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Jessica Ennis

November 8, 2012

Jessica Ennis – our wonderful British Olympic heptathlon medal winner who was the toast of the town last summer has revealed that she was bullied at school.  Jessica I am so sorry: as the founder and Chief Executive of the Red Balloon Learner Centre, a school I set up sixteen years ago for severely bullied children who are missing education because of the traumas they have endured at the hands of their peers, I know what it must have felt like at the time.

Being called names, ostracised and feeling awful about yourself saps your energy, stops you from making friends, from learning, from having ordinary friendships and having fun like all kids growing up should have.

We have children at Red Balloon who are so shattered by what has happened to them that they want to die – they would rather die than go back into school!  How can we allow children to feel this way?

And what a star you are to have come through all that, what a role model for other kids, especially girls, to have succeeded so well – you are an inspiration! Thank you and well done!

I wonder what those two ‘big girls’ are thinking now – the ones who did the bullying? I wonder if they are asking “How did she do that?” – “How did she become such a star?” Or actually are they thinking anything at all?

I wonder if they know who they are?

Well – yes it is you two – all grown up now at twenty-six. Do you know you made Jessica’s life miserable at school?  Did you know she hated the names you called her and the way she was left out?  Probably not – many many people who bully are too tied up in their own lives and misery and lack of self-confidence to realise their behaviour is having a negative impact on another person. They suffer from envy and fear and have often been bullied themselves.

How do we get people to be a little more self reflective – how do we get people to think about their own behaviour?  How do we get people to change? If there was a little more personal and social education in schools; more Circle Time where students could talk about how they want their class/tutor/group/school to be with each other, if there was more restorative justice as opposed to punishments and sanctions, if there was more of a community feel in schools and the students were taught better about talking responsibility for their own behaviour perhaps things would get better and there would be better communication at all levels

Oh well, Jessica, I take my hat off to you: not because you won a gold medal or because you endured the years of bullying.  But because you have had the nerve and the steel to speak out about it opening and honestly.

Thank you for your contribution in helping us deal with bullying in schools.

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One Comment
  1. Michael Reiss permalink

    Great stuff.

    Michael

    From: carrieherbert <comment-reply@wordpress.com> Reply-To: carrieherbert <comment+pg1hdh1w68t3-pd1zxvsp@comment.wordpress.com> Date: Thursday, 8 November 2012 20:59 To: Michael Reiss <m.reiss@ioe.ac.uk> Subject: [New post] Jessica Ennis

    carrieherbert posted: “Jessica Ennis our wonderful British Olympic heptathlon medal winner who was the toast of the town last summer has revealed that she was bullied at school. Jessica I am so sorry: as the founder and Chief Executive of the Red Balloon Learner Centre, a”

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