After standing up for classmate and becoming bully’s target herself, elementary schooler decided to send a message that took years to be heard.

Back when she was in elementary school, the daughter of Japanese Twitter user Maccchan (@J9qu6kEmNuGCV3r) refused to go to school for a week. This is generally a cause for concern in studious, rule-abiding Japan, but the reason, as is often the case, was bullying.

However, the situation wasn’t as straightforward as Macchan’s daughter being picked on because of a perceived difference or weakness. As a matter of fact, in the beginning she wasn’t the one who was being teased at all. Instead, it was one of her classmates who was being bullied, and Macchan’s daughter decided to stand up against the tormentor.

Unfortunately, this now put her in the bully’s sights, and Macchan’s daughter herself became the new target for emotional aggression. It was at this point that she decided she didn’t want to go to school. Macchan had no intention of forcing her to go, but asked her daughter to talk more about her reason for staying home, to which her daughter replied:

“I’m not staying home from school because I was bullied. I’m staying home from school because I think doing this will make the teachers take bullying in the school a little more seriously and do something about it.”

Instead of staying home out of sadness, Macchan’s daughter was doing so out of protest. The elementary schooler had become fed up with her teachers’ inaction, even after she’d brought the bullying to their attention, and thought that through her missing class the school would come to recognize the severity of the problem.

Unfortunately, according to Macchan, the bully in question was the child of a prominent family in their rural community, and her daughter’s one-week absence did nothing to change the school’s policies or atmosphere. However, once reaching junior high school, Macchan’s daughter had to write an essay for an assignment, and she chose to write about the experience, focusing on how bullying can cause long-lasting psychological damage to victims, calling out those who willfully ignore the problem, especially apathetic teachers.

The daughter’s essay was read out loud at school, where the bully from grade school, who’d gone on to the same middle school as Macchan’s daughter, was among those who had to listen to it. The essay went on to be given an award and read at an event organized by the city government, which was attended by members of the local board of education, and Macchan hopes that this will finally lead to improved anti-bullying policies.

The proud mother goes on to express her deep respect for her daughter’s ability to judge right and wrong, and also to take a stand for what she believes in. As for the daughter herself, in her essay she says “I want people, or even just one more person, to be brave enough to fight against bullying when they see it happening,” because in a world where bullying victims can often go unnoticed or ignored, some victims really need to know that someone is on their side.

Source: Twitter/@J9qu6kEmNuGCV3r (1, 2, 3, 4) via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Pakutaso