Jaclyn Raulerson was bullied so severely in the fifth grade that she had to change schools. She was teased because of her height, telling the Tampa Bay Times, “I was more willing to take the abuse than to tell someone.” She began to use beauty pageants as a refuge from the bullying and, as you can see in the video above, Raulerson went on to be named Miss Florida 2010. She has since used that recognition as a platform, becoming a sought-after speaker in the anti-bullying movement.
The Orlando Sentinel reported last year that a growing national trend involved parents hiring lawyers and suing school districts. The watchdog group Bully Police USA rated the legislation enacted by Florida in 2008 as “A++,” saying that the measure prohibiting bullying and harassment of any student or employee of a public K-12 educational institution is the “best anti-bullying law written to date.” The site notes that when it began in 2002, there were only nine states with anti-bullying laws. Now, there is only one state (Montana) without one.
Bullying no longer results in just low self-esteem. More extreme cases have involved serious personal injuries or even death. Parents have every right to be concerned about their child’s well-being, and should not be afraid to speak with police or an attorney when bullying involves physical violence. By now, school administrators should certainly be more responsive when parents articulate these concerns, but you should still keep track of any and all correspondences you may have with school officials.
Many children and teenagers are bullied because they seem “different” at the time, like the problems Raulerson faced with being taller than the boys. The way her own bullying experience helped fuel her beauty pageant success could serve as inspiration to countless Florida children who desperately need real-life examples that their best days are just over the horizon.
Wooten Kimbrough, P.A. – Orlando personal injury attorneys