The impacts of bullying cannot be understated.
Studies have shown students who have been bullied, bully, and observe bullying can have lower test grades, increased chances of depression, and even higher rates of substance abuse. In the United States, more than 3.2 million students are victims of bullying each year.
Which makes the work of Rosie Dutton, a teacher in the U.K., all the more important. Earlier this week, the teacher made a Facebook post on her page Relax Kids Tamworth about a little experiment she ran with her students. Dutton stops at schools all over the country to kids about relaxation and mindfulness, but this week she touched on bullying.
Here's her post:
Dutton started by showing two apples to the students and letting them discuss each's similarities. Then, she had the students pass one of the apples around and say mean things to it. She said the apple was disgusting and asked the students to play along, who said it was "smelly" and "probably had worms inside it."
Afterwards, she passed another apple around and had all the students say something nice about it. They told the apple it had beautiful skin and was a great color.
Once the students were done, she showed them the apples again and asked if they still looked the same. Everyone agreed they did. But when the Ms. Dutton cut the apples open, the one they had been mean to was all mushy and rotten-looking inside.
That's because Dutton had repeatedly dropped it before the exercise, but the students understood the point: just because someone looks OK on the outside doesn't mean they're OK on the inside. And words can have a serious a serious impact on someone's feelings.
"They really got it, what we saw inside that apple, the bruises, the mush and the broken bits is what is happening inside every one of us when someone mistreats us with their words or actions," Dutton wrote on her page. "When people are bullied, especially children, they feel horrible inside and sometimes don't show or tell others how they are feeling."
The post is a beautiful reminder of how important it is to simply treat people the right way. Hopefully, there are more teachers like Dutton out there spreading the same message.