Teaching Our Children To Deal With Hate

Now I don’t really get involved in ‘High School Drama’ but this story seemed beyond the usual stuff, or maybe it’s just been so long for me I don’t remember it being as bad as all that.

My beautiful 16 year old daughter was so excited to be going to Junior Prom!  She had picked out the dress and rented even before she knew for sure that she would be asked, because it was the perfect dress, and just in case, she wanted to have it reserved for her.  About 2 weeks before the date, she got asked to go.  We are “old fashioned” so her date had to talk to Joe to get permission, but once that was worked out she was excited. Her group was busily making plans and coordinating for the special night.  She was speaking with one of her friends about some of the arrangements when female student approached them.

“I heard you have been tweeting about me, and telling lies about me!”  she said accusingly.

“Well, I’m sorry that is the story going around but I have never tweeted anything about you and I haven’t been talking about you,”  defended Liesl.

The girl repeatedly tried to accuse Liesl of ‘trash-talking’ about her and Liesl kept denying it  Liesl barely knew this girl, and had never spent time with her with the exception of one outing the previous summer, where they went with some mutual friends to the mall.

“Well, you just better watch your back!”  she threatened.

Liesl didn’t think too much of it, since she had seen this girl make some threatening remarks, and one time even cracked an egg over another students head that she was upset with!  The girl continued to make comments to Liesl every day and Liesl tried to be mature about it and not get dragged into the drama by letting it get her upset and taking it personal.

Then one day word got out that she wanted the same dress that Liesl had reserved for prom. There was only one of its kind and she was trying to get it for herself. She then posted some very derogatory tweets, and pictures of herself in the dress.  Someone must have tweeted that the dress looked good on her because she posted a reply that said ‘Well, thank you.  Polygamist bi—es would beg to differ, but what do they know, they have sex with their dads.:(‘  (frownie face added by her).

Understandably, Liesl was upset by this but tried not to let it phase her, and I was very upset by this!  Not only was it very crude and uncalled for, this is exactly the kind of comments that I don’t feel should go unchecked, and exactly why we try to educate people so these types of damaging stereotypes don’t get perpetuated. It is not okay to make these types of slurs any more that it would be okay to make racial comments.

On top of that, I was actually worried for my daughter’s safety at this point.  We have all heard stories of cyber-bullying with some very tragic outcomes. I told her to keep a written record of the things that were said and tweeted, especially anything threatening, in case we needed to get some kind of a restraining order.  It might sound like we were going a little too far, but you never know these days.  I even called the school police officer and left him a message about my concerns.  Also, when her date picked her up I let him know some of what had gone on so he was aware and could watch out for her her if she needed it.

Thankfully, nothing happened that night, the girl avoided her, and has ever since.  She had a wonderful time at prom but I am still keeping my eyes and ears open  for my daughters safety. Liesl has grown from the experience as well. She was very worried about being public as she entered her junior year last year. Now as it is time for her senior year I see a much more confident young woman who has taken each of the experiences like these to discover who she really is, and as her mother I am very proud of her.

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13 Responses to Teaching Our Children To Deal With Hate

  1. S. says:

    First, Liesl looks absolutely beautiful–I love the green color! :)

    Second, it seems like school now is a battle field for so many kids…when I was younger, I remember being teased a lot and stuff, but now the teasing seems to take a violent or brutal streak. When I was in school, I would be sick to my stomach many mornings because of how awful it was for me and it was far less brutal than what many children today endure–I cannot imagine the upset tummies some of those children must have! I am not sure the cause or contributors to this, but I imagine some combination of lack of parenting, social media, the reduced authority that school officials have, etc, etc, etc….it is very sad. I am glad your daughter had your support during this…children need strong families who are very intune with them.

  2. Natja says:

    I am appalled, no I don’t think you went a little too far, I think this girl should have been seriously reprimanded. Does the school have an effective Anti-Bullying Policy in place?
    There is no way that she should have got away with that sort of foul behaviour.

  3. Hillary says:

    This makes me absolutely sick! Liesl is stunningly beautiful. Sounds like this other girl has some serious jealousy issues and grasped for the only ridiculous dig she could come up with. Teenagers are cruel, but that comment is so crude and disgusting I’m thinking this girl only made herself look like a fool. She clearly wanted Liesl’s dress, maybe she wanted her date, and I’m sure she wishes she had that Darger beauty but if she had the love of three mothers she would be able to deal with that jealousy.

    I’m very proud that you’re taking it seriously. I was reminded of the section of your book where Alina had an incident with a man in a car and no report was filed out of fear of being discovered as polygamists. That was heartbreaking to read. The world is heading in the right direction, with huge thanks to beautiful families like yours. Judging by Liesl’s glowing smile it looks like she had a great time anyway. You rock Dargers!

  4. Kat says:

    So much wrong with that other girl. First of all: This is over a dress. Highly trivial. More importantly: The other girl seems to not understand what consent is and the difference between “having sex” and “rape”. And she uses being a rape victim as an insult. Last but not least: If she believes child rape exists only in polygamist communities… well, it will be tough when she finds out the truth.
    I have no idea obviously what the topic was that the other teenagers were talking badly about the girl, but whatever it is the other teens need to stop with that as well.

    As per Liesl: How did you get the idea for her name? Sorry, I’m curious. It’s beautiful, but rare to me. Tell her the following, please: Beautiful dress… you look great! And… (my response to skimming her tweets:) Yes, German women do wear deodorant and almost all shave. The only communities I am aware of that don’t wear deodorant are the Chinese and some other Asian communities. There is an anatomic reason for this (see here, Liesl: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2417/do-chinese-lack-sweat-glands-in-their-armpits) Regarding shaving: While German women do shave their armpit (as do I), my view in general is that women and men should be allowed to decide for themselves whether they want to shave or wax or neither. It’s their body, not mine.

    • Liesl says:

      Kat, It was only a joke about some German girls i met that had a strong body odor! But EVERYONE has that! I could care less if people shaved or not anyways! Just one of those stereotypical things, ya know?? American’s are fat, European’s don’t shave. Hope you didn’t take any personal offense.(;
      ..Guess i should watch what i tweet!

      • Kat says:

        No, don’t worry. Not offended. More amused. The most common questions I got when I lived stateside:
        - “Do German women shave?”
        - “Do you learn about the Nazis in high school?” (My response: “Errr… yes, of course.” Follow up question is always “Did they teach you that they were good or bad?” My response is always some variation “Bad, of course. What the… ?!”)
        - “Do you also have Black people in Germany?” (Both African Americans and Caucasian Americans ask me this all the time. Answer: Yes, of course.)

  5. Stefani Blackman says:

    Liesl’s dress is stunning! I’m glad she got to be the one to wear it ;-) Thanks for doing a post about bullying. It was bad when I was in high school 20 years ago–doesn’t seem like things have improved much. It’s hard to watch our children learn a tough lesson; some people are just mean.

  6. John Nomads says:

    Hello,
    You did exactly the right thing. This kind of behavior can not be allowed any longer, it’s great that your standing up for what’s right (both for your children and the greater plural/poly family)!

  7. Liz says:

    Echoing what everyone else said–I know what a beautiful name you have; my Liesel Joy is a goofball and SO delicious that I eat her every day. You’re a strong woman and you ROCK. ((HUGS))

  8. Julie Owens says:

    Lovely dress – I’m so glad Liesl didn’t let it spoil the evening for her. She’s a talented girl – I love her singing.

  9. margaret pittman says:

    First of all, your daughter looks absolutely georgeous. I also have been bullied in school and I can honestly say that you took the right steps to protect her. The girl in her school had no right to say those things and if she starts it up again I recommend you go straight to the police. Also I am very proud of how you handle situations with your child.

  10. Teresa says:

    Vicki & Liesl,
    I tell my girls alot that kids and other teenagers can be very mean and ugly. That does not excuse their behavior or condone it. I just want them to understand that when other kids act that way, they are usually jealous of something that my girls have. I encourage them to talk to a teacher, myself or their Dad about what is going on. Or if it is too embarassing, they can talk to their older sister or brother (both are grown & moved out of our home but give beautiful advice). I am glad Vicki that you took these attacks on Liesl serious and made every effort to watch out for her safety. Bullys are real and I truly believe that this young ladies true issue was that she was jealous of Liesl’s inner beauty because it shines out. The dress is pretty on her but she is beautiful for the inside out and it shows even in pictures. You, Joe, Alina and Valerie have all done a wonderful job with these kids. I sincerely hope that I can learn more from you. I look forward to reading more about your experiences.

  11. Stephania says:

    You did the right thing in calling attention to it with the school and doing whatever needed so things didn’t get worse. At least now schools make an effort to deal with this
    kind of thing out of fear of litigation if nothing else. ‘Back in the day’ it wasn’t like this at all. The bullying/harassment-sometimes even physical violence just went on and on because schools had this misguided idea that doing anything about it would “make it worse” and they would say things like “kids will be kids, they have to learn how to defend themselves”..even if there were actual threats, things just were not taken seriously and the abuse would go on and on, and a ‘ well you have to learn to deal
    with mean girls’ attitude would prevail, thinking somehow what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger but that was not always the case.
    I hope this girl gets the helps she needs to overcome her issues not because because I feel sympathy for her but because these issues transform into other issues as time goes by not to mention the damage done to the people they take it out on and their own future generations.
    Most thinking folk do not equate plural marriage of consenting adults with child abuse or worse. In fact, I think the stats say most polygamous families are not representative of the worst case scenario stereotype sensationalized in the media and in vulgar attempts at digs written on someone’s message board. One also should know one is not obliged to engage, explain or defend anything to people such as this girl, one can simply turn and walk away – Liesl doesn’t ‘owe’ this person any attention or reaction, as that in and of itself is rewarding for someone like that. No , walking away won’t stop the nonsense but further contact with the school will. You are all so lucky to have each other.

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