Cruelty Problem
Igor Khodakovsky, 14, Novocherkassk



(click on photo to enlarge)



This is a story about kids' cruelty to their classmates. The bullies in our class like to beat up all of the freshmen, but after a while, they usually stop.

However, Dasha, a freshman in our class, was a cry-baby, so they kept on teasing her. She had a lot of problems and was a little bit different. That made the bullies pick on her even more.

Hi, Dasha, what do you have in your bag? Eww... it is bad food. You are strange. They insulted her and took her things.

Stop it. Stop it, she said, and started crying. She cried a lot. That made them tease her more.

In one way, she had a strong character. She never complained to the teachers. But we told the teachers. We held some class meetings. We talked about Dasha and discussed how we could make the bullies stop. We came up with some ideas: talking to the bullies, the bullies talking to the teacher, ignoring them. But nothing worked. They didnt stop.

Dasha was always depressed. We felt so bad for her. After a few more months, we had another class meeting with those bullies and their fathers. Then those bullies promised that they would stop treating her that way. They didn't lie!

That was the end of Dasha's big problem.


I. Understanding the Story
Answer these questions.
1. What was Dasha's problem?
2. How did the bullies respond to Dasha?
3. What was the solution?

II. Vocabulary
Match the words on the right with phrases on the left.

A. to feel very sad
1. insult
B. to say hurtful, damaging things
2. bully
C. someone who is mean to a smaller person
3. depressed
D. to act like someone isn't there
4. ignore

III. Now you Talk
1. What could teachers do to stop students from bullying other students?
2. Share a time when you saw kids being cruel.
3. How would you respond if someone bullied or teased you or your friend?

IV. Now you Write
Write about one of the subjects from Exercise III.

V. Role Play
1. Dasha and two bullies: They insult her.
2. The teacher and the lead bully: Teacher scolds him; he responds.
3. The teacher and Dasha's mother: They discuss a solution to Dasha's problem.
4. Dasha and the writer: They talk about being depressed.
5. Four parents at a meeting: They talk about ways to solve the problem.