A best selling author shared her story of bullying with students at Barnesville High School Tuesday.
Jodee Blanco has authored a series of books based on her own experiences in school, which she shares with students.
Blanco recalled a time when the popular kids were tormenting a boy with Down Syndrome.
“Digging their hands into a potted plant near the science lab. The next thing I know, you guys, they are whipping dirt into Roger’s eyes,” Blanco said.
She stood up to them, defending the boy.
But the bullies got even with her.
“I found rotten food and garbage all up and down my locker with a note. ‘Everybody hates you, Freak’.”
Another day, Blanco said they held her down and stuffed snow down her shirt and into her mouth.
Her parents forced her to go to the principal, and after that, the abuse ramped up.
They threw her favorite shoes in the toilet.
Notes saying “We Hate You” were posted everywhere, even written in her senior yearbook.
Yet she said bullying can start innocently enough….just out of boredom or not thinking.
“So you decide you’re just gonna post something hilarious about someone, either on Facebook or Pinterest or Instagram, or maybe you’ll Snapchat. Not that you’re a bully,” said Blanco.
But she says the victim doesn’t think it’s funny.
On some level, they buy into it.
She said it doesn’t have to be purposeful, to be devastating.
Ironically, a boy who bullied her approached her years later at a class reunion and apologized.
He said his own daughter tried to commit suicide because she was now being bullied.
She said bullying can ruin lives.
In the end, she gave the students an assignment.
She said to reach out to someone on the fringe.
Invite them to hang out after school, or sit at your lunch table.
She said it will make a lifetime of difference.