In every grade school class there is that one girl who develops way ahead of the pack. She's the envy of some, the nightmare of others, and an easy target for bullies. And for one sixth grade girl in Missouri, the bullying got really out of control when it started coming from her school administrators who told the 13-year-old to get a breast reduction!
Well, the school got one thing right -- something needs to be done about the boobs. And by that I mean the administrators who would dare tell a child that their body is the problem.
What's next? Telling the overweight girl that she needs to take up an eating disorder so people will leave her alone? Or maybe the schools will start requiring plastic surgery for the kid with the port wine stain?
Or, you know, we could just tell the bullies where to shove it.
Sigh. I wish I could re-write this story for this poor girl, that school administrators would have done their jobs and told the kids picking on her breasts to grow up.
But for some reason this "blame the victim" mentality seems to be entrenched in schools all across this country. It's not just the boobs in the Riverview Gardens School District. A mom recently related that her son was being called a gay slur by his classmates. The school's response? They told her to cut her son's hair.
This is just what the bullies want -- they want to make life harder for their victims, and when districts turn on the kids who are being wronged, they're playing right into their hands. This poor girl is simply growing. She can't help that. But in telling her to get a breast reduction, the school is trying to make science and nature the bad guy here instead of the kids who need to learn some compassion.
Is it any wonder kids are bullies? We still have adults who work with kids and who find it acceptable to treat kids as if their naturally developing bodies are a problem. Until the adults change, this is not going to stop!
Have you dealt with a "blame the victim" issue in your district? What happened?
by GaleJJanuary 20 at 12:12 AM
Our priorities seem to be wrong in so many ways, including this situation. We should be teaching our children to love themselves and each other and to not be distracted by physical appearance at all. And while I know and understand that adolescents don't always want to stand out or be noticed it should be our mission that each and every one is noticed for the qualities of their intellects, their special talents, their passions, the depths of their hearts, and that they are unique and precious and perfect just as they are.
NOTE: I find this story to be disheartening in so many ways and I feel I must say something about the some of the replies. I appreciate that so many of you feel angry about this story but the idea that an appropriate response is some kind of violence just reinforces the very kind of negative thinking of which the bullies are guilty. We must bring positive pressure against those that are bullies and adults like this who don't deserve to be in charge of our children and their education.
by becc41January 20 at 12:14 AM
I'm commenting to find this again later....
I'd like to know more details when it comes out
My 9 yr old daughter has a port wine stain. Plastic surgery won't make it go away. 29 laser surgeries just to lighten it up, but it starts darkening back up a few months later. The school should be ashamed of themselves. They are supposed to protect her, not encourage the bullies. I hope the parents do something drastic to make an example out of this school.
by MichelleK-WJanuary 20 at 1:00 AM
Adults involved in school administration and teaching should not be the bullies or encourage the bullies. They should deal with the bullies and make sure the kids being bullied aren't traumatized for life. They should act with compassion and professionalism.
by RichlyMiddleJanuary 20 at 1:26 AM
This is really insane. I hop eth administrator was fired. I don't understand the blaming the victim mentality. It not only happens in the US, it happens in the United Kingdom too. Educators are insane with the power of we know best yet our children are graduating lower and lower and unprepared for real life.
January 20 at 1:38 AM
I know when I was in school there was a girl who had developed faster and more than the average and she was hassled all the time. Girls didn't like her much and guys were always bumping her. There is no call for that and the school administrators are the boobs that should go, not the ones on the girl. So they blame her because she is growing normally. Unless the weight is bothering her back, she certainly doesn't need a boob reduction. Isn't that sexual harassment by the administrators when they ignore the abuse and tell her it is her fault and she needs a boob reduction? Something is terribly wrong at that school district.
by AnonymousJanuary 20 at 1:39 AMIt wouldn't surprise me if it is true. I have larger than average breast (to put it nicely). I was 16 but I had a vice pricipal suggest one for me. She would pick on me if I wore any kind of v-neck to school. She told me it was because of the size of my breast and that I should look into getting them reduced. However, I should add we had problems over me not doing some work outs in gym because I didn't want a bruised chin. -_- (still can't do jumping jacks lol).
Where's the rest of the story about the breast reduction comment? I find it odd that an administrator would say such a thing. I've worked in 4 different schools. I have never met an administrator who would say such a thing. I am wondering what the context was of the comment, if it was made at all. This post leaves a lot of details out. Obviously I don't think the child should be told to get surgery to fix a bullying issue. No one does! Which is why I am wondering what really happened. Even the article (link) said the school district was "looking into it". So, we don't really know what happened yet.
I can't even imagine they were serious. It actually seems as if they were TRYING to be cruel to the girl....what rational adult thinks that breast reduction is a real option for a sixth grader? It's really as if they were saying "Stop whining. You have big breasts, of course you're going to be singled out and harrassed for it. Better get used to it, or get a breast reduction. Your choice." Seriously, you either have to believe that they were being intentionally cruel, or that they are really, really stupid. As in, not really able to function on a day to day basis stupid. These people are supposed to be safe-guarding our children. I wouldn't trust them a goldfish I didn't like.
by angeltink7January 20 at 2:41 AM
This is disgusting but not surprising because sadly that is the way our school district handles things. In middle school they actually had a speaker come in and say how bullied kids make themselves into a bully magnet making it their own fault. In high school they would try and convince the bullied to deal with it because if they talked to the bully it would get worse. Some school administration just want to collect that big paycheck and don't want to do their job.