Posted by: joshjasper | May 9, 2012

Every minute counts

At 6:10pm this evening, KCRG aired a story about our effort to bring the movie “Bully” to the Dubuque community.  I was afforded the opportunity to talk briefly about the prevalence of bullying in our community, emphasizing the dire need for all of us to take notice and to get involved in prevention.

At 7:15pm, my cell phone rang.  On the other end was a mother in tears.  Her daughter has been bullied for years.  She fought back the tears as she told me how her 12-year-old daughter tried to kill herself last week.  She doesn’t know where to turn.  This mother went on to tell me that she has repeatedly talked to school administrators teachers, and counselors, but to no avail.  “Nothing is being done! What am I supposed to do?  I don’t know what to do.”

At 7:33pm, an administrator of the school district that this 12-year-old is in emailed me to let me know that it is going to be difficult to get the students to see the movie.  “It’s a busy time of the year, Josh.”

At 8:10pm, a comment was posted on the story on that detailed the movie coming to Dubuque.  She wrote the following: “Dubuque has a severe bullying problem. My son is even being bullied by a para at his middle school. It’s outrageous! We’re moving, it’s no place to raise children.”

It’s 9:15pm now and it’s time for bed, but I can’t sleep.  I’m worried about the 12-year-old that tried to kill herself.  How many more girls and boys are out there right now thinking of ending their lives due to being bullied?  I’m worried that the school districts will not do everything in their power to get their students to this free movie.  And what about our community?  Will they respond?  We need every mom, dad, pastor, youth leader, mentor, priest, nun, and coach to spread the word about this movie.

2 hours just passed and nothing has changed.

I’m asking that we all take this very seriously.  This is more than seeing a movie.  This is about starting a conversation, acknowledging that a problem exists, and committing to getting involved.  This is also about validation.  By attending this film, you are validating the experiences the 13 million kids had this year when being bullied.  You’re saying that you do care, and that you want things to change.

Changing the world is serious business.  Let’s start by going to the movies….I’m buying.



  1. My son was bullied every year from kindergarten to 12th grade. Even in high school when I went to parent teacher conferences and expresssed my horror that he was still being bullied this is what his teachers said. “I just tell him to ignore it. It’s not like kids are going to do anything serious. Really, why can’t he just ignore them? He’ll be out of school in a year or two and things will be fine.” At IEP meetings the principal just said, we’ll we’ve taken care of it. My son was harrassed, bullied and terrorized for 12 years. It’s time for this crime to end. Thank you Josh for all that you do!!!

  2. At 9:52pm a woman emailed me detailing the physical abuse her son experienced in school today in our community. He was beaten by a peer. She attached a photo. The right side of his face is swollen and he has a black eye. I can only imagine how he must feel.

  3. Thank you for sharing, Lynn. I am so sorry to hear about your son. It’s LONG past time for these crimes to end! No one should ever experience such abuse. Ever!

  4. It is a sad world we live in when our children cannot feel safe at school. My daughter, who just turned 13, is also experiencing severe bullying at her middle school. The school has become so uncomfortable with my phone calls and questions that they have now resorted to blaming my daughter for anything that happens at the school. I wish it ended with just her peers, but sadly one of the mothers of the “bully” that is targeting my daughter felt the need to also involve herself in the harassment. This mother text messaged my daughter with a horrific message that was completely false and degrading. As a result of this my daughter now has to walk the halls everyday with half the school shunning her or making fun of her. The mother did not stop at the text, she took it to facebook as well. For some reason I cannot phathom young 12 and 13 year olds are allowed to take their very expensive phones to school, so when the message hit fb it immediately spread like wildfire through the school. I think it is a sign of the times when a mother of all people would do such a thing to a child! How am I supposed to teach my child there are safe people in the world and to go to adults when she has a problem when those very people are participating in the bullying? Much like one of the other stories, a para reported to the principal that my daughter was being too agressive while playing a game of dodgeball which had her on an opposite team than her bully. The school called me and said my daughter was caught by the para threatening the bully and trying to hit the girl with the ball too much. My honest opinion…you people can’t get a handle on what is going on at your school and don’t want to deal with me so it is easier to try to turn the tables, secondly, if my daughter did throw the ball guess’s dodgeball! Finally, if she did aim directly at the bully I cannot say I am too upset about that either. She did not and I realize that is wrong of me to say but lets face it, if our children cannot stand up for themselves then who will? The school sure won’t. It seems to me the teachers are afraid of these children and want to avoid confrontaions with parents at all costs, better to just pretend it never happened. The school told me I should teach my daughter to not act like a wilted flower, to have her stand up straight and hold her head high and all would be okay. What freaking planet are you from is what I want to know. Did these school officials ever attend middle school and remember how hard it can be, escpecially for younf girls who yearn to be loved, admired, appreciated, adored, and popular with their peers. Everywhere you look from television to the internet to the billboards and the advertisements we send a message to little girls that if they are not perfect they ar eugly, now we have to send them to school to be treated terribly and all we should do is tell them to stand up straight! Come on folks, get behinf the anti bullying movement. parents beware because I pray no one has to find their child dead because they felt they had no where to turn.

  5. I moved to Delaware county 3 1/2 years ago an my now 13 yr old daughter has been picked on pushed around made fun of because she was the new girl in school when she hit the 7th grade it juz got worse kids were saying she was pregnant calling her all kinds of names I had taken it to the principle numerous time an it was like nothing was being done..My daughter had a pair of jeans that another girl said she had stolen them from which she didn’t steal them, the priniple made the choice an gave them back to the other girl since that she was marked as a theif on top of the other names too..She started cutting herself for a cry out for help the school saw the marks an didn’t do anything about it. She was put in the hospital an we got the higher up’s involved that’s when things got goin for us, well that only lasted a couple months even tho she’s not being bullied the West Delaware schools aren’t doing their part in to stop the bullying..My 12 yr old daughter is now being bullied an the teachers are juz looking the other way I’m sorry but if the teacher doesn’t do something they need to find another job we need teachers that are their for their students an not just for a pay check..We have thought about changing school for them if it doesn’t stop but what’s that showing that it’s still goin to go on even after my kids are gone the school needs to step up an stop the bullying…To many lifes are being lost because of it..

  6. My granddaughter is seventh grade student at West Delaware school. She has been bullied since fifth grade. The bullyingh has escalled this year. My vibrant, funny granddaughter turned listless, crying often not wanting to go to school. The bullying caused her to begin cutting herself. The emotional distress caused her to require hospitalization, and medication. Thank goodness she was able to talk to her mother about her feelings. She was transferred to another class getting away from her bullyer. In doing that she was dropping in her grades because the new class was on a different schedule. this means she will have to go to summer school. Getting the officals to really listen to what was going on was a nightmare. They did not believe my daughter, even after numerous phone calls and face to face meetings. It took the hospitalization for them to wake up. They are still slow to believe this could be happening in their school. They now have a safety net for my granddaughter if the bullying escalates again. Teachers are in the hallways to more closely to observe what is really going on. Why was the department of education notified that this was going on? This is mandated to notife the department of education in writing. Why do schools think they are exempt from reporting. My granddaughter is still in therapy and will be for some time. I believe it is time for this school district to take a long hard look at their school system andm help protect the children we send to a safe place. There have been other children being bullied and some very secret bulliers that wait to prey on the unsuspecting.

  7. The East Dubuque Schools could certainly use information on bullying! Its a shame that if its not seen or heard, it didnt happen.

  8. Josh,
    I was horrified at reading the stories here. When is the movie and how can others support bringing it? Where is the school administration? Luckily I feel we don’t have the same issues in our district. How do we get the message out? Can you expand the invite to other districts?

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