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September 28, 2021

Utah families hope parents will talk about respect after their children were bullied

Two families are speaking out after they said their children were bullied for wearing masks at school. (Jay Hancock, KSL-TV)

SALT LAKE CITY — Two Utah families encouraged parents to talk to their children about respecting others after they said their children were bullied for wearing masks at school.

Mark Lewis, an oncologist, said early on in the pandemic, his family made the decision to make mask-wearing a priority. So, when his son prepared to go back to school in person this fall, masks were just part of the plan. But during his first week of classes, he said his fifth grader got into a scuffle with a classmate over having one.

“A student pushed my son, caused him to drop his things, including his laptop, and he was very concerned it was damaged,” Lewis said. “You know, as a parent, none of us want to see our kids bullied.”

Lolly Delli Gatti said her daughter was also singled out for being the only student wearing a mask in her group.

“Someone pulled it off her face and they had this tug-of-war with her mask,” said Delli Gatti. “The earpieces came off, so for the rest of the day, my daughter was wearing this mask that didn’t fit.”

She urged parents to talk to their students about respect.

“I don’t want this to happen, and I want people to start having conversations with their kids about consent, personal space, kindness. You know, tolerance — that’s the big thing,” she said.

Dr. Isabel Cristina Lau, a pediatrician with Ogden Regional Medical Center, said no matter what age, teach your children to speak up to a teacher or an adult if they are bullied.

She also suggested talking to them about how they are feeling.

“Kids are very resilient and they understand feelings. I think it’s very important as a family to sit down with them and explain to them what is going on in the world,” said Lau.

For more information on ways to help your child adjust to post-pandemic activities, visit MountainStar Healthcare’s website.

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