Speaker: Sandy Austin, Executive Director, B.I.O.N.I.C. Team
Please share your Name, Title, Company, and where you are based out of.
Sandy Austin: Hi, I'm Sandy Austin. I am the Executive Director of the B.I.O.N.I.C. Team, which stands for "Believe It Or Not I Care." We're based out of Lakewood, Colorado and we have school clubs all over the world.
What age were you and how you were bullied?
Sandy Austin: I was nine years old and in third grade at the end of that school year. At the end of one of the days, I left the building to go home, and I had to go down some stairs - about six cement stairs. But as I was walking toward those stairs this day, there were three girls standing at the top of the stairs. They were older than me and I had never seen them before. As I started walking toward the stairs, they had a look and I didn't know what to think. I thought "just keep walking, just be strong." So I kept walking and I got to the top of those stairs. As I started stepped down, they pushed me and I tumbled down. They started laughing and ran off. Luckily there was someone there and they came running up to me, and helped me to the nurse's office because I was bleeding badly and really shaking.
How did the bullying impact you?
Sandy Austin: I was a shy kid, and so the rest of that school year I was afraid. I was scared to go to the restroom by myself. I never wanted to be alone at school the rest of that year. In the halls and the cafeteria, I was always looking over my shoulder and was afraid that those girls would come out. I never did see them the rest of that year. Again, it was near the end of the school year. On the playground, I always looked to see where the adult supervisors were so that I would know where it was safe to play. So I always played in that area where they were. But I was afraid the rest of that school year. That summer we moved as a family. Many years later, I talked with my mom about that, and she had said that one of the reasons why she wanted to move was because of that situation.
What would you say to your younger self now to give you hope that you will be ok and a success?
Sandy Austin: I would say to my younger self, "Sandy, you are such a good girl and I am so proud of you. I love you! What those girls did to you was so mean and you didn't deserve it. You didn't do anything wrong. It's okay to cry. They hurt you. There are a lot of people at school who care about you: the person who helped you to the office when you've got, when you fell down those stairs, the nurse, your teachers, and all your friends, and of course all of your family loves you. We love you so much. Those girls who pushed you probably had someone be mean to them too. And that's probably why they did that. I know you want to be a teacher and someday you are going to be able to help kids like you feel loved and feel that they are important. You are going to stop people all over the world from being mean. I am so proud of you, girl."