Letter to the Editor: Bullying must be addressed

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Your article in January 2020 about Hopkinton High School [hockey] coach Chris MacPherson facing a lawsuit from the parents of a former Hopkinton freshman brought back my unpleasant memories. The suit was about the coach failing to stop players from harassing and bullying their son. [With] the town Select Board discussions about social justice and systemic racism this July I am compelled to write and express how I feel. It is sad and disappointing after 20-plus years living here that bullying is still happening, with little improvement.

In late 1996 we moved into Hopkinton, and soon my sons entered middle school. Over the years my full-time job and my husband’s second shift in the restaurant business had left little time for us to involve in school activities or more communication with our children. My sons were well behaved and I never had any issue with them. One day while I was cleaning my office I found a little note written by my one of my sons. In the note he mentioned that this white boy always gave him a hard time. No matter how hard he had tried to please him, [he had] no success. When I found this note it was dated back more than three years ago, and at that time my sons were well into high school. Seeing them doing well in school, I never brought up the topic or complaint to the school because I did not want to be looked at as making a big deal out of nothing, especially regarding racism or bullying. I did not want to be judged. Now, looking back, I have regret for not speaking up. I urge all new parents moving into this town to communicate with their children about bullying and bias, making sure that it gets noticed and bring it out to the public’s attention. Bullying is not child’s play. It affects the child’s self-esteem and well-being. Our kids deserve a friendly and healthy learning environment. We all love to have an inclusive community. After all, we are the taxpayers who pay the town staff and teachers’ salaries. They can all do a better job in this area.

— Karen Li, Hopkinton

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