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Bullying and Discrimination Can Take Many Forms - Our Story

Imagine you have a son who, up until the age of 10, isn't very different than the rest of his classmates at school. Then, almost overnight, he develops a very noticeable lump in the center of his forehead. He feels so self conscious and embarrassed by the lump that he doesn't even want to attend school. But you buy him a nice cap that he can pull down on his forehead and make the lump much less noticeable.
You also explain that the lump is nothing to be ashamed of, as it is part of him, and he is a unique and wonderful person.

Over the years, the lump keeps growing and growing and, even though your son keeps it completely covered, it is still quite noticeable as it make the cap protrude in the front. Soon, he start coming home in tears, with stories of being harassed and mocked, not by other students, but by teachers. Teachers that accuse him of being proud of that lump and deliberately drawing attention to it. Principals that disrupt his class time, to call him into the office and give him the choice of wearing a second cap, even on the hottest days, or going into the Lost and Found and finding a more "appropriate" cap of unknown origin that hasn't been laundered and could be infested with God knows what, or calling his mother to bring him another cap or take him home. His argument that his current cap is no different than the what hundreds of other kids are wearing at that school falls upon deaf ears. There are even kids that are exposing most of their forehead smiling proudly on the main page of the schools official web site. The only thing that sets your son apart is the knot under his cap. The knot that, unless he has it surgically removed, will be with him the rest of his life. He is being harassed and made to feel ashamed of something that he cannot help. When he has followed all the rules and done every thing he could possibly do and that still isn't enough, what is left for him to do?

There is no boy with a lump on his head. This post is really about my 14 year old daughter, Selly...

Selly entered puberty around age 9. Her breasts began to develop soon after. She descends from a long line of large breasted women, so I was expecting this. I didn't expect that she would prove the be the most breast blessed of the line, so far. At any rate, elementary school was pretty uneventful. The first hint of trouble didn't arise until the 6th Grade trip to Washington D.C. when, on the bus trip home, the mother of Selly's friend, Courtney, decided it would be a good time to ask the little girl that had shared a room with Selly, if Selly stuffed her bra. I was shocked when I heard this. I hope she is reading this post. Perhaps seeing it in writing will show her how incredibly immature and stupid she is and she will seek the professional help that she so badly needs. Things only went downhill from there...

Middle school was a circus of Selly being sent to the office for being dressed inappropriately, even though she was dressed no different that other girls. Teachers pointing and whispering, in plain sight of her. Once, two teachers even got into an argument in the hallway, when one insisted loudly that Selly go straight to the office and call home for more clothes, and the other teacher (I could just kiss her!) stepped in and declared that Selly looked beautiful that day and her outfit was in no way inappropriate.

When the assignment was given to pick a person that you feel changed the world, even in a small way, and dress as that person then read a report about the person, Selly chose Marylin Monroe. She prepared for days and then was told there was no way she would be allowed to do her report on Marylin .(Gosh, I wonder why...) Annoyed, but used to their crap by now, Selly quickly settled on Gloria Estefan. She wore a beautiful black dress. It was form fitting but in no way was it revealing. She wasn't showing cleavage or thigh etc... As she started to walk up and give her report, the teacher pulled her to the side and told her angrily, and loudly enough for others to hear, "Selly, you have breasts! You cannot dress like that!" Another event that should have been a fond memory for my child, ruined for her. Another day that she was forced to wear a coat, while other kids spent their day wearing whatever the hell they wanted to.

I knew things would get much better when Selly started High School. Her older sister (with a smaller chest) headed out to school each day in cute dresses, tank tops, shorts, etc... I was wrong. No less than three times, she has been called to the assistant principals office and talked to like she is trash. Told that she is dressed inappropriately and can either cover up or go home, as she has been receiving complaints all day. My child ran the mile on a hot day in a hoodie. Guess what the offensive piece of clothing was? A T-shirt. Not a V-neck shirt. Not even a scoop neck shirt. Just a regular T-shirt.

So far, it seems that the dress code at this school is as follows

If you are the child of a staff member, if your parents are rich, or if we just prefer you over the other kids for whatever reason, feel free to dress any way you want

If you are extremely overweight, you dress as you choose, even if that means showing cleavage. and nothing will be said, as it might be taken as discrimination against your weight.

If you are a person of color, that being any color other than Caucasian, dress as you like because we are a predominately white school and would never, ever, want to be deemed as racist.

If you are openly gay or lesbian, dress as you like. We cope with you by acting as if you don't even exist at all, so of course we don't notice what you wear.

If you are a girl of average size all over,except for an extremely large chest, we will hound you, constantly remove you from class, and make you feel like you look like a slut. No matter what you are wearing.

So what does one do? When we have done everything in our power to comply with their dress code and are now to the point of sending our child to school in completely modest clothing, with completely covered breasts, and we still expect her to come home in tears. I can't help that some of this must stem from jealousy of her large chest, the rest I contribute to stupidity. What does one do when the bully at school is the school staff? The very people who are supposed to be protecting my child from those who would taunt her and ruin her self esteem.

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