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Association of California School Administrators
Association of California School Administrators

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Everyone needs a safe place to learn

By Patrick Melendy, Royal Oak Middle School | May | June 2021
In the time I have been in school I’ve met nice people, mean people, bad people and good people, but our kids in the special education classrooms are nice. They are good people and nice to others. However, people make fun of them, which I saw commonly in seventh grade.
I felt bad for them because they couldn’t help that they were born with a disability, and they were still bullied. They do have a free period with a couple non-special education kids, but I believe they do not have as many non-special education friends. They need people who stand up for them. They already have to sit in a classroom and they are separated from others. Social interaction is important to develop emotional and speech skills.
The thing is that schools can sometimes be hostile social environments. They need to be surrounded by bright and good people, more than just the ones they are with in P.E. They need student leaders to show them the way and to help them from getting bullied and support them in having more non-special education friends. This will help social and emotional skills, and if they are the right people who those students befriend, then they will not get bullied as much and they will have a shoulder to lean on.
We need to be there for fellow students, especially ones as nice and kind as our special education students. And bullying isn’t just a problem for special ed students. You can encounter someone making fun of you for your race, sexual orientation, things we can’t control or for our personality and looks. That’s why I believe that we need strong student leaders to lead the way and guide other students, leading by example to support those who need support and to help people who are being bullied.
Because us kids — we are stubborn. We don’t like to listen to adults even the counselors can’t make too much difference unless someone needs counseling, but maybe students will listen to each other if they see that those people are shown love and support and have so many friends. Maybe the bullies will listen because sometimes talking to teachers can make things worse, so I believe we need strong student leaders to speak out against bullying and give our special ed students some good solid friends that will be there for them. Thank you for reading.
Patrick Melendy attends Royal Oak Middle School in the Charter Oak Unified School District.
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