Gotta love year book pictures!
Only the Seniors had color photos. The rest of us had a funky background.
When I was a sophmore in high school, I had an experience I have never forgotten. I can remember the exact spot it happened and what everything looked like. I was too traumatized to stand up for myself at the time, but I'll never forget the boy who stood up for me instead.
My high school was pretty small. We only had about 400 kids in it and most of us had grown up together. I LOVE my small town. It was a safe, perfect place to grow up in. But there was one hallway at the high school that I hated. It was a really short section that connected two other hallways, making a U shape. That short section couldn't be seen very well by the teachers, and that was where all the tough guys hung out.
I was pretty shy. I had my arms full of books as I hurried through the hallway to get to my next class. Then some guy (it's strange that I can't remember his face, when I can remember everything else), grabbed my rear end. Hard. I turned around, my eyes wide. I was stunned. My brain stopped working. I didn't know what to do. Nothing like that had ever happened to me before, (or since, thankfully). I was embarrassed, traumatized, and speechless. Time stopped for a moment and then I rushed down the hallway, trying to get away.
Then I heard a big crash. The hallway became quiet. And for the first time, I saw how everyday people can become heros in a moment.
The guy who grabbed me had been thrown up against the lockers and was pinned there by a senior named Brady. The guy couldn't move. Brady was right in his face, holding on to him as he yelled, so everyone could hear, "Don't you EVER do that again!"
Brady was my hero.
He looked at me, trying to decide if I was ok. I couldn't say anything, not even a "thank you". My brain still wouldn't work. I turned around and walked away. Everyone went back to whatever it was that they were doing before and the noise started again.
I didn't know Brady very well. We lived on same street and shared a bus route, but we moved in different circles. Besides, he was a senior, while I was a sophomore. He didn't have any reason to help me, other than he saw something wrong and he decided to fix it. He was a voice for me when I couldn't find my own, and I will never forget what he did for me that day.
My experience really wasn't that terrible, compared to what too many others have gone through. But I think the louder we are, the more action we take, the more we hold people accountable for their actions--we decrease the chance of abuse of any kind.
I hope my boys will be like Brady. I hope my daughter will be like him, too. And myself. I hope we will always find our voices when something wrong happens--to anyone. I hope we won't be disappointed if people don't say thank you, but that we will understand that they will find their voice eventually. Thanks, Brady. The world needs more heros like you.
Family Discussion Guide
- Sometimes it's hard for people to stand up for themselves. Why?
- Have you seen people bullied or mistreated?
-How can you help?
- How can you and your friends use positive peer pressure to reach out to those who are mistreated or to convince those who are mean to stop?
Community Question: Do you have a hero from school?
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