In Buffalo, New York, a fifth-grader at Lorraine Academy who was vice president of his class was removed from office for saying things that violated his school's anti-bullying policy.
So imagine his confusion when he later watched the news with his parents and saw presidential candidates engaging in bullying behavior far worse than his own.
In an age when schools are finally cracking down on bullies and calling foul on bullying behavior, it's disheartening to see that many high-profile adults undermining the anti-bullying message.
The Iowa State Department of Education defines bullying as "making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose." That's a relatively standard definition and one used by many schools to teach students about appropriate behavior.
And kids are finally getting the message. When Donald Trump attempted to hold a campaign rally at a school in Sioux City, Iowa, the students protested, citing how many of the candidate's speeches and remarks go against the school's anti-bullying policy.
Trump has called Ted Cruz (and anyone else who disagrees with him,) a “loser” and a “liar.” He has made disparaging remarks about the physical appearance of Carly Fiona. He has called Megyn Kelly a "bimbo," and made humiliating insinuations about the personal lives of Arianna Huffington and Hillary Clinton (and probably countless other women.) He has also singled out Muslims and Mexicans for criticism.
The list of examples of Trump's bullying behavior could go on and on.
Can you imagine the confusion of students — who are told again and again how such behavior will not be tolerated — to see Trump surging in the polls, in large part because of this very behavior?
Sadly, Trump isn't the only candidate who is resorting to name calling and bullying. Marco Rubio has called Trump a "con artist," and mocked what he referred to as the other candidate's “worst spray tan in America.”
And this year's campaign is not an isolated case of campaign bullying — although is the worst on that I can recall. In 1848, candidate Democrat Lewis Cass was labeled a "pot-bellied, mutton-headed cucumber," by the opposing Whig party. In 1828, candidate hopeful John Adams attacked opposing candidate Andrew Jackson's mother, calling her names that would be unfit to bring up here.
Our history is littered with examples of political bullying. Political candidates are constantly given a free pass to act in a way that we would never tolerate in our own children.
How can we expect our children to understand why bullying is wrong when the adults attempting to become America's next president use bullying tactics to advance in the polls?