Friday, February 15, 2013

An Open Letter on Bullying

Apologies for getting a bit personal today on the blog.

Currently there's a push nationwide (I think nationwide, maybe it's just Utah) to address bullying in our schools.

Good intentioned as it may be, it won't do anything. At least, government interference won't.

When I was nine, my dad's job brought us to Utah. We moved in two weeks before fourth grade was to start.

On the first day of school, the biggest bullies decided I was their target. I was the easy bulls-eye, the new girl who couldn't possibly have any friends yet. So they'd see to it I never made friends. The very original insults consisted of step on me jokes, calling me McGeek or just by my last name. I wasn't overly heavy, but I wasn't skinny either. I was teased for my weight, other issues. I was the ugly one, the stupid one, you name it, I was called it.

I cried myself to sleep at night, every night, for three+ years. Sometimes the bullying was physical. Just bumping into me in the halls, in the aisles between desks. Never knock-down fights, just little subtle ways. I bruise easily as a rule so any of those that showed up were easy enough to wave off. Mostly they were where clothes could hide them anyway.

Things would get thrown at me in class behind teachers' backs. Soft stuff like wads of paper or spit balls. Normal stuff, but I was the only target. It continued into junior high. Halfway through seventh grade we moved to a new town and a new school district. I wasn't ostracized any more, but the bumping and shoving were still present sometimes, if you ticked off the right a-lister.

High school was better. I was never popular by any stretch of the imagination. But I wasn't hated either. Not widely like I had been in elementary school. Someone who had once been a friend did play a mean-spirited prank on me. To this day I'm pretty certain I know of two other people who liked to call me a friend but were involved in that prank.

When the bullying was at its worst, teachers and school counselors, principals and administrators, they'd all lecture the bullies about their actions and words. They'd try to get them to stop, but it never did. Kids are mean to each other. They'll just find new and more subtle ways of tormenting one another. There will always be that little girl crying herself to sleep at night because she can have friends at church but those people turn on her the moment the school bell rings on Monday morning. There will always be the boy who would rather cut his wrists open than face one more day of torment in the halls of his school.

And no amount of government regulation will fix that.

I'm not going to disable comments on this post. But I am not going to read any that are posted either. Let the haters come and bash me if they want. I'm not going to stoop to their level and dignify their comments with even knowing they're there.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know why you will get haters or bashers. It's just sad that you faced this and any child has to face this.

    I think it's a huge failure on the part of our society that we spend large amounts of money to fight bullying--in essence to teach people how to treat people. That is the very thing that parents should be teaching their children from the moment they are born. Parents need to step up.


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