Childrearing

Scientists of the World Rally Behind 7-Year-Old Girl Bullied for Loving Bugs

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(Via Giphy)

It’s great when children have deep, abiding passions, especially when those passions turn towards science. Unfortunately, kids with deep passions tend to be targets for bullies. Like, a lot of kids are a little bit into dinosaurs, but the kid who is really into dinosaurs gets picked on for it. And it’s worse when a kid’s driving passion is something a little odd, or “icky,” like this adorable 7-year-old girl who loves bugs.

According to Buzzfeed, 7-year-old Sophia Spencer loves bugs. She just adores them. She started collecting bugs when she was a toddler, and her interest in insects has not waned.

OK, full disclosure: This is my nightmare. I’m deeply afraid of even the most innocuous bugs (I’m afraid of all bugs, but ladybugs most of all). I hope every day that my kid does not develop an interest in bugs, because then I will have to support it and I am not sure I have the guts for that.

But Sophia’s mother does! Sophia and her friend called themselves the Bug Hunters and kept bugs as pets.

Last year, however, Sophia and her family moved to a new town, and kids at Sophia’s new school have been awful about her “weird” interest. Kids at school have been calling her bugs “gross,” another girl told the class not to play with the weird girl, and she’s even been hit and dragged through the mud. One time, a little boy even asked to look at one of her pet bugs, then stomped on it and killed it! That’s awful.

Sophia’s mother has been trying to encourage her to keep up with her interest, even though the kids at her school are being awful about it and the teachers have not been helping her. Sophia’s mom wrote to the Entomological Society of Canada for help finding a penpal or mentor for Sophia, and the society raised the red flag.

Now entomologists around the world are rallying together to send books, nets, equipment, and letters of encouragement. She’s getting notes from female scientists in the rain forest who also think bugs are awesome, and that’s fantastic!

“She was jumping up and down on the bed, so excited that there are female entomologists, scientist, biologists all over the world,” Sophia’s mom said.

It sucks that  the kids in Sophia’s class are being awful just because she likes something that’s a little different, and it really sucks that the teachers and parents aren’t doing anything to stop it. But It’s great that Sophia still loves her bugs, even in the face of all this bullying, and now she’s got a whole corps of awesome penpals to inspire and support her.