Milwaukee, Wisconsin news anchor, Jennifer Livingston, called out her bully on the air
October is National Anti-Bullying Awareness Month. It's fitting, yet unfortunate, that the viral video of the day was a Milwaukee, WI news anchor, Jennifer Livingston, responding on-air to a particularly hurtful email she'd received. The gist of the email was that Ms Livingston was not a good role model for Milwaukee's young people because she was overweight. (You can watch the entire video here.)
In her scathing rebuttal to the anonymous - of course - bully, Ms Livingston made two points that I think should be said over and over again, because we're obviously not getting it.
The first thing was her comment, "This behavior is learned." As parents, we have to remember that when it comes to attitudes about race or religion or sexual orientation or weight or anything else - our kids are blank slates. It's normal for kids to talk about differences. Which one of us hasn't had a child say, "Mommy, that boy has no legs!" loudly in a public setting (or something like that...you know what I mean.) It's important that we acknowledge these things, and then explain to our kids that someone's difference is never a justification for treating them with anything but kindness.
And that brings me to the second thing: we need to teach our kids that you should never write something to someone or about someone on the internet that you wouldn't say to their face. A good rule of thumb is that if you won't sign your name to it, it's probably not worth saying. Anonymity is the coward's shield.
I can't imagine how hurtful it was for Ms Livingston to read that email, but I am so glad that she had the confidence to do what she did. Preventing bullying begins long before it's an actual problem; it begins with what kids see and hear at home. I know I can probably do a better job of it.
What about you?