Momma pulled the car up in line and stopped. "Have a good day. I'll see you after school."
I pushed open my door and grabbed my backpack. "Okay, Momma." I closed the door and hopped onto the sidewalk.
"What kind of super hero are you?" A big boy turned around near the steps. "I don't think they allow babies with tutus to be super heroes."
"Come here, Chloe. Walk with me." Brooklyn, a friend from church, held out her hand.
I grasped her hand and we walked into school together.
Brooklyn stopped inside the gym and looked at me. "Don't pay any attention to that boy."
I nodded and found my section, spotting some friends from Mrs. Taylor's room.
Later after reading time, I asked Mrs. Taylor to go to the bathroom. As soon as I rounded the corner, there was the mean boy again. I walked faster.
"Well, if it isn't little baby wannabe hero."
How did he know I would be here right now? I rushed into the girl's restroom. I took my time, hoping he would be gone before I came out. I eased around to the sinks, washed my hands, and ripped off a paper towel.
"That you? I don't think you're very brave without all of your little friends. I heard about the Fall Festival. How you scared my friend."
I tossed my towel into the garbage can and walked as fast as I could back to Mrs. Taylor's room.
"What's wrong, Chloe?" Amy smiled.
"Well, there's this ... A mean boy bothered me when I came in this morning, and he was just at the bathroom when I was."
Efren walked closer. "What did he say?"
"He was making fun of my super hero shirt. Then at the bathroom just now he said I wasn't very brave without you all and that he heard that we scared his friend at the Fall Festival." My hands felt a little shaky.
"Sounds like he doesn't remember this week is Be a Buddy Not a Bully week," Weston said.
"The first time I ignored him and this time I walked away. That's some of what we have learned. I hope it works."
Our class filed into the cafeteria. I grabbed a tray and slid it along the line, picking up my food. When I arrived at the register, there was the mean boy across from me. He narrowed his eyes at me and gave me a really mean look.
I turned my attention to punching in my lunch number.
He finished his number at the same time and carried his tray right beside of me. "I don't think you understand. I don't like it when people do stuff to my friends. I feel I should get back at you for that."
I stopped and looked him right in the eyes. "Stop bullying me!" I spun around and marched to my table. I plunked my tray down and let out a big breath.
Brooklyn passed by on the way to her assigned table. "Are you okay? Did he pick on you again?"
I nodded. "Two times. But this time I told him to stop bullying me."
Brooklyn smiled. "Good job."
I slowly ate my lunch, but my mind kept thinking about how close that mean boy sat to me in the afternoon while I waited for Momma to come. What would happen then?
All day long my stomach felt funny. Mrs. Taylor kept getting my attention and asking if I felt okay.
The time had come to line up to go home. I followed the others down the hallway, shuffling my feet. Maybe the mean boy went home early. Or maybe he wouldn't be there today.
As I neared the spot where I sat to wait for Momma every day, there he was, sitting on the other side of the hall. he looked at me and suddenly twisted his body in the other direction.
How did that happen? Had I scared him away during lunch?
Brooklyn bent down in front of me. "Hey, don't worry about him anymore." She nodded toward the mean boy. "I told our teacher that he had been bullying you, and she told him if she even saw him look your way, he was in trouble." She patted my back. "So don't worry about him."
"You're welcome. It's okay to tell a teacher if someone keeps bullying you. Remember that."
I told Momma all about it in the car ride on the way home.
"I am certainly glad you have good friends to help you like that." She stopped in the driveway and turned to look at me. "And you always know you can come to me and tell me anything. I don't want you to have to deal with bullies like that."
"I know, Momma. I don't know why someone would want to be a bully. You can have more friends if you're nice."
"You're right about that."
"There's still four more days in the Be a Buddy Not a Bully week. Maybe that mean boy can learn to be a buddy this week."
Momma smiled. "Maybe."
What ways did Chloe deal with her bully?
Brooklyn was an older friend who saw what was happening and didn't just ignore it. She helped. What might you do to help a friend who is being bullied?
If you are being bullied, tell someone - a teacher, your parents.
Chloe is right: You can have more friends if you're nice.