWSMITH enjoyed writing her debut novel, Concealed in the Shadows, during a lovely Minnesota summer that she had off from her primary profession, teaching. Acting, playing and coaching soccer, reading, playing piano, and spending time with family and friends are among her other interests.
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