I don’t like to tell Grandma about the bullies. They are all very mean and I know if I tell Grandma it will make her sad. Tonight, I didn’t eat much food for dinner, which made grandma worried.
“Why aren’t you eating, Mitali? Are you feeling okay?”

I was not quite sure what to say. If I eat less, then maybe the kids at school will not make fun of me. But I did not want to tell her this. So instead, I started crying. Crying made the situation much worse! We sat there in silence for a little bit.
“What happened at school today, Mitali?”
I knew I had to tell her at this point, but I really didn’t want to.
“You need to tell me,” Grandma said firmly. She always knows what I am thinking!
“Some kids are just being mean because they laugh at how chubby I am. I really don’t like it,” I finally said.
Grandma came over and gave me a big hug.
“Kids can be mean,” She said softly. “That must be very hurtful,”
I nodded. Sometimes, it feels like I can’t do anything to stand up to the bullies.
“I will go to school with you tomorrow, Mitali. I want to talk to the teacher,” she said.
It would be so embarrassing for everyone to know that I was being teased!
“No, grandma!” I said.
“Don’t worry, Mitali. I won’t embarrass you. I just want to talk to some people at school so that this doesn’t happen again.”

This is the last thing I wanted! I’m really worried about school tomorrow. I would hate it if everyone knew!
The next morning, Grandma and I woke up very early and went to school together. She marched in Mrs. Ashworth’s classroom and told me to wait outside. I was very nervous because I didn’t know what was going to happen next.
After a couple of minutes, Grandma came out of the classroom and kissed me on the forehead.
“I’m going to go now, Mitali,” She said with a smile. “Mrs. Ashworth said she will have a talk with your classmates today. Don’t be afraid to go to her if it happens again,”
I nodded.
We usually have math during the first hour of school, but today was different.
“I want to address a serious issue,” Mrs. Ashworth said. “Who has ever gotten teased or bullied?”
Some hands, including mine, went up. There was a silent pause as Mrs. Ashworth scanned the room.
She then asked, “Why is it important to respond to bullying? Why shouldn’t we just ignore it?”
Anna raised her hand, “It’s because everyone deserves to be treated with respect, and bullying is very mean and hurtful.”
“I agree,” Mrs. Ashworth said. “Let’s make a list of what bullying is. What is bullying? Raise your hand and I will call on you.”

Everyone said different things. Here were some responses:
-    Name-calling
-    Pushing
-    Excluding
-    Teasing
-    Any form of physical violence
-    Mean emails (or any kind of social media)
-    Threats
-    Spreading rumors
-    Tormenting
I didn’t even know bullying included all those things!
“Now,” Mrs. Ashworth said. “Let’s make a list of classroom expectations and rules. What do we expect out of each other?”
Here was the list of rules that we made in class today:

-    Be respectful (to teachers and classmates)
-    Be kind
-    Work hard
-    Care for one another
-    Be responsible
We all agreed on the list. At the end of class, Mrs. Ashworth wrote it on a piece of poster paper and put it in front of the board.
“Now, if anyone violates any of these rules, there will be in big trouble!” Mrs. Ashworth said. “Does anyone have any more questions?”
No one said a thing. I had a much better day at school today. No one teased or laughed at me. I’m so glad I have a grandma that will always stand up for me!