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Bullying
Name Calling Hurts



Name Calling Hurts
Special Note for Teachers about this Reading Comprehension
Teachers, be aware that this story contains names that some may find offensive, but there's a lesson to be learned.

The following words are in this reading comprehension. Please review usage of these words before using in your classroom:  retard, fatso, fat girl, stupid, creeps, loser, blockhead, dummy

Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 2 to 3
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   2.56

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    sarcastic, tagged, hips, liked, everything, minutes, tidy, feeling, kids, sticking, unkind, unknown, messy, faster, doing, sounds
     content words:    You BLOCKHEAD


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Name Calling Hurts
By Joyce Furstenau
  

   Characters   
Moisha:  a student
Terry:  a student
Felix:  a student
Raul:  a student
Tony:  a student
Mrs. Brown:  the school counselor

     Moisha liked everything about going to school. She liked reading and math. Moisha liked her teacher and the other kids in her class. Moisha was happy at school, until one day Terry called her a name at recess. Some of her friends were playing tag. Felix tagged Raul, and Terry tagged Tony. Moisha wanted to play, but Terry said, "Nobody wants a FAT girl like you on their team, Moisha."

     At first, Moisha ignored the remark. She waited until the game stopped again. Terry and the boys still wouldn't let her play. She began to feel bad. Moisha walked off the playground and sat on the sidewalk near the school building. Raul saw her sitting down. He ran over to her.

     "Moisha, betcha can't catch me," he said. Raul stood facing Moisha with his hands on his hips and feet wide apart, rocking back and forth as if he was waiting for her to give chase.

     "No, STUPID! I don't chase stupid people," answered Moisha in her most sarcastic voice.

     At first, Raul ignored the remark. He turned around and ran back to join the others, but they wouldn't let him get back in the game.

     "Hey, guys, can I get back in the game?" he asked.

     Felix, Terry, and Roberto were screaming. They didn't hear Raul. They kept running and screaming. Raul turned around and walked away. Now Raul felt bad.

     "Fine, you bunch of CREEPS! I don't play with creeps anyway," he shouted, and he ran off the playground.

     At first, Roberto ignored the remark. "What's up with Raul?" asked Roberto. "He called us creeps." Roberto looked around. They were the only three boys playing tag now.

     "Raul's a LOSER! Who cares?" shouted Felix loudly so that Raul could hear him.

     When the bell rang, the children all hurried to their classrooms. Moisha got to the drinking fountain first. Everyone wanted to get a drink before going back to class. Someone shoved Moisha. Her head hit the wall.

     "Ow! You BLOCKHEAD!" she shouted. "Who's the DUMMY that is pushing?"

     "Not me, FATSO!" said Terry.

     "Probably was you, STUPID!" said Moisha, pointing to Raul.

     "It was not me, it was those CREEPS!" shouted Raul.

     "Who are you calling a CREEP?" shouted Terry

     "What a LOSER!" shouted Felix.

     Their classroom teacher heard the name-calling and came into the hall.

     "Sounds like someone needs a timeout," she said. She touched each of the unhappy students on the shoulder and motioned for them to go see Mrs. Brown, the school counselor. Their teacher sent a note to Mrs. Brown explaining what she overheard in the hall.

     Mrs. Brown asked them to sit quietly for a few minutes and think about why they were here. One by one, she asked each child to tell her about their morning. She asked them to begin before school started. She called on Terry first.

     "Aw, I don't want to go first," he said. Mrs. Brown gave him "the look," and Terry began.

     "Well, I missed the bus this morning because I couldn't find my jacket. My brother had to drive me to school. He didn't want to. He wanted to be with his friends. He was mad at me and called me a 'retard.' He made me mad, but I got over it. I...I.. was doing okay until recess. I didn't want Moisha to play with us because, well, she runs so fast. No one would stand a chance if she played," said Terry.

     "And then what?" asked Mrs. Brown.

     "I called her a name," answered Terry. He looked down at the floor, feeling embarrassed.

     Moisha told the group how happy she was until recess. She said Terry called her fat. "That made me feel bad. After that, I didn't feel like playing with anyone," said Moisha.

     "And then what?" asked Mrs. Brown.

     "After recess someone pushed me at the drinking fountain. I thought it was Terry."

     "And then what?" asked Mrs. Brown.

     "I called him a name," answered Moisha, looking at the floor.

     The children took turns sharing how everything was going fine until someone called them a name. Each child told the group how the name-calling made him or her feel. Felix said that being called a name made him feel bad. Moisha said it made her feel lonely. Terry said it made him feel angry.

     "Then why did you turn around and do it to someone else? Do you see the pattern here?" Mrs. Brown asked. Everyone looked at the floor. No one answered. Mrs. Brown asked them to think about what happened at recess. Terry looked up and slowly raised his hand.

     "Yes, Terry," said Mrs. Brown.

     "I am sorry I called you fat, Moisha. I do not think you are fat. You can run faster than I, and I guess I was really upset because of what happened with my brother," said Terry.

     Mrs. Brown went on to explain that name calling hurts, no matter who is doing it. She said even if you hear someone say, "I was just teasing," afterwards, name-calling is still really a form of bullying. The students in the group agreed their unkind words hurt. One by one, a stream of apologies came forth from each of the children. Soon, everyone was smiling again.

     Mrs. Brown asked them to think about how they could stop name-calling in the future.

     Moisha said, "How about instead of saying things like, 'You are a messy person,' we could say, 'Do you think you could tidy up your desk?'"

     "That's great!" answered Mrs. Brown. "Anyone else?"

     "How about just walking away when someone tries to bully you?" asked Felix.

     "Yes, that is another good choice," answered Mrs. Brown.

     "I don't really need to call people names. I can just say, 'no, thanks,' instead of 'no, stupid,' suggested Raul.

     "I should have stuck up for Raul," said Felix. "He is my friend."

     "Sticking up for your friends is not easy, but it is a way to stop a bully. You don't even need to say anything, just stand beside them so the bully will know you are there for your friend," said Mrs. Brown.

     The kids agreed they would work on making better choices when they were upset. They agreed name-calling was a problem they could work on together. They went back to class arm in arm.

     "The words you speak today should be soft and tender... for tomorrow you may have to eat them."- Unknown



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