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Adoptive Mom Stands Up to Bully for Son, Goes to Jail

Mom Stands Up to BullyThe Atlanta Journal Constitution reported a 59 year old woman – an Atlanta Technical College student and Sunday School teacher – was arrested earlier this week for going to school and threatening to, "mess up" a boy that had been bullying her adoptive son.

Marvis Renae Henry threatened a middle school-aged boy after both she and her son had reported incidences of bullying to the teacher and the school. The bully had picked on her son on multiple occasions, at one point trying to throw the victim down a flight of stairs.

The bully reported her to the school officials and sheriff's deputies, reporting he "feared for his safety".

"Until I went up to the school, there weren't going to do anything", she said. "I had to bring it out so somebody would do something." She went on to say, "I'll sit outside that school and give him my phone number and make him call me whenever there is a problem. If I have to, I'll go to jail again."

There is a week's worth of material in this story, so let's hit the high points.

I admire this woman's guts. She did absolutely the right thing in backing her son up all the way and she sent a message to him that is going to serve him for the rest of his life. His level of security and comfort knowing that his mother is there no matter what is going to make him more confident going forward.

While this woman has guts and did the right thing in backing up her son, HOW she did it was wrong. She notified the teachers and schools, which was a correct move; from there, if nothing changed, it is time to address the parents of the bully directly. Unless an adult is intervening between kids in an attempted assault or trying to stop bodily injury, adults are best served addressing and communicating with other adults.

I find it ironic that the bully – who reportedly tried to physically push his victim down a flight of stairs, which could lead to injury or worse – was only "threatened" and felt fear for his safety, so he had the woman arrested. I wonder if the bully is going to realize that he has now been in his victim's shoes, understands how his victims feel and stop the bullying, or if he is going to feel more empowered, since he got an adult arrested for simply threatening him.

One thing that is missing is why isn't the boy standing up for himself? We don't know if there is an age or size difference, but even if there is, so what? Part of the reason that the boy is being picked on is probably because he is not or will not stand up for himself. Having his almost-sixty-year-old mother come to the school and threaten to whip the bully might make things worse.

I know when my Mom had me call a kid that was picking on me – and then sat in the background, coaching me on the phone – the bully overheard my Mom in the background, laughed at me for needing my Mom on the phone to stand up for myself, and picked on my worse afterwards.

A better way that parents like my Mom and Ms. Henry can serve their kids is to make sure they are strong enough mentally, physically and emotionally to stand up for themselves. Shameless plug – of course I think they should learn some sort of martial arts.

You want them to learn martial arts, not so they can learn to punch someone in the face – that is missing the point entirely; learning the martial arts gives you confidence to stand up to the bullies in your life because you know you CAN punch them in the face and protect yourself, so you are NOT AFRAID of having to do so, or of being physically assaulted. The power comes from knowing you are strong enough to do it – NOT from doing it.

If the boy in this story was confident enough to stand up to the bully by himself, maybe his Mom wouldn't have had to go to jail for standing up for him.

Stay strong,


P.S. – Martial arts training is not the only thing that could help this boy and his Mom. There are many more tools in the book, "Bullies Suck" and in the Ultimate Bullying Solution Society Member Newsletter. There is a Martial Arts Home Study course coming for adults and parents, as well as articles, videos and more that will be included in the Members Newsletter. Check it out today.


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