When I was 14, my school life was fairly standard.
It was all hormones, math teachers with comb overs, impossible crushes and secret ciggies behind the bike shed.
I was on the outskirts of the ‘in-crowd’ and all in all, school was ok……until a slight against the wrong girls flipped it upside down and I was made a pariah.
Like a snowball down a mountain, one by one my ‘friends’ shunned me, and I was receiving threats of violence and worse. It’s not so much that I was fearing the threats, but I was devastated that seemingly everyone hated me, and my world was shattered…. also, I really didn’t want to get my hair pulled or my face scratched.
After a stressful two weeks of harassment, my self esteem was in tatters and I was in tears all time. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep.
It wasn’t just harmless school yard taunting, it was bullying.
I went to school one morning and was rounded upon by a couple of girls who began to verbally abuse and harass me. I pushed one of them. Hard. She fell into a brick wall and I ran. I grabbed my bag, I ran to the office and I made them call my mum to come and get me.
In the front seat of Mum’s car, I swore to never go back to that school, and thankfully, my mum didn’t force me to. I started at another school the following week.
It wasn’t a massive town and soon word spread. Kids knew each other and it didn’t take long for them to find me. I started to receive death-threat letters and the staunchest chick in my new school just happened to be friends with one of my old aggressors. She told me if I came to school the following day she would kick the crap out of me.
What 14 year old girl wants to fight for her place in the clique? I didn’t. Beyond tussling with my brother, I wasn’t a fighter.
I couldn’t run again. There was nowhere else to go.
That night I thought it would be easiest just to end it. I couldn’t imagine that one day I would be miles away from this bullshit and it would seem so inconsequential. I looked through the bathroom cupboards to find pills to take, but all there was was some Disprin, Band Aids, Calomine Lotion, ear buds and an epilator. I don’t think even MacGyver could harm himself with that lot.
So, I went to school. I faced her.
We were surrounded by a group of people ‘cos word of an impending fight spreads fast at school. She shaped up to me, and I looked her in the eye. My heart was racing like a steam train, and 14-year-old me was terrified.
“I told you not to come back”
She stared me down with narrowed eyes, moving closer. My stomach was clenched tight and I thought I might wet my pants.
“Can we talk? Just you and me?”
Grammar was never my strong suit.
Thankfully, she said yes, and I finally got a chance to tell my side of the story. That day that girl became my greatest ally and she didn’t let anyone else harass me again.
What if she hadn’t become my ally? What if she did smack me in my braces covered teeth?
What if there was a bottle of pills in the bathroom that day?
I don’t know the answer to those questions, but that’s how it happens. I only experienced that one, relatively short incident of bullying, but some kids are subjected to it every day of their school life.
With shocking statistics like 1 in 4 children suffering at the hands of bullies, and an estimated 200 million children word wide being bullied, bullying occurs in epidemic proportions. The trajectory from bullying to depression, suicidal thoughts or actions is positively shocking.
When creative and author, Galvin Scott Davis’, son came home from school and told him he was being bullied, Galvin knew he had to do something about it. As the director of Protein One, Galvin called upon his creative skill to come up with solutions to this burgeoning issue.
Hence, the Dandelion story was born.
Bullying now goes so much further than the school yard. With the advent of technology and social media, our children are bringing their bullying into the home. Rather than take the traditional approach, Galvin invented a story to encourage a discussion between Father and Son about what makes a bully and how you can use your creativity to avoid them. Fighting fire with fire, Galvin is using this same technology, teamed with smarts, to arm children against their tormentors.
The story follows Benjamin Brewster as he navigates his way around ‘The School for the Misguided’ and its resident bullies. With no one to turn to, a patch of Dandelions appear beside Benjamin which allow him to conjure creations from his imagination and use them to fend off the antagonists.
The moral of the story is that “Bullying is for people with no imagination”.
The story encourages children to embrace creativity to deal with bullying. Dandelion encourages discussion between parents and children that are dealing with this terrible social problem.
Using new super dooper, wizz-bang technology, you can actually blow the dandelion across your iPad making it an great interactive app for kids.
You can ‘pledge’ to the project to help it reach its goal for completion funding.
In return, you will recieve amazing rewards such as signed copies of the book, the iPad App with your name in the credits, decals, anti-bullying wristbands, limited-edition signed prints and more.