Linda Kulp Trout

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Bullying has been in the news a lot lately. Most of us have been bullied. Bullying isn’t new, but it seems to be increasing in intensity.

For the past two years, our school has participated in an anti-bullying program. Through role-playing activities, students and teachers are taught about the effects of bullying and how they can help stop it. Kids are still being bullied, but we've seen an increase in reporting it by the victims and by kids who witness it. When bullying is reported, all the kids that were involved (the bully, the target, bystanders, etc.) receive counseling. We are working hard to make our school a safe place for all kids.

Over the years, I've known many kids who have been the victims of bullying. It's a heartbreaking part of my job. Last night, I couldn't sleep so I wrote this poem. My hope is to work on it some more so when my students read it, they'll see that they can take an active role in stopping a bully. Wonderful readers, your suggestions are much appreciated.


Some guys at school
make fun of Jamie
because he’s overweight.
Guys who used to be his friend
before Billy came to our school
and decided he didn’t like Jamie.

Now they call him ugly names
make faces at him
laugh when he walks by—
“ Oink” at him in the hall.

Jamie is always alone,
sits alone, works alone,
eats lunch alone.
Everyone stays away—
too afraid to be his friend.

I stay away too- afraid.
But Jamie is nice to me.
He offered to help when
I didn’t understand fractions.
He gave me a pencil when
I lost mine.

I feel sorry for him
but I don’t know what to do,
so I do nothing—

I’m afraid
if I speak up
they will pick on me too.
I’m afraid I’ll be called a snitch
I’m afraid I’ll end up alone—
just like Jamie.

Then tonight
I heard on TV
about a kid like Jamie
who ended his life
because he couldn’t take
being bullied
any longer.

I thought about Jamie
the way his eyes always
look so sad
The way he always
looks so scared.

And I decided
I’m telling


  1. Oh, Linda. This is so timely, sad, and simply truly put. Over the past couple of weeks, several friends of mine have told me that their middle school daughters have been bullied. Today I read this - - and thought about it so many times throughout the day. Your poem is so honest and questioning, and it made me remember a boy I went to high school with. It is a powerful poem and one which will open up conversation among children and grown-ups too. I believe in working on our whole school environments, cultivating individual classroom communities, choosing careful read alouds, creating opportunities for children to be kind and to talk, and taking care that as teachers we are not hurrying too much to notice what you are noticing...thank you for this one, Linda. A.

  2. This poem made me cry. I'd like to share it with my students if it's ok with you.

  3. Thanks for sharing this. I agree with Amy, it is up to us to take the time to listen and pay attention. That is a powerful message to kids, when teachers show the precious value of every individual and don't skip over anyone's contribution. Kids find courage when they see it in action.

  4. Amy- bullying is so hard to control. Kids at this age are very clever and seldom do it in front of teachers. We're working really hard to put an end to it at our school, but now with cyberbullying, who knows how many children will be hurt. I heard on Dr. Phil yesterday that 42% of kids say they've been cyberbullied.

    Carol-yes, it would be an honor to know you're sharing my poem. Thank you so much.

    Andi- thank you for your comments. I agree, it's up to all of us to listen when kids tell us something is wrong.

  5. Yes, bullying is SO hard to control. Maybe poems like this will give kids the courage to stand up for the one being bullied!

  6. I was wondering this morning -- how can we encourage children to be nicer? Is bullying a problem in all cultures, and, if it isn't, why isn't it? I found this interesting article:

    Thank you for being there for these kids who need you!!

  7. Mary Lee- I hope you're right. : )

    Tabatha-thanks for the article. I can't wait to read it. I don't know the answer to your question, but it's a good one!