Michelle Torrance and her children attended the anti-bullying seminar in Davenport, on October 26, 2013, to offer support to Damien Braun and his family.
“We’re out here because we are tired of the bullying, we are wanting to support the mom, for her son, we want to get the word out, that they’re not alone,” said Torrance.
Michelle was also bullied as a teen and is still working through the pain she experienced.
“My self esteem, my core self esteem, has never really been full, I never really had good self confidence, I’ve never really been able to get over things quickly.”
Although, Michelle is still healing, she is also using those experiences to help teach her children about the principles of life.
“As, I’m growing, it has started to help and I think talking to the kids, helped me get over some of that stuff.”
12-year old, Torri Torrance says she has learned a lot from her parents. “We have rules in the house, we have limits to what we can watch and what we can say, what we can do.”
Torri also says, she would like to see more teachers step up and intervene when a child is being bullied. She also wants kids to realize, there is no justification for physically or verbally abusing anyone. “I’d like to see kids being nicer to each other, there’s no reason to hit or to be mean to each other, there’s not really any reason to do it.”
Damien Braun’s grandmother, Kathy Brumley Morris, has been working diligently to stop her grandson from being a target for bullies in school. She organized the seminar and invited anti-bullying expert Gabriella Van Rji to speak.
Rji says one of the ways to deal with a bully is stand up and defend yourself. “I teach them to own up to that uniqueness, I don’t care if your fat, if your short, if your brown skinned, if you don’t own up to it, then the bullying continues.”
Rji believes she may have a solution for bullying. She says it’s time to reinvent the wheel and implement the buddy system. “I’m of the opinion that everyone of a year above needs to make a friend with one child, the year under, and that’s it, just a friendship, not a guardian angel but a friendship.”
Michelle Torrance says alongside the advice that Rji offers, she has some advice to offer to not only her children but other children as well. “If you see somebody that has been bullied reach out to them, reach out to them and let them know, you’re an ally, you’re not there to bully, you’re there to help.”