Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bullying

This story about a bullied Arkansas high school student has touched a chord with me and with a number of others over at titusonenine.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned here I was persistently bullied up until 8th grade (when distance running success for my school gained respect). Of course, the school* did nothing, except discipline me when I took up for myself. Now, it wasn’t nearly as bad as what the student in the story has endured. And, thankfully, it did end in 8th grade. (Thank God for my past distance running abilities!)

But the damage was done. My interaction with other kids had been so negative for years that it taught me to be a loner. In my teen years and onward, I did grow socially. But in hindsight, I got a real late start on that due in large part to the bullying. I was always a few steps behind. In a word, I was a bit clueless socially for too many years afterward. And in various ways, my life still bears the marks of that.

Of course, we all have our difficulties in life. And God does turn bad into good. I’ve always hated injustice with a passion due to my experiences. I have a great deal of empathy for the struggles kids go through. And, though I haven’t thought about it, perhaps my experience is one reason I’m so opposed – and provoked – by the actions of bullies in vestments.

But I know all too well that bullying is not harmless or some rite of passage all kids should go through. No boy or girl should have to endure it, at least not for months and years on end. And parents and school authorities who don’t lift a finger to stop it are negligent, to say the least.

As I posted over at titusonenine, if I ever have a child who is frequently bullied and the school does nothing to stop it, I will become that school district’s worse nightmare.

Yes, I’m ranting. Bullying and those in charge who do nothing about it really ticks me off.
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*namely Bradfield Elementary in Highland Park, Texas. Lord have mercy, my elementary school years were miserable. My school from 7th grade onward, Greenhill School, handled such things much more responsibly.

3 comments:

Chnristopher Johnson said...

I hear you, WA. I wasn't really bullied so much as relentlessly laughed at and made fun of in elementary school because of my physical appearance. The result, combined with certain home factors, turned me into the pathologically shy loner I still am today 40 years on. Screwed up my life, pretty much. And if schools don't realize what bullying can do to people, they deserve to be sued out of existence.

Anonymous said...

I would like to know more about Bradfield bulling and nothing getting done, as this is happening today. I have a kindergartener that loved her first couple of weeks until the bully turned on her. This bully has thrown chairs, ruined lunches by dropping trays on other childeren's lunches, poked someone with a pencil so hard that it drew blood, used siccors to cut up his shoelaces, etc. My main concern is that he may permanently maim another child before he is removed from the school. The school's solution is to have him sit in the principal's office after an incident. What can we do as parents to protect our children for physical harm?

Mark said...

anon, You have commented on a very old post!

But I would consider:

1. Reminding school officials that if they do not protect your child, you will . . . by removing her.
2. Threaten to go to the school board and then be willing to do so.

Most school officials wish to avoid either 1. or 2.

wannabe