WALL TOWNSHIP — Dianne Grossman, the founder of Mallory’s Army, came to Wall Township’s Women’s Leadership Club on Nov. 3 to share her daughter’s story, which highlights the impact of bullying on young people.
Mallory’s Army was formed in July 2017, after the death of Mallory Rose Grossman, who committed suicide at the age of 12 after months of bullying, both at Copeland Middle School in Rockaway and online through texts and social media.
Today, Ms. Grossman, Mallory’s mom, is on a mission to change the mantra of “sticks and stones” to illustrate that hurtful words can be just as painful as thrown stones.
Bringing Mallory’s story directly to schools and community groups like the Women’s Leadership Club helps kids understand “gateway behaviors” and “relational bullying.” Showing students and parents together as a group helps them understand how small, hurtful moments affect people.
“I like when parents and children hear the same message simultaneously because they hear the same thing, but each person, based on their age, is absorbing it differently. So for the parents to hear basically a school assembly, which is teaching kids that the things that they say and their behaviors at school leave black marks on the canvas of who we are, it gives the parents their own understanding,” said Ms. Grossman.
The canvas Ms. Grossman uses to convey this message is a picture of Mallory from the year she died, and as she shares the example of the hurtful words directed to Mallory, someone from the audience adds a black X to the picture.
“Because it’s a permanent marker, the kids and the parents can see she’s beautiful on her first day of sixth grade, and then by the time in June, when her life ends, you can see the poster all marked up, and there’s all of these black marks and scars all over it. So it’s a beautiful visual to show parents and kids the progression of their words,” said Ms. Grossman.
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