I just read a post by one of my High School friends and to be honest it surprised me for two reasons.
1) She referenced a recent incident in Iowa where a teen was bullied so much he committed suicide. After growing up in Iowa and being bullied myself its still shocking for me to see this.
2) Learning that she was bullied to the point she considered suicide. Wow I knew she was bullied, I did, I didn’t know that she had had thoughts like this. To me she was a strong girl, I aspired to have her confidence. However to be fair I really only got to know her after her main bullies were removed from our school.
I was bullied….
I was ‘semi-popular’ in 6th grade meaning I was friends with the cool girls. However in 7th grade it became clear I wasn’t cool. In fact I remember the day. I was invited to a cool girls sleepover birthday party, and they were watching a movie I knew I wasn’t allowed to. So instead of watching it I choose to stay in her room and read…yep that was it.
The teasing and threats were so bad in 7th grade my parents decided to remove me from public school for 8th grade and home school me. I honestly can’t tell you much about the teasing I’ve blocked it from memory. The only thing I do remember was these signs we had on our lockers. If you were in track or a cheerleader or whatever you would have this sign on your locker people would sign their names on….well I had names, and name calling and threats on mine. I changed it out a few times but it just kept happening. At one point they made me keep my books in the Principals office. Yeah…
…but I was lucky.
Lucky? Yep! I had very supportive parents and a few good friends that kept me going. In fact I’m still close friends with one of them. Also the thing I was teased most about was my faith, and as I found out all the teasing in the world couldn’t change that.
My 8th grade year was spent learning the class work but also who I was. When I went back to school for 9th grade it felt completely different. My confidence helped me find a few friends as well as not be stung as much when people did tease. Plus all the former she is cool, he is not lines were blurred when we moved to the High School. It still wasn’t one of my favorite times, I was outspoken and hard headed and that caused some issues with the teasing, but it wasn’t as bad as middle school.
So why now?
Why now? Lots of reasons, lets start with the big one, NO ONE should ever want to end their life because of bullying. The story of Kenneth Weishuhn is one that has been seen far to often. I also think the Internet has made bullying more intense, it can be anonymous and it doesn’t stop when you leave school. Its so prevalent there was even a movie made about it last year Cyberbully.
Finally I do not feel there is any reason for teasing, bullying or harassment to anyone. If you don’t like or disagree with someones faith, race, age, or sexual orientation it DOES NOT give you the right to make them miserable, period. I don’t really feel like I have to go in to depth about that.
So in the words of Kenneth “Be Buddies, Not Bullies”