This is for the kids out there who know all too well how much power a bully can have.
If you are being bullied, whether it's in school, on the bus, or online somewhere, there's nothing wrong with letting someone know. Tell a teacher. Tell a counselor. Tell your principal. Tell your parents. Tell your pastor. Tell a cop. Tell a crossing guard. Don't keep it inside, because if you do, there it will stay. There's a difference between tattling and telling.
Know that you are not alone. Thousands of kids are going through the same thing you might be going through today.
Remember that your school leaders and teachers care about you and take bullying very seriously. If one tells you it's not a big deal, then tell another.
If you're being teased because of the way you look or the clothes you wear, remember, the things that make you "different" are the things that make you special and unique. Different is good. Look in the mirror and smile. If someone doesn't like the way you dress, that's their problem. The only opinion about yourself that matters is yours. You don't have to apologize to anyone for your appearance, or for your thoughts or beliefs for that matter.
And to those who are doing the bullying or teasing, do everyone a favor and stop. Ask yourself, "Why am I doing this?" You are no better than the person you're tormenting. In fact, you're a lesser person because of it. And know this: Sooner or later you will pay for those actions. The state of Minnesota is getting very serious about this issue, and when you're busted for bullying the consequences will be severe.
A bullying/cyberbullying forum for middle school and high school parents will take place at
7 p.m. Monday in the Marshall HS theater.
It's frighteningly easy to be a bully in Minnesota these days, but that will be changing soon.
The state attorney general has gotten involved, so has the governor. Next year, the Legislature will, too. Nothing can erase the emotional scars of being bullied, but if there's one saving grace from the epidemic it's that enough people with power are getting the message that something drastic needs to happen.
Now, a message to the leaders of the state of Minnesota: It's past time you tackle this issue head-on instead of just worrying about saying the right things. But for the sake of the schools and the kids, don't just mandate they do this or do that - help them. The last thing schools need is someone telling them what to do and then not receiving the resources with which to do it. The state has robbed from them in the past, and one way to repay them is to support them financially so they can put programs together to help their students.
Bullying in schools has been going on for decades, but the stakes are higher now. No longer can/should we pass it off as "kids being kids." Times, and technology, have changed, and this state needs to bring itself up to speed in a hurry. According to the U.S. Department of Education, Minnesota received the lowest grade of the 46 states with bullying laws. As a state, we've swept so many bullying instances under the rug that there's no room anymore. It's high time we put the broom away and get out the vacuum.