Protectors are important.

Bullying was a significant problem for Will. When he was in elementary school, kids threw spitballs at him when there was a substitute teacher. He was pushed around the playground. This hit me especially hard because I was bullied as a child for several years. Relief came when my parents moved the family to another city. I was still shy and awkward, but at least I was ignored for the most part. That was better. But when my son was being bullied, it all came rushing back.

I called a meeting with his special education team, his teacher, and the principal. The social worker said, “Kids can be so cruel.” I said, “That’s a cop out. Kids can be kind, too.” I requested a chance to educate his classmates on the subject of autism. This ended the bullying for the most part. But one of Will’s protectors came to me one afternoon (our neighbor girl in the same class as Will) and told me that Will had been placed next to a girl who tormented him at every opportunity to the point of tears. The next morning I called his teacher and asked if this girl was sitting next to John. I told her what my neighbor girl had witnessed. I said, “Will should not have to sit next to her for even one more minute.” That girl was moved immediately.

Will also had some problems in Middle school with one bully in particular who thought it was fun to shove him against the lockers. Although Will was taller than any other boy in middle school, he could not defend himself. His teacher consultant told me that this other boy had been placed in another school. His classmates were his protectors; they reported it to the principal.

When Will joined Marching band, the Football players let it be known around the school that anyone who messed with Will, messed with them. God bless them.

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