Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
I’m a school volunteer and I have witnessed some really disturbing bullying behavior in middle school.
One boy grabbed a neighboring student and made really awful remarks about his healthy sandwich. He grabbed it so hard that it was squished. Tomatoes, spinach and lettuce fell out, and he pushed up the spinach to the little boy’s nose. The boy tried not to cry, but it was too hard. All the boys sitting at that table then taunted the boy and made fun of his healthy food.
To my surprise, the boy with healthy food sat down by the same bullying boys day after day! And the bullying continued.
I politely asked the boys that were bullying to please stop. They ignored me and the bullied boy kept his head down.
Another group of girls made fun of a girl and her “trash food” (not just junk food, but trashy.) The girl left with her food and went into the bathroom to eat!
I’ve watched kids take other kids’ food and throw it away after making fun of it.
I’ve told everyone from other volunteers, cafeteria workers, teachers, and the principal once. They did nothing..
I live in a big city and I looked forward to volunteering. Not now!
No More Volunteering for Me
Dear No More,
We applaud you and others like you who choose to volunteer in some volatile schools.
We can feel your torment. It’s a shame to loose a conscientious volunteer, so here are some suggestions:
• Report, report, report (this is what we tell kids to do until they get help) to all adults around you, including your school district superintendent, until something is done.
• Ask for an absolutely strict rule banning any body shaming, taking another’s food away or switching lunches.
• Promote bringing extra food for those in need. All kids deserve nutritious lunches.
• Have a “silence” rule for maybe twenty minutes and have kids focus on eating-this helps with the loud, rambunctious, and over-stimulation that promotes “acting out.”
• Explain that healthy foods or unhealthy labels are a family decision and not for the kids to judge.
We agree that the environment for a stress-free lunch is greatly necessary in today’s culture. It needs to be dealt with. Allowing slightly longer lunchtimes is also needed.
Thank you and please don’t give up. We need volunteers like you in every size town!
Rhonda & Dr. Cheri