Steve Zaczkowski, Sartell
I have so far raised, and sent out into the world, three of seven children from Sartell. I have always been proud of the proactive stance on bullying that our school system has taken. So it was with a large grain of salt that I listened to my younger children telling me about particular groups of “mean kids on scooters” hanging around in town lately.
This past week, I had my youngest daughter in one of the parks, and I was witness to a group of these “mean kids” tormenting a young man who was alone and obviously quite upset. As a parent, I have always taught my kids to stand up for people who are facing uneven odds and reach out to help them whenever possible. In hindsight, I may have approached the gaggle of bullies differently, maybe in a less angry manor, but I made it clear the instigator was not welcome in the park and the rest of them could feel free to join him. I understand this is a public place and all are welcome to our public spaces, but are we not responsible to stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves in these situations? Parents, please have this discussion with your kids, and feel free to respond with suggestions or input. And to one of the kids on scooters who was asked to leave the park for being a bully, I hope you read this and understand my reaction to your behavior was more than likely a result of empathy I had for the loner who quietly, tearfully said, “Thank you mister” after you left.