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On Wednesday night the Racine County Eye held a forum on bullying. We wanted to connect parents with resources, offer access to professionals, and have families see a program the Case High School Theatre group does called the Secret Project.

Even though almost 600 people liked our story about hosting the forum, about 25 people came. I wish more people would have come, but I was truly grateful for those who did come. And I wish you would have heard the things the kids in the audience told us they needed… which was acceptance.

But the dialogue was great. I couldn’t have asked for better. Still, I wish you could have been there to hear what we heard about the sensitive nature of bullies not really wanting to be bullies at all, one girl in the audience talked about girls in her class being bullied because they liked girls, about a parent’s frustration over how her girls were bullied online, and the difficulty parents face when their children are victims.

So Heather Asiyanbi, who co-owns the news website with me, and I decided that we’re going to keep doing these kinds of forums. Why? Because we want to keep this dialogue going about how to discuss the issue of bullying in a school district where kids struggle with the complexities of poverty, mental illness, and the fragile reality of not always feeling good enough.

But this morning when I looked through my news feed, this video on these kids in Minnesota caught my attention and it got me thinking about those subtle shifts in thinking that kids can take if we allow them with the right tools. So, to keep this discussion going on a positive track, I thought I’d offer this up as an example of change looks like and to me the word acceptance popped up in my head.

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/xdeuivQYnas

The funny thing about acceptance is that when you accept someone as is… you don’t have to like what someone is or is not, but in my opinion you still honor and respect that person in how you talk to them and treat them as a fellow human being. These 13-year-olds from Minnesota understand this and I wondered how we might apply this to our own lives.

Let me know what you think…

Denise Lockwood

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.