Acts of Kindness can Neutralize Teenage Bullying

Jennifer Lawrence was forced to switch schools, a lot. Miley Cyrus was trapped in a bathroom stall for hours at a time. Jessica Alba had to be walked to school by her father to avoid being attacked. Winona Ryder had her head slammed into a locker. Brittany Snow was told ways to kill herself by peers every day. Not even the biggest celebrities were immune from bullying. While we hear about these famous individuals and how they’re doing great now, that’s not always the outcome of bullying. Many of those who are bullied as children end up with long-term emotional problems.

Bullying situations rarely include only the victim and the bully. Often there are also bystanders, other children who watch the conflict or hear about it from friends and peers. Although most bystanders believe they have nothing to do with the situation they rarely are neutral. They usually contribute either to a solution, or, more frequently, to the problem.

Some bystanders may provoke the bully into acting out against another child while others may reinforce the aggressor by laughing or cheering them on. Some will join in the bullying. Most however, stand by passively, watch the event unfold and do nothing. Even without the other types of bystanders, passive onlookers provide just the audience the bully is often looking for. The least likely thing a bystander will do is help.

This was not the case, however, yesterday when a high school senior noticed a younger classmate being bullied about his worn out shoes. Jared Newby, a sophomore, had gotten used to the remarks which usually began with his old worn out shoes then progressed to more brutal remarks. However, that day things would be different when a senior in his French class decided to do something about the bullying. Luckily, Yaovi Mawuli loved shoes and often traded them or purchased pair just because they were unusual. He immediately decided to give Jared a pair of brand new shoes. However, the decision wasn’t the end of Yaovi’s concern. He was worried about embarrassing Jared and asked online friends how best to accomplish his goal.

The next day Jared was called to the school counselor’s office where he was handed a brand new pair of Air Jordans. This story shocked Keith Mann when he read it online. Yaovi and Jared took a picture together which quickly went viral, another positive leading to Jared no longer being bullied. When asked about how he felt regarding helping another child, Yaovi said that it wasn’t a big deal. In fact he said it was something extremely small, so small that anyone could and should be something like it every day.

“We can make the world a better place just by doing the small stuff,” Yaovi said.

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