A bully’s eye is their weakest spot. Remember the fate of the ogre that bullied Sipoi’s village? Hold on to that thought…
Allan appeared withdrawn, clingy, and insecure; he cried a lot when his father walked away to attend to his grind and had on a few occasions urinated and even defecated on himself. He had earlier on been a self-confident six-year-old boy that attended St Mark’s nursery school in Westlands.
He was in his final year just he needed to do interviews necessary to join grade one in any of the middle-class private schools around Westlands. His father was the first to notice this change in character, and when he asked what had changed, he received the traditional answer from the child’s mother, “You are the problem. You have spoilt that boy to the extent that he is retrogressing developmentally. Huyo mtoto anahitaji kiboko.”
The father went to work not convinced with the answer while the child was pinched as he was forcibly taken to school by his mother. The child cried a little and then withdrew to a sullen state until they got to the school where he threw tantrums before he was involuntary dragged to class by the school administration.
His father arrived early that day to pick him from school and the boy’s mood changed as soon as he saw his father. Together they bought ice cream from a vendor at the school gate and ate joyfully as they walked down school lane towards the Sarit Center. It was while they were walking that the child found the courage to speak to the father about the problem that he was experiencing.
“Daddy, Jeremy has been bullying me at school”.
“What! How?” asked the dad.
“He beats me during break and he’s fond of taking my things. Some times he even breaks my pencil and crushes my colours under his feet,” Allan continued.
“And have you told the teacher what he is doing?” asked his father.
“No.” he replied
“Make sure that you tell the teacher tomorrow … Okay?” advised his father as they entered the Sarit Center and went direct to the Acadia to play some games before they went home.
The following morning the child was more excited to go to school, and as was customary he was going to be dropped by the mother. Before leaving work, Allan’s father reminded him what they agreed on and the boy excitedly confirmed that he remembered.
At school, Allan went directly to the teacher and reported what Jeremy had been doing, the teacher promised to address it. She was however offering only lip service as she actually did nothing and much to the disappointment of the child, the daily constitutional happened. That day when the father arrived, he found that once again the boy had soiled his pants. The father was infuriated to learn that the problem was not addressed and while apologizing to his son, he promised to take up the matter with the teacher the following morning.
The two comforted each other as they made their way home. The following morning, Allan and his father left the house together headed for school. Upon their arrival, his father went directly to the class teacher and introduced himself. Then he went on to report that a boy called Jeremy had been bullying his son and that the child had become deeply traumatised. Once again the teacher apologized for the happening and promised to address the matter. Unfortunately, she didn’t and the child suffered at the hands of the bully once again.
That was a Friday and Allan and his father went home contemplating what to do: “Daddy, you should come on Monday and show him Judo, Kung-fu, Karate and Taekwondo”.
“Yes, I think that could work,” answered his father, “but we don’t want to kill Jeremy, do we?”
“Nooo, we just want to teach him a lesson so that he stops bullying me” answered the boy.
“This weekend we shall think of how to address the whole situation, sure by Monday we shall have come up with something,” they both agreed as they got on their way home.
On Sunday, they got a break-through on how to address the situation. As Allan was being dropped in Sunday-school, the father saw teacher Nancy, one of the children’s bible teachers. Because they had arrived in church very early, they had a brief moment of chit-chat, where Allan’s father revealed to her what his son was going through at school. The teacher was very infuriated especially because she too had been a victim of bullying back in her schooling years.
“Follow me, I want to show you how to deal with the problem once and for all.” She quickly walked towards the children’s office as Allan’s father followed her briskly pacing. Allan had long gone to play with his church friends as service was yet to start. Teacher Nancy beckoned a girl skipping near her to go call Allan.
After a short while, the three of them were all at teacher Nancy’s office. She shared a story of how she had been bullied at school and why she was against bullying of all kinds.
“Now Allan, I want you to rehearse what I am telling you until you can do it as convincingly as possible, okay?” She said while sharpening a long Staedtler pencil. She made sure that it was pin-sharp and held it from the blunt end.
“Watch and listen to what I am doing and saying. When you go to school on Monday, wait until the class has just started and then you walk straight to the teacher holding this pencil like this,” showing him how to hold the pencil.
“Then you say to your teacher, while still prominently holding the pencil: Jeremy has been bullying me, and if he does it again (demonstrating the thrust) I am going to thrust this pencil in his eye”.
Teacher Nancy made Allan to rehearse the performance until it was perfect. Then she gave him the sharp pencil for his prop. Time quickly flew and soon it was Monday. Allan and his father kept the plan to themselves until it was Monday when he gave a clinical performance before the teacher. No sooner had he finished the act than the shaken school administration summoned both Allan’s father and Jeremy’s mother. Both of whom were in school in less than an hour.
The matter was reported as being very urgent requiring their immediate attention. The matter of the bullying was brought to the attention of Jeremy’s mother and how she was lucky the boy communicated his intention beforehand otherwise he would have lost an eye by then.
“Bullying is an issue that we take very seriously and we will not allow it in our institution,” a shook principal said.
By then the change in Jeremy’s mother’s face could be seen as she quickly turned on her son with a very thorough beating in the principal’s office.
From that day on, Allan never experienced bullying again.
We get bullied every day, by toxic friends who say mean stuff to us then cover everything up by saying “Kwani hujui jokes”. Sometimes, it’s even family; Heck! Study shows that 40% or thereabout of firstborns bully the rest of the other siblings. Systems could also bully its own people. So you see, bullying is everywhere. However, now we all know how to deal with bullies.
Sharpen that darn pencil!
PS; We didn’t have anything going up in here last week because I was away doing a guest post at the Backbenchas. Find the article here.