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For months, her daughter had been bullied on the school bus. They'd reported it to the school, but officials had yet to do anything other than tell the girl to ignore it. Frustrated at the school's lack of concern, mom Sarah Cymbaluk decided to use social media to get things moving. She recorded her son and daughter recounting the school bus driver and another student both verbally assaulting the girl, and it wasn't the first time. Cymbaluk posted the video to Facebook, and it soon went viral. The school was forced to respond after all the attention, but this mom bullied the school into taking action against bullies… there had to be a better way.
"I don't want to, Mommy"
At the beginning of the video, Cymbaluk asks her daughter to tell her about the incident: "Tell me what happened, on the bus, on the way home." The girl, who just turned 9, is curled up in a chair, looking down. Everything about her body language says, "I'm really uncomfortable with this."
She starts to cry and says, "I don't want to. I don't want to, Mommy." Mommy keeps the camera trained on her daughter, but asks the son to step into the frame and tell her what happened.
This just made it worse
Bullying, by nature, causes one to feel ashamed. You wonder why you are "less than," and clearly you must be if this is how the world sees fit to treat you. It's humiliating. That's why I have such a problem with this mom recording her daughter's humiliation and posting it on Facebook for the world to see. Yes, it got the school's attention. It even got CNN's attention, so I'm sure the other students heard about it, and I'm betting they aren't feeling any more warm and fuzzy about including the girl.
There had to be a better way
If Cymbaluk felt that having video proof of her daughter's misery was the only thing that could get the school to take action, fine. (I guess. I still think it was totally inappropriate to shove a camera in her face at that moment.) But, seriously, there were several other things she could have done than post it on the internet.
She could have taken the video straight to the principal, who surely would have seen the potential for embarrassment should it be shared with others and would take action.
She could have rallied some other parents to pester the school about the issue.
She could have told the staff that she didn't feel safe sending her daughter to school in that environment, and that she'd be keeping her daughter home until the issue was addressed.
These are just a few ideas that come to mind… I'm sure that there are better ideas to be had. Lots of better ideas than posting her daughter's shame on social media in an attempt to bully the school into action.
I very much hope the bullies lighten up on this poor girl, but I'm afraid that her mom's actions have made her an even easier target. Facebook is not the answer to everything, parents. We need to respect our kids more and find the creativity to solve our family problems somewhere other than online, in front of the whole world.