All of these things are true. I’m not making these up for people to feel bad for me. I just want you to know what has been happening to me. I don’t feel safe at school.
Allie and Rachel and sometimes Trina punch me, hit me and kick me, even after I tell them to stop. When I say stop, they find it as a joke. They laugh with each other after they do that to me.
One time when Allie really hurt me, I had to do a friendly punch to get her to stop. I felt bad about that friendly punch. I’m not a hurter or a puncher.
Two times Allie stabbed me very hard with her red pen and it left marks on me. It hurt me. She did it with the cap on. She did it so hard that it felt like the cap was off. I put my cap on my pen and gave her a little tap trying to show her that I could stand up for myself a little bit, but then I was afraid she would stab me even harder, and she did. So I stopped it.
When we sit at lunch, Allie forces me to move over if she wants to sit where I’m sitting. She forces me by pushing me.
Allie makes fun of me for going to speech. She yells out multiple times “C.J. goes to speech!” That makes me feel very sad and embarrassed.
Last week, Rachel took my sandwich. I tried to get it back from her, but she ripped it apart and made it to shreds even though I was trying to stop her. That made me feel sad, a little bit embarrassed and very hungry. When my mom picked me up from school that day I was so hungry.
When I walk around the classroom, I always have to take the long way because if I walk behind Rachel she finds a way to trip me no matter what. She pushes her chair out to block me or she purposely makes me trip and stumble into other people. I should be able to walk around the classroom safely just like everyone else.
Allie told me she didn’t want to hang out with me as much because I’m gay and her family doesn’t hang out with gay people so she doesn’t hang out with gay people. She said people told her to stop hanging out with me if she wants to be popular. A few days after she said that, I talked to her about it and she said she was joking. I told her you don’t joke about that kind of stuff. It made me feel very sad, but she just ignored me. Yesterday I talked to her about it again and she said she never said that about me being gay. But she did! I heard it with my own ears!
It’s hard to see Allie and her mom at school every day because I know they don’t accept gay people so they don’t accept me. I know what’s going through their minds about me and LGBTQ people. I’m afraid her mom is going to say something to me.
For three Fridays, Allie pushed my violin out of my hands and threw my violin folders in the air and all of my papers went flying everywhere and people stepped on them. That’s not nice. And it was embarrassing.
Rachel said that nobody notices when I’m absent or not at school. That makes me feel sad and like I’m invisible and like nobody really cares about me at school except for you and Principal Alice.
When I told Allie I was going to miss two days of school she said, “Yes! Finally!” That made me very sad and like I couldn’t trust anyone anymore because my own so-called friend didn’t want me around.
Yesterday Allie and Trina wouldn’t let me walk near them and they ran away from me.
This has been my second to the worst month in my life. The worst month was when my grandma died. And this is my birthday month! It should be a happy month! I am trying to make new friends, but it’s very, very hard.
I don’t feel safe at school like I should feel. Our school is supposed to be a school where people are kind, but I don’t feel safe. I told Allie that she has made me dread going to school every day. She made fun of me for saying it because I looked like I was about to cry. And I was.
I always feel very scared going to school every day. I shouldn’t feel that way about going to school, I should feel happy and safe. It’s making me so scared. I feel very sick and overwhelmed and scared from all this.
I know that other kids see Allie, Rachel and Trina treating me the way they treat me. I don’t want other kids to think they can bully anyone. It’s not setting a good example.
Every school year I go into my new class worried that there will be a bully in my class. I never thought it would be my friends.
Thank you for listening. I’m glad you’re my teacher.
C.J. sent that letter to his teacher when he’d had enough of being bullied at school.
He asked me to type while he dictated. He wiped tears away as he talked. He wouldn’t make eye contact with me. As he detailed incidents that he’d never told me about, I tried to just type. Not act surprised. Not cry. Not fly into a rage.
Up until then, C.J. tried to handle (and ignore) the bullying on his own. When it was too much to keep to himself, he told me bits and pieces and made me promise not to tell the school or contact the parents of his bullies.
It quickly got to be too much for me, too. I couldn’t keep my promise. I had to report it to his teacher. The morning after I did, she asked C.J. if he would write down everything that had happened to him.
The words spilled out of him that afternoon and the next day the teacher and principal launched an investigation. It was a thorough one – which means that, to us, it felt like it dragged on forever.
We learned that, while C.J. was more emotionally hurt by the actions of Allie, he was more physically hurt by the actions of Rachel. Why did he feel like Allie was being so mean to him, but didn’t mention Rachel much when he first started talking about the bullying? Because Allie’s actions left him feeling betrayed. She had been his best friend and biggest protector, until she turned on him. He never had the emotional connection with Rachel, so when she was mean to him, to a certain extent, he attributed it to her just being a jerk and a not-nice person. Rachel’s actions didn’t feel like a personal attack; Allie’s actions did.
We’re working to help C.J. understand the complicated feelings that muddied his current situation, ways to stand up for himself in the future and what it means to be a good (and bad) friend.
The school’s case is closed for now. Consequences have been issued, behavior expectations have been emphasized and Allie and Rachel know what the next steps will be if they bully C.J. again.
C.J. is starting to feel safer school, but I’m not sure he’ll ever feel as safe as he once did. There are lingering effects that I see. I worry I’ll see them forever. He surely won’t be the same boy at the end of fifth grade that he was at the start of fifth grade. I didn’t expect him to be exactly the same, but I didn’t expect him to be a dimmer version of himself.
It really touches my heart
Pingback: One Mom | Raising My Rainbow
Pingback: Sephora Saved My Son | Raising My Rainbow
Dammit, why do I read stuff that I know will trigger me.
Well now I’ve read it, and I’m upset. And the only thing I feel I can do to make myself feel better is to try and make CJ feel better. So the following message is for CJ. It’s things I wish someone had told me when I was his age. But given that I’m basically writing this to make myself feel better, if you – his mother – think it won’t help him, please just ignore it.
You don’t know me, but I know a little bit about you, because I read your Mom’s blog. I’m very different to you: I’m European, gender-conforming, and I’m also 32, which to you must sound ANCIENT. We do have one thing in common, though: both of us are a little bit different to most other people, and both of us have been bullied at school because of it.
You’re different because you’re gender nonconforming. I’m different because I have Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD. You can ask your parents to help you find out more about that if you’re interested (the kind of ASD I have is also known as Asperger’s Syndrome), but in short that means I have trouble “reading” people and figuring out what I’m supposed to say to keep a conversation going, among other things.
On top of this, I grew up in a kind of crappy neighbourhood. There was a lot of bullying at the school I went to, and the teachers mostly just ignored it. When I complained, they told me to ignore it as well. It’s kind of hard to ignore someone who’s stealing your things, or yelling death threats across the street at you, or punching you in the arm. It’s impossible to ignore someone who you thought was your friend, suddenly turning on you – and turning the whole class against you at the same time. My parents told me I should try to defend myself, but like you, I wasn’t a fighter. I never fought back. Sometimes I wish I had, I wish I’d just flown into a rage and not cared how much I might get hurt, or how much trouble I’d get into, just to teach them a lesson and make sure they never bothered me again. But I don’t think that would have worked. There were several of them, and only one of me, and I was small and skinny, and they *liked* fighting. They’d probably have just enjoyed the extra challenge and started again the next day.
So that’s the first thing: don’t beat yourself up for not being able to resolve this on your own. The bullies are the ones in the wrong, not you. You tried the best you could. At some point, you gotta ask for help. Sometimes – this is for your parents, in case the school goes back on their word – sometimes you have to demand it.
The second thing is: never stop being who you are – gender nonconforming, gay, whatever – to please other people. I wish someone had told me this when I was a kid, and I’m glad you have family around you who are supportive – and knowledgeable – of LGBT+ issues. Nobody knew what Asperger’s Syndrome was when I was a kid. I found out I had it three months ago. In this you have a huge advantage: you know who you are, you have an idea of who you want to become. There may come a time in your life when you’ll have to disguise who you are for your own safety and peace of mind, but please, please, always remember that you are not the problem: the environment you’re in, which demands you conform to some daft, old-fashioned idea of “normal”, that’s the problem. Never make the mistake of thinking the mask is who you really are. It’s just there to protect you. And that’s fine.
Finally, a third thing: try not to become like them. This might sound obvious, but it’s difficult. It can happen without you realising it: you get used to being bullied, or laughed at, or looked at, and you create ways to defend yourself. It’s like you’re building walls around yourself to keep the bullies out. You can end up pretending you don’t care whether you have friends or not, or pretending not to care when you see someone else being bullied, or even becoming mean yourself and calling it “sassy”. You’re obviously a kind person. Don’t lose that kindness to their meanness. I did for a while, and I regret it. Keep your sense of justice. Just because everyone else is acting like something is normal and acceptable, doesn’t mean it is. But then I guess you know that already.
Be strong, but not all the time. Nobody can be strong all the time. Especially not kids. Never be afraid to ask for help, and if you don’t get it, ask someone else until you do. Make them listen. You deserve to be listened to. You deserve to be happy and not afraid. It’s your basic human right.
I wish I could take away all the sadness you have been feeling about this mistreatement. It’s so difficult to understand why anyone would be so unkind to anyone like this and especially to you. I know it’s got to be hard to have any of this happen and I’m betting it’s really hard to have to keep seeing these unkind kids at school. While you and your team (because you really do have a whole team, don’t you!) concentrate on supercharging your love, courage, & power together, I hope when you have a quiet moment to pause you will remember there are even more wonderful people out here in the larger world who will love and cherish your friendship when we meet you. Keep on going, it will get better and better.
Sara (mother, library worker, church secretary, & fan of CJ & family)
I almost started crying reading this. This whole thing is so awful. This makes me sad and angry all at once.
C.J. is awesome. Nobody deserves what happened to him. Especially not kids. I was bullied throughout my entire school years, physically assaulted more times than I could count. I also experienced verbal bullying too, been called every derogatory name in the book and then some. However, I never experienced a friend just turning on me out of nowhere. I can’t imagine how awful C.J. must feel right now. I also don’t know what could possibly compel a kid to do that to another kid. I just don’t get it.
Oh my gosh CJ, I am so very sorry to hear that you have been mistreated by people who had once been your friends. But please try hard to remember – you are not at fault. And you, sweet CJ, are not alone. You have a wonderful, warm and loving family. And you will have loyal, loving friends again. As you get just a little bit older, you will meet many, many more people and you will find your place CJ. I know this because I too am part of the LGBTQ community. I am a 51 year old gay woman who is married to my best friend (another gay woman) and we have three precious children,
Our community is a wonderful community CJ and you will be loved and embraced by us. ‘
Life, however, will likely not be easy for you CJ. It rarely is for those of us who stand out because of our specialness. And you, CJ, are more precious than most.
I hope that your pain is lessening and I hope that you are starting to see that this awfulness that you feel will fade.
You are so very sweet, and so very precious CJ. Most of all, you matter and this world is a better place because you are in it. And CJ, I mean that from the bottom of my very gay heart!
Valarie in Raleigh NC
My heart brakes for CJ reading this. How awful!
As someone who fully experienced homophobic bullying growing up, it is horrific. I sincerely hope this school is working on this, as it is heartbreaking that children can exhibit such hatred in 2018. Almost every LGBTQ+ person has experienced bullying, but with support and therapy (and punishment for such homophobia), we become emotionally strong glamazons with an amazing capacity for empathy. Your child’s bravery and willingness to be so authentic (with an articulation about LGBTQ+ identities far beyond their age) is incredible, and I know C.J. will go on to accomplish so much. But it is possible to have that traumatic experience and still lead a beautiful, exciting life (I can definitely speak from personal experience. I’m currently in college and it is so gay and wonderful). I have so much faith in C.J.
Tell CJ that he is amazing a shouldn’t like jerk like those girls hurt him! Like I say to myself “why should I pay attention to people that one don’t see the awesome in me!”
CJ, you are amazing. My 8 year old son is very much like you. We have spent Spring Break making slime and doing make overs. Life will get better. I tell him that all the time too. Unfortunately, in order to get to the good, sometimes we must wade through the garbage. As a 7th grade teacher I can tell you that the bullying you are seeing right now will most likely go away when you go to middle school. That doesn’t make it easier to finish up this year, but life will get better. You will find your tribe, the group of friends who will not only accept you, but celebrate you. There will always be jerks in life, but you are better than them. Hopefully your school will have a GSA, and if not, start one. Find a teacher or staff member you trust, and ask for their help. I run the GSA at my school, and it’s my favorite part of my work week. The kids who show up share everything, we talk, we laugh, we cry, we have chair races in the hall, and we are family. I hope that you find your group like we have. You deserve it. You deserve not only to be safe, but to be happy and celebrated. Sending hope and hugs. ~Melissa
For me the bulling got much worse in middle school just being a shy gay kid. For me it was pure hell and the staff was no help either. That was back in the 80s so it might be better now.
My school has GSA!!!
This is one of the most heartbreaking things I have read. The world is such a cruel place at times
Dear Allie and Rachael’s Parents,
Ya, I know you are reading this. I try really hard not to judge other parents… because we have hard jobs. But it is a truly the most important job in the world. And you are failing. Who am I to judge? Oh, I’ve just worked with kids my entire life and have multiple degrees. Let me reiterate. You are failing at your jobs.
Respect needs to be taught. You don’t have to agree with this family on this issue, but you do have to respect them as people and parents who are doing their best for their child. And you have to teach your kids this respect as well. C.J. has a right to exist… and to be himself. He has the right not to be molested by your children. If they are done with socializing with him, teach them how to do this with grace. Good god, teach them something beyond bullying! And if you are thinking that you didn’t know this was happening? Bullshit. Then you are either lazy or stupid.
Shame on you
I agree with Anne 100%
Shame on those parents that allow and/or teach their children to be bullies!
This story made me sad. As a father to two small boys, it would devastate me to hear either of my sons suffer through this on a daily basis. More needs to be done about school bullying–school should be one of the last places a child should feel insecure or afraid. Bullying is what creates division; division is what creates outcasts…people who are outcasts usually make themselves heard in other, deadlier ways.
Adam Sell, I don’t interpret CJ’s letter that way – I don’t read it as him discussing his own orientation at all, just stating what Allie says.
For all of those who love someone who is different, we feel for CJ. Please give him a great big hug for us. He and this bog is part of the reason it is getting better. He is so strong and an amazing person!!!
These girls are just horrible people! Tell your child they are just a bunch of loveless people who are jealous of how wonderful he is.
Hello, I think I recall reading that your family resides in Orange County. I was wondering if you know about the candidates running for Orange County Board of Education and their stances on issues that impact your son.
I heard one of the candidates speak at an event last week and it destroyed me to learn that her opponent is a “pray the gay away” conservative who wants to eliminate funding the County provides for programs that help LGBTQ students!
County Board of Education elections and candidates don’t get much attention, but as adults if we don’t go out and vote we will be allowing these BIGOTS to win. Please consider using your platform to draw attention to these candidates.
It’s been quite a few years since I was a sensitive fifth grade boy, dealing with being “different” and wondering who I could trust. And I did not have C.J.’s amazing sense of self and clarity as to how I was supposed to be treated. It was a different time.
I feel sad for Allie, because as C.J.’s long time friend and protector she knows what she is turning her back on… and I have to wonder about the external pressures and the weakness of character that could bring her to such a choice. Experience and years have given me perspective on the power of forgiveness. Our bullies are often in a darker place than we are.
Maybe that’s a lot for a boy his age to embrace, but C.J. has shown himself to be a force of empathy. Maybe Allie doesn’t deserve his forgiveness. But it’s not really about her… not really. In recognizing that weakness in others and finding a path to forgiveness – we are also taking away their power over us and perhaps finding the strength in ourselves to move on. (And if the bully happens to be thrown off and angered by our forgiveness and at having their power taken away… well that’s just a lovely bonus.)
Allie is living proof girls go through their Lord of the Flies stage too. After last week’s post I really wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt that she was just being raised by horrible people and she was being taught this shit, but after reading this it sounds like being shitty might be in her DNA. Hope she is still reading this. Hang in there CJ. A bunch of grown ups all over the world online rooting for you doesn’t replace school friends but we are here, we are on your side, there are way more of us than there are of them.
Welcome to the “Threshold of Middle School”.
I’ve often wondered exactly WHY Allie decided that CJ was no longer “worthy” of her friendship (?).
Probably that’s why he’s so devastated by this experience.
I just don’t buy this “…. my parents told me not to …” shtick . I believe she may be using her parents as a scapegoat to remove herself as the decision maker. There’s nothing in her wording that would indicate she would rather still be his friend. Quite the contrary, she gloats in it.
Maybe it was Rachel and Trina (and maybe others) who ganged up on her to throw CJ “under the bus”, or else they wouldn’t be her friends – leaving open the possibility of HER being bullied, poked and prodded.
CJ may have lost a (so-called) friend; but Allie wound up losing her honor and his trust.
I am literally heartbroken reading this. My heart goes out to you and CJ. Please let him know that he has friends all over and that we love him and all of his fabulousness!! My transgender granddaughter is CJ”s age and I hold my breath everyday until she comes home and tells me she had a good day. Sending light and love to your wonderful family!
I went through this in my life too and I was praying it would never happen to CJ. I was hoping by now people would be more enlightened, but it seems in the last year or so the hatred of us who are different has gotten out of hand. Still, parents should keep their prejudices away from their children. You all are in my prayers.
I’m so sorry C.J. is experiencing this. It takes so much courage to speak up when you’re being targeted like this so I hope he knows he is being very brave, and a wonderful role model to other children going through the same thing. If this was happening to my son, I would want him to understand that this could happen to anyone over anything that other children identified as being “different”, even if what’s “different” about them isn’t at all bad or even uncommon. It can be gender expression, sexual orientation, race, height, weight, name, hobbies, accent, hair texture…literally anything that makes one kid stand out from the others. Even if it’s just a little bit. Hell, I even knew a girl who blended in very well with the rest of her peers. There was nothing remarkable about her, good or bad. But still, she was ruthlessly bullied because her MOM was obese. Her mom. That just really showed how the bullying is rarely even about the child. It’s just a cruel game that anyone can end up as the target of. C.J. is wonderful and deserving of nothing but respect and acceptance from his peers. At some point the tables turn and the “different” kids go from being bullied for not being like everyone else, to being seen as cool and interesting because they aren’t like everyone else. Just got to hang in there.
Tell CJ that he has a large group here I. W Missouri cheering for him. Allie has been brainwashed by her parents who are misguided. Let him know that there are large numbers of churches who disagree with her parents. Hugs to all of you for baring your souls.
I hate that I’m finally reading reading this chapter in his life. I know exactly what he is dealing with because I have e an 8th grade son Who has already went thru this situation. I have been following your post and since my son is older It was if I was reading about my own son and his past adventures. Pre teens and early teens are so mean. I’m sorry is all I can say and get ready for a battle.
We are what we build ourselves to be. We don’t need to fit in. Why? Because we are perfect just the way we are. I’ll be your best friend .
Please check out my page. Im 12 a social odd ball with autism.. been bullied even by teachers I’m home schooled now. God made us just the way he wants us
The world would be a boring place if we was the same.
I even had a teacher slam me into a wall once thats when my mom yanked me from school. Because i step on his shoe by accident he said nasty boys like me need to be put in our place. My friends are adults my mom, my Doctor, my big brother.
I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes after reading this. I remember what it’s like to be bullied and to be afraid at school. I remember being lonely on the playground. I’m so sorry CJ is going through such a rough time. Please let him know that I’m pulling for him.
Supportive thoughts! Sending supportive sparkly thoughts.
This was very hard to read what he wrote and many of the comments posted as well. I do feel his pain as i have experienced many of the things he is experiencing now. We all survived and CJ will too. He is a awesome kid with strong support. I know I down own this but i want to give this song to CJ anyways and to all of us who are unique in our own special way.
its ‘This is Me’ from the Greatest Showman on Earth, I think this is the best version of this song
I felt inspired by this song as well and was going to share it for CJ thanks for doing it! Great compasionate minds think alike!
Poor CJ. I hate that this is happening to him. Children are cruel. I agree with another poster who said that kids who are bullies will find something to bully about. Sadly, because he is gender nonconforming, CJ makes and easy target, but it could as easily be someone else because they’re a “nerd” or whatever.
I’m glad that the teachers and the principal took it seriously.
I also agree with the poster who said that the middle school years SUCK. They really do.
Let CJ know that there are lots of people out here on the interwebs that are rooting for him!
Unfortunatley CJ is coming into the middle school years and after raising six children I believe they were the worst when it came to drama and bullying. HS leveled out and one of my youngest daughter’s best friends is gay. Everyone knows he is and nobody cares.
When my youngest was bullied she tried to ignore it but I finally made her realize that trying to ignore them gives them the green light to continue. We had an amazing support staff at the school and they worked diligently until the bullying stopped. Kids that are bullied are so afraid if they say something it is going to make it worse but CJ is already being tormented so bad and it makes me sad too.
You guys hang in there and let CJ know that he inspires me!!
Thank you for sharing this. There is a lot of love and wonderful in this community. My heart goes out to you and your child. There is so much love and kindness in this world and it will find the good people and once it does, it’s a pretty amazing thing. ❤
I’m hungry right now, so my comments are relating to when CJ’s sandwich was ruined. How on earth did someone (a teacher) NOT notice what was going on? I agree with others that 5th grade is the start of the drama, so now is the time to put on your armor and be ready for battle.
THE WORLD NEEDS:-
LOTS MORE: Boys and children like C.J. who are kind, compassionate, loving, considerate, creative, fun and fabulous in every way. They make the world a much better place for everyone and everything.
ZERO BULLIES: We don’t need you and we don’t want you. You make the world a worst place to be for everyone, including yourselves.
Thanks for sharing. We have had similar experiences and it helps to know we aren’t the only ones. My son left the school system after grade 3 and also left his dance studio last year. The relational agression hurts my son the most and his reaction was the same as CJ’s. He couldn’t understand why a girl who had previously been nice to him would systematically target him. She was really good it too. The adults in the situation just didn’t have the capacity to understand the concept of social emotional wellness. They prefer to view my son as a snowflake.
I hope CJ can realize that, while all this meanness may outwardly be about him being gay, that at the same time it is not exactly that. I’ve seen girls (particularly at the same age) turn on other girls in exactly the same way, just “because” they decided to. And when it happens, it can be just as awful as what CJ has experienced. (I have less experience of boys at this age… partly because at CJs age I talked my teacher into letting me stay in and read during recess, etc. In other words, I hid.) What Allie has chosen to let herself become… for whatever reason… is so sad, and maybe she’ll realize that at some point. But for now I hope and pray that CJ will be safe, and know that he is fabulous, and find the sparkle-place again real soon… with a new depth of resilience. Love to you all!
I just realised how much this bullying of CJ deeply affects all us, including his supporters. The bullies power and influence is very real and very dangerous. I guess that’s why they do it and they like making someone else’s life a misery. Reading about the attacks against CJ creates anxiety, distress and an increased heart rate for what he is enduring. We feel his pain because many of us were bullied at school. So many of us want to comfort and assure CJ, who we love and respect very much, that things will get better. The problem is, the getting away from bullies is often far into the future which is no help to CJ right now. In Lori’s previous post I recall her saying that CJ and his family had got used to the stares, sniggers and comments from strangers. That in itself is bullying and completely unacceptable. Bullying is such a primitive, animalistic form of behaviour. I’m thankful that many of us have no desire to bully anyone. How do we stop bullies wanting to bully and how do we resolve all of the effects of being bullied?
1. We take seriously the impact bullying has on human beings – more often than not people dismiss this impact. Many parents, never mind teachers and school institutions fail to take it seriously and therefore do nothing about it. Thankfully CJ’s family is the best and his school is listening. But surely his teacher has seen him being bullied and not done anything about it.
2. How do we eradicate bullying? – mariner2mother says in her post above that empathy training worked well at her school. Also bullying workshops have a good impact. Bullying shouldn’t be inevitable. We are finally seeing lots of people working towards eradicating it in schools. In the UK we have BullyingUK and many other similar websites that offer advice and support. Of course a big problem is that your president and his staff are bullies which gives power to bullies everywhere. When some schools reneged on their transgender protections this gave the green light to bullying that had previously been silent.
3. How do we resolve the effects of bullying? – Obviously love, especially from our family is the first step. Counselling and therapy help to get our feelings out in the open. Some alternative therapies are said to repair psychological damage, I must try some out myself. I too have been badly damaged although you wouldn’t guess if you met me. Perhaps we also need to learn how to nullify the bullies power. Are there workshops that teach this. The old ways of dealing with bullies were only effective if you were good at fighting. Not everyone is and anywy, how do you fight a group of people? Some would say fighting back is inappropriate but every person has the legal right to defend themselves.
The only way is to eradicate bullying at source. Respect everyone regardless of their perceived difference with empathy, compassion and love.
Wishing you all the very best always xxxx
I’m so sorry CJ I wish I could tell you in person.
The biggest thing to try and keep in mind is this: while it feels personal because it is against you and happening to you the truth is it is NOT personal. It is all because of the garbage inside of them that is making them choose to do and say these things. They are mean and unhappy because of stuff in their own head put there by their family or each other. They don’t like themselves and are scared inside and aren’t smart enough to realize it.
It is not your fault.
You are amazing and I admire you and you will do great things. Sending you love and support!
You are awesome and I don’t think I admire anyone quite as much as you. Who knew someone thirty years my junior would end up being a role-model for me? No part of what has happened is acceptable, but I promise you it gets better. Know that people around the world love you and think you’re important and perfect just exactly as you are.
David (aged 41, queer as you like)
I wish you’d been my mum. You’re doing a fabulous job.
I’m so sorry CJ was betrayed by his friends. I’m a 73yo gay man, accepted by family and friends, out professionally and moderately successful in life. Even now, the hurt I felt from childhood bullying is still remembered. BUT, I also remember a teacher who stood up for me, even to my parents. So the hurt stays, but so will the effects of your support and his teacher’s support. All best…
This is the hardest thing I’ve read- I’ve always thought you were amazing and C.J. was a truly wonderful child. This breaks my heart and makes me actually cry- and extremely angry for C.J.
One day I hope no child has to go through this. Trailblazers like C.J. Have it do hard.
Love so much love your way. X
This is very difficult to read. One has to empathize. I really wish there were good and permanent solutions but not in my lifetime. Hopefully in CJ’s. Eventually he will find those he is comfortable with and can trust fully. But how does one explain to a child? He’s so lucky to have his family.
You are loved. You are brave. You are fabulous. Bullying says more about them than it does you. A kind good heart is priceless. You will make amazing friends and have friendships that people who are unkind do not. I think it is very sad that people will miss out on your amazing friendship because they have been taught to discriminate. Big hugs CJ.
Much love from Australia.
First and foremost you are so very brave and strong and kind. I was bullied a lot in school, some of the reasons I still don’t to this day, and it hurt and a part that really reminded me of my own situation was kids running away from me, and having to avoid certain kids’ desks. But I promise you it will be better, I gained new friends, ones that I love and know love me and have stuck with me into adulthood. And those kids that bullied me have no effect on my life now, and I know you’ll get there as well. We’re all here cheering you on.
Cannot believe that is happening to CJ. Those girls, especially Allie, need to have some serious consequences for their actions, but more importantly, the parents need some education regarding the treatment of people in general. They should be ashamed of themselves. It makes me angry and sad. I just want to give CJ a hug…
Please tell me you’ve approached the parents??
“Consequences have been issued, behavior expectations have been emphasized and Allie and Rachel know what the next steps will be if they bully C.J. again.” What, no disciplinary action for the pain already inflicted?
As the mother of a boy with invisible disabilities, who has experienced bullying as well, my heart hurts for you and CJ. One thing one of our local schools recently did was an empathy exercise. Studies have shown teaching empathy through exercises reduces bullying in schools significantly. As much as it really hurt CJ, I’m so very impressed that he’s able to speak up about it. Because one of my son’s issues is anxiety, I didn’t realize the extent of some of the bullying he experienced until years after the fact.
When I was in the 7th grade I was bullied, and the emotional teasing was so bad that my stomach would hurt. Not going to lie. It was rough, and I think what you are going through is even rougher. I’m willing to bet that your bullies are actually very jealous of you.
Please know that there is a wonderful community pulling for you. Yes, this stinks right now, but there is so much beauty in life, and you have an amazing family there for you. Being resilient makes you a strong person.
Now I am a high school teacher, and I wish I could have you in my classroom because I would be your advocate, just as I advocate for all my students.
Sending love and light to your fabulous self and family,
Lori, he will forever be bright and he has the courage of a lion. Fifth grade isn’t easy and kids are cruel. I’d say he handled it all really well. I give CJ a lot of credit. If he ever wants to email me he can. He’s an amazing young man. Be forever proud of him.
I teach 5th grade. Kids are harsh. Awful even. The notes I find. The conversations we have. The real deal is going down at age 10. It’s more than rough. It’s scary. I fear for my own gender-nonconforming kiddo who will experience this soon enough… I hope not… but reality is well… reality. I do what I can as a teacher. I call the parents and have the hard talks and really, I still struggle with WHAT ELSE because some of these kids were raised by the bullies themselves. 😦
Middle school years were hell for me. I had selective mutism and couldn’t fight back. I even refused to go to school at all for the last half of 8th grade. Even though the daily bullying felt so normal, part of me knew it was wrong for anyone to be treated that way. I even wrote the president (George Bush at that time) but bullying wasn’t seen as a big deal back then. I can’t say that bullying is the reason I am so messed up today because there are many reasons, but it sure didn’t help. I’m glad that teachers are finally taking the issue seriously, rather than sending the victim to the school counselor because they aren’t making friends. Just sad it was too late for me.
I would suggest asking CJ if there are any other kids in the class who are nice, who he might like to befriend. Maybe a quiet kid who also has trouble making friends. Then contact the kid’s mother and ask if the kids can get together outside of school hours. I think it would be easier for CJ to make a new friend outside of that hostile environment, on his own turf where he feels more comfortable.
I’m sorry. 5th grade was awful for me as well, it seems like you guys have a much more responsive school than I did. I’m glad of that.Hang tight C.J it will get better.
Love to CJ and his wonderful family
It is extremely heartbreaking that Cj (and your family) have had to go through this horrible situation. I hope Cj can find a new friend who will help him feel safe at school again and not so alone. I wish parents wouldn’t teach hate and cruelty to their children. We need more love in the world, not more hate. My thoughts are with you as you attempt to love Cj through this very difficult and emotional time in his life.
Thank God for CJ’s courage! How awful that this is happening in 5th grade. It shows how much work remains to be done to teach basic kindness.
Even if his light appears dimmer to you, please know it never goes out or away. We who go through this just learn to shield it for our protection, which does make it seem dimmer. But it is there and it will find its way back to full expression sooner or later. Mine was dimmed until college when it exploded in a universe of color and art. And now I use it to help others.
I don’t know if you and CJ will attend this year’s RuPaul’s DragCon up in LA (May 11 weekend, very family friendly) but if you do, please come by the booth of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. It will be my honor to give you both free T-shirts and a glitter blessing.
With love for you both,
My heart truly aches for what C.J. (and you’re whole family) has been going through. C.J. is such an amazing, bright light in this world and it saddens me that anyone would try to dim that light. C.J., please continue to always shine. You are amazing and this will get better!!! ✌️ peace to ALL !
I was bullied all through school and am so glad CJ has you standing up for him. I hope he makes new and even better friends soon.
This is incredibly upsetting. However, I’m glad that CJ’s teacher and school administrators have appropriately investigated and taken corrective action, instead of turning a blind eye.
I hope CJ continues to find the courage to develop new friends, continue to be himself, and show indifference to his bullies. Continuing to develop self-confidence will be one of CJ’s greatest assets. Nobody messed with me for being openly gay in high school in the ’90s because I carried myself with confidence.
That hurts to read. With my own children still so young I don’t yet know what it is like to have to stand by while the world rolls over them. I know what it feels like when they’re sick, though- I wish I could take all of their pain and suffering onto myself and let them love life, pain-free.
But then I remind myself of something, and it’s something I’ll likely have to continue reminding myself for some time: a story of a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis. When we see an animal suffering, or a baby bird flapping on the ground because it wasn’t quite ready to fly but tried to anyway, we have this parental/compassionate urge to care for the animal and make things…easier. The same can be said for watching the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly. If you were to see a butterfly struggling to emerge from its cocoon and decide to help it out, tear open the cocoon and let it spread its wings, you’d actually be killing it. The butterfly has to fight, it has to struggle and break free of the cocoon if it is ever going to be strong enough to live on its own. CJ is the caterpillar, and that chrysalis, in a way, is the vicious cocktail of public(?) school and adolescence. Just remind yourself that at the end of all of this, when CJ is older, CJ will be stronger than his classmates, more resilient, and better prepared for the road ahead.
I know that doesn’t make the present any easier to comprehend or wade through, but I can tell from your blog that you are a hell of a coach and mother. CJ will get through this, with you in his corner (and half the internet, apparently) and emerge as a brilliantly beautiful butterfly someday, soaring on those big beautiful wings, all on his own.
I am really sorry about this turn of events. I hope things will get better for C.J..
This makes me so hurt and angry. I have a sparkle son who is beautiful and brilliant. Ivan shared CJ’s light and pictures of you and your family with my little guy so he knows that he is not alone. He is normal, and other kids like the same things he likes. My little guy wants to meet CJ and show him his favorite pink wig to see what CJ thinks. He is radiant when he says that. To see CJ hurt like this is so devastating, and a reality check that our kids face things that they shouldn’t have to face just for being themselves. There is a lot of love for CJ up here in our home, and we are so grateful for what your entire family has done for ours.
I love that you are such a great mom. Lots of love to you and your family, especially your sparkle son.
OMG, I’m crying big huge tears after reading this. I’m so so sorry, C.J. Mama, I can’t even imagine how hard it was to type that letter. My heart is broken for all of you. Sending so much love.
Thanks for sharing this update. I was very upset for CJ (and his family) when I read the February post about how hurt he has been, especially by his “best friend.” I am a 75 year-old gay man who came out fairly late in my life (48) and didn’t go through the stuff that young gay people (or people merely suspected of being gay) but I cried when I read the February post, and I am close to tears as I read this today. I can’t really imagine what his experiences feel like, except that it is awful. I’m sure it is especially hard to reassure CJ that it will get better when he was so happy and accepted so well up until recently. Then I remember that Gay Pride “season” is about to start again, and I hope CJ again gets to experience the fun and safety of Pride as he did last year.
This makes me so mad! I was bullied a lot in school. For different reasons, but the end results are the same. It has affected my entire life and I have worked hard to undo the damage. CJ, you are the better person and someday you will know this! It sounds like you have been doing everything you can to protect yourself without stooping to their level. Someday, they might think about how they treated you and feel guilty. You will not always feel this bad and you will make true friends, I promise!
I’m heartbroken to hear C.J. has gone through this. My boys are all small and I’ve worried every year that they would be bullied. 7th grade was bad when a friend told one of my sons” it would be better if he killed himself “ thankfully we found out and diverted the problem and stopped the bullying. I hope things can be better for C.J. He is one remarkable young man and deserves the best of friends.
I find myself feeling both angry and heartbroken reading this. Doesn’t the school have some restorative justice programs or counselors who could work with Allie and Rachel and whoever else is bullying CJ? Punishing the girls won’t stop the problem. The girls need counseling to help them understand what is causing them to want to bully CJ and help them to realize the terrible pain they are causing CJ. Ugh! This is unbelievably frustrating and painful to hear. My heart goes out to you and CJ.
You are loved…
This hurts my heart. Bullying in 5th grade made my child hate school. Attendance has been a constant problem since then. They genuinely feel so sick from stress that a 5 day week is nearly impossible. I feel for C.J., but also for you, watching him suffer through this. I hope it ends at some point. My child has never re-developed their love for school, so we are just gritting our teeth waiting for graduation, with no “fun” extracurriculars. Not even GSA, because one of their enemies has ruined even that supposedly “safe” space. It is exhausting trying to navigate a system that does not consider mental health as illness. I hope C.J. is able to find new and better friends, the kid who love to see hi shine.
I’m so, so sorry. This is heartbreaking. 4th & 5th grade were the WORST for my Charlie (AMAB, trans, female presenting, they/them pronouns). I know this helpless feeling all too well. Surprisingly, middle school has been a bit gentler (so far) than 4th & 5th. Seems to me like upper elementary school grades have replaced middle school grades with regard to mean kids. Charlie is my youngest of 3, and for all 3 of my kids, 4th & 5th were more of a roller coaster than 6-8th grades/middle school. Sending lots of virtual hugs, love, support, and glitter from the east coast. Hang in there, Mama Bear. 💖
Dearest Martie, the dreadful abuse of Charlie and your family is also heartbreaking. I am glad things have become a bit gentler, although this is clearly far from ideal. As you might guess I too was AMAB trans female (I transitioned a long time ago so – I’m female). Can I ask, did Charlie receive any training in how to effectively deal with bullies? Bullying is so damaging. I’m so glad there are lots of people and organisations working to eradicate this dangerous and unnecessary behaviour.
Thank goodness Charlie has you for a mum. Your love and support means the world to them.
So, if you don’t mind, I’d like to send you lots of virtual hugs, love, support and best wishes from the South Coast of England xxxxx
Stephanie, thanks so much for this message. Yes, Charlie has a most amazing gender therapist who they’ve been seeing for a couple years now. It has made a tremendous difference, but it still doesn’t change the fact that micro aggressions, harassment, and bullying still cause hurt and damage. I only hope our TGNC kids will get through these tough years swiftly, and go forth and change the world. Much love to you.
I’m heartbroken to hear that CJ had to go through this. I know your strong family will get him through this dark time. We’re rooting for you!
My heart aches for C.J. Nothing I say right now can help him. But he should know (you should know) that he’s not alone. Today my daughter told me a classmate told her she couldn’t have two moms. Her response was to ask him to give her a really, really, really good reason why. When he said ‘because’ she said that’s a really really bad reason. I wish I could bubble wrap our children so they don’t hear and face these behaviors. I wish I could let C.J. know how angry I am for him and how many people are in this corner. Sending love and light to your whole family.
When I was in the 6th grade, I was pushed down a flight of stairs and fractured my tailbone.
So sad to know that stuff like this is still going on.
Oh CJ, I wish I could give you a hug right now. I am so sorry.
I’m so so sorry. Sending lots of love. My almost 11 year old son “thinks boys are cute and will probably marry one.” He does not stare this with friends but all the kids still know he may be “different” then them. We have had about 2 bullies per school tear since 3rd grade. And one was a close friend. It’s hard. We measure our good times in weeks. This week happens to be a good week. His school is great and supportive. But much like C.J., he tries for a while to handle it by himself and then by the time we step in and help fix it it has already taken a number on him. What keeps me going is knowing that he is so loved by his parents and the rest of his extended family and his newest closest gal pals. Thank you for your honesty, it had been a lifesaver this past year.
Apologies for typos. Fat fingers on skinny cell phone. 🙂
That makes me so angry. Have those mean girl parents spoken with you and your husband?
That letter is HUGE. For CJ to stand up for himself so articulately and powerfully is massive. The short-term results sound okay. But the long-term results will be fantastic. CJ has learned how to self-advocate. He’s learned that words have force. Most importantly, he has learned to be in touch with his feelings. By not burying them, he is fully human. And what a human being he is.
CJ, I wish I could give you the biggest hug right now! You are such a fabulous person and I am sorry that they have been so rude and hurtful. I hope that your heart heals swiftly. I know you will find better, truer friends very soon!
I am so sorry this has happened. My heart goes out to you.
At the risk of zeroing in on something other than the point of the post, I noticed that in his letter, CJ specifically identifies as gay. Is that a new development? I may just be misremembering, but I don’t recall seeing that in the past.