■ Social acceptance
My name is Mary-Jane. I'm 12 years old. I have arthritis in my legs and that's why I have to use this wheelchair. I got it when I was 7 years old.
I have dark hair and hazel eyes and I wear ugly, square glasses. I have a mum, a dad, and a little brother that always teases me about my glasses. I don't have any friends at school and all the girls tease me. They are blonde and beautiful but I'm the opposite, dark haired and ugly. I hate my life. Monday
Today when I went to school Tasha and Ashleigh came up to me and started teasing me, as usual. "Square eyes, square eyes. Hey, look Tash, little Mary-Jane has had her sandwiches cut into little squares with peanut butter in. What a BABY! Ha, ha, ha, ha."
They took my lunch bag off me and threw it up on the roof where I couldn't get it. I went off to my secret hiding spot near the creek and cried. This happens every day. I'm always picked on. I wish I could lock myself away from the world then I wouldn't have to worry about being teased.
When I got home my mum saw my tears and immediate knew that I had been bullied. "Oh, Mary-Jane. What did they do to you this time?"
I told her what happened.
"I think it's about time someone talked to those girls. I'm going to call the principal," she said.
"Mum, no," I started. "They'll just tease me even more. Please don't call."
"Well . . . okay . . . but, if I don't call, will you promise me that you will stand up to them?" I nodded but I'm not sure if I meant it.
Today Mum gave me money to buy my lunch so that they couldn't throw it on the roof as easily. As I rode through the gates, Ashleigh, Tasha, and Samantha started to walk toward me. I stopped.
"Well, hello Mary-Jane, what have you got for us to throw on the roof today?" said Ashleigh. Tasha and Samantha giggled.
"Leave me alone," I said, shaking.
"Samantha, check her bag," Ashleigh said to Samantha who unzipped my school bag and peaked inside. I tried to grab it off her but she was too quick. I snatched at it. The wheelchair toppled over and I fell to the ground with a crash. Samantha, Ashleigh, and Tasha ran off, holding the wallet with my lunch money in it. I started to cry.
"Mary-Jane. What's happened?" It was Mrs. Little my teacher.
"Oh, I just fell out of my wheelchair. I'm okay," I say.
"You're bleeding, we'd better clean you up."
I didn't want to tell Mrs. Little what had really happened because she might go and tell Samantha off and then I would just get pushed around twice as much.
Ashleigh came in late today. Everyone turned around and stared. I was copying a sentence from the board when Tim nudged me and told me to turn around. So I put down my pencil and turned my body slowly. I thought my eyes had just popped out of their sockets because what I saw was Ash-leigh sitting in a wheelchair just like me but she had her leg in a cast.
"I broke my leg when I was riding my horse yesterday." Ashleigh had been talking about her new horse for weeks.
"Ummm . . . okay . . . can every body please be careful of Ashleigh's leg," Mrs. Little said to the rest of the class who where still staring at Ashleigh.
At lunchtime I saw Ashleigh at the bottom of the stairs, trying to get up them in her wheel chair. I rode over to her.
"Hi. Are you trying to get up the stairs?" I asked.
"Yeah, I have to get to my next class," Ashleigh replied.
"Listen, I know another way up that I use. It's got a ramp. Do you want me to show you?" I asked.
"That would be great," she said quietly.
So I took her around to another door where there was a nice big ramp that led up to the second floor. She rode up it.
After school, when I was collecting my pencil case and books, I overheard Ashleigh talking to some other kids. "I was going to be late for my next class. I couldn't find a way up the stairs because of this stupid wheelchair when Mary-Jane showed me a ramp to the second floor."
And as soon as I got home the phone rang. You would never believe it. It was Ashleigh and she wanted me to come to a sleepover at her house.
"Wow . . . Me? . . . I'd love to come." I couldn't believe it—Ashleigh was being nice to me. I had solved my problem. Ashleigh never bullied me again. I was happy. And that's how the story ends.
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