Samaya, at age 7, was dragged out of class by her teacher after an argument with a fellow second grader. She was left outside and wandered the streets of Sacramento for at least two hours before her school notified her parents about her disappearance. This wasn’t the first time the teacher had bullied Samaya. Most students bullied by a teacher, like Samaya, don’t interpret their teacher’s disciplining them as bullying. A 2006 study, “Teachers Who Bully Students: A Hidden Trauma,” revealed that 45 percent of teachers surveyed admitted to having bullied a student. Bullying, whether by a teacher or peer, has the same impact on the bullied. Now, 12, Samaya is an honor student who excels at basketball. It’s taken years of therapy and a change of school for her to recover from the traumatic incident that led her to a bridge above a highway contemplating suicide* at the young age of 7. Luckily, Samaya’s own perseverance, the love and dedication of her family and new approaches by educators and mentors, turn her situation around.
*Suicide rates of Black girls and boys under the age of 13 is two times that of white children the same age, according to a study by Nationwide Children’s Hospital.