Lilly’s Mom

To whom it may concern;

It appears there are a lot of you.  You are deeply concerned.  Concerned Enough to send emails, posts, tweets and comments letting the world read all about Lilly’s story. If perhaps you missed my blog post Bullies Are Stupid & I Love The Way You Walk, read it NOW!

Lilly’s mother would like me to share something with you all.

I really would like to thank Tashmica Firecracker Torok for taking such interest in her favorite niece! To all of you that have read and responded to this wonderfully written blog, thank you! It seemed for so long all of my concerns, frustrations and feelings of sadness were falling on deaf ears. Thank you for listening.

9th grade was a rough year for Lilly. Lilly finished up the year with her head held high. I could not have been more proud!! Nobody knows what Lilly’s future holds, not even the doctors. Whatever she does she will know she is loved, she is stronger than she believes and I will continue to go to the ends of the earth for her!

Growing up I always heard “sticks and stones may brake your bones but names will never hurt you.” This could not be further from the truth. Words KILL, and we continue to see it and hear about it in the news! As the adult in charge it is your job to step up and teach students respect and empathy. They need to teach peers to stand up for one another.

Holt High School 9th grade campus fell very short, and my daughter payed the price! As Aunt Tasha said, Lilly’s physical bruises have healed, unfortunately her self esteem, courage and trust have been deeply wounded. That scar will remain a lifetime. Continue to read, pass along the blog and please voice your opinion!

Principal Nick Johnson has never been held accountable for his actions or lack of. The lies he told and put in writing have never been put to truth. Most of all, as the principal of an entire building, he only has enough confidence and pride to fall on the heels of someone else’s apology by simply saying….

“I’d like to echo that”.

Lilly’s mom,
Ginnie Torok

Months ago, when I shared with my friends what was going on, I kept trying to think of something I could do for Lilly.  Something that would let her know she was special.  I skate for the Lansing Derby Vixens, so I thought about bringing her to a bout and letting her be all VIP.  I thought about scheduling a spa day with my stylist.  I just couldn’t put my finger on the right thing.

The write thing.

Ginnie told me that if the administration would not do the right thing, she wanted me to do the write thing.

Thank you all for doing the write thing.  Continue to share and know that Ginnie, Ben, Lilly and family are discussing the next best course of action.  I will be sure to share with you what they believe that to be.  Thank you for loving and encouraging our Lilly! Thank you for continuing to prove that not only do we live in a community that will not tolerate bullying, you are willing to advocate to keep it that way.

With all my fiery heart,

Tashmica

PS – We are reading every single comment through tears passing over smiles.  What a treasure you are.

20 thoughts on “Lilly’s Mom

  1. High school is so tough. I was bullied and learned to become an advocate for those that were bullied over 20 years ago. Stand strong.

  2. Dear Tashmica – I’m a good friend of your family – somewhere down the Torok line (are you related to Stefani Torok?) – I cannot believe this happened to your daughter, Lilly, and I have sent an e-mail to the principal. Moreover – my father works as a consultant for Holt Public Schools and I’d like to talk with him about this subject and escalate it directly if possible. As an alum of Holt Public Schools myself – and a voter within Delhi Township – I think it’s highly important to protect your daughter and your cause – and to honor anti-bullying rules which should be enforced at HJHS.

  3. I’d like to correct my statement to say “I cannot believe this happened to Ginnie Torok’s daughter

  4. Kudos to your family for taking a stand against bullying. Lily is lucky to be so loved and have a family go to bat for her. All the administration of HJHS should be ashamed and held accoountable.

  5. I find it exceptionally unfortunate that you and your family had to endure the devastating affects of bullying. I admire your tenacity and the love and support your family has displayed. Every child should feel like they have a champion – someone who will fight for them because you’re right, the world isn’t the safe place we wish it would be. The principal failed to be that champion for her and he’s created additional victims and has become, however unintended, a perpetrator as well. Any individual that allows bullying, tolerates it or in any way encourages it is as responsible for it as the person doing the bullying. We really need to start a conversation of healing and forgiveness for your family too. Don’t let the conversation always make Lilly the victim. She is such a champion for herself and for others being hurt by bullying. The wounds are deep and can cause not only physical pain, but emotional and spiritual pain as well. My love and prayers are with you and your family. Keep fighting the fight until you find the resolution you’re looking for, then forgive and offer the healing everyone will need to find their peace. Including the kid who pulled that chair out from under sweet Lilly. I sincerely hope he’s learned something from this experience. The principle and his parents were given the opportunity to teach him a valuable lesson about how we should treat our fellow man – and sadly, they failed as well. You’d be surprised at how offering him forgiveness may humble him and help him understand how hurtful his behavior is/was. Forgiveness is a powerful thing.

  6. Ginnie, a few years ago when all those suicides were occurring, I panicked when I thought of the unkind words people might be saying to my kids when I wasn’t there. I was concerned for my tender-hearted eldest son so I asked him what he would do if he had no friends. He said, “I’d just find some other friends to play with.” I said, “No, I mean NO friends.” He said, “Oh. Well, I would still be okay b/c I know that my family loves me.” As much as this situation stinks, how amazing that your daughter can look at it and know that her family loves her. (That’s not a given for everyone.) I don’t mean this to say, “Isn’t it great that Lilly was bullied so she can see how much she is loved.” Not at all. I mean to say, “Well done Toroks for being the change you wish to see in the world.” You’re doing it right.

    BTW – Obviously these people were unaware that they were dealing w/ the Torok family. My little family likes to say, “You mess w/ one bean, you get the whole enchilada.” That’s not a threat. It only means that we take care of each other. Perhaps you should provide them w/ a family portrait and let them surmise just how many lives your family touches. :)

  7. When I was in seventh grade (in 1965) I became the victim of bullying so suddenly, I still don’t understand what happened. Contrary to what is commonly thought, this was in an excellerated class for gifted children. At first the signs were subtle; shoves from the back in a crowded school hallway, elbow jabs. It accelerated to verbal abuse. A large boy in my class would command me to turn over certain valued possessions to two girls in my class. When I refused he began throwing pencils at me, pointed end first. They hit me in the arm, the back of my head; they hurt me very much. When one hit my open notebook binder and went through more than 20 pages of notebook paper, I told my mother and showed her the notebook. She too was outraged, told the school principal, who called the offenders into the office with me and made them apologize. This was only the beginning; I learned what is the fate of “squealers”. No one in my school, except the teachers, spoke a word to me. If I sat at a lunchroom table, all the kids at the table would get up and walk away, going to other tables, leaving me alone. When I walked down the school hallways I heard, endlessly repeated, “Squealer. Squealer.” This time I knew better than to say anything to my mother about it. I began to spend all my lunch periods shut into a bathroom stall with a book, to escape for a few minutes my miserable world. I understand now that many junior highs and high schools don’t have doors on the bathroom stalls. I am so glad this was not the case with me.
    This experience changed me profoundly. No longer was I the self-confident, breezy, happy child I had been. I regarded others with suspicion, and a defensive scowl. My mother’s reaction usual reaction whenever I told her of some injustice that occurred in school was, “And what did you do to bring that upon yourself?” She was only saying what her mother had said to her many times; I have long since forgiven her. But I experienced such a profound sense of isolation. The only thing I could expect from this world was cruelty; I had to learn to live on my own, as a solitary entity.
    Things improved in high school. It was large, 3000 students for three grades, and I was able to dissolve into the crowd. I was no longer bullied. But I would never trust anyone; I had no friends, and needless to say, I never went to any of the high school dances.

    The happier ending: when I left home to go to nursing school, I realized that there, no one would know what a pariah I had been for the last five years of my life. I would pretend to be a self confident person with many friends. And you know what? It worked! Everyone was fooled by my act, and finally during my years in nursing school I knew what contentment and happiness was. I even met and married my husband. But to this day I am hypersensitive to any slight; the sad days of ages 12 to 15 return all too easily. I sometimes wonder about the ultimate fate of my bullies, and I’m mean-spirited enough to hope they are living miserable lonely lives.

  8. Hey Lilly! Come to Eaton Rapids. As a mom in this district, I know several kids who have challenges in their lives. The school district has always been respectful and responsive to the needs and concerns of them and their families.

    P.S. When moving out of Lansing, we decided against Holt and Dimondale BECAUSE of some things we had heard about the school district.

  9. As an alum of Holt Public Schools – and an advocate against bullying, I am sorely disappointed in my “home town” district. I know you are not alone. I know of one family who home schooled thier son with autism and moved out of Holt. I know of another family who moved to Haslett. I know of a third family who will put thier child in private school. Holt has a problem. Please contact Kevin Epling of “Bully Police USA” – tell him this story. He is an alum of Holt as well. I know he would come to Holt to speak. His son Matt committed suicide after being bullied and is the catalyst behind Matt’s Law (the anti-bullying legislation just passed in Michigan). Please do not lose hope. Keep fighting.

  10. Dear Mr. Huber
    First of all I would like to thank you for taking interest in Lilly’s story. On Tashmicas behalf I would like to respond to your post. Im Ginnie Torok, Lilly’s mother. It is her very intelligent, kind hearted and committed aunt Tasha that is the author of this story/blog. And Stefani… That is cousin Stefani. Our family became very close to Stefani about 10 years ago when we first moved to Holt. More recently we grew even closer to her family after the passing of her brother our cousin Doug.
    I would like to encourage you to escalate this topic, “Lilly’s story/anti bullying” as far or as high as you are able. I felt I had done what I could when I met with Dr. Scott twice. I’d love to have this story told from even another perspective such as yours. Do what you can, go wherever you can with this story and I encourage you to repost, or post again on what information you have been able to gather. I would appreciate that!
    Again, thank you for your interest. Obviously this is a powerful blog that has hit close to home for many of us! Appreciation, Ginnie Torok

  11. Thank you so much for being there for your child…when I was growing up I was bullied a lot and had no one to turn to. This is EXACTLY what a mom is SUPPOSED to do….I am so gald that you have the courage to do it…

  12. Ginny – we love you and Lilly and I’m so sad that she is going through this and that the school is doing what it is doing. I know what it is like to have the teachers and principals do nothing and to have them want to brush everything off. I was told not to talk to any parents and about all the things my kid could do that would make her less of a target. It was insinuated that it was my kids fault. There were never any consequences for any of the kids involved. You have handled it better than I did and I’ll keep you all in my prayers.

  13. so sorry Ginnie…but most of all so sorry Lilly. You are a brave girl and your mom ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!…I have people in my life that have moved to Holt schools because they are better than Lansing. You can run, but you cannot hide from stuff like this. There are bullies everywhere. I too walked funny and still do. I was born with a dislocated hip, I am 45 and to this day have a funny walk. It is a part of me and always will be. I too was bullied and made fun of all of my school years. It is very unfortunate that some people find pleasure in other peoples pain. You go Lilly! Thanks your mom everyday for standing up for you!! Continue to hold your head high!! You are a wonderful young lady!! Many blessings to you!!

  14. It is appalling that your daughter had to lose her opportunity to attend school with her peers because administration was incapable of handling common misbehavior, emotional abuse and physical attacks on her. The lack of taking responsibility begins with the adults and is only to be expected from the “children” they teach. My daughter, 34, also has Friedreich’s Ataxia. Before we had her diagnosis, her gym teacher routinely made fun of her in front of her classmates, for running slower than the other kids. How can we expect children to behave with kindness towards others when their “mentors” are also TORmentors? Jay McGraw, son of Doctor Phil, runs a program for anti-bullying. You might try to contact him or them through this link. http://www.drphil.com/shows/show/115

  15. Wow………….my hear breaks for all the cruelty that has taken place.And for you Lilly! My Momma Bear is rearing up inside me because of the LACK of backbone in all the administration and apparently teachers who look the other way. I’m sosrry, but men with no kahunas??? Ginnie, you are strong! You are 200% right in continuing on. Famiy isn’t always right, it is sad that your’s was not behind you all the way. Good news! You have many more who will stand arm in arm with you. We too have a daughter with FA, just diagnoised last year (in 8th grade). She is so Precious, strong, quick witted, funny and even a bit of a brat when she wants something to go her way, but we love her to pieces and now we Love Lilly too! I will hold her in my heart and pray for her when I’m praying for our’s (all 8 of ’em, and their future spouses!) Lilly, I wish you the best in your new school and will pray for a handful of REALLY GOOD friends to fill your days!! I too moved in High School, leaving all those from Kindergarten up. You are beautiful! Let it shine for this new school to see! God bless you, your MOM and your wonderful Aunt. :)

  16. I love that someone is finally sticking up to Holt schools. I went to HPS and was bullied all the years I went. Things got bad, I asked for help and some was given but it never truly helped. After so long I learned that it was not worth asking for it and to just deal with it. Now that I’m older it kills me to see it happen to other children, I’m glad Lily has support and hope no one gives up this fight. I would love to help in any way I could because I know the pain all to well of kids to get bullied.

  17. Just to let you know — these posts are STILL relevant, still read today. I expect they will be for years to come. Keep up the good work!

  18. Thank you “C” for bringing this issue back to light. Though Lilly is no longer a Holt student, her younger brother and sister are. For them and every single child, I will see to it that this district be held accountable, because sadly many students continue to face these issues.

    Keep talking!!! Ginnie

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