Moore High School Teacher Helps Bullied Kids Through Her Experience With Her Son


Monday, April 11th 2022, 7:00 pm



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Bullying is a problem that schools have faced for decades. Now, a Moore High School teacher is doing something about it. 

“If they’re not talking to you about it with their words, they’re talking to you about it with their eyes, with their tears. Tears are words the heart can’t speak.”  

Kelly Leiter wrote the book I Am Not A Tree based on her own experiences with her son Jonathan.  

“He came into my classroom everyday crying. And as any good mom would do, I tried to solve the problem for him,” said Leiter.  

She soon realized she couldn’t fix the problem, she had to empower Jonathan to take back his power.  

“I just said, ‘Jonathan it doesn’t matter what he says about you because we both know you’re just a tree’ and he looked at me and he goes, ‘I’m not a tree,’” said Leiter. 

Jonathan eventually got the point and took control.  

“I’m like what happened in school today? And he was like, whelp the kid called me names again. And I’m like well what did you do? He said I looked at him and I said, ‘I’m not a tree.’” 

In 2000 Jonathan was killed in a car crash at age 16. The book is illustrated by Debbie Gillund who used pictures of Jonathan to create the main character.  

Leiter is now using the advice she gave to her son to help others deal with being bullied.  

“Even if somebody says something to us that’s outlandish. Even if it comes from a place that you think is a safe person a safe place, we internalize the words people speak over us,” said Leiter.  

The book is available on Amazon and she’s also created a study guide to go with it. 

“This study guide actually helps them come up with a statement of a positive, that they can replace those negative things,” said Leiter.  

Leiter says in this age of social media, kids are being bullied in ways we’ve never imagined.  

“Because we can’t protect them from it all we want to, but we can’t,” said Leiter.  

The book can be purchased on Amazon by searching I Am Not A Tree. The study guide is available by emailing Leiter directly at hugsnbeans21@gmail.com   


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