The recent death of Rutger's freshman Tyler Clementi has put bullying back into the national spotlight. I was watching ABC's 20/20's episode on bullying and was thinking about my own experiences.
Sixth grade was hell for me. Literally. I woke up every morning and had to go to hell. No one spoke to me, well unless it was something nasty. I had no friends, no one to sit with at lunch and was harassed all day...especially by a girl named Samantha. Oh that Samantha...she was a class A bitch. I was even bullied by my P.E. teacher..something that as an adult makes me sick to my stomach. My grades plummeted, I was depressed and quite honestly, If I had had to continue going to that school I wouldn't have made it. I was so desperate to get out, to be left alone that I had already considered suicide.
Of course, the bullying passes. Unfortunately for so many kids they can't see past it. I was so so SO very lucky. My parents saw how much I was struggling and decided to remove me from that school and home-school me for a year. Not many kids get that chance. Thank God I did.
After that year I made a decision that no one would ever treat me the way those people treated me ever again. And to this day no one has. I am absolutely unwilling to tolerate anything like that in my life or around me. I am worried for kids who go through this every day. I am worried for MY future kids. Children are mean. Especially middle school children. Of most people I have come in contact with, they had similar experiences.
I was able to find myself and become stronger. My heart aches for those that don't get that opportunity. I can only hope that we as adults are vigilantes and are constantly on the lookout for our kids. Only one teacher at my 6th grade school ever stood up for me. Several watched what was going on, heard what was going on and did nothing. To me, for an adult to stand by and allow that sort of thing to happen is unforgivable.
I hope eventually schools will implement anti-bullying campaigns and rules (and they are enforced!) Thanks to all you parents and teachers who are advocates for your kids! Keep up the good work!