Standing up for what is right

An Indiana County (where I grew up) photographer has pretty much gone viral with the way she stood up to some high school bullies. This woman, Jen McKendrick, came across some online bullying on Facebook. When she realized that some of the bullies had scheduled their senior portraits with her, Jen took a stand and emailed the kids and their parents to tell them that she could not be their photographer because of what they did. As Jen says it, she did not want to spend several hours with people who are ugly on the inside.

Here is a link to her blog, which explains what happens in her own words. WTAE Channel 4 in Pittsburgh also featured her in a brief clip yesterday. I "liked" her Jen McKen page yesterday on Facebook, where she now has over 6,600 10,500 12,500 17,000 19,000 followers, up from over 2,000 when the story first came out (I am guessing she had a few hundred, perhaps close to a thousand, followers before all this happened). It was from that FB page I learned that she has now been mentioned in an article on the Huffington Post as well as on news stations around the country. Wow.

If you have read this blog for at least a year, you know how much it bothers me when people are mean to others. As the mother of a soon-to-be-eight-year old (tomorrow!) who goes to Catholic school, I have seen first hand how mean kids can be. I have blogged about some of my kid's experiences as well as some of my own. So in my opinion, anything that elevates the impact bullying has on today's youth (and even on adults) is great.

One of the great things about this story is she never mentioned the girls' names. I would hate to think these girls would gain some noteriety because of what they did. But with the tremendous amount of support Jen has gained, I am hopeful that these girls and others who come across her story will learn some important lessons:
  • Facebook is not private. Whatever you put out there, almost anyone can find, even if indirectly.
  • There are sometimes consequences for your actions. I wish there were always consequences, but this I will take.
  • It is not okay to be mean. You don't have to like someone or how he/she looks. But there is no reason to be vicious or hurtful. 

If Jen's actions cause even a few people to stop bullying others, then she will have done a darn good thing. If nothing else, based on the many positive comments I have read on Facebook, she has touched a lot of people who have been bullied. Perhaps those people will now have the courage to stand up for others and/or themselves. Here's to the good ones!


Anonymous said…
I can't imagine how different it would be to have your life out there as publicly as teens do today. Every day is another opportunity to be shamed and humiliated for the whole world to see. Like the cafeteria and the gym locker room weren't hard enough. In my day (shaking cane), bulletin boards were actual bulletin boards, with thumbtacks and everything. My entire teen existence was limited to gymnasiums and dank, wood paneled basements listening to The Who.
Anonymous said…
Thank you for sharing this story. Kudos to Jen for taking a stand knowing she was losing money. I am certain her business will grow tenfold.
Facie said…
Bagger: I am so glad I am not a young-in today. Although I am sure I would not bully someone online, I know I would do plenty of stupid things that would undoubtedly end up all over the internet. Only I have the negatives from my crazy college antics, and by the time someone would find them, he/she would have no clue what those plastic strips were anyway!

Anonymous: Yes, I intended to talk about the money aspect, but I was trying to go for a shorter (for me, anyway) post. I think Jen recently quit her full-time job, so giving up this work was a risk. I agree with you and may have said somewhere else that she will probably have more business than she knows what to do with, at least for awhile.
Sherri said…
Thanks for sharing this story - really - very nice to hear that some people do care and are willing to stand up for what is right - even if it ruffles a few feathers.
Facie said…
Sherri: You are welcome! :-)

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