CLICK HERE to buy the book.
HEPZIBAH, Ga. (WJBF) – Most people are familiar with October as Breast Cancer Awareness month. You might not know that October is National Bullying Awareness month as well and one local girl is using her story to encourage others.
7th grade Hebzibah Middle School student Ja’Nessa Hankerson and her mom Laney Hankerson wrote the book Say No to Bullying. The book uses Ja’Nessa’s experience with bullying to help other kids and parent in similar situations.
Laney says her daughter went from loving school to hating it and that is what she knew something was not right.
“She would say things like, ‘mom I’m having anxiety or do I have to go to school or I don’t want to go to school,” Laney recalls.
One of Ja’Nessa’s friends told Laney about the bullying.
“When I was in 5th grade, I was being bullied because I was tall and people called me names and it got to a point where people started throwing rocks at me on the playground,” Ja’Nessa explains.
Laney wondered why Ja’nessa did not say something to her about it. Ja’Nessa says she feared telling her parents would make the situation worse.
“I never told anybody because I thought if I told my mom or my dad they would come up to the school and talk to the teacher and that would consider me a snitch,” Ja’Nessa says.
The situation prompted them to found an organization called She Rises to help young women turn their pain into purpose. First, they put that mission into action by writing the book Say No to Bullying.
“The first part of the book we have dialog of what happened with Ja’Nessa.” Laney describes. “After her story, we go into things like the different types of bullying. We have cyber bullying, we have social bullying and then we also give tips on how to realize if someone is being bullied and then the back of the book we have a section to make it interactive.”
The final pages of the book give students a place to write down information about their experience with bullying. Like in Ja’Nessa’s situation, often it is tough for kids to talk about being bullied. The book gives them a place to write it out and then give the paper to a parent or teacher.
Laney shares her advice to parents who might find themselves in a similar situation.
“Notice the signs. Ssk questions because I was in denial. I never considered bullying and I always thought that she would tell me so a lot of it is just paying attention, being more involved, asking more questions and doing something about it,” Laney says.
Here is what Ja’Nessa has to say to kids being bullied. “Don’t worry about what the other person has to say about you because what they say about you is not true and if you’re being bullied, tell a trusted adult.”
She has a message for the bullies too.
“You don’t have to prove a point because there is no reason you should be bullying anybody because it’s not right because you’re hurting yourself and you’re hurting them at the same time,” Ja’Nessa says.
Ja’Nessa hopes the book inspires others like it has her.
Since I wrote the book bullying has stopped for me and I feel more confident about it,” says Ja’Nessa.
CLICK HERE to buy the book on Amazon.
You can order a book from Hankersons directly vis email at STANDUP@JUSTSAYNOTOBULLYINGN.COM.
The mother-daughter duo will also come speak at your school or your event. Just shoot them an email for more information.