7: Coach Z

This is the seventh post in a series about my son’s recent experience with bullying at school.

One day last week Sam’s PE teacher, Coach Z, came up to me and said that there is a girl, Janette who is picking on Sam relentlessly, laughing at Sam and making nasty comments. She just won’t stop, he told me. I asked him to separate them, and he said he already had.

The next day, Sam came home and said that because Janette had been moved so far away from Sam that she could no longer say anything to him without being overheard, she started throwing balls at his head.

We emailed Coach Z. We emailed Sam’s teacher. We emailed the principal. We waited for nothing meaningful to be done.

And you know what? Coach Z sent us an email the next day saying he’d launched an anti-bullying program in PE.

He said that this isn’t just an issue between Sam and Janette. He said that bullying involves a bully-victim-bystander relationship, and sent us online links so we could learn more about this concept. And he said that he would conduct classroom sessions using the curriculum from BrainPOP to increase all students’ awareness of how to avoid bullying in PE. “If someone is ignoring bullying and not taking action,” Coach Z said, “they are no different from the bully.”

He also talked about how Sam can make better choices about engaging in a bullying situation, and suggested things we can talk to Sam about to facilitate his learning.

Coach Z doesn’t know we’re organizing parents and trying to get the school to implement a comprehensive anti-bullying program. He didn’t get the principal’s approval to launch a new program. He didn’t consult anyone. He just said: enough. I’m going to do something about this. And he did.

I love you, Coach Z.




  1. Donna Wagner says

    Last week my family attended a local fair with my 4 year old son Sam, who isn’t gender nonconforming, but who loves the colors pink and green and flowers and crystals. At the fair he wanted to get his face painted and he picked out a design with pink and green flowers and crystals. You wouldn’t believe how many other little boys in line told Sam that wasn’t the one he wanted, and as he was getting his face painted with flowers, the woman said to me, “I’m so glad you let him get the flowers. You wouldn’t believe how many parents MAKE their children get something that they believe is more gender appropriate.”

    Kids who bully are merely imitating the behavior they have learned from their parents, which is ultimately a lack of acceptance of anything or anyone that is “different”

  2. Cizz from europe says

    Hello Sarah I want to show you something:
    Just look at this link:
    At this time is was totally normals for GIRLS and BOYS to wear dresses.
    And this is Franklin Roosevelt as a child:

    and here is something about the color pink:
    “The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.”

    So it is not gender nonconforming if a boy likes dresses and the color pink. There is nothing wrong with it because it’s made up by people.

  3. says

    I’m so glad that all of you are stepping up and doing what’s necessary to make all of these children better people!

    I have another suggestion: have you guys ever heard of Gracie Jiu Jitsu? Specifically, about their Bullyproof program? It’s not just a martial art — it’s much, much more than that. It’s a way of self protection that is rooted in *non-violence*. There are no strikes! The objective of the game is to protect yourself by controlling and subduing the attacker.

    Please, read this: http://www.oprah.com/relationships/Bullyproof-Your-Child-for-Life

    This is their website:
    https://www.graciekids.com/Default.aspx , specifically check out what other parents have to say about this program.

    When I grew up, I was a shy kid and was never into sports. I was bullied a lot in school. If someone told me back then that I’d be doing martial arts seriously at some point, I’d laugh! But when I saw Brazilian Jiu Jitsu… let’s just say, the thing I’m most sorry for now, is that I didn’t have the opportunity to learn it back then. Please, Sarah, give your child this incredible gift! Not only will it do wonders for his confidence — this is also an incredibly fun way to bond and spend time together with you. Additionally, chances are it will also help with his weight problems…

    Good luck!

  4. cas says

    Umm, Gloria? That’s immediately where your mind goes?!? You missed the point by miles, and I fear that if that was your first concern that you have a serious, frightening problem. Do yourself, all children, and the world a favor, and get some help. Because it’s people like you who hurt kids– in more ways than I can count.
    And, Sarah? Thank God for that kind of teacher. People like that make anything good possible.

  5. cas says

    Sarah, delete the above email if I was off-base. Seemed this person was insinuating coach z has bad motives? An unhealthy interest in your son? And that’s why he is stepping up to the bullying? That’s just beyond screwed.
    So, if I’m right in my assessment, keep it. If you know her, and I’ve misread it, delete me.
    thanks. xo.

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