School Buddies not Bullies

Back in the day when girls wore dresses to school each day, my homemade dresses with dangling sashes tied in a neat bow were a tantalizing lure for the grade school bully. I became terrified of recess. Staying inside wasn’t an option. Lined up and sent outdoors every morning, noon, and mid-afternoon was my elementary fate.

Hovering around the playground teacher helped some, but over the next several school years, I’d come home with ripped sashes and skinned knees. I could never outrun the faster, stronger legs of the older boy. Other kids came back from recess unscathed. Not me. My school life was divided between the security of the classroom and the nightmare at recess.

Schools across America are welcoming young kids for another year. Some will face tough playground challenges—which can easily extend into hallways, lunchrooms, and bus rides. 

Bullying is wrong, but sometimes kids are afraid to tell. I’ve never forgotten the hissing threats as my bully pushed me to the ground.

Parents can encourage their kids to be a friend. Often just one friend can make the difference to a frightened or shy child. Friends helped me gain confidence and gave me someone by my side.

Now there is an easy way for kids to help.  It’s called the Buddy Bench. At recess kids who need a friend or want someone to play with can sit on the Buddy Bench.  In the schools that have Buddy Benches, students are encouraged to be the friend that child needs.

When kids learn to reach out to those who are struggling, it's a playground lesson that will last a lifetime. I still remember the kids who came to my rescue so long ago. They helped change my little world in ways I'll be forever thankful. 

For more information on Buddy Benches, click here.

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