WEST MONROE, La. — Boys will be boys. An expression used to suggest mischevious behavior between adolescent boys is normal.
“He says so you wanna fight, you wanna fight. I’m like no and he picks up a stick,” said Dosen McCullough, a homeschooled 6th grader.
That expression became a reality for 11-year-old Dossen McCullough after he says a bully did this to him because he stood up for his younger siblings.
Dossen said, “So she gives it to him and he says he doesn’t like watermelon and he throws it on the ground. Then she gets another piece for her and he throws it on the ground and slaps it out of her hand.”
So Dossen says his twin brother Carson told the boy he didn’t have to be so rude. After that, things quickly escalated.
“I had tilted my head up and wack — he hit me,” said Dossen.
“Anger sets in, that you know somebody else’s child would do this,” said Linda McCullough, Dossen’s grandmother.
The blow fractured the orbital floor, the bone underneath his left eye, leaving it bloody, swollen, and badly bruised.
Dossen said, “My eye kind of feels like its beating and then it goes numb.”
So how do kids playing together spiral into one being rushed to the hospital? Experts say teaching kids coping mechanisms starts at an early age.
“Learn their own feelings and how to channel those feelings. Whether it’s calming down or what I do when I get angry,” said Tammy Washington, Curriculum Coordinator at the Children’s Coalition of Northeast Louisiana.
Harrell and Washington with the Children’s Coalition of Northeast Louisiana are working to combat bullying in our local schools by starting with the curriculum “Al’s Pals – Kids Making Healthy Choices”.
The program is currently taught in preschools across 4 northeastern parishes and teaches young children how to express their feelings.
Parents agree, saying it’s crucial to plant the seed that bullying and violence are wrong on any level.
“If they’re angry about something and they don’t like something, teach your child to walk away or respect other people because all this started over a piece of watermelon which is ridiculous,” said Linda McCullough.
Dossen believes he did his best to de-escalate the situation and doesn’t feel his attacker meant to almost cost him an eye. But that’s no excuse for the bully’s behavior.
“Even if he wasn’t intending to do this much damage, I don’t think he should have done it in the first place,” said Dossen. “Most bullies are going to ordinarily be bigger than you and think they’re better. Do not show them any fear. When you show them fear, that gives them the power to say they can bully you.”
A young boy turning his own experience as a victim into a life lesson and a powerful message: Stop The Bullying.