At STATE, we always want to recognize people that live by our six core values; Health, Conservation, Courage, Acceptance, Leadership, and Knowledge. In this particular case, Hawaiian second grader Eileen Parkman could not have set a better example when standing up for a fellow student.
Last year, on a schoolyard in South Maui, an autistic student was beaten by five other students, forcing him to lay down in a fetal position on the ground. While others looked on, 9-year-old Eileen Parkman, had the courage to walk up to the kids and ask them to stop.
“It isn’t the right thing to beat up people. It’s the right thing to help people,” Eileen said when reflecting back on the incident. “I went up to the kids, and I asked them politely to stop… even though I was scared.”
Eileen had to suffer the consequences of defending her fellow student, as the bullies immediately turned their attention to her. The boys pushed her to the ground and started stepping on her hands and arms while Eileen kicked them to get away.
After the incident, Eileen continued to be a target of the bullies, and as her father was not satisfied with the school’s disciplinary actions, she is now being tutored privately.
But Eileen’s courage did not go unnoticed. On March 8, 2013, The Maui Autism Center presented Eileen with a bravery award, and founder Howard Greenberg called her a hero. “She defended this boy because of her courage,” he said.
Greenberg called for “more kindness in the school system,” as every day 160,000 children don’t go to school because they are afraid of being bullied.
What will you do to help us improve the school system and keep our children safe?
Read the full article on The Maui News.