My classmate's son is a victim of bullying because of alopecia

From my classmate Pamela Farr:

This is our youngest son describing the bullying he's having to put up with at school camp. He has an immune system disorder and goes bald because of it. He ...

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Comment by Nancy King on July 19, 2011 at 10:03am
what a brave young man! HE is the normal kid. the bullies are the ones who are NOT normal. they have yet to learn compassion and the real meaning of friendship. what is done to handle bullying problems like this?
Comment by Tom on July 19, 2011 at 10:04am
poor kid. is there anything we can do to help?
Comment by Greg on July 19, 2011 at 10:13am
Wow, kids can be cruel, unintentionally I'm sure. They really don't grasp the long term impact of words.
They really don't understand that the world is made of all sorts of shapes, sizes, colours.
I know it's not much comfort to the poor kid, but he will be OK, the bullies will grow up and realise the world isn't as black and white as they had thought.
If it's any consolation, these things often act as a spur leading to greatness!
Comment by Johnny Q on July 19, 2011 at 10:24am
I went through some of the same things that this little boy is experiencing as a child with Alopecia and it definitely sucks. My anti-PC advice is 1: Shave the head kid, get rid of the rest of that hair, having a shaved head makes you look like a badass. 2: Learn to defend yourself, with your words and your fists, knowledge and power. Don't be a victim, learn how to kick some ass. America doesn't have a bullying problem, America has a politeness problem. Good luck kid, I feel for you, I really do.
Comment by kastababy on July 19, 2011 at 10:34am
Thanks for all your kind words and advice. I also advocate learning to defend yourself; I tell that to every parent with a child that has alopecia. As someone that grew up from childhood with alopecia, I truly believe in the old adage "take out the biggest bully and the others will fall in line." Johnny Q is right - America doesn't have a bullying problem. America has a discipline and politeness problem; one that won't be resolved until people start standing up for themselves and telling these punks that what they are doing is NOT acceptable. If that means kicking the poor kid's butt that threatened him and his momma's butt too, then so be it, but these schools are making the problem worse, not better. Don't punish a child for defending himself, get rid of the one that caused the problem in the first place. And kids can be intentionally cruel too. There really are no easy answers, but I'll be sure to pass all your well wishes along to Pam and Russell!!
Comment by khalid khalil on July 19, 2011 at 10:59am
I Grew up With alopecia, I will say that its not fun. But I will say that it has made me into the great person that I am today. I quickly learned how to defend myself, mostly with my words but if necessary my fists. Kids like easy targets, thats why they go for the chubby kid or the nerdy kid, and if they get the chance the Bald kid that sticks out like a sore thumb. But if you can make them look more stupid than there attempts of picking on you they'll quickly learn to leave you alone. I genuinely want to start a summer camp to arm these kids with those tools.
Comment by Marie on July 19, 2011 at 11:16am
I am a teacher. When we have problems like this we usually sit down with the group of bullies (and their parents if necessary) and talk to explain the rules, consequences, and acceptable behavior. This year it was very effective in dealing with some ethnic prejudice, slurs, and threats. How have the administration and teachers dealt with the behavior of these bullies toward your son?
Comment by linda carraway on July 19, 2011 at 11:23am
I would suggest the same thing SHAVE! I fell so much better since I did it and no one has ever made fun of me just the opposite I have women telling me they would love to shave it all off. Lots of boys have shaved heads ,its really in with older guys. It took along time before I realized I can be proud of being different! Where are the teachers ?? Can't they teach these kids some compassion???? Please give this little guy lots of hugs from all of us out there . Linda
Comment by Linda Rieschel on July 19, 2011 at 11:35am
I would advise the parents of this brave boy to contact their local Alopecia group and ask if there isn't a male adult with alopecia who could come to the boy's school and talk to all the students about what Alopecia Areata is. All his classmates need to be educated about Alopecia, and if the entire school understands what is going on, perhaps the boy might gain a few allies who would defend him when the (hopefully) small group of cruel kids start bullying him again.
Comment by Lisa on July 19, 2011 at 11:50am
He IS a brave boy! And kudos to his parents for taping this and putting it up here (and possibly other places...) to raise AWARENESS about Alopecia. The fact that over 5 million people have Alopecia and SO many don't know what it is is mind-boggling. My daughter was almost 10 when she was diagnosed last December, and she, too went through a kind of situation at school...she could cover it up and comb it over for awhile...but even Donald Trump couldn't manage to comb over the bald spots she had. She returned to school after spring break PROUDLY wearing this headband with hair attached only to hear, "What is THAT...a WIG???" and then another girl tried to pull it...and for the 1st time in my honor student's life, she came home saying she didn't want to go back to school again. OMG. It was time to take action. She agreed. I wrote an email to the class and parents' responses were unreal...SO many letting me know of THEIR issues, health and physical...then her dad and I went in to talk to the class to inform them what was going on. The teacher said the kids had NEVER been so attentive. We let them know that Nina was NOT contagious...you cannot "catch" alopecia...that she JUST wants you to treat her normally!!!...She's still the same ole Nina, it's just that her body THINKS it's allergic to its hair and spits it out. Yes, it could come back...maybe not for a while...maybe never...Then we ended up talking to the entire 4th grade. It was truly an unbelievable experience for us as parents, and Nina got the support and love of EVERYONE in that school that she already had...nobody asked another question. They all KNEW! Nina said, "Knowledge is POWER"...she told kids when she was getting a new hairpiece and they couldn't wait to see!!!...Nina is now completely without hair including eyebrows. She's got the most amazing attitude and spirit, and has taught us all how to deal with what God's given us. It's NOT easy sometimes. Sometimes it just SUCKS. I'm crying as I write this...but I do know it's all ok. Nina got a FULL academic scholarship to the best private school in this city...because of her grades and art talents, but mainly because they see who she is inside and couldn't wait to have her and said they are honored to have her as part of THEIR family.
The more people who know about alopecia, the more awareness can be raised and funds raised to hopefully one day find a cure. In the meantime, be strong for your kids (as hard as that is sometimes...), and let THEM tell you when THEY'RE ready for a wig or hairpiece...or to talk to their class.
We need people for Nina to talk with who have alopecia!!!..That's the thing, she's never met anyone else with alopecia. I think she's ready to find a special friend. Thanks for letting me tell our little story...God bless you all.
Lisa , Nina's Mom. :)

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