Nineteen Minutes is a current novel by Jodi Picoult. I am recommending this book as a mother, author, and educator. The topic of "bullying" comes up in all areas of life. It does not stay contained in the realm of elementary school either. It spills over into adult life in a profound way also. This story is about a child who never fits into any social group in school. He spends his whole life being called names and basically bullied. Even his own older brother abuses him in a more than natural brotherly way. One of the issues this book addresses is what happens to a young mind that is constantly barraged with negatives and verbal and sometimes physical abuses from his peers. This is not a pleasant read as it shines to the light issues that are unpleasant. I recommend this book because it does live with the other mental illness issues of the day. This book reveals the stark realities that some students live with each day of their lives. I have students each day tell me that someone is calling them names and "being mean" to them. This is a hard issue to solve in school as the teachers cannot hear every word that comes out of the mouths of every child. Our young children need to be taught tolerance and acceptance in a large way. Our young children need to understand that there are no real "normals" as far as what is socially correct. The things all humans need to learn is how to love and tolerate each other in this ever expanding universe. Please read this book and teach your children well.
Or if you really think about this deeply and honestly, isn't terrorism just a major form of bullying? One group of humans who think that their way of thinking or their religion or their way of life is the only true way to exist or believe. It may start extremely small, name calling, throwing someone's lunch out the bus window, tripping someone in the hall, or throwing spit balls in someone's hair. Then, because the bullies feel empowered and in a insane way, their belittling of someone else makes them feel larger and more powerful, the pranks escalate to slashing tires or writing graphics on their houses or cars. Before you know it more powerful appliances will be employed like guns and/or bombs. This may sound out of line, but most people, if honest, would agree that is what terrorism is anyway. Tolerance and acceptance is the same thing as saying we want peace in the world. We want to live together as fellow humans on this planet without destroying the planet and ourselves because of extreme bullying. This is not the average posting I have been posting with the theme of mental illness, but the mentally ill are some of the largest population in America that is misunderstood, least tolerated, and treated with extreme prejudice and bias. I know this first hand. I realize that some mentally ill are frightening to be around, but they are just sick and need help and medical care and understanding. One of my students is bipolar and he does a fabulous job in the classroom most of the time. He is compassionate and very astute. Sometimes he lashes out in anger when his world is not the extreme structure that he feels comfortable in. The school nurse, just last week, was talking to me about him and labeled this second grader as "just crazy". This really offended me and I told her that she did not get to decide that he was crazy, her job as the school nurse was to treat him with respect and compassion and that was what I expected her to do.
This is an early example of someone in authority labeling someone who is mentally ill in only the second grade. Maybe he is crazy, but she does not get to call him that in my book!