Bullying and the effect it can have
I am about to discuss a very sensitive subject, a subject in which in some cases is over discussed and in others under-discussed. You will probably go into this thinking “Not another post about bullying.” but please hear me out because it is a subject that needs to be talked about no matter how many people don’t want to hear about it. In order to talk about, I have to reveal a little bit about my experience with bullying. I want us all to understand how important a subject bullying is.
I have been bullied my entire life. From the time I started going to school and even into adulthood. It is true what they say about bullying being everywhere you go. There is no real end to bullying, but the difference between when we are bullied at school as children and at work as adults is that as adults we have a say in where we work and how things are handled but as children, adults decide everything for us. Adults decide where we live, where we got to school, our pediatricians and dentists. everything is decided for us as kids. As adults if the situation is really bad at work we can find another job, no it won’t be easy, but it is an option. We can find another doctor, we can decide who we spend time with and who we let leave our lives or cut out of our lives. As children, we not only rely on adults to make sure we are fed and clothed and have a roof over our heads but also to make sure we are safe especially because we are not able to decide much for ourselves.
When I was a kid my mom was at the school on a daily basis, trying to either get the school to do something about a kid who was bullying me or trying to get the school to do their job and get me the resources I needed for my disabilities. She had to fight for me because I was a child. She was the only person in my life who actually gave a damn, most kids don’t even have that, I was lucky.
I have had things thrown at me in the lunch room. I was violated in the hallways. I was called names, I was mocked and humiliated on many occasions. I was bullied terribly bullied and made to feel worthless. I reported it, my mom reported it, my sister reported it and nothing was done about it. They at first would say “We will handle it.” Later that turned into the vice principal (The person you’re supposed to go to if you are being bullied) going into his office and having his secretary tell me he went home so that he would not have to deal with me. I would tell the teachers around me what is going on and they would even see it happen and turn a blind eye. I would see them looking at me as these kids were openly and most obviously bullying me and they would do nothing. I am not saying every single teacher I had was like that, they were not. I had a few good teachers at Edison. The librarian was particularly nice to me and I felt safe signing out of study hall to go to the library instead. She didn’t tolerate bullying. If anyone was caught bullying they were sent to the office. No one bullied anyone in the library while she was there. I don’t know how it is now that she retired, but she is one of few that deserve to have a happy retirement.
One of the reasons I am writing all of this now is because someone from the school I graduated from attempted suicide because of the bullying and instead of the school doing something about it and instead of them even calling the family to ask about her they released a half-assed statement on Facebook to cover their own ass and me for one wasn’t surprised by that, but outraged instead. I read the comments and I see a dozen or more people who see right through it just like I did. People who graduated around the same time I did and the people who went there years ago and people who are still there now. They are the people who have been the target of bullying. I’ve seen maybe three or four people who say that the school is the best thing that has ever happened to them and they wouldn’t have changed their experience there for the world and the funny thing is they are all people who bullied others. It’s all about perspective and if you weren’t the bullied you were the bully and therefore your experience was probably much different and more positive on your end than the people you hurt.
I am in therapy, I am messed up because of the fact the school I went to that was supposed to keep me safe did nothing to keep me safe. I am afraid to meet new people. I doubt every conversation I have even with my own family. I can’t even have small talk with the cashier without thinking she hated me because no matter what I do I am not good enough. I can’t even fully let loose and be myself in front of my family or even my best friend because of my experience at this school. I am angry now because of the scars left from being there.
I used to sleep in specifically because if I didn’t get out of bed I didn’t have to go to school right? I would be so anxious by the very thought of going to school or doing anything with people that I would lash out angrily at the people who were there for me.
I was not only bullied by my peers but also by the adults who were supposed to keep me safe while I was in school. One specific instance comes to mind that jarred me to the point where if I see her in public I am too afraid of what she might do to me even now as an adult. The last time I saw her I couldn’t wait to get away as fast as I possibly can and so I ran. Heart racing out of my chest unable to breathe and had a panic attack moments later. The thought of this particular woman jars me to my core. What’s worse is that she was the special education teacher for my eighth grade class, but the first time I met her was in seventh grade. She didn’t know me and I didn’t know her, but she targeted me anyway that first day when she subbed for my computer teacher. I fought so hard to hold back tears that day that I couldn’t speak and when I finally got home it was like the floodgates opened and I could not stop crying. I realized that was my version of a major panic attack. It was so bad I was hyperventilating. I felt lightheaded. I couldn’t speak or breathe until I calmed down which took a long time. She wasn’t even my teacher and she scared me that much.
I was running behind in the class and in a specialized plan for my disabilities, it allows me to have extra time to finish assignments and so that was what I was doing that day. I was finishing the previous assignment to the one assigned the day prior to her subbing. She was walking around making sure everyone was working and when she got to me she started screaming about me being off task and I could not breathe or talk and someone explained the situation for me, but for the rest of the day I was holding back tears. I knew she was an eighth-grade teacher then and I begged not to have her and when I got my schedule for the following year I didn’t have her at first. Then my mom said I need to be in a special needs class, I need the extra help which looking back I actually didn’t. I never used the extra teacher in the room to help me with anything. I was capable of doing the work on my own. That’s a story for another day. It turned out she was the special education teacher and as soon as I found out I begged her not to do it. I pleaded that I could do the classes on my own that I would be fine and I know I would have, but my mom insisted that I was overreacting and that she probably didn’t scream at me and that everything would be fine. From that moment I was even more terrified than usual to start school, but the trouble didn’t stop with that one incident in seventh grade.
Every day it was something, I was lying about a doctors note even though it really was signed by my doctor or I wasn’t finishing my work fast enough and so I was a delinquent refusing to do it. Her classes were the only ones that I had trouble with my work in other than that one computer assignment and the reason I had trouble finishing it wasn’t because I couldn’t do it fast enough it was because I didn’t understand the project. My teacher said I was over thinking it and making it harder on myself and I was.
When I had this horrible teacher I started having a really hard time focusing. I couldn’t think straight and I was afraid all the time constantly looking over my shoulder. She didn’t let me participate in band and choir which were two classes I loved. She kept me from going to lunch most days. She screamed at me every single day to the point where my doctor sent a note saying her yelling caused me to have panic attacks. She claimed it was fake and threw it away and continued to scream at me. It was so bad I left the district for a year and a half and joined an online school, but the work in the online school was too hard for me and so I decided to go back to regular school. On my last day at my school before going to regular school we were supposed to hand in these forms for something and I didn’t have mine because I wasn’t going to be there. I explained this to her and she didn’t believe me. She thought I was lying even though my mom wrote a note explaining it. She threw the note away without even looking at it. The day after that was supposed to be my last day but I begged my mom not to make me go and I was balling my eyes out waiting for the bus terrified to go back. I couldn’t handle one more day with her.
When I went back to regular school it was in a different building because it was high school, but to my horror, the seventh and eighth graders were then moved to the high school because the elementary school shut down. That means that this awful teacher was there too and to my utter horror who am I to see while wandering the halls looking for the office, this horrible awful teacher that made me fear to come to school. She asked me what I was doing and I almost couldn’t speak. It seemed like she didn’t remember me so I told her that I was looking for the office and she pointed me in that direction and then ducked back into her classroom. I ran and had to calm myself before entering the office. Prior to that, I saw her at grocery stores and out and about and purposely avoided her. I couldn’t deal with facing the person that made me so afraid. I still can’t. Nothing was done to her. She continued teaching until her retirement. Why should someone that caused me so much fear be allowed to teach other kids? It should not be allowed.
The kids who bullied me were never punished for it and them to this day believe themselves to have had a great time in school. They don’t think anything was wrong with the way things were. Some of them went on to be nurses and teachers and to have lives. I suffer from depression and anxiety but they get to have perfect lives. How is that fair? Life isn’t fair. I know that, but I also know that if anyone actually gave a shit they would have done something about it. They would have had consequences in place and they would have followed their no tolerance policy rather than ignoring the people who needed help. If they gave a shit a kid would not have attempted to take their own life. I would not be writing this blog post and everyone would have been a lot happier for it.
Instead of covering their own asses they should be working to fix the problem. I have seen a lot of people saying they will not permit their child to go to that school because of the issue. I honestly hope the school gets shut down. I would feel bad for the people who actually gave a shit to lose their jobs, but the people who don’t care need to lose their jobs because they don’t deserve to teach.
Teachers do a lot and are underpaid for it. That’s what people say, but the truth is they don’t do as much as people say they do. If they did it would be a perfect world. They do the bare minimum to get their money. That’s what it boils down to. All anyone cares about is money. It’s time to stop caring about money and start caring about the kids who are in danger because they don’t care.
Teachers aren’t the only ones to blame either. The parents raising these kids to bully other kids they need to discipline their kids and be informed of what their child is doing because what they do at school is very different from what they do at home. Parents may believe they know everything their kid is doing, but if they did they would know their kid is the one making other kids afraid to go to school, but they don’t because they don’t know everything. I have opted to not include names in this post not to protect the people who made me afraid to go to school, but to protect the ones who still are afraid to go to school.
There was a time I wanted to make these people feel the pain I felt, but I don’t want that now. I want those who bullied me to learn from what they did in some way and to learn tolerance for others and their feelings. Learn to be kind to others and to reach out to those who need a friend rather than shame them for not having any. That’s what I want. I am sure on some level you know who you are. If you don’t then I feel sorry for you because you must not have found love and happiness within yourself.
My one hope is that my former school and all the schools out there who have this same problem because I know my school is not the only one that has this problem will find a way to fix it and make kids want to be at school. Just talking about how bad bullying is does nothing you have to actually do something about it. Talk to their parents, talk to them. Give them detention for bullying or something. do something. don’t just sit around and think it will resolve on its own because it won’t
When I graduated it wasn’t a triumph of my achievement for me. On graduation day it was a celebration of never having to see the people who hurt me so much ever again. Just because the people are out of my life doesn’t mean the memories have gone away as well. I am afraid to meet people, to go to any social events, to do anything and the one time I was forced to do it after high school by my mom it ended badly. I was bullied again as an adult. people say “but your an adult how could you possibly be bullied?” Bullying does happen everywhere, but only because it wasn’t stopped when it started. If someone who is capable of being horrible like that can get away with it then they will and these people have. Anyone who treats another person as if they are not a person was raised that way. They were told it was ok because there weren’t consequences for their actions. Bottom line, there need to be consequences.