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parenting, bullying, dad advice

Randy Smalls of South Carolina

This article originally appeared on December 4, 2019


Bullying is a huge problem. According to DoSomething.org, 1 in 5 students ages 12-18 in the United States are bullied during the school year, and approximately 160,000 teens have skipped school because of bullying.

So when Randy Smalls of South Carolina discovered that his teenage daughter was making fun of a classmate over her clothes and makeup, he took swift action.

Smalls instantly felt sympathy for Ryan Reese, a seventh-grader at Berkeley Middle School, having been bullied in his youth. So he took money meant for his daughter and went on a shopping spree with Ryan to get some new clothes and a makeover.


Smalls' wife and Ryan's mother Richauna Reese are friends, but they weren't aware of the bullying until recently. The families got on the phone after speaking to Ryan, and Smalls asked if he could take Ryan to buy new clothes and get a makeover at the beauty salon.

Smalls used money initially intended to buy his 13-year-old daughter some new clothes, but after learning about her bullying, he decided to spend the money on Ryan instead.

"I say, 'When you laugh along, you're co-signing the bullying," Smalls told Yahoo News.

"My daughter was upset, especially because she is into fashion," he said. "So she came with us and helped pick out Ryan's new clothes."

While his daughter was at church, Smalls took Ryan to the beauty salon and paid for twice-a-month appointments until the end of the year.

After hearing about the good gesture, local salons have also offered to keep Ryan looking stylish for the next few months.

Richauna, Ryan's mother, told Yahoo News that her daughter was struggling after the recent deaths of her father, grandfather, and aunt, as well as non-epileptic seizures caused by the stress.

The shopping trip has helped Ryan immensely. "I wasn't expecting it. I just started to cry. It (the bullying) was really sad for me because I had lost my grandpa, father, and aunt, and it really took me deep down in my depression," Ryan explained.

"This is the first time I have seen a parent take such a stance on bullying," Richauna added.

Smalls was overwhelmed by the response and says that it's helped his daughter see her mistake.

"I didn't expect for this to get big but I'm glad if other parents [can learn from it]," Smalls said. "My daughter learned her lesson."

"As parents, we have to take responsibility for what our children do," Smalls told ABC's Strahan, Sara, and Keke. "We can teach our children, but when they go and are around other children they can veer off a little bit. When situations like this happen, we have to take action and be the parent and not the friend."

And the pair seem to be getting along better for the experience. "They're cool now," Richauna said.



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1989 video brings back strong memories for Gen Xers who came of age in the '80s.

It was the year we saw violence in Tiananmen Square and the dismantling of the Berlin Wall. The year we got Meg Ryan in "When Harry Met Sally" and Michael Keaton in Tim Burton's "Batman." The year "Seinfeld" and "The Simpsons" debuted on TV, with no clue as to how successful they would become. The year that gave us New Kids on the Block and Paula Abdul while Madonna and Janet Jackson were enjoying their heyday.

The jeans were pegged, the shoulders were padded and the hair was feathered and huge. It was 1989—the peak of Gen X youth coming of age.

A viral video of a group of high school students sitting at their desks in 1989—undoubtedly filmed by some geeky kid in the AV club who probably went on to found an internet startup—has gone viral across social media, tapping straight into Gen X's memory banks. For those of us who were in high school at the time, it's like hopping into a time machine.

The show "Stranger Things" has given young folks of today a pretty good glimpse of that era, but if you want to see exactly what the late '80s looked like for real, here it is:

Oh so many mullets. And the Skid Row soundtrack is just the icing on this nostalgia cake. (Hair band power ballads were ubiquitous, kids.)

I swear I went to high school with every person in this video. Like, I couldn't have scripted a more perfect representation of my classmates (which is funny considering that this video came from Paramus High School in New Jersey and I went to high school on the opposite side of the country).

Comments have poured in on Reddit from both Gen Xers who lived through this era and those who have questions.

First, the confirmations:

"Can confirm. I was a freshman that year, and not only did everyone look exactly like this (Metallica shirt included), I also looked like this. 😱😅"

"I graduated in ‘89, and while I didn’t go to this school, I know every person in this room."

"It's like I can virtually smell the AquaNet and WhiteRain hairspray from here...."

"I remember every time you went to the bathroom you were hit with a wall of hairspray and when the wind blew you looked like you had wings."

Then the observations about how differently we responded to cameras back then.

"Also look how uncomfortable our generation was in front of the camera! I mean I still am! To see kids now immediately pose as soon as a phone is pointed at them is insanity to me 🤣"

"Born in 84 and growing up in the late 80’s and 90’s, it’s hard to explain to younger people that video cameras weren’t everywhere and you didn’t count on seeing yourself in what was being filmed. You just smiled and went on with your life."

Which, of course, led to some inevitable "ah the good old days" laments:

"Life was better before the Internet. There, I said it."

"Not a single cell phone to be seen. Oh the freedom."

"It's so nice to be reminded what life was like before cell phones absorbed and isolated social gatherings."

But perhaps the most common response was how old those teens looked.

"Why do they all look like they're in their 30's?"

"Everyone in this video is simultaneously 17 and 49 years old."

"Now we know why they always use 30 y/o actors in high school movies."

As some people pointed out, there is an explanation for why they look old to us. It has more to do with how we interpret the fashion than how old they actually look.

Ah, what a fun little trip down memory lane for those of us who lived it. (Let's just all agree to never bring back those hairstyles, though, k?)