When this seventh grade boy was shunned for making a mistake, he chose to do something incredibly courageous. His classmates’ reaction blew me away and made all the adults in the room cry.
Sean sat in the big gray chair in my office, his head between his knees. “I have no friends anymore,” he said. I handed him a box of tissues and he wiped his eyes. “No one will talk to me. If I try to sit at someone’s lunch table, they either tell me the seat is taken or they get up and walk away.”
Sean knew why he was getting shunned. He had been picking fights with classmates and wearing out their goodwill. He sealed his fate when he began making racist comments. Adults held him accountable for his remarks, but he wouldn’t back down. Sean was unhappy, out of control, and confused by his own behavior. “I don’t even know why I say that stuff,” he told me. “I don’t mean it.” By that point, it didn’t matter. His friends were done.
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