For most high school aged students, prom is such a promising event that it comes and goes in the blink of an eye. For Mary Lapkowicz and Ben Moser, prom was an event years in the making. The two had known each other since fourth grade. Mary, who was born with Down syndrome, was often shy during school time. She was never bullied but never really came out of her shell. Ben wouldn’t let her stay there for too long. The children’s fourth grade teacher remembers how often Ben would look after Mary. If there were activities that the other students were doing that Mary would shy away from, Ben would bring her in and make her feel welcomed. Ben spent his fourth through sixth grade years making sure that Mary never felt alone. Unfortunately, after their sixth grade year together, Mary moved away to Central Dauphin school district. Her father got a job at a rival school district and Ben and Mary parted ways. Before she left, Ben made a vow to take Mary to prom when the time came. After the years passed, Ben stood firm on that promise. A few weeks ago, Ben gathered a few balloons and wrote “Prom?” on them. Mary couldn’t believe that Ben kept good on his promise. Overcome with joy, she agreed to go to prom with Ben. When their parents asked how Ben felt taking a girl from a rival school to prom, he wasn’t worried. He was used to taking care of Mary years ago, he didn’t mind taking on that role again.
Thanks to Ivan Ong for showing me this beautiful story!
Dominic Zaffino,10, from Hatfield, Pennsylvania was presented with a medal of courage for standing to bullying. He was cyber bullied on social media, and he handled the situation with grace. Dominic went on Instagram to call out the bullies. The 10-year-old was being bullied because of his size. He told that his short stature was due to chemotherapy. He told them it was better to be short than dead and a person didn’t have to be tall to be a winner. The fifth grader believes it was God’s will to slow down his growth, so he could concentrate on becoming the best person he could.
Dr. Claudio Cerullo founded an organization called Teach Anti Bullying Inc in 2011 because he was concerned with the growing problem of school violence and bullying. Dr. Cerullo was bullied in middle school and through high school. The former secondary principal Susan McGalla, is intent on teaching anti-bullying to young children by writing children’s’ books on the issues. He is concerned with bullying done to able bodied and disabled students. Dr. Cerullo has a guide that teachers and parents can get online. In 2011, Dr. Cerullo created an anti- bullying film to teachers of elementary, middle, and high school levels. One of the things Cerullo recommends is an anti-bullying club. According to data over 5.7 million children in school are involved in bullying, as a victim, or bully.
Countless hours and funds are spent to prevent premature aging of the skin so we can appear to be younger than our chronological age, but very few cents have been spent to stop bullying and child abuse which has now been shown to cause children to age prematurely and die younger than they would have under normal life circumstances. This story was passed along to me by friend Bruce Levenson
A new study
has revealed that along with all the other physical and developmental harm that bullying and abuse does to a child, it also causes the child to age more quickly on a cellular level than children who are not exposed to violent acts and words on a regular basis.
Since bullied and abused children start off ‘older’ than their peers, the liklihood of them dying before their peers is increased as well. The stress of the bullying harms internal cells which in turn lead to increased risks of the child developing health problems, like heart disease or diabetes, at an earlier age and not being able to keep the disease(s) under control because of the accelerated biological aging brought on by the stress of being subjected to regular bouts of bullying and/or abuse.