Justice requires vigilance, caring demands action, and love must grow.
Growing up, I moved from place to place, never spending more than one or two years in a school. I was skinny and awkward, scared, and shy. I was a bully magnet. Whenever I started in a new school I would find the other kids that were bullied, because I knew that they wouldn’t be mean.
I was kicked and punched randomly, my clothes stolen during PE class and locked in another locker. I was almost given a swirly because I had curly hair. I was manically afraid of water because of a near drowning when I was four, and I think I scared the guy with my freakout. My books would be kicked out of my arms on the way to class and I’d have to scramble around picking everything up.
On the bus, I was pinned to the floor and beaten. Most of us geeks and nerds ended up standing all the way to school because the spineless bus driver wouldn’t stand up to the bullies in the back of the bus and make them share seats. Remember, before computers came along and made people look stupid, the words geek and nerd were only used to put people down. The bus rides turned into dreaded trips to hell each day, wondering if I would get a seat, wondering if I would be beaten.
Once, someone poured coins down my back, and when I turned around to protest they pushed my head into the seat in front of me repeatedy crushing my glasses into my nose until the nosepads cut into it, causing it to bleed profusely. Pie was smeared all over my shirt and when I stood up for myself, I was punched in the nose, my nose broken and pouring blood. I was suspended from school for three days. Justice.
Bullying is a silent crime at home. I never told my parents, because I was ashamed that I didn’t have the strength to make it stop. When I talk about it now, my Mom says, “I never knew that happened.” Bullying should never stay a secret, and if you are going through it, seek help. We don’t live in those times anymore, there are people who do care and will help.
The bullying that I received growing up affects me everyday in social situations. I am unable to function in job interviews, or any situation where I am involved with new people. I typically sit with my arms folded in a protective stance, scared to say anything. Only by a sheer force of will do I overcome it to do those things which I want to do. Bullying causes lifelong scars.
If you think bullying is funny, if you think it is harmless pranks, if you think it’s a joke putting people down until they break and hate themselves and life, then you are the problem. You need to think again, and I wish that you could live what I and untold thousands have had to live through.
Stand together and stop this cruelty. Protect children from this tragedy.