At the end of first grade, 7-year-old Cameron Hale, an easy-going, cheerful little boy from a tiny rural town in western Washington, suddenly didn’t want to go to school anymore.
When Cameron adamantly refused to have a play date with a good friend, his mom, Kim Hale, 36, knew something was wrong with her middle child. His change in behavior just didn’t make sense.
“Cameron finally broke down in tears and told me that several boys at school had been teasing him relentlessly, making fun of his hair, his clothes, calling him names, and not letting him play at recess. And one of those boys was his good friend,” Kim says.
While the friend wasn’t actively participating in the teasing, Cameron told his mom that he was doing nothing to stop it, which made it all even worse.
At first Kim stayed silent, hoping the mean behavior would disappear over the summer. But when it picked up again at the start of second grade, Kim went to the principal with her concerns. Kim says that the principal dismissed the charge and convinced her that the behavior wasn’t bullying, but instead, it was simply boys being mean.