Bullying tells us it’s no secret kids can be cruel, but 8-year-old Nicolas Neesley has made an immense difference at his elementary school in Quincy, Mich.
His actions and subsequent media attention all began when the young boy intervened in a playground fight on Oct. 1, 2015. The immediate result was Neesley being spit on and called names by the mean boy. But Nicolas didn’t let the other child’s actions affect him, nor would he let that be the end of his encounter with the mean bully.
That night, Nicolas asked his parents if he should ask the bully to be his friend.
“It was bugging Nic that the kid did not want to be friends with him,” his mother, Shamayne Neesley said.
Shamayne told her son to give it some time, but Nicolas was still bothered by the situation. He spent the weekend thinking about what he could do to befriend the boy and help his friends in school who were victims of bullying.
The mature and warm-hearted third-grader noticed that during anti-bullying day at Jennings Elementary School, the fifth-grade bully was wearing black when all students were supposed to wear blue in support of anti-bullying.
The next day, Nicolas brought a letter to school. His words, “You don’t have to bully. If you don’t have any friends, just make a friend — it’s very simple. But you already have a friend — us. We will help you. We will be respectful, responsible and caring to you,” were read over the loudspeaker by Principal Ron Olmsted.
“We do take child-centered learning as our main priority,” Olmsted said. “So we took advantage of knowing it was national anti-bullying day to show that kids do care about no bullying.”
One of Nicolas’ former teachers called the boy’s mother to tell her there was not one dry eye in the school after her son’s letter was read.
“I always encourage him to do what’s good in his heart and if it fails, then we learn from those failures,” Shamayne said. “I read (the letter) and was overwhelmed with pride.”
When Nicolas was asked why he wrote the letter, he said “I just wanted to touch the bully’s heart and teach him a lesson so he wouldn’t do the same thing to other people.”
Let’s Stop FB Rumours posted a picture of Nicolas with his letter to their Facebook page. Since September 2011, the NGO has reported inappropriate behavior by racial cyber bullies and regularly shares current news, events, and inspiring stories with their nearly 72,000 Facebook followers.
“Nicolas’ message is one that resonates with kids all over the country,” writes Let’s Stop FB Rumours.
According to PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, bullying is still a major issue in schools. In 2015, 1 out of every 4 students reported being bullied during the school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. However, it may be assumed the actual bullying rates are much higher because 64 percent of children who were bullied in 2010 did not report it, according to a study published by the Regional Educational Laboratory At Education Development Center Inc.
There is hope, however, as interventions such as those by Nicolas, do in fact stop bullying. According to a 2001 study by researchers at York University and Queen’s University, 57 percent of bullying situations stop when peers intervene on behalf of other students being bullied.
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