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.
*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.