The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Stop bullying

Congregations urged to teach, model compassion

Ava, a bright ninth-grader, is ambitious with a sweet disposition. She also uses crutches. Ava moves with surprising agility, thanks to strong arm muscles and years of practice. Yet recently she wasn't getting off the school bus fast enough — or at least not fast enough for the boy behind her. He started pushing her — daily.

No one on the bus seemed to notice. No one tried to stop it. Ava's knees were bruised constantly and she was scared. Her grades started to slip and she wasn't sleeping well.

Bullying affects at least 1 in 5 teenagers, according to the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Bullying toward youth who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender occurs at an even higher rate — 90 percent, according to the Trevor Project.

shutterstockA USA Today article (June 13) pointed out what parents and youth know only too well: Bullying not only includes everything from simple taunts to brutal beatings, but technology has given predators access to their prey day and night and well beyond the schoolyard.

Every young person we know is likely a target of bullying, a perpetrator or a witness.

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February issue


Embracing diversity