Mom Has Heartfelt Response to Kids Bullying Her Son With Special Needs
When MaryAnn Parisi realized her 11-year-old son Michael was being bullied, she was furious. Instead of confronting the bullies’ parents, she reported the incident to the school and wrote a heartfelt Facebook message to the kids picking on her son.
Parisi wanted to make the students bullying Michael aware of his history, so she described some of the challenges he’s faced since he was born three months premature. She hopes her son’s judgmental peers might finally see his strengths and be less likely to put him down.
In a Facebook post on Jan. 11, Parisi wrote:
The text reads:
“This might be long winded. I apologize for that. We all have children in our lives in some way or another, I challenge you to show and teach your children (or the children in your lives) my son’s story. Maybe knowing his background is the difference. Even the best children have moments of insecurity and weakness. Teaching and showing them why he (or anybody else) is different might be the more positive way. Sometimes knowing is learning and growing. Sometimes we all need a reminder, because we all can have our moments.
Michael was born at 26 weeks. Just over 3 months premature. I am not his bio mom. But in every other way, I am his mother. He spent the first 3 months of his life fighting to survive. Shunts, blood transfusions, etc. His mother left him 3 months later. He has survived failure to thrive and numerous other health issues to become the strong, healthy boy he is. He didn’t learn to talk till he was 3 years old. Walking was very delayed. He didn’t have teeth till after his first birthday. He was so very behind. But he loved. Oh how he loved. To this day, his smile is the best thing ever. There is not one person he doesn’t like/love, including those who tormented him today. He forgives and honestly, he forgets too. There is not one judgemental bone in his body. I strive to be more like him daily but fall very short. You called him brace face today, before you were picking on him because of his eating habits. Did you know he physically can not control the food staying in his mouth. Or how very bad his hand/eye coordination is. Those braces are just one of the many steps he will endure, to help align his lower jaw that never fully developed. So he doesn’t spill his food or chew weirdly anymore. So you won’t pick on him.
Kicking his chair, calling him stupid, ugly, brace face, bucky beaver. Telling him to sit down and shut up is not the way. You don’t have to like him, but you do have to respect him. He’s a fighter, that’s a very small portion of his story. Share, teach, grow. Most importantly respect those around, you never know what they have been through.”
One out of every four students report being bullied during the school year, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics, and victimized youth are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties and poor school adjustment, according to a 2015 report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For more resources, be sure to visit Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center.