The Fight that Started it all
The shrill ring of the school bell cut through the chatter and laughter on the playground, indicating the end of recess. Sugar grabbed her backpack and joined her friends as they made their way back to class. As they strolled along, they caught sight of a cluster of students encircling someone who seemed different from the others. Intrigued, Sugar and her friends approached the group to investigate.
“What’s going on over there?” Sugar asked, noticing the commotion.
“I don’t know, but it doesn’t look good,” one of her friends replied.
As they got closer, they heard the bullies making fun of a student’s appearance and behavior. Sugar felt a ton of anger and sadness. She knew all too well what it felt like to be different and be teased for it.
“Why are they being so mean?” Sugar asked, her voice shaking with emotion.
“I don’t think they understand,” another friend replied. “They’ve never seen someone like him before.”
Sugar looked at the student being bullied, who seemed to be trying his best to ignore the taunts and insults. She wondered what he was feeling, and wished she could do something to help him.
Suddenly, one of the bullies pushed the student, and in the scuffle that ensued, Sugar’s shirt got torn. She felt a rush of anger and fear, but also a sense of determination.
“This has to stop,” Sugar said to her friends. “We can’t let them treat him like this.”
But as they tried to intervene, the bullies only became more aggressive, pushing and shoving the students. Sugar knew they needed help but wasn’t quite sure what to do at the moment.
Thankfully, they heard the sound of their PE teacher coming down the hallway and everyone disbursed quickly and started rushing back to their classrooms.
As she walked away from the altercation, Sugar couldn’t shake the feeling of injustice. She couldn’t understand why people would be so mean to someone just because they were different.
During class, Sugar found it hard to concentrate on the lesson. Her mind kept replaying the events of earlier in the day. It wasn’t until her friend Evyn sat down next to her that she was brought back to reality.
“What’s going on?” Evyn asked, noticing the look on Sugar’s face.
Sugar explained what had happened at recess – the student who was being bullied for being different, and how helpless she had felt.
Evyn listened attentively, feeling equally saddened by what had happened. As the class ended, they both collected their books and walked to the next building for their Math class. The heaviness they carried from the earlier incident remained with them, making it hard to focus.
As they walked, Evyn turned to Sugar and said, “Hey, I’ve been thinking. Maybe there’s something we could do to help prevent this kind of thing from happening again in the future. Do you have any ideas?”
Sugar paused, considering the question. “I’m not sure, Evyn,” she admitted. “But I want to do something. What do you suggest?”
Evyn’s eyes lit up. “Well, I’ve been reading about how we can use data to help people understand and accept differences. And, during our Math class, Mr. Lubilock was talking about how Math has applications in almost everything we do. It got me thinking.”
Sugar chuckled. “You want to use Math to solve this bullying problem?”
Evyn laughed too. “No, not exactly. I was thinking of using data and information to figure out a solution to the problem. We could create a survey to learn more about the kinds of differences people have, and then use that information to create educational materials for the school. What do you think?”
Sugar was intrigued. She had never thought about using data in that way before. “That sounds like a great idea,” she said. “Tell me more.”
Evyn went on to explain how data could be used to educate people about different cultures and experiences, and how it could help break down barriers of ignorance and prejudice.
As Sugar listened, she felt a sense of hope. Maybe there was a way to prevent bullying and promote acceptance and understanding. She was excited to learn more about the power of data and what it could do for her community.
For a moment, things felt like they were going to get better. She knew she had to take an active part in making things better…
… to be continued
DISCLAIMER: I used “AI as a Peer” for this post. In other words, the original ideas were created by me, but I used AI to suggest some dramatic elements to the story. I also used “AI as an assistant” for punctuation and grammar. The title of the story was suggested by AI.