Written by: Jeremy Baumhower
The top story on the local news last night, was about an incident that occurred at McCord Junior High School.
It happened on February 17th, during my daughter’s basketball game. I was sitting right there, next to the student section– little did I know what was about to take place.
A school-sponsored athletic event that was used as a vehicle to benefit Austin’s Book Club. It was a beautiful turnout of enthusiastic children wearing tie-dye and bringing books for Toledo Hospital’s Nicu Unit. It was McCord’s opportunity to give support and show love for one of their own.
The moment was ruined.
An eighth grade boy with developmental issues, was bullied in a horrendous way. This child has been allegedly targeted by the same students for years.
I will not disclose the alleged specifics — it will make this incident a national news story.
The School District has promised punishment matching the horrendous nature of the action, if found true. The Sylvania Police Department is investigating– people are rightfully outraged.
Besides the irony of bullying a young man while wearing a tie-dye shirt, symbolizing love and unity — there is another element of the story that has me heartbroken.
According to the victim’s mom, the alleged incident happened in front of a pack of 30 kids. It is believed that a female student came forward and made the school aware of the situation. What I don’t understand is why there wasn’t a line of thirty students waiting to tell the office? Why there wasn’t a single student who tried to stop the incident from happening?
If you were one of the dozens who witnessed this and did nothing– I am disappointed in you. What an ugly event you were a part of and allowed to happen.
Picking on those who are different than you because of skin color, how they dress or if they need assistance while at school– is the ugliest thing imaginable.
You know what are three things students have no control over– Their skin color, their parents wealth, and the circumstances of their birth.
I understand you are young, and are prone to make mistakes. I also understand the power of peer pressure and not wanting to appear different; if they can do this to him, what will they do to you? Sometimes you have to be brave and stand up for each another, especially when a friend is making a poor choice.
The beautiful thing about life is evolving; learning from moments, good or bad, and making the necessary changes.
I am fully aware that these two young men and this alleged vile incident does not reflect the love and acceptance that fills your hallways. I see little things every time I visit or am around the students. The littlest of acts of compassion speak the loudest, but so does silence.
When you get off the school bus on Friday morning, don’t be sad, quiet and act like McCord wasn’t on the news. Love extra loud tomorrow. Issue random compliments, hug your friends and the kids that used to be in your squad.
Don’t tear down a single student, build them up.
What you don’t understand is you are a part of a family. You never forget those you went to school with. You will always share these moments together. The person who is sitting next to you today, is shaping who you are tomorrow.
Life is already tough enough, it is better when you fill it with an abundance of love.
Love unapologetically and without fear of peers. One person at any given moment can affect change.
I’m disappointed, but I love you the same. I know you will do better. I believe in each of you.
Find a way to make this ugly become a pretty.