• 70°

My Turn, Mindy Pendergrass: Hold your kids accountable on bullying

Writer

Mindy Pendergrass

I have four children and all have attended Rowan County Schools. Two are now adults and two are in middle school.

One of those two has endured relentless bullying for years. He is a special needs child with an IEP in place with goals regarding bullying. My son has endured far more than any child should ever have to go through including, but not limited to, having a BB in his arm from being shot multiple times, being beaten with sticks and rocks, having road rash from head to toe, sexual assaults, rumors started that could cause expulsion etc. — all inflicted by his peers, children his own age or relatively close in age.

I have been a parent for 24 years. It is not uncommon for me to ask my children how their day went, what they did, whether or not they enjoyed it, if they were bullied and so on.

Yet not once have I asked my children or heard any other parent ask their children these questions: “How did you treat people today?” “Were you good to the other kids in your school?” “Did you see anyone getting bullied today and, if so, what did you do to help?”

Bullying is a serious issue in today’s schools. Per the Huffington Post, suicide rates in girls have doubled from 2007 to 2015, when it reached its highest point in 40 years. Rowan County had an 11-year-old child commit suicide a few years back. My child has had idealizations of suicide.

When we as parents lose sight of how our children treat others and aren’t holding our children accountable for how they do, what can we expect?

If you haven’t spoken to your child about this, might I suggest you do. I would also like to suggest you can call their school administrators and ask them if your child has ever been reported for bullying and what was the outcome if you aren’t aware. Ask their friends at football or soccer practice how your child treats other children. Ask other children that aren’t in your child’s friend circle how your child treats other children.

We all share the memes on social media against bullying, but what are we doing as parents that is proactive to prevent it?

My child had a chain around his neck at the end of the school year last year. Fortunately, I intervened before something dreadful happened. Your children are a huge part of the reason why, but are you even aware?

I ask that moving forward, in a society that has far more ways of tormenting someone than what was possible 20 years ago, let us all be proactive in letting our children know that bullying will not be tolerated, even if your child is the bully.

I beg all of you to teach your children there is always something positive in another person if they just take the time to look. My son is definitely unique, but equally he has extraordinary talents that are just mind-boggling and is also highly intelligent. He’s no different than your children in that he wants friends, he needs acceptance and he does not deserve the physical and verbal bullying he endures daily.

Before Rowan County buries another child, please help me help our children. This is not a battle that can be fought solo. I know because I have been trying for seven years without success. I need your help. Our children need your help. It’s never too late to start. I have told numerous kids that I have no problem if they don’t like my son. They can simply avoid him. There is never a reason to torment someone. Ever.

Mindy Pendergrass is a resident of Salisbury.

Comments

Coronavirus

People receiving first dose of COVID-19 vaccine grows by less than 1%

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Schools brings Skills Rowan competition back to its roots

Business

Weak jobs report spurs questions about big fed spending

News

Judge limits footage that family can see of deputy shooting in Elizabeth City

Sports

Woodland, two others share lead; Mickelson plays much worse but will still be around for weekend at Quail Hollow

Business

Former NHL player to open mobster themed bar in Raleigh

Nation/World

California population declines for first time

News

GOP leaders differ on bottom line for state spending

News

Police: Man killed in shootout with officers in Winston-Salem

Crime

Man charged after thieves rob would-be gun buyers of wallets, shoes

Crime

Blotter: Four added to sheriff’s most wanted list

High School

High school football: Some anxious moments, but Hornets win state title

Local

Photos: Salisbury High Hornets win big in 2AA championship game

Local

County manager outlines projections for the upcoming fiscal year budget, suggests uses for stimulus money

Business

Miami-based Browns Athletic Apparel opens second screen printing location in Salisbury

News

At funeral, fallen Watauga deputies remembered as ‘heroes’

Coronavirus

COVID-19 cluster identified at Granite Quarry Elementary

Coronavirus

More than half of North Carolinians have now taken at least one vaccine shot

Local

City hopes to cover expenses in 2021-22 budget with surplus revenue generated this year

Local

Fallen tree proves to be a blessing for local nonprofit Happy Roots

Local

Quotes of the week

Coronavirus

Health department drops quarantine time from 14 to 10 days

Crime

Blotter: More than $100,000 in property reported stolen from Old Beatty Ford Road site

Local

City fights invasive beetles by injecting trees with insecticide