Bullying Stops Here

Every seven minutes someone is bullied in Canada, According to Global News,

A recent survey found cyberbullying surpassed drugs and alcohol as the top concern among Canadian parents.

Here’s how you can help.

This matters.

This is how I own my voice. Use yours!


BOSSYKIDS.COM

LOVE IS LOUDER
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#YesAllWomen Enough is Enough

I remember the first time I heard about a gun being taken into a school, and the children who were killed. The sadness and shock still linger in my heart as if it were yesterday, not sixteen years ago. I was barely 15 years old at the time. I was in high school, and oh, so proud! The students at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, were the same age and older. But age did not prevent tragedy from changing their lives forever on Tuesday, April 20, 1999.

Many other lives changed that day, also; my life was one of them. As Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris walked through the halls with guns, firing off 188 rounds of ammunition, they didn’t just change lives in Colorado; they changed lives around the world and instilled fear throughout the nation.

Even when I was a child, I had a great compassion for children. I was a “stick-up for the little man” and “stand up to the bullies” kind of kid. I began distrusting adults from a very young age, but I believe in the innocence of children, and have always felt compelled to defend and protect them.

When I went to school, it was the safest place in the world, I thought! Children fight, fuss, pick on one another, and then bounce back. Teachers are there to save the day and protect them! No one could hurt us . . . right? I was wrong.

At the end of my sophomore year…

I learned that children can kill.

I was no stranger to mass destruction and horror at that point in my life. I am an Oklahoma girl. April 19, 1995, just four years before, I sat in vocal music class and waited for the teacher to arrive. It was my first class of the day, and my favorite! I remember the look on my teacher’s face as he walked in the door, head down, heavy laden, and looked up to greet the class. That day I learned something, too, as bombs shook our city and claimed the lives of 168 people.

I learned that adults can kill.

In both of these moments in history, I also remember how the world seemed to stop. I remember how teachers, friends, parents and students stood speechless, or cried for strangers — true tears! I remember how shocked we were that a gun was even in the hands of a child, much less found in our schools. We stood in awe, disgust and terror. We were enraged! We sought justice! We sought protection! We vowed: “Never again!”

And when our city was attacked at the hands of terrorists, we cried as a nation. We cried for the deaths, for the fear, but, most of all, we cried for the children. We built a memorial. We lined the fence with stuffed animals and photos. We lit candles and lined the sidewalks with art. We joined hands in prayer, hugged and cried together. We guarded our children from pictures that flooded the news. We watched speechless and they sifted through the ashes and dust. We were enraged! We wanted revenge!

It shook our foundation. It rattled our security. It threatened our lives, our children, our families. Again, even then, we vowed the same: “Never again! We are The United States of America! We will not be shaken! We will stand and defend!” There wasn’t a soul in the city who didn’t scream it. We raised our colors, lowered our flags, removed our hats, put our hands on our hearts, and we pledged our allegiance to the red, white and blue. And then what happened? We forgot.

Maybe that’s why May 24, 2014, we added another school shooting to our list, and 100 other school shootings before that.

What happened to our rage? What happened to our fight? What happened to protecting our children, our sons, our daughters, our neighbors? We became accustomed. We sat back and watched. The more often it happened, the more normal it became, until we grew comfortable and complacent. It’s not our fault… right? Wrong.

There is something to be said for a nation that sees guns in the classrooms and children lying dead at their parents’ feet, and does not rise to stand against it! We might as well be holding the gun, as a nation, as we quickly seek to justify, explain and deflect it! We blame the children. We blame the parents. We blame mental health. We blame bullies, drugs, video games and television. We simply shake our head and turn the channel, or scroll past the news on our social network feeds.

We don’t stop dead in our tracks anymore. We are no longer taken aback by it. We don’t mourn as we used to, nor do we invest too much thought. “Kids these days have no respect!” we scream, as if we are not the people who lead them. We create trending hashtags and divert attention to women and sexual assault. We take advantage of the latest trending cause “#YesAllWomen” we type and send, putting anything after the tag because it helps us gain attention. And in the days to come, we’ll dismiss it, while our children continue paying the price. Enough is enough!

If we are not willing to focus on protecting our children, even if it costs us our guns, then we do not deserve them, America!

My daughter is approaching 11 months, and I fear that one day she won’t see guns as dangerous, but as necessary; I fear that she’ll be taught that violence is normal, and to live in fear. I fear that my daughter will not know what it’s like to attend school and feel safe. I fear I will witness my daughter’s death before she has even lived her life. I’m not okay with that! We, as parents, we, as a nation, need to join together and face the facts:

Guns kill.
People pull the trigger.

We can continue to wave them proudly with pride, and defend our “right to bear arms.” Don’t get me wrong, I believe in that right! But when we make it normal, and discount it as expected, when we put a gun in the hands of our children at the age of 5, and justify it with “they’ll need to learn someday” or “it’s just the world we live in today,” then we have lost our focus on account of our pride! It will be our children, the future of this very nation, who pay those costs!

When I was 15, I remember thinking to myself that what I was hearing about would be a part of history one day.

I never imagined we would allow it to become a way of life.

Photo via Chambers Visual

Let’s Talk About Religion

I have always appreciated a good debate; sometimes it gets me caught up! This is my morning discussion while juggling a sick baby and Sociology class. Facebook is becoming quite a distraction! After casually running across, and commenting on, the article “Oklahoma PTA Speaks Out Against Mustang High School Bible Class”, I found myself quickly bombarded with feedback!

This is how that conversation went.

ME:

Unbelievable; I love how Oklahoma and Louisiana seem to think they are above our constitutional rights!!! Even as an elective, it oversteps CLEAR boundaries. Will they also offer elective courses to include all other religions represented in the school!? Bible Belt or not, Oklahoma is NOT above the law. I hope the PTA brings this venture to a screeching halt.

Jeff Adams:

There is NO law against this, never has been, just like there is nothing in the constitution about separation of church and state- that was taken from a narrative written by Jefferson, the article is referring to the governmental overreach on establishment of religion, read your constitution…..if you can read at all.

ME:

I know exactly where separation of church and state originated; just as I’m 100% familiar with our constitution. Whereas, perhaps in your smugness, you forgot ALL citizens are entitled to freedom of religion. Or perhaps my reading abilities fail me, and 900,000+ other people in the United States! Go sound ignorant somewhere else; and it was not an article- it was a letter.

Nicole Poindexter:

The Supreme Court has made it clear through their rulings that schools should not promote only one religion. If another group is denied an elective course on the Koran, there is going to be a lawsuit filed. And there should be. Odds are though; once another group wants an elective, this one will be shut down to avoid teaching about other religions.  (I agreed with Nicole!)

Angie Noyb:

First… I don’t know why anyone would be so angry over this… your kid does not have to take it if they don’t want to! Good Lord. Secondly, they had over 200 kids sign up for this class already. So, there is an interest. If they have the same interest in another religion then I agree they should provide a class for that as well. But I don’t see 200+ kids in the Mustang high school wanting to take a class on the Koran. Just sayin’. My son’s high school offers classes that I think are absurd – but it doesn’t bug me. There are clubs for every ethnicity except the Caucasian persuasions, i.e. Scandinavian or Irish, etc. But we don’t throw a fit and ask that the others be shut down. My son IS however forced to take ‘fine arts’ which is a waste of time, imho, because it will not help him in any way in the career he is going into and just takes up a slot of time that he could be taking something more beneficial. But… we aren’t throwing a fit about it. This is what it is to be mature and live in the ‘melting pot’ that we live in. Get over it. I say ‘good job’ Mustang. Wish our schools in Moore would offer something like that as a ‘fine arts’ class. At least then they would be getting something out of that block of time.

ME:

Angie, I never said I was angry over it. I said it infringes on constitutional rights; clearly it does. Personal opinions, when it comes to the matter of beliefs, are considered biases. The Bible is not proven; it is a theology of faith. Furthermore, it is a book intended for personal interpretation & conviction via prayer/intercession with “God”, not a book meant to be even more destroyed by the narrow confines of one teacher’s perspective. It is great that children want to learn more about their faith. Know where a great place do that is; the church!

Veronica Macauley:

The government stomps on our constitutional rights everyday and kids wanting to learn about the bible are the most of your worries?

Becca Marable:

Grace, how come you aren’t this passionate about removing all traces of Greek mythology or literature from public schools also?

ME:

Veronica, did I say that? I’m not sure I said this is the biggest worry that I have. However, now that your banter has brought it up, I do believe our rights are important. I believe soldiers died, and still die, fighting to protect them! I believe that if Oklahoma can stand behind the idea of a man that “died for our sins” then they can (and should) most certainly stand behind the men that died for our right to freedom!!!

Angie Noyb:

What constitutional right does this infringe upon exactly? And if you want to remove things that aren’t ‘proven’ from schools then you have a bigger fight on your hands than religion. You can start with evolution, the big bang theory, and also should double check our history books since history books are generally written with a slant toward the country for which its intended readers reside. I agree that the Bible shouldn’t be ‘preached’ from one teacher’s perspective. But it can be taught from an impartial, open minded, non denominational stand point, just like any other ‘writing’.

ME:

Angie, perhaps you should reread this thread, or familiarize yourself with the constitution. That response surely does not reflect your intellect.. I hope. Furthermore, when you figure out what mysterious right it infringes upon, perhaps you will understand the points being established; which have nothing to do with removing things that aren’t proven from school. Keep up. In addition, if we are so adamant that this book be taught, perhaps we should start from the book of Romans which advises that refusing to follow the laws of the land is refusing to obey God; or is that verse not as important as the others? Your argument is invalid. Becca, if you feel so strongly about such topics, then you pursue it. This is not a matter of removing religion from school- it has already been removed. This is about our nation’s guaranteed freedoms and the state’s audacity to think it is above them.

Angie Noyb:

Ok.. so I am confused, Grace. And maybe you weren’t directing that comment on me, so that may be why. But if you were directing at me…. First… in your other comment you say “I never said I was angry over it”. Well, you are right you didn’t. But your post with Caps and exclamation points lends to the fact that this topic angers you. Secondly, your last comment…. Did you say what? I didn’t say that this was your biggest worry. One of your points to not having the class taught is that the Bible is not ‘proven’. So I simply said that if we applied that thought to all material in school, there would be much more than the Bible to get rid of. Then I pointedly asked you what rights are being infringed on and instead of answering that question, you twist the conversation to soldiers and standing behind them as though I can’t do both. And btw, most soldiers are Christian. So I think they will understand that a lot of us stand behind our Savior AND fully stand behind the men (our family members for some of us, so tread lightly my friend) who fight for us each day. Your patriotic stab at deflecting the question wasn’t lost on me. You still didn’t answer the question on how this is infringing on anyone’s rights at all. It isn’t being forced. If you don’t want to take it, then don’t. Why is it okay to add things and make things available to some, but when it isn’t something you like then you (you being a relative term) want it stopped?

Becca Marable:

Grace, I do not feel strongly about it or anything. Idgaf. If it ruffles your feathers to have a bible course offered then mythology courses should make you feel the same, right? Just pointing this out.

ME:

Becca, your need to make such a point is senseless; but thank you… I guess. Mythology is just that. It is not theology or organized religion. Religion is NOT what I’m advocating against; our rights are for what I advocate.

Becca Marable:

Clearly, you have no understanding of Greek mythology. You are taught all about the various gods and how and why they are worshiped. Sounds like a teaching about a god to me. I know, I’ve taken this class in a public school. No different.

ME:

Becca, quite frankly, I do not care, darling! Angie, actually the first comment was clearly in response to you. And the use of capitalization implies emphasis not anger. Exclamation points imply excitement. I did not, by any means, deflect your question- I was just hoping I would not have to answer such an ignorant question of sorts. Freedom of religion, darling; I figured that was an obvious answer; clearly I was mistaken. Most of our soldiers are Christian? Prove it. That, again, is opinion. The point is, their belief, my belief, your belief are all IRRELEVANT when it comes to a classroom. And do not make assumptions that you cannot support; you have no idea if I “like” Christianity or not. Why? Because I have not stated it. Why? Because it is irrelevant when it comes to supporting the right to “freedom of religion.” If you’d like to continue to debate with me, I suggest you dig a little deeper. Btw, it was not a ‘patriotic jab’, it was a patriotic reference!

Becca Marable:

Well then, if you don’t care, quit caps talking and let those people in that school offer whatever class they want to. They have a right to teach it. The only reason I’m here is to support that right and point out your hypocrisy of supporting one, but not the other.

ME:

Becca- 1) In that case, you’re arguing against the very same principles that would support your point; which is that mythology should also be excluded from the classroom! What is the point of speaking against a voice that is on your side?

2) “CAPS talking”? Good grief; 5 words in ALL that I have spoken have been capitalized to imply emphasis. But what I find ironic is that people generally start focusing on petty things like this when they begin to look foolish in the midst of an intellectual debate. It’s passive-aggressive frustration, and simply nothing more than confirmation that I have ruffled feathers. It’s okay, I don’t mind at all!

3) Since you so avidly, and then disrespectfully, wish to persist, I’ll address your concern directly!

“Mythology” is an element of religion. “Religion is the broader term. It includes aspects of ritual, morality, theology, and mystical experience. Disconnected from its religious system it becomes legend/folklore” (Religion & Mythology, 2014). That being said, in today’s society, it does not have a large community of followers that establish it as an ‘organized religion’. Teaching our children that other beliefs exist is much different than communicating to them that one religion is more important/relevant to their education than another. Today we see mythology reflected in literary references, Zodiac signs, planets and constellations. If, in the future, we build sanctuaries and gather the masses to worship mythological deities, then I assume that this discussion will then be applicable to the topic. Therefore, I would support it in the same way. (Reference: Religion and mythology. (2014, April 7). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.)

Becca Marable:

My original question to you was basically, in simpler words, do you support the public funding of Greek Mythology? You finally answered in a long breath, yes.. I think. Perhaps I’ve misunderstood your paragraphs. Greek mythology, being older than Christianity, is really no different. It is basically a course about gods, and though they are mostly gone, there used to exist massive buildings and statues just so people could worship such deities. You cannot support one and not the other; which is what you’ve just done. Although I despise mythology, I support both.

ME:

Becca, I understand. I am Christian by faith. I support Christianity. But I also understand that not everyone shares my belief, sometimes I question it myself. Therefore, I wholeheartedly support our individual right to freedom of religion. That is what provokes passion about this topic, for me. In Oklahoma, it is not the popular opinion. We believe, as Christians, that we are called to “spread the Gospel”, to be a “light unto the world”. Whereas, for those that strive to live by the Word, that stands as true- there is a way to do that without impeding on the rights of others to worship as they choose. If we cannot add classes about Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Confucianism, Mormonism, etc., then we should not offer a class on Christianity, either. It might not be what Oklahomans want to hear, but it is the very reason the PTA took a stance against it.

I said yesterday, when discussing Louisiana’s bill to make the Bible the official state book, that “We are supposed to a nation built on freedom of religion. Unfortunately, what we really are, and we have always been, is a walking contradiction. We penned the very right to that freedom with the same pen we wrote laws into effect that were backed by one religion’s moral compass.”

I believe our country should stand behind the laws set in place to protect us or change them.