Plady--I'm so, so very sorry for C. That stinks. Ditto Geo on propping up her self esteem and especially on encouraging her to really pursue her interests. Being able to cultivate talents and hopefully a social circle outside school should also do wonders for her confidence. There may be some books out there too that would be appropriate. In the foggy recesses of my memory, I think I might have read something along the lines of reinventing yourself when I was 15. We were moving to a new district and I figured I could use some social tips before starting the new school where no one would know I was a complete and utter loser in my old school. I didn't have any friends my age and freshman year had been a miserable continuation of junior high. The book, if it existed, was helpful in gently pointing out that some unwanted mockery can be avoided. Good luck to her. I really wish we could take all our Dinglets having these experiences and protect them from what many of us went through.
On the pen incident, do you have anything like a "Safe 2 Tell" program, or Safe Schools & Communities? Ours is a hotline and it's anonymous and it's designed both for students and for parents and communities members to report things they are concerned about, ranging from bullying to depression to suicidal thoughts. It's a brilliant thing but I don't know how widespread those programs are.
1jooj--I've become a backpack person too for just those reasons. It's a lot more comfortable.
RR: none yet but I should get my behind on the treadmill like um, now. We spent the evening assembling a new desk for R and moving J's new-to-her desk into the living room. We also got a new dresser the girls can share (it's completely symmetrical!) and two new and smaller chairs for my office so that there's a good, neutral quiet space for children wishing a break from the other when they share a room. J has this brilliant idea that the master bedroom, in which only her and I sleep, is her room and she lets me sleep there, but we're hoping to slowly but surely convince her otherwise. We will add a loft to the room in time, but not quite yet. (We have four bedrooms, but they're split 2 upstairs and 2 downstairs. R doesn't want to sleep on a different level than her parents, and J's definitely not old enough.)