Best selling author speaks to Onekama Schools students on bullying
by Ken Grabowski, Manistee News
April 17, 2012
ONEKAMA — The message was clear and to the point: don’t be a bully.
Best selling author Jodee Blanco, who authored the book “Please Stop Laughing At Me… One Woman’s Inspirational Story,” drove home that point on Tuesday to the students, staff and parents at Onekama Schools. Students raised money to bring Blanco to Onekama so she could speak on bullying and the harm that can come from it.
Blanco also penned the books “Please Stop Laughing at Us…One Survivor’s Extraordinary Quest to Prevent School Bullying” and “Please Stop Laughing at Me…Journal: A safe Place for Us to Talk.” Blanco has appeared on many national television shows talking about the subject and attempting to educate the public on it.
Bullying has been in the news quite prominently since the Michigan Legislature passed more stringent policy for school districts. All Manistee County schools have since passed that legislation.
Blanco told the Onekama students that she was ostracized from a very early age by her classmates at an Illinois school. She said they tormented her with various kinds of bullying tactics that made her feel like she was totally alone.
“From fifth grade through high school no one wanted to be with me, and I would cry myself to sleep every night,” said Blanco. “It was done for the simple reason of being different. My school years were a total nightmare.”
She recalled episodes in grade school of being held down and having snowballs shoved down her mouth and shirt by other children who just laughed at her pleas to stop. She said the tormenting would go on daily.
“In middle school it was like I was invisible, and my weight dropped down to 77 pounds,” said Blanco.
Blanco talked about a time in biology class where she was supposed to dissect a baby pig, but refused because of her love of animals. The teacher chastised her and other students mocked and made fun of her fears. It ended with one of her tormentors throwing a fetal pig at her in the hallway.
“It hit me just by the face and some of it went into my mouth,” said Blanco. “When you are surrounded by all that hatred, you have to recognize the goodness in yourself.”