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Looking for answers to bullies

So, I got a call from the school. Not my children’s school – my nephew, the Heathenish, was ill. My sister, Foo-Dog, was at work and couldn’t bail. Could I come and get him?

Well, yeah. Foo and I do that for each other. The nice thing about the newsroom is that it’s child-friendly – if there is an occasional childcare emergency, it isn’t a big deal.

So I ran off to play Super Aunt.

“What’s up, kid?”

“I feel nauseous, and I’m coughing,” he said.

I shook my fist. I just knew that my archnemesis, McElwain the Digital Editor, was at fault. If this seems like a bit of a leap, let me explain: McElwain infected the entire building with the flu at the beginning of the month. I’m not entirely sure how he managed to get every department, but I’m confident it was him. So I got sick, then the kids got sick, and, clearly, the Heathenish caught it from the children. Totally McElwain’s fault.

I gave the kid some nausea medicine, some cough drops, told him not to vomit on the newsroom floor and play a game on my phone while I did my thing. (My thing mostly being trying to wedge all the news items I’d received that day onto the community page and generally being unsuccessful. This is a metaphor for my life.) Once I wrapped things up, I took him home.

“He didn’t cough at all after I got home from work,” Foo said.

“I fed him Cheez-its,” I said. “Cheez-its are a cure-all.”

He’s been sick a lot of late. And he expressed a desire to miss the rest of the week. He also asked if he could skip a field trip.

Foo-Dog was suspicious and, once she gets hold of something, she’s like a bulldog – she doesn’t let go. So it all came out: Heathenish is being bullied at school so relentlessly by “cool sports kids” he is malingering to avoid them.

Somehow the school missed this. He doesn’t want to go to school or on field trips, because these kids will be there, and they didn’t notice. I can’t walk into a school without being buzzed in, photographed and handing over my driver’s license, and these kids are pushing him to the ground and banging his head off the ground without repercussion.

Foo-Dog is a dormant volcano, and I am not far behind.

I’ve never understood parents who express surprise when their kids are caught making someone else miserable. Kids can be thoughtless and tactless, some times hurtfully so, but being out-and-out mean – physically attacking someone – and enjoying hurting someone? That comes from somewhere. Those parents, subconsciously or not, indicated either by word or deed it doesn’t matter how they treat some people – people who are different in some way. That, folks, is a failure in parenting and says much more about the sort of people they are than the people their children target.

We will get the Heathenish through this, and he’ll be a kinder, more empathetic person. He has guts – and Foo-Dog.

Never underestimate Foo; she is a force of nature.

In the meantime, I need to apologize to McElwain. These kids have a lot to answer for.

(Wallace-Minger, a resident of Weirton, is community editor of The Weirton Daily Times.)

Looking for answers to bullies

So, I got a call from the school. Not my children’s school – my nephew, the Heathenish, was ill. My sister, Foo-Dog, was at work and couldn’t bail. Could I come and get him?

Well, yeah. Foo and I do that for each other. The nice thing about the newsroom is that it’s child-friendly – if there is an occasional childcare emergency, it isn’t a big deal.

So I ran off to play Super Aunt.

“What’s up, kid?”

“I feel nauseous, and I’m coughing,” he said.

I shook my fist. I just knew that my archnemesis, McElwain the Digital Editor, was at fault. If this seems like a bit of a leap, let me explain: McElwain infected the entire building with the flu at the beginning of the month. I’m not entirely sure how he managed to get every department, but I’m confident it was him. So I got sick, then the kids got sick, and, clearly, the Heathenish caught it from the children. Totally McElwain’s fault.

I gave the kid some nausea medicine, some cough drops, told him not to vomit on the newsroom floor and play a game on my phone while I did my thing. (My thing mostly being trying to wedge all the news items I’d received that day onto the community page and generally being unsuccessful. This is a metaphor for my life.) Once I wrapped things up, I took him home.

“He didn’t cough at all after I got home from work,” Foo said.

“I fed him Cheez-its,” I said. “Cheez-its are a cure-all.”

He’s been sick a lot of late. And he expressed a desire to miss the rest of the week. He also asked if he could skip a field trip.

Foo-Dog was suspicious and, once she gets hold of something, she’s like a bulldog – she doesn’t let go. So it all came out: Heathenish is being bullied at school so relentlessly by “cool sports kids” he is malingering to avoid them.

Somehow the school missed this. He doesn’t want to go to school or on field trips, because these kids will be there, and they didn’t notice. I can’t walk into a school without being buzzed in, photographed and handing over my driver’s license, and these kids are pushing him to the ground and banging his head off the ground without repercussion.

Foo-Dog is a dormant volcano, and I am not far behind.

I’ve never understood parents who express surprise when their kids are caught making someone else miserable. Kids can be thoughtless and tactless, some times hurtfully so, but being out-and-out mean – physically attacking someone – and enjoying hurting someone? That comes from somewhere. Those parents, subconsciously or not, indicated either by word or deed it doesn’t matter how they treat some people – people who are different in some way. That, folks, is a failure in parenting and says much more about the sort of people they are than the people their children target.

We will get the Heathenish through this, and he’ll be a kinder, more empathetic person. He has guts – and Foo-Dog.

Never underestimate Foo; she is a force of nature.

In the meantime, I need to apologize to McElwain. These kids have a lot to answer for.

(Wallace-Minger, a resident of Weirton, is community editor of The Weirton Daily Times.)