The Fight

The Fight by Elizabeth Karre Read Free Book Online

Book: The Fight by Elizabeth Karre Read Free Book Online
Authors: Elizabeth Karre
being harassed for being a tomboy.”
    On my way to school, I stuffed the paper in my bag.
    There was nothing on the morning announcements, but I guess since it wasn’t our school, they didn’t have to tell us anything. Kids could be killing themselves at other schools all over the district, and we’d never know.
    At lunch I rushed up to Zoe.
    â€œI heard,” she said grimly. “That’s my old middle school. My cousin goes there. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before, but we should be reaching out to GSAs at other schools, especially for the school board meeting.”
    â€œThere are GSAs at other schools?” I asked. We drifted over to a table and sat down to eat while we talked. Lunch was only twenty minutes after all.
    â€œSome. There’s one at that middle school. That’s why I wanted one here. I didn’t go to a meeting until eighth grade, but it helped me a lot. I’m going to talk to Ms. Klein—she’s the GSA adviser there—after school and see if any of her students would come to the school board meeting. Wanna come?”
    â€œSure…” I said, glancing over at my friends. “I’m gonna go now….”
    Zoe nodded, not offended. “I’ll meet you at my car.”
    Ms. Klein at the middle school was really happy to see Zoe but very emotional about Lydia, the girl who killed herself.
    â€œShe came to a couple of meetings, but she didn’t say much. I think she was dating another girl in the group, but they broke up. Her parents are the ones who have come forward about the bullying. I guess they didn’t know much until after her death. Her sister told them a little, and they looked through her text messages…. It was terrible the things other kids were saying to her.” She stopped to wipe her eyes and blow her nose.
    â€œI think her parents had tried to ignore her sexuality, or she hadn’t told them much. But now they are outraged that she was being harassed and no one did anything.” Ms. Klein continued.
    â€œDid anyone know?” Zoe asked.
    Ms. Klein nodded. “She showed some of the texts to the principal. She told her to change her number. Her sister had heard about that too.”
    Then Zoe asked her about the policy. Ms. Klein nodded.
    â€œTeachers only heard about it from their principals. We can’t find out what it means. And I’ve been pushing for years for staff training on how to handle bullying, especially when it’s GLBT related.”
    She sighed.
    â€œI don’t know the best way to help either. There are plenty of other students who have come to me with suicidal thoughts or serious depression. I’m scared to refer them to the counselor—I’ve heard she’s not very helpful. And honestly, many teachers are worried about their jobs.”
    We told her about the school board meeting and our plans.
    â€œDo you think any of your students would come and talk about problems with bullying and adults in school not helping?” said Zoe.
    Ms. Klein looked thoughtful. “Maybe. I’ll ask. It would be amazing if we could get that policy changed. Maybe then I wouldn’t be so desperate to find a job in another district.” She cracked a little smile.
    â€œI got in trouble for offering snacks when the GSA started. That Concerned Parents group said I was trying to lure kids into being gay. With Cheetos!” Ms. Klein shook her head. “I don’t have snacks at meetings anymore.”
    â€œThe Concerned Parents lady, Mrs. Walton, spoke at the meeting when the policy was passed,” I said.
    â€œThey’re a very formidable group,” said Ms. Klein, looking nervous. “But I think you’re right to take them on.”

A
    nd then it was the night of the school board meeting. There were four kids willing to talk and Lydia’s parents.
    It almost didn’t happen. When I’d e-mailed to get on the agenda,

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