A mom of a middle school girl at MSAD 15 wrote to me, desperate for help. She was wondering if I would speak at the middle school about bullying and homophobia....

 

Here's part of her original email:

I’m writing to you tonight because I’d like to know if you would ever consider speaking to my daughter’s middle school (MSAD 15) about the topic of homophobia and bullying associated with it.

Recent events at my daughter’s school have put me in Mama Bear mode, and instead of seeking retaliation I’d like something positive to come from it.

My daughter and her best friend are super close. Some have started targeting my daughter and her BFF. They have bullied them in every way possible, and most recently outwardly accused them of being lesbians, and have spread the rumor throughout the school. Now, first of all, I’m seriously shocked that such blatant homophobia still persists in our schools today. Secondly, so what if they are?!?!  In this instance, the girls really are ‘just friends’, but I’m certain there are LGBTQ children in the same school who are also being targeted. I’m beyond angry about this.

If you would ever consider speaking, I’m pretty certain our school would love to have you. My daughter and her BFF will continue to fight the good fight in not backing down to ignorance. As I said before, rather than seeking revenge against the “plastics”, I’d much rather see something positive come from it. Maybe a little enlightenment from a top notch public speaker???

 

I responded that I would be happy to speak, I even read her email on the air. The conversation took a weird turn, when Jeff pointed out that she used the term 'plastics' to describe the girls bullying her daughter. 'Plastics' is from the movie 'Mean Girls' and was used to describe rich girls that used their daddy's credit cards. The conversation turned to the use of this term as a form of bullying itself and the original message was somewhat lost...

It's been 2 weeks since I read that email on air, and just got this email:

I wanted to take a moment and let you know that many positive things have occurred because of your help!
Both my daughter and her best friend have both been approached by students within their school who figured out that the message was about the bullying being done to them.  They offered words of support and encouragement.  One of the people who was part of the bullying (a minor part) approached the girls and sincerely apologized.  The principal and vice principal have been very supportive of the girls as well.
What impressed me the most was that the message did make it through successfully and moms in Gray and New Gloucester are opening dialogues with their kids and each other.  I've been witness to more than one conversation wherein the parties did not know it was my daughter involved.  What they had to say impressed me and renewed my faith in our community.
Best of all - the bullying has STOPPED.
Thank you Lori for all you have done to help.  And thank poor Jeff for me too.  He took the brunt of my Mama Bear mode, and hopefully one day he will forgive me!  I've been assured he is a wonderful person too.  :)
This whole experience was enlightening for me and it's become my mission to continue the work that was begun.  The conversations need to continue happening, and the bullying of other children needs to be addressed.  There are other Mama Bears out there that need help and support, and I will continue the good fight.
I am beyond grateful that this was the outcome of our on air conversation. It was not because of me, I can't take credit. But it was because the topic became front and center and started the conversation. Please keep the lines of communication open. Middle school is a tough time for kids. How I survived it I'll never know. Keep an eye open for an opportunity to check in and make sure everything is okay...