When a reader tells Arizona that a fellow student publicly ridiculed him after he slipped in the cafeteria, Arizona reveals that she too had a nasty encounter with a bully in the lunchroom at school.
What provoked Arizona’s teaser wasn’t anything nearly as embarrassing as taking a header in the lunch line. She simply wore an outfit with an unfortunate tag hanging out. But the bully she hardly knew wasn’t going to let Arizona forget the gaffe.
Arizona used a combination of techniques to subdue the bully, and she advised the letter writer, Terrified of Teasing in Tennessee, to do the same:
- Ignore negative comments, or quietly walk away from the situation.
- Try not to act too upset—if the teasers get a big reaction, they may be more likely to tease you again.
- Laugh it off by responding with a joke.
- Firmly tell the person to stop.
- Seek out a friend to be near.
- Go to a teacher or another adult for advice.
You can find Ask Arizona on pages 40–41 of the September 2018 issue of Highlights. Then, keep the dialogue going. Use the prompts and reading comprehension boosters that follow to engage your child.
- Have you ever seen a child at school tease another kid about an answer he gave in class or something he did or said at recess?
- Have you ever seen teasing like that before? With those two children? Any others?
- Did a teacher or an adult step in to separate the children?
- Were there consequences, or did everyone just move on?
- If a friend or classmate were being teased, what could you say to her to make her feel better?
- How could you stand up for a friend or classmate who was teased by another?
- If you didn’t stand up for someone who was being teased, how would you feel afterward? How do you think he would feel after you didn’t stick up for him?
Reading Comprehension Boosters:
- What made Arizona feel as if she wanted to transfer to a different planet?
- Why didn’t Arizona get the pants with the tiny rabbit on the pocket?
- What do you think Arizona meant when she said, “I took away the teasers’ power by not acting upset”?
- Why did Arizona say the experience had a positive side? What was it, and how did it change her behavior after that?