Spitting and name-calling motivates bullying victim
Chatari Jones is a student in a Seminole County public school in Florida. The 12-year-old has cerebral palsy, a disorder that affects communication, posture and other motor skills. You wouldn’t know Chatari is disabled by looking at her until she walks and speaks.
In September, 2010, Chatari was subjected to bullying at school. She was poked with pencils, called names and someone spit in her hair. Some of the bullying ocurred on the school bus. When she told her parents, her father stormed the bus and confronted the bullies. He was charged with disorderly conduct and interfering with a school function. Mr. Jones made a public apology and asked that no one follow his example in dealing with bullies.
Chatari has turned the incident into an opportunity to defend other disabled children. At a press conference held at their church, Chatari said “Thank you so much for bullying me because it taught me a lesson about disabled kids. We are disabled for a reason.” Her father said “We are trying to turn around what happened on that bus. My daughter can now stand up for others.”
Chatari has developed the spirit and courage to speak publicly about the taunts children suffer at school. She and her family have been holding news conferences to shed light on bullying in society.
Although October is designated as National Bullying Prevention Month, bullying and cyberbullying are a global, 24/7, year-round plague. All of us can help in the fight against it.