Kids encounter bullying at school, on the school bus and any number of other places. So a local author has written a book to help young students and their parents identify and end this harassment.
Mildred Peyton, a mother of two from Bowie, is passionate about the well-being of children, so she studied bullying for her doctorate and recently published her first children’s book, “A Bully on the School Bus.”
“I don’t think it’s something that will probably ever go away, but through my book and my research, I wanted to minimize it,” she says.
The story follows Nicole, a young girl who experiences bullying on the school bus when an older student, Dylan, consistently asks her to change seats. Nicole’s mom notices her daughter has been acting differently, so she starts a conversation to discuss the issue and they talk about ways Nicole could stand up to Dylan. The next day, Nicole is able to ask the bus driver to step in and resolve the issue.
“I think it’s going to be useful to kids because it empowers them and tells them not to be afraid to tell a trusted adult,” Peyton says.
For parents, there is a list of websites in the back of the book to find resources about identifying and ending bullying. In the story, Nicole’s parents communicate openly with their daughter and notice changes in her behavior. Peyton believes this is key to identifying problems that may be occurring outside the home, she says.
Peyton chose the school bus setting because her research showed that was where most parents said their kids were bullied.
“I wanted to show that bullying takes many forms — physical, verbal, emotional — and that it is consistent,” Peyton says. “Nicole was constantly being harassed, but by the end, she wasn’t afraid to be on the school bus.”
“A Bully on the School Bus” is available as an e-book or in softcover through Amazon and Barnes and Noble for about $10.
In addition to writing “A Bully on the School Bus,” Peyton speaks within the community to kids, families and educators about what they can do to stop bullying. She is currently planning a community outreach event for Sept. 17 at the Bohrer Park Activity Center in Gaithersburg for families to learn about bullying while having fun with face painting, games, music and a moon bounce. For details, visit her website, drmildredpeyton.com.
By Kelsey Cardace