A SAFE PLACE
I have something heavy on my heart that I wish to share with all of you.
A couple of nights ago, while we were in the middle of switching lessons and students were coming and going at the half hour mark. We noticed a large group of young teenagers outside of our front door. Since this is a music school, that should be a Wonderful thing and we can only hope that some day the local kids come to our doors in such numbers for lessons, or performance group practices like The Warren County Youth Orchestra, Jazz Band, Rock Band, etc, etc… But Thursday night was not the case.
This group of about ten kids were acting in an aggressive manner and seemed to be fighting or about to. One of them was backed up to our door and on our doorstep. This happened while one of our parents was trying to leave with her young son. She had a word with them as she left to try to keep her son safe. The group did not disperse though and I can not tolerate that kind of behavior here so I went outside and proceeded to chase them off. I told them to leave immediately or I would have to call the authorities. They went up a couple of doors in front of the neighboring building and were still acting out. A resident in the apartment upstairs came inside because she didn’t feel safe enough to walk through them to get to her own home. She was visibly shaken.
They did finally cross the street and I watched them break into two groups and leave. I had no knowledge of what was going on or why this happened. What on earth would make kids think it’s ok to behave in this manner? I also went the next 24 hours feeling pretty badly for yelling at them. My thoughts were a mess as I wondered if I could have handled this situation in a different manner. Was there anything I could have said or done differently to make a difference in their lives? Could my reactions have been a little calmer? Should I have sounded so forceful? Could I have said something else to diffuse the situation? Would any of that made a difference in the situation?
Little did I know till the next day that I had made a difference, in one person’s life.
The next day, Friday, which is normally a day we are closed, a couple of our teachers had decided to hold make up lessons. I received a phone call at home. A young man from the incident the night before had come in and wanted to speak to me. There was a lump in my throat as I didn’t know what to expect to hear from him. What damage had I done by putting the fear of God in him, forcing them to leave the way I did? My heart pounded. I am a teacher, the Music administrator. Yelling at children in front of a building that was trying to encourage children to come in and expand their minds and imaginations with Music Education was so wrong in my mind, but I had done it.
Then I heard his voice. He was young, calm, and so very polite. He introduced himself to me and then he said something completely unexpected. He said he wanted to thank me. “Thank me? Why?” I wondered. Without hesitation he explained the side of what was happening the night before that I couldn’t see or know.
The reason for the incident.
He was actually being targeted. He said he was being “jumped”. The “gang” of other youngsters was there for him, particularly one young man who had been trying to fight him at school. He had been trying to get help to stop the harassment, but no one had helped him. He thanked me for coming out and stopping them as he had used it as a distraction to get to his home safely. The other details he divulged I will keep private, and I am keeping his name private for his sake. I only hope that this post doesn’t back fire on him.
My heart went out to him and after I got off the phone I just wept.
The reason for my long post is this.
I want everyone, young and old to know, that Bullying is not tolerated here. Ever! I Declare this building and The Music Conservatory a Safe Place! You will not find Bullying here. If you find yourself in a situation as the young man at our door had, You are free to come in when we are open, at any time if you feel unsafe. Please come in and talk to us. Tell us what is happening. We will not let anything happen to you here. You will be protected. We are a Child Safe environment and as a mother I will protect you with my life if need be.
I apologize for my emotional response to this incident, but I do not feel one bit bad anymore about yelling at the children outside my door to leave. I can only hope and pray that the aggressors in this incident will have a change of heart and get anger management, counseling or whatever is needed to stop acting in such a manner.
I hope the young man who is being bullied will receive the help he needs to stop the bullying. I want him to know that he is not alone. That there is hope. That he has a purpose in this life and that he is loved and will come out of this stronger than he already is.
I love this City. I love it’s people. I love the peace and love that this community has offered and the opportunities that Warren and it’s people have to offer to our younger generations.
And I want our young people to know that there is something good in this town. That Good thing is THEM!! The choices they make have an effect on others and on this town. Let it be a positive one!
Have a great day and God Bless,
April L. Glarner
Head administrator of The Music Conservatory, LLC