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Bullying Prevention Month | High School Photographer

As a High School Photographer, I often hear stories about bullying and kids with depression. I can relate. I have dealt with depression for the better part of my life and continue to into my adult life. Kids were mean when I was growing up, but we didn't have social media to combat as well. October is National bullying prevention month and National depression education & awareness month. These 2 things go hand in hand.

Earlier this year, I had a young lady come into the studio for her senior yearbook picture session. I've known her family for many years. They were trying to wait until she got her feeding tube removed to have the pictures taken, however, it wasn't going as quickly as they'd hoped, so she decided to go ahead with it.

While we were talking at her session, I heard of the bullying and words that had been said to her, just in this season of her life while having a feeding tube and felt I needed to bring this to light. I asked her if she'd be interested in coming in to the studio for a session where she'd write things that she'd been called on her body and allow me to photograph her. She said that she would and would like to have her best friend come in with her.

When Abbey and Elissa came in to the studio, one of the first things they asked was "does it have to be clean?", meaning the words they were going to write on each other. While I would love to say yes so that no one is offended on my blog, I replied "was it clean when they called you that name?" The truth isn't usually clean. The words that these girls were called and the feelings caused by those words were not clean. And I think what makes this even worse, some of these things were not said to these girls by children who "don't know better". They were said by parents who absolutely should know better and who should be teaching their children better. Hearing the words that parents have said to these girls definitely explains why their children speak the way that they do. It's no ok to call people names. It's not ok to say that they are a whore or a slut. That makes you part of the problem. You are spreading rumors. Spreading crap about people makes you worse than the people you're spreading things about. That says more about you than it does the person that you called those names.

Parents, our kids deserve better than you putting your past hurts and pains on them. Your job is to teach them to walk justly and lead by being a good example. You're not supposed to be where kids learn the negative in this world. You're supposed to be where they learn to build people up, how to treat people with respect. It's your job, parents, to teach them how to be better than putting someone down to build themselves up. Feeling bad about yourself is never a reason to bully another person. If you're having a bad day, talk about it to someone, don't put someone down or make them feel bad about themselves because you are having a bad day!

A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog about a kid who bullied my oldest daughter. You can find it below.

Take a minute and let the words on these girls bodies sink in. Someone called them these things. Someone spoke this hate into their lives. The more that you speak hate into others, the easier it is to do again, and the easier it is for that person to then speak it into someone else's life. It's a vicious cycle. BREAK THE CYCLE! It stops with you! Make that decision today!

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