Dr. Beane is the author of The Bully Free® Program being used by schools around the world. One of his books is in ten languages. He feels passionate about bullying. I would like to tell you why he feels passionate about bullying. His son, Curtis Beane, was bullied in seventh grade. He came home one day and told Dr. Beane that there was this boy who hit him, pushed him, tripped him, knocked books out of his hands and made fun of his ears because they stood out. He said, “Dad, he does this to me almost everyday and my friends, people who I thought were my friends, laugh and do nothing to help me. Dad it hurts so much and I don’t know what to do.” Dr. Beane told him to ignore the bully. Well that doesn’t work, does it? It doesn’t help to try to ignore the bully. Curtis tried, but a few weeks later the school counselor called and told Dr. Beane he needed to come and get Curtis, because he was an emotional wreck. That surprised Dr. Beane because he didn’t know that Curtis was still being mistreated and was so upset. Curtis hid it from him. Curtis loved his dad too much. You see, he didn’t want his dad to worry about him. Don’t hide things from people who love you. It’s their job to worry about you. They have a right to know how you feel and what is happening to you. They want to help you. Well, Dr. Beane brought Curtis home. Curtis was so upset it concerned Dr. Beane. So, Dr. Beane told Curtis that he was not going to allow this to happen to him. He said, “The next time this kid hits you, I want you to hit him back. Now Curtis, you have got to win this fight.” So Curtis went back to school the next day. Now, I’m sure Curtis was concerned because his dad told him to go and beat up the bully, who was bigger, meaner and stronger than Curtis. You see, bullies pick on people they know they can pick on. Bullies are mostly cowards. They pick on people they know they can overpower and hurt. Well in P.E. class, the bully hit Curtis behind the head. Curtis pushed the bully. The bully ran back at Curtis and somehow Curtis got the bully into a head lock and starting hitting his head. The teacher took Curtis and the bully to the principal’s office. They both got into trouble. You see, Dr. Beane wishes he didn’t tell his son to fight back. That was wrong for several reasons: (1) Curtis could have seriously hurt the bully, (2) the bully could have seriously hurt Curtis, (3) violence is not the way to deal with violence, (4) Curtis should not have to deal with the bully alone, Dr. Beane and the other adults should have tried to help Curtis – it is not just a student’s problem, it is also a problem that adults should deal with, and (5) most of the time bullying gets worse and lasts longer when you retaliate (fight back).
Things were pretty good for Curtis for about two weeks but then they turned really sour. The bully turned the other boys against Curtis. Curtis was a city boy with a country heart. He loved motorcycles, fishing and the outdoors. The bully was on the football team and he turned some of the other boys who were on the football team against Curtis. Boys who said they were Curtis’ friend, boys who had spent the night at his house, boys who had eaten at his house, let that one bully control their good hearts and how they treated Curtis. They isolated or rejected Curtis. Dr. Beane found out that his son was sitting in the school cafeteria all by himself for weeks because the bully made everyone afraid to be nice to Curtis. When Dr. Beane found out about this, he transferred Curtis to a different school, in a different school system in the middle of the school year. Curtis found acceptance and a sense of belonging in the new school.
Later, when Curtis was 15 years old and in high school, one night, a friend was taking Curtis home in a car. Curtis was in the front seat. The driver was 16 years old and two boys were in the back seat. Everyone had their seat belts on. The car went off the road a little on a curve and the boy driving overcorrected the car. The car went into a spin and going in reverse went off the road on the other side going backwards. The car hit an embankment and flipped. The roof of the car crushed in on Curtis and the widow on Curtis’ side of the car exploded, cutting his face. Curtis had to hold on to the car, so he grabbed the roof, which was pressing against him. The car flipped onto Curtis’ hand and then went back upon the highway, sliding upside down with Curtis’ hand under the car.
After a long period in the hospital and a stay at home, he returned to high school. There were many students, with good hearts, who did what they were supposed to. They used their words to support him, to encouraged him, to make him feel healthy, and to make him feel good about himself. Unfortunately, there were also several students, many who had good hearts, who were cruel to him. They called him pizza hand and they called him the penguin because his hand now only had three fingers – looked like the Penguin in the Batman movie.) Curtis’ girl friend had a difficult time dealing with his damaged hand and dropped him. You see, this world taught her that you don’t want to be associated with, identified with, or friends with an abnormal and ugly person. You want to be identified with, associated with, and friends with the ‘pretty’ people. This world is trying to teach your children that now. Don’t let it!
These are only a few stories Curtis told Dr. Beane. After he graduated from high school, Dr. Beane found out that Curtis was bullied a lot. A former student, now an adult, told Dr. Beane that he was sorry he mistreated Curtis. He said he mistreated him because everyone else did. Once again, Curtis loved his dad too much and didn’t tell him about the mistreatment he was receiving. Bullying destroyed Curtis’ self-esteem and self-confidence. He got depressed and developed anxiety disorders. He was so depressed, some days he didn’t feel like getting out of bed. One day he called Dr. Beane and said he found some new friends “who will give him some attention.” That sounded a little strange for a 23 year old to say. Dr. Beane knew Curtis had friends. But deep down inside of Curtis was a hurt created by the bullying. So, Curtis felt like he needed some friends who would give him special attention. He also told Dr. Beane that these new friends did “things he didn’t agree with.” You see, these people dealt with illegal drugs. Curtis stayed away from drugs, but one week he wanted to feel better, so he took METH and it killed him. He had a heart problem that he and Dr. Beane didn’t know about, so when he took METH it killed him. He didn’t kill himself. He had his car keys in his hand and was probably trying to go for help. When people tell kids that drugs will not hurt them, they are lying. Drugs killed Curtis. But he was also already dead on the inside because of what people did with their tongues.
Curtis is the reason Dr. Beane developed The Bully Free® Program and travels the around the world with his wife speaking to students, parents, and teachers and helping schools implement The Bully Free® Program.
Copyright, 2005, Allan L. Beane, Ph.D.
Bully Free® Systems, LLC
262 Ironwood Drive
Murray, Kentucky 42071
Version: June 15, 2007