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WilliamPitt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 03:49 PM
Original message
Here There Be Monsters (a personal story about bullying)
Edited on Mon Feb-08-10 04:30 PM by WilliamPitt


(Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: John Steven Fernandez, cleanzor, clickykbd)

Here There Be Monsters
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed

Monday 08 February 2010

They say everything can be replaced,
Yet every distance is not near.
So I remember every face
Of every man who put me here.


- Bob Dylan, "I Shall Be Released"


I have a livid scar in the center of the back of my right hand. It is clearly visible, so I see it every day, and every time I see it, I am reminded of how I got it. One day, several boys in my junior high school class grabbed me and pinned me to the floor. They extended my right arm and held my hand flat to the floor. One of them took out a pencil and began violently rubbing it against the skin of that hand, until the skin broke, until little balls of my flesh stuck to the eraser, until the blood poured.

I did not cry, I did not scream, and with four larger boys crushing down on me, I could not fight back. See, that was the thing. They wanted to see how long I could go before I wept or cried out. These boys, and several of their friends, had been attacking me on a daily basis for more than two years at this point, and I had stopped giving them the satisfaction of my tears. They didn't like that, so the eraser was meant to elicit the response they desired. They never got it, so they finally stopped ripping my hand open with the eraser, and the four of them settled for beating me up again.

For five long years, this was my life. It began toward the end of grammar school, when the first stirrings of puberty began to manifest itself within my classmates and me. To this day, I don't know exactly what the catalyst was; one day, I was just another kid in the group, and the next day I was the outcast, the butt of the joke, the loser. I changed schools after sixth grade, opting for a small private boy's school instead of continuing in public school with the same group that had made the last two years of my life a living hell. Within two months at the new school, however, the same pattern of harassment and rejection emerged once again, but with a far harsher edge.

You see, the leader of my group of tormentors was the son of the dean of students, and because none of the teachers or administrators wanted to get on his bad side, those boys were able to act out with little fear of censure or punishment. I was beaten up in the hallways, in the cafeteria, and especially during gym class. The beatings in the locker room became so severe that I took to sneaking into a teacher-only bathroom so I could change clothes. Once, I was shoved into the goal during gym class without helmet or pads while several boys fired rock-hard lacrosse balls at me while the teacher looked on. Another time, a boy ran up behind me during a gym-class basketball game and delivered a flying kick to my kidneys. I was on the floor for ten minutes, and there was blood in my urine that night.

Incidents like these were a daily occurrence until I changed schools again, this time to a large public school where anonymity was the best refuge. For whatever reasons, the torment ceased, and I became just another face in the halls. Behind that face, however, was a soul covered in scars. I had been the different one, socially awkward and unsure, sensitive, shy. Something in me had brought out the savage side of my schoolmates, and something in them had changed me forever. It took me years, decades, to come to grips with what I had been put through. To live in such a situation is to be in complete darkness. It is toxic to the mind, body and soul, and all too often ends in tragedy.

There is a kid like me in every classroom in America, a fact underscored by a recent story out of my home state of Massachusetts. A 15-year-old girl named Phoebe Prince was mercilessly bullied and tormented by her classmates, until she finally snapped and took her own life. In the aftermath, the local papers have taken to reporting on the reality of bullying in our society. A recent Boston Herald story reported:

Hundreds of angry parents, worried teachers and even terrorized kids are reporting ugly episodes of brutal bullying at schools across Massachusetts as the heartwrenching case of Phoebe Prince continues to expose a painful nerve. The abuse - detailed in e-mails and phone calls to the Herald - is emotionally jarring, often physical and spreading like a merciless virus in cyberspace. Kids tell of being forced to drink toilet water, getting pummeled on the bus and seeing themselves ridiculed for all to see on Facebook.

It's a toxic cauldron of abuse that callers fear could land their children in the same no-win corner as Prince, the South Hadley 15-year-old who apparently took her own life after being bullied. And, in a constant refrain, they all say nobody in power cares. "Nobody listens. It seems like you're talking to the wall unless you have $1 million," said a Cohasset dad who said his boy is picked on constantly. "Put that on the front page."

In one of the more touching exchanges, a 10-year-old Malden boy called this week to say the bullying is becoming too much. "Go ahead. Tell him," his dad coaxed him on the phone. "They won't leave me alone. They bully me," the shy youngster said.

A Boston Latin High School parent said the bullying was so bad her son had to leave the elite school. A teacher on the South Shore said she's sick over special-needs girls being photographed in the bathroom - only to learn it was all posted on Facebook. "The principal just glossed it over," the disgusted teacher added.

"Mommy help me," a Boston elementary schooler told his mom over the phone, she said, while he was being beaten up this week.

"I have bus video of my kid being attacked," added a weary suburban mom. "I'm trying to help my daughter from feeling helpless."


The story of the suicide of Phoebe Prince struck a deep nerve within me. I know exactly how she felt, and very nearly took the same path. When I was 13, the daily violence I endured had reached a terrible peak. My grades were failing, I was withdrawing even further from the world, and my school's response to the ongoing harassment was to give the students a lecture about chickens and the "pecking order." To wit, when one chicken develops a bloody spot from an injury, the other chickens swarm the wounded one and peck that bloody spot until the wounded bird is killed. The principal admonished the student body to not be like those chickens. The end result of the lecture was that my tormentors would punch me as hard as they could whenever they saw me and yell, "Peck!"

It finally became too much after one exceptionally savage day. I went home after school and gobbled a full bottle of pills. I lost my nerve a few minutes later, made myself throw up, and drank as much water as my stomach could hold, but the drugs had already entered my system. For the next two days, I laid in a semi-delirious stupor which my mother believed was a bad flu. I did not tell her about what really happened that day until many years later, and have told very few others about it until now.

It is a national epidemic, and has been for a very long time. Search Google News under the word "bullying" and nearly six thousand stories appear. One such story, out of Tennessee, underscores the horrific consequences that can come from such unrelenting torment:

A lawsuit has been filed against Murray County Schools by a family who says bullying led to their son's suicide. Tyler Long committed suicide in October. The 17-year-old suffered from Asberger's Syndrome, a social anxiety disorder. His family, and their attorneys, say it was unbearable bullying at school that forced him to take his life. The lawsuit says the boy's parents made "countless efforts" to meet with school officials to discuss their son's safety at school due to the constant bullying.

The lawsuit says the school system violated the boys rights under the Americans With Disabilities Act, and that school officials exhibited "deliberate indifference" towards the bullying. In a Murray County school board meeting last year numerous families made similar complaints. Veronica Gearhart says her child is bullied as well.

"My baby is missing school because a gang of boys is waiting for him and it was reported to everyone and no one did nothing," she said.
Others like Carleen Mcatie worry about what might happen next. "It'll be like Columbine because it will have festered so long," said Mcatie. "Something needs to be done about it now, before something major happens in our school."


It is impossible to quantify the insidious effect the phenomenon of bullying has on our society. Those who bully can and do become monsters in adulthood, but all too often, those who are bullied can become equally monstrous. The mother in the story above said the magic word: Columbine. The Columbine killers were bullied, and lashed out against that bullying in a frenzy of violence that beggars imagination.

One of the ugliest aspects of my experience with being bullied is the fact that, nauseating as it sounds, I know exactly how Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold felt; on many occasions, after I had been pummeled in the locker room before gym class, taunted by a Greek chorus of tormentors in the cafeteria, or been set upon in the bathroom, I would sit at my desk and fantasize about raking the room with machine gun fire to settle the score with those who found their fun through torturing me.

For a time, I carried a large knife to school because I needed some sort of equalizer in a world where violence waited around every corner and nobody in authority seemed to give a damn. I never found the courage to use that knife, thank God. But I could have. I remember wanting to, but I never did. Had I used it, I could very well have killed someone. Just brandishing it would have had dire consequences. I escaped my personal hell without lashing out violently. Harris and Klebold did not, and the simple truth is that bullying will eventually create more kids like them.

In the end, the perpetrators of bullying become indistinguishable from the victims. It is equally damaging to all involved. Take, for example, Dick Cheney, the most repellent public figure in modern American politics. It is easy to assume that he was a bully during his school days, given the manner in which he conducted himself in public office. But who is to say he was not the victim of bullying? It takes no great leap of logic to imagine how a person subjected to constant brutality can be transformed into a sadist by it, someone who reflexively needs to inflict the same pain they themselves endured. In the end, the bully and the bullied can, and all too often do, become the same noxious breed of monster.

What is the cause of bullying? Was it my fault that I became the object of so much terrible treatment? Was it the fault of those bullies, and the parents who so completely failed to raise them properly? Were the teachers and administrators to blame for allowing such unconscionable behavior to flourish under their noses?

Perhaps, I could have dressed better, been more socially adapted, but in the end, blaming the victim of bullying for getting bullied smacks of blaming a rape victim for getting raped. Responsibility for this phenomenon falls upon parents, who must raise their children to understand early in life that such behavior is abhorrent and forbidden. Furthermore, teachers and school administrators are duty bound to root out such behavior whenever it appears and deal with it seriously and severely.

Any teacher or administrator who claim ignorance or an inability to address this problem are lying through their teeth. I spent several years as a high school teacher and a dean, and know for a fact that it is nonsense to claim this problem is difficult to locate in a school environment. On my first day, I was able to spot which students were "in" and which were "out," and was immediately able to take steps to thwart bullying whenever it appeared within my sight or knowledge.

One of my proudest accomplishments as a teacher and administrator, in fact, came during my second year in the classroom. Like any group of students, my crew was divided between the "in" kids and the "out" kids. The "in" kids wore the right clothes, had the right looks and knew how to play the high school social game. The "out" kids were not as fashionable, not as physically developed and tended to get the best grades. Through slow and steady pressures, counseling conversations and meetings with parents, I was able to transform the social dynamic that separated "in" from "out." By the end of the year, my "out" kids were the most popular ones in class, and my "in" kids thought hitting the books and getting good grades were the keys to the coolness kingdom. This pattern held until the day those kids graduated.

Disrupting the patterns and social constructs that lead to bullying can be done. I know. I did it.

"The world breaks everyone," said Ernest Hemingway, "and afterward, some are strong at the broken places." I was broken, and deliberately so, day after day, week after week, year after year for five long years, until I could take no more and tried to break myself, finally and forever, to be free of it. I am stronger now in those broken places; in the process of making peace with that past, I finally came to the conclusion that all those years of wretchedness were the most important of my life. I came through that crucible a better person, sensitive to injustice and ever on the side of the underdog and the victim.

But that, in the end, is a rationalization. In truth, there was nothing good about what I was forced to endure, and the echo of it resonates within me to this day. Sometimes, I have nightmares. Sometimes, I react irrationally to seeming slights, especially if one of my many internal scars gets tweaked. For years, I was prone to depression, which led to self-medication through alcohol.

Ancient maps of the world once marked unknown regions of ocean with the words, "Here There Be Monsters." The phenomenon of bullying remains an unknown and unexplored region of our society, and this must change. Here, indeed, be monsters. I am still not fully recovered from my experiences, and may never be. I remember all the faces, and all the names, of those who tormented me during that time of unutterable darkness. I can never forget.

You see, I have this scar on my hand.

http://www.truthout.org/here-there-be-monsters56756
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villager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 03:56 PM
Response to Original message
1. Thanks, Will
I think it's all of a piece -- violence in the home (emotional and physical), violence in schools, adding up to "adults" who carry on a poisonous, poisoning politics, that broadcasts that violence to the world.

And sadly, not "just in America" either.

Though there's more than plenty of it here...
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RKP5637 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 10:05 AM
Response to Reply #1
245. VERY TRUE!!! It is one more symptom of the underlying problems in this country. n/t
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 03:59 PM
Response to Original message
2. Horrifying story...and yet there are those who still argue that this disgusting behaviour
Edited on Mon Feb-08-10 04:00 PM by BrklynLiberal
"is just part of growing up".

The lessons have not been learned. If there is still bullying allowed to occur ANYWHERE, after Columbine, then people are just too damned stupid to learn anything!!!

This is all very, very heartbreaking.
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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:15 PM
Response to Reply #2
12. Indeed the lessons have not been learned.
My heart breaks hearing about this behavior.

What does it mean that people condone the bullies?
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:40 PM
Response to Reply #12
33. It means nothing good...that is for sure.
I believe it is a TERRIBLE reflection on our society.
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Posteritatis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 05:55 PM
Response to Reply #2
79. There was a big huge thread here arguing that the victims are responsible
That struck me as a little worse than the usual cliche of "bullying happens, so let's not care." Of course, I'm not surprised at seeing both views become more explicit in the last ten years.
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 06:02 PM
Response to Reply #79
85. Blaming the victims of bullies? wow..That is reprehensible.
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Posteritatis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 06:22 PM
Response to Reply #85
98. Yep. See, they bring it upon themselves by not knowing how to fit in. (nt)
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 07:54 PM
Response to Reply #98
116. Riiiiiiiiiight. Just like rape victims...
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Ken Burch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 10:03 PM
Response to Reply #2
157. Not only are there those who argue that bullyng is "just part of growing up"
Edited on Mon Feb-08-10 10:05 PM by Ken Burch
Worse, far FAR worse, there are those(often in positions of power in the school systems) who believe that BEING bullied and having to "face down" a bully are things that "build character". In the end, what this teaches kids is to be a better bully THAN the bullies. Is standing up to a bully worth it if it means you have to check part of your soul at the door to do it?

And there are parents who teach their kids that the way to win in life is to be as aggressive as possible, thus sending them the message that BEING a bully is ok. If the ultimate extreme of what being bullied does to you is Harris and Klebold(or possibly Cheney)the ultimate extreme of what being raised to BE a bully was the way Uday and Qosay Hussein lived their lives.

We need to build a world that is no longer about "winning" or "losing", if we really want to wipe out the cycle of bullying and being bullied to stop.

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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 10:49 PM
Response to Reply #157
184. Parents who tell their kids to fight back are a huge problem
And I don't mean parents of kids who are bullied, but those whose kids are doing the bullying.

It's amazing how often there is a fight at school and we call the parents and the parent of the kid who STARTED the fight say "Well, I told my kid not to let anyone hit him" or "I told him to never back down from a fight" or "He knows he is supposed to hit back".

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BanzaiBonnie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 05:03 AM
Response to Reply #157
218. It's my understanding that Karl Rove was bullied
And all that he has done is become the bigger bully.
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Ken Burch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 07:42 PM
Response to Reply #218
321. I feel no surprise at all in learning that.
What happened to Rove's soul is a perfect illustration of what Leon Rosselson(a songwriter I've often quoted here)was writing about in his song "Monsters":

1)George was much possessed of monsters
He saw monsters everywhere
"Mummy, take away this monster"
"Silly boy, there's nothing there"
Monsters luring in his nightmares
Monsters hiding in his head
"Mummy, Daddy, help me, save me,"
"Monsters don't exist," they said,

2)Old enough to go to school
He found even parents lie.
There were monsters in the playground,
Kicked him, punshed him, made him cry.
"Mummy, Daddy, help me, save me"
"Son, there's nothing we can do.
We can't win life's battle's for you
From now on it's up to you".

3)Every day they terrorised him
Stole his money, mocked his shame
Made him feel if he was picked on
He only had himself to blame.
Then one day the boy exploded
Fury gripped him, made him bold.
Grabbed a stone and blindly threw it
Hit one monster, knocked him cold.

4)George felt powerful and elated
Then they seized him, smacked his head
FOrced him to his knees and warned him
"Next time you do that, you're dead."
George dreamed of how he'd felled the monster
One small victory, wanted more.
Gathered a band of boys to help him
Wage an anti-monster war.

5)Once you start, it's hard to finish,
Once you're in, it's sink or swim
Soon young George acquired a taste for
DOing what they'd done to him.
Twisting arms can make your heart sing
Punching heads can make your day
In good time George starts tormenting
Any goy who won't obey.

6)Now George craves the thrill of power
Grows to hate the weak and small
See him there devising tortures
That will make his victims crawl.
So you who go off fighting monsters
There's one lesson you should learn
Take good care you don't become
Like George, a monster in return.

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RKP5637 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 10:08 AM
Response to Reply #157
248. EXACTLY!!! "We need to build a world that is no longer about "winning" or "losing."" n/t
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Raskolnik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 10:15 PM
Response to Reply #2
167. Columbine was not a result of bullying.
Edited on Mon Feb-08-10 10:19 PM by Raskolnik
The myth that Klebold & Harris were picked-on kids that snapped has been thoroughly debunked.




edit subject line
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TrogL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 01:16 AM
Response to Reply #167
206. Where?
First I've heard of it.
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Raskolnik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 08:19 AM
Response to Reply #206
226. This gentleman wrote what I believe most to consider the definitive account thus far
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Stargazer09 Donating Member (625 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 10:11 AM
Response to Reply #226
249. Thank you for the links
Very interesting to read, but scary, too. Makes you wonder if the parents took the time to really get to know their children.

I admit to spying on my children once in a while, just to try to get a glimpse at their inner feelings. I've read e-mails, I've read diaries and journals, and I've eavesdropped on phone conversations. So far, I've had no reason to do these things more than occasionally, but I think it's my duty as a parent to know my children as much as possible.

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RKP5637 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 10:15 AM
Response to Reply #249
252. EXCELLENT!!! More parents should care as much about their children! n/t
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Midlodemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 07:08 PM
Response to Reply #249
320. Honestly? I think that is the absolutely wrong approach.
It fosters lying and deception. LISTEN to your kids. They'll tell you way more than you wanted to know. Snooping? No. Bad idea. If you have to resort to snooping? You've already lost the war.
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Stargazer09 Donating Member (625 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-10-10 05:05 PM
Response to Reply #320
331. I do listen to my kids
As I'm sure the parents of Harris and Klebold listened to theirs. If you read the linked articles, you'd see that Harris, in particular, enjoyed acting like a dutiful and obedient son, while writing his true feelings in his journals.

My kids have all been told that everything that they own is subject to search at any time. I'm upfront with them about it. I do not lie to my children, nor am I acting in a deceitful manner. Sure, there's a possibility that they won't keep a record of their true feelings for fear of being "caught," but they all know that I love them and want to help them. By occasionally "snooping," as you call it, I am also giving them an opportunity to write down something that is bothering them and leave the journal/note/diary out where they know I'll see it. Sometimes, kids have a hard time talking to anyone about something that is embarrassing or painful or whatever. This gives them an additional method of communication.

So far, so good.
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Midlodemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-10-10 07:09 PM
Response to Reply #331
333. Sorry, not buying it.
Edited on Wed Feb-10-10 07:15 PM by Midlodemocrat
And no matter what those two killer's parents say? They ignored the warning signs. They didn't listen to their kids.

I'll bet you $10 that if your kids are jotting in a journal? They have a fake one for you to see and one that they can keep private.

And, that's just sad.

I honestly don't know anyone else, online or IRL who would admit to snooping on their children and try to pass it off as good parenting.

:puke:
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Stargazer09 Donating Member (625 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-11-10 01:42 PM
Response to Reply #333
338. Whatever works for you
I don't recall asking for your opinion.

You have no idea who I am, what I believe in, or what my children are like. You may not even be a parent yourself. I don't know, I don't care.

You have no right to judge my parenting style. The last time I checked, this is a free country, and I am free to make the choices I want to make in regards to raising my own children.

So mind your own business.
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Midlodemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-11-10 05:29 PM
Response to Reply #338
339. LOL
"I admit to spying on my children once in a while, just to try to get a glimpse at their inner feelings"

That's a quote, dearie. Obviously they aren't sharing their inner feelings if you have to snoop.

:rofl:

And, I'm a parent, an ex-teacher and a child and adolescent psychotherapist. Anyone bragging about snooping on their kids as effective parenting methods needs help.

I feel sorry for your kids.
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jeff47 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 02:04 AM
Response to Reply #167
208. So when they said on tape...
Edited on Tue Feb-09-10 02:05 AM by jeff47
that they were bullied, and that's why they shot up the school, they were lying? (The tape they made before, and was released after)

Or is this the 'thorough debunking' that rests upon the fact that the school's administration didn't have any complaints on file?
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Raskolnik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 08:17 AM
Response to Reply #208
224. Yes.
Do you also swallow wholesale the media's narrative that Klebold & Harris were targeting Christians and were members of the "Trenchcoat Mafia?"

http://www.slate.com/id/2099203 /

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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 10:45 AM
Response to Reply #167
262. I have a friend who lives in Littleton. Her kids are the same age as the killers.
They didn't go to Columbine High School but they played soccer for years with one of these kids. Sorry it's been 10 years and I can't remember which kid. Anyhow according to my friend, the kid was spoiled and ignored by his parents. She said he was one of those kids who was always in trouble and his parents always took his side and never held him accountable.
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teknomanzer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 03:45 PM
Response to Reply #167
303. Proof please...
so many people post stuff with no damn support... show me where it was debunked.
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Raskolnik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 07:04 PM
Response to Reply #303
317. I posted some links above which you must have missed.
But here they are again:

http://www.amazon.com/Columbine-Dave-Cullen/dp/04465469...

http://www.slate.com/?id=3944&qp=40383

A lot of myths took hold following Columbine that just don't hold up when examined. The Trenchcoat Mafia myth, the targeting Christians myth, the bullying myth, and a bunch more are just that: myths.
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RKP5637 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 10:03 AM
Response to Reply #2
244. And is certainly part of the basic problem, "people are just too damned stupid to learn anything!!!"
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tinrobot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 03:59 PM
Response to Original message
3. Bullying is a form of child abuse...
Edited on Mon Feb-08-10 04:00 PM by tinrobot
And anyone who allows it to happen or looks the other way is enabling child abuse.

Period.

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RKP5637 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 10:13 AM
Response to Reply #3
251. And should be legally held accountable for child abuse and also fired in a school setting. n/t
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csziggy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:01 PM
Response to Original message
4. I have no words, but thank you. K&R
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Raster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:02 PM
Response to Original message
5. Dude! Moving and powerful. Thank you!
:thumbsup:
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Generic Other Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:03 PM
Response to Original message
6. In the end, the bullies didn't win
because you are on our side. These days, those bullies would back off because you could knock them into next Tuesday!

Brave of you to share this story. Bet the bullies don't have the courage to tell their side.
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AnnieBW Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:09 PM
Response to Original message
7. The only difference between me and Dylan Klebold
was that I didn't have access to guns. If I did, I would have shot a couple of the kids who bullied me for being fat.
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Ken Burch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 10:07 PM
Response to Reply #7
158. God, I hear ya.
In my case...not just fat...try fat, short, with glasses, not good at sports, but with a big vocabulary. It's amazing I got out of Junior High alive.
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tblue37 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:11 PM
Response to Original message
8. Cheney was captain of his high school football team. I am pretty sure that if
he was involved in any bullying, it would have been as a bully, not a victim.
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Grand Taurean Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 10:12 PM
Response to Reply #8
164. A Football Player! Dick most certainly was the agressor.
Based upon experience dealing with these players, you need to be no smarter than a monkey to play the game.
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tblue37 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 10:14 PM
Response to Reply #164
166. And the captain, at that. nt
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YankeyMCC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:12 PM
Response to Original message
9. It was grade school for me
By middle school (junior high in my hometown) I'd started working out and fighting back, this turned out ok but when I first started fighting back I was at a dangerous point reacting to unreasonable treatment in unreasonable ways.

It started because I was the new kid coming in the middle of the school year and wasn't very socially adept at making new friends. In my old neighborhood I just had them, I had no concept of how to 'make friends'.

And I think the hurt that cut the deepest, the hurt that left the most pronounced scar in my mind and feelings, was the fact that no teachers or administrators seemed to care. At least they didn't notice and when they did it was usually after I reacted and I got punished along with the others. I would hear, "I don't care who started it." very often.

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Echo In Light Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:13 PM
Response to Original message
10. K&R
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whathehell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:13 PM
Response to Original message
11. Thanks for this great article, Will. I have a question...
and it might seem strange, but has anyone done a cross-cultural study on bullying?...Does anyone know if our bullying syndrome is better/worse/the same as in other countries, say in Canada or Europe?

For what it's what, I too was bullied as a kid...Although the intensity, from what I read, does seem to be getting worse.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 10:41 PM
Response to Reply #11
180. It's bad in Japan
and a few high-profile suicides have brought the problem to public attention.
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whathehell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 04:27 PM
Response to Reply #180
305. Interesting...
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libodem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:15 PM
Response to Original message
13. Thanks, Will
Your story certainly humanizes you. It's very touching and I can relate. I grew up in a very small town with a hierarchical mentality. I was on a pretty low rung of the ladder. Sensitive, smart and shy. What a hellish combo. Thanks for sharing.
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tXr Donating Member (312 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 08:31 PM
Response to Reply #13
123. It is a terribly sad commentary on our society that sensitive, smart, and shy is
considered a "hellish combo".

:hug: for what you went through.
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jaxx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:15 PM
Response to Original message
14. I have a great deal of respect for you Will.
And thank you for being brave, then and now.
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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:15 PM
Response to Original message
15. K & R. n/t
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dugaresa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:18 PM
Response to Original message
16. Bullies were the bane of my existence as a child and i hated school because of it
Edited on Mon Feb-08-10 04:18 PM by dugaresa
i loved learning, loved being in a classroom, but hated going to school because of the kids there.

it only stopped when i fought back and beat up someone, then people left me alone.

sitting and taking it doesn't work otherwise known and "turning the other cheek"

the only thing that worked was to tell the bully in the language they know, violence, to stop.

i wish it wasn't that way but it is.

my own kids get bullied because they are good and kind and they "take it" but i have warned them countless times that one day they won't be able to take it anymore and then they will snap. I have also told them that they have every right to defend themselves. I also call the school and so far have had positive responses from the faculty because they don't want to be seen as condoning this bullshit.

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dalaigh lllama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:18 PM
Response to Original message
17. I don't understand why teachers and/or principals don't intervene
I saw bullies quelled by teachers all thru grade school. I went to a pretty tough junior high and was threatened by a gang of girls in gym class (I had stopped them from bullying another kid so they transferred their attentions to me). When they told me they had a knife and were coming for me after school, I finally told my folks who called the school. Whatever they did, those girls never bothered me again.

So what's different in today's schools? (Note: my school days described here were back in the 60's)
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SouthernLiberal Donating Member (115 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:53 PM
Response to Reply #17
44. I don't think anything has changed all that much
I went to a small high school in a smallish town in NJ, 1968-1972. The bullies owned the restrooms. For four years, the only time I used a restroom in that school was the one in the locker room after gym class. I never believed, and still don't, that the teachers did not know exactly what was happening. Everyone knew. It was discussed openly in classes, in front of teachers. It was no secret. And nothing was done. Nothing. We had a vice principal checking the hallways in between every class, to make sure there was no 'inappropriate touching' between students who were dating, but no one available to make sure that the restrooms were safe.

About two years after I graduated, something changed. An unfortunate student, who had transferred into the school just days before, went into a restroom to wash his hands after lunch. A couple of hours later, someone noticed blood spilling out over the threshold of the restroom door. For his offense, he had been beaten nearly to death. The administration, the teachers, and the PTA were all shocked and horrified. There was a adult posted at every boys' restroom (they still refused to believe the same situation existed in the girls' rooms.) My younger brother graduated, and I never heard anything more.

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Posteritatis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 05:13 PM
Response to Reply #17
61. Parents often don't want them to, and schools tend to blame the victim. (nt)
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jeff47 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 06:13 PM
Response to Reply #17
95. It's the parents of the bully
The bully is usually great at covering over their activities with their parents. So when the school calls in the parents of the bully, they refuse to believe their little darling could possibly be a bully. It usually requires video tape (and sometimes more) to convince them that there is a problem.

The particularly sociopathic bullies have their parents convinced they are a victim of bullying, which makes it even harder for the school to do anything.
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Midlodemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-10-10 07:13 PM
Response to Reply #17
334. Because nowadays a lot of them foster it.
They pick on a vulnerable kid and the other kids take their clue. I've seen it, reported it and actually gone to court over it.

If you think it doesn't happen, you're wrong.
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CaliforniaPeggy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:19 PM
Response to Original message
18. My God, Will...
What a horrific story. My heart goes out to you, for all you have suffered. It makes me weep...

I hope that you will find peace at last...

And that this epidemic of abuse, given and taken, will finally end.

K&R

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Political_Junkie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:20 PM
Response to Original message
19. Thank you, Will,
for sharing this. My mother used to say, "Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger." Her take on Nietzsche, though I don't think she was aware of where it came from, but Nietzsche also said, "Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." I don't have a scar on my hand, mine are on the inside.

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TrogL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:54 PM
Response to Reply #19
46. I went with "Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stranger"
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Political_Junkie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 06:00 PM
Original message
LMAO
Ooh, I'll have to remember that! She also used to tell us "If you can't say anything nice, yada, yada, yada..." Years later I had a shirt made that said, "If you can't say anything nice, say something sarcastic!" She hated that shirt!
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keroro gunsou Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 12:25 PM
Response to Original message
272. nice!
sounds like what i would have worn back in high school. i was bullied a bit in high school, typical seniors picking the freshmen stuff. i'd complain to the teachers, and got the standard "if it doesn't kill you it makes you stronger," bullshit. one day, after hearing that from the dean of students, i snapped at him and told him that he (and by extention the dead german who's name i can't spell was wrong) if it doesn't kill you it can always try try again. needless to say, the abuse stopped forthwith. sophomore year was better, i had made friends with many of the juniors who were now seniors so it was a much better experience.
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Gman2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:21 PM
Response to Original message
20. I was the skinniest kid in Jr high, and had gangs chase me home every day.
I told my parents about one guy that threw bricks at me. I had a comference with the pronciple. He finally, after hearing the whole story said, Yknow, sticks and stones etc. My parents said that to deal with this, I will get a beating, unless I fight back. So, I started fighting. I fought about 2-3 times a week. usually one grade up. I have beat the shit outta likely two hundred punks. Were that not the case, I would still suffer from that. Teachers dont want trouble. Now, both get expelled. My education was shit, of course.
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Grand Taurean Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:50 PM
Response to Reply #20
40. Similar experience for me in 5th grade.
Small town though and parents nosing into school business built preferences to certain kids.
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Posteritatis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 05:17 PM
Response to Reply #20
63. Yow. He gave the "sticks and stones" cliche when stones were actually involved? (nt)
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TrogL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:21 PM
Response to Original message
21. Been there, done that
Edited on Mon Feb-08-10 04:43 PM by TrogL
My scars are in different spots. However, throw in homophobia and it's pretty much the same story.

However, in my teaching days I was unable to do anything whatsoever about the bullying for the same reasons that it occured when I was in school - the adminstration was in on it.

The bullies were the enforcers.

There are a variety of intelligences. Geeks are into book-learnin' type intelligence. Teachers need that plus social intelligence. The bullies have social intelligence (they are sociopaths, after all) and often not much else. They resent the attention anybody else gets and respond with the usual results.

People rise within the school administration based not upon their intelligence or their teaching ability, but on their ability to keep the school running. A lot of this is social, keeping the teachers and students under control. Hence someone high in social intelligence is going to rise to the top. Send a bully to the principal and the two are going to get on famously. The principal will see the bully's side of the story before the social-deficient student, who will simply be told to get some social skills and get their parents to buy the latest fashion so they "fit in".
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PinkoDonkey Donating Member (112 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:25 PM
Response to Original message
22. Thank you.
I too have some scars. Do you have any advice or suggested resources for parents who have children who are (or one day may be) victims of this kind of violence?
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TeeYiYi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:29 PM
Response to Original message
23. I suppose you could say...
...that I survived my childhood, but it affected me. Profoundly. The scars run deep.

I wonder how many survivors of schoolyard bullying have ptsd without their knowledge.

TYY
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WilliamPitt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:30 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. I do
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TeeYiYi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:41 PM
Response to Reply #24
35. Me too.
TYY
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TeeYiYi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 06:42 PM
Response to Reply #24
100. Coincidentally...
Five days ago, a friend decided to confide something in me that I almost didn't have the shoulders to bear. He had been carrying the weight of a burden so haunting that the pain in his soul was visibly tearing at the very fabric of his identity.

He told me that as a kid he had bullied a boy in school. The next day, that boy had committed suicide.

The look on my face... the memory of my own distant past safely tucked below the surface of my now vacant eyes.

I tried to comfort him. I agreed that it was a terrible secret to live with. I think I tried to tell him to forgive himself but I can't remember if the words ever formed.

Nothing I could have said would have erased the torment of his reality and the damage it had inflicted on two people. One dead, and one living in a hell of his own making.

We truly reap what we sow.

TYY
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TeeYiYi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 09:02 PM
Response to Reply #100
130. Will...
... I know how you feel about bullies and I feel the same way, but do you think this particular incident deserves compassion?

I do hope my friend can forgive himself and find some level of peace in this life, but I don't think he ever will. He has clearly been quietly torturing himself with overwhelming guilt since this tragedy happened. To see the magnitude of my friend's anguish and self-recrimination was shocking to me.

That a boy was bullied to the point of taking his own life was also shocking. I could have lived my whole life without hearing my friend's confession.

It's not my place to forgive him, but I choose not to judge him because I'm not in his shoes. He was a kid who, for whatever reason, inflicted a cruelty that I'm sure he never imagined would have such dire and irreversible consequences. A decision that he can never be forgiven for because his victim isn't here to salve his conscience.

There needs to be a zero tolerance policy in schools regarding bullying.

TYY

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Leftist Agitator Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 11:49 PM
Response to Reply #100
198. I sincerely hope that that bullying prick has nightmares for the rest of his life/
At least he has a life to live, unlike the target of his hatred.

Your "friend" deserves far, far worse torment than he is experiencing. I hope he lives a long, utterly miserable life.

P.S. In case you are wondering why I am so passionate about this... My older sister had a very good friend who I got to know very well over the years. He was the smartest person I ever met, seriously, he had an IQ of 170 or so, and always won all of the academic competitions that he participated in. WV Math Field Day, Young Writers, Geography Bee, you name it, he won it. And not just at the local level, he won state and *national* contests routinely.

He was one of the nicest people that I have ever known, but painfully awkward and socially clueless. I remember overhearing him talking to my sister about being unable to find a girl who would date him, and her advice was to get with the latest trends, TV, clothes, music, etc. From what I saw, she might as well have been trying to describe colors to a blind man. And I knew for damn sure that following the latest fads was going to do nothing for him, because he just didn't "get" social interaction like the majority of people do. He went off to college, and I assumed that he would find his niche when he got there.

He didn't. Apparently, from what I've gathered, he didn't fit in any more at college than he did in high school. The bullying wasn't so overt (or so I understand), but he knew that he was being ostracized, and presumably assumed that college was going to be nothing more than high school redux. So one day, he drove from his dorm to his parents house and found one of his dad's guns and killed himself.

He was 19 years old.

Bullying is an insidious thing. The scars that bullying inflict never fade.
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TeeYiYi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 12:31 AM
Response to Reply #198
202. I too am passionate...
Read my posts 23 and 183.

If you read what I had to say about my friend, then you are aware of the conflict I was feeling.

My 10 year old nephew is now on antidepressants as a result of endless years of bullying. He came close to taking his own life and was close to being committed to a psychiatric hospital. He's still struggling. Luckily, the bully moved away, but there were other bullies to replace him.

My niece's best friend has been home schooled and on antidepressants since the age of 9 because of bullying. She's now 12 and remains severely depressed and overweight. She has tried to go back to public school multiple times but the bullies are relentless. She continues to be home schooled. :(

I have my own story but I'm not ready or able to talk about it.

TYY
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:40 PM
Response to Reply #23
34. I'm so happy that the nuns in the schools I attended didn't tolerate
Edited on Mon Feb-08-10 04:41 PM by Cleita
bullying. The bullies usually felt the full terror of what a Catholic nun could do to punish you so it wasn't a frequent occurrence and nipped in the bud before it spread. It helped though that in those days no parents questioned sister and her disciplines so they were able to control the situations without parental interference. Sometimes that wasn't good either as some sadistic types did go overboard. Fortunately, there were their fellow sisters who would pull them back if they got too far out of line.

I'm sorry that you and any child should have to go through that in a place that is supposed to be primarily a learning environment, not a social one. Maybe that's what we have lost sight of. Children are in school primarily to learn the skills to become productive adults and they need a calm and secure environment to concentrate on their studies. Everything else is secondary.
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TrogL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 05:02 PM
Response to Reply #23
51. I'm seeing a shrink who's hinting at it
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fascisthunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:31 PM
Response to Original message
25. Kick
sorry for what ya went through... I was bullied but not like that. After all you went through, Will you turned out a-ok.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:32 PM
Response to Original message
26. Will I am a teacher and you said something that really resonated with me
You said you changed schools and were still bullied. That is a pattern we see over and over. Another is that bullied kids often have parents who were bullied. So I believe that kids who are bullied may be sending out a signal to the bullies. Kind of like a 'kick me' sign.

Because of this I try as a teacher to not only stop the bullying but to help the child who is bullied to stop sending out that kick me message. It's not always successful but I believe schools need to focus on this aspect of the bullying problem.

Please know there are many educators who would never turn away and let the bulies do their thing. I never ignore it and my students know that I pay as much attention to how they treat each other as I pay to their academic progress.

Thank you for your beautiful piece.
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WilliamPitt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:33 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. (((HUG)))
:toast:
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wolfgangmo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:57 PM
Response to Reply #26
49. Back when I was a teacher I only had one rule and one "trigger."
As I explained to my students my one rule was don't get in the way of my job of teaching kids. If anything they did interfered with their (or god forbid) others learning then the hammer of Thor was coming down on their heads. (I was a band director so an afterschool detention consisting of cleaning the sousaphones (lots of old spit in those) usually took care of it).

My one "trigger" (I explained to my kids that everyone has something that makes them really really angry) was bullying. I would go off the rails crazy mad if I saw it. (note - I actually didn't go off the rails, and was actually quite calm inside, but they thought I was a raving loon in those moment).

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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 05:35 PM
Response to Reply #49
69. I am a firm believer in telling them they never want to see me lose my mind
Then I make sure I never do. But the children don't know that :)

A few times I have heard them tell a new kid "Don't make her mad!" and I grin.
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TrogL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 05:06 PM
Response to Reply #26
53. Describe "kick me" signals
Sounds like the advice I got from my teachers.

"Stop being an introvert."

"Take up contact sports." (I weighed 95 lbs.)

"Watch what everybody else is watching on TV so you've got something to talk about." (I preferred PBS)
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 05:43 PM
Response to Reply #53
73. That's just it, I can't describe them.
I can only report they happen. Just like Will described, a kid who has been bullied is moved to a new setting and before too long, the bullying starts all over again. Sometimes (not often) we have kids who bring it on in obvious ways. They lash out at the other kids or pick on the most popular kid in the class and then get bullied. I have one like that this year. He laughs at his peers when they make mistakes and then complains when they threaten him. That's an easy problem. The hard ones are the kids who keep getting bullied and we don't understand why.

There is so much to this bullying crap. I don't think we as educators have paid enough attention to it. But it has become a hot topic lately, which is a good thing.

As for what I do, I try to watch when they don't think I am watching and listen to how they talk to each other. And yes, I pounce when I hear anything that resembles bullying. But I focus on what is happening in the classroom and don't tell kids they are introverted or need to get involved in sports. That is just none of my business. But I do have a responsibility to teach them how to be working partners in the classroom and how to treat each other with respect.
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TrogL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 06:05 PM
Response to Reply #73
86. So what do you do about the sexual stuff?
The endless homophobic taunts?

Having your pants pulled down to your ankles in the middle of the hall during rush hour?

Being swarmed in the washroom?
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 06:45 PM
Response to Reply #86
101. I haven't had to deal with that
I teach elementary school. But if I did see any of that I definitely wouldn't ignore it. I can't even imagine hearing homophobic taunts and not correcting the kids. Pants pulled down in the hall is a suspendable offense. And I don't ever send my kids to the restroom alone so they won't be swarming anyone on my watch.
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Raksha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 07:38 PM
Response to Reply #73
110. The kid wearing the invisible "kick me" sign
that gets carried from one school to the next could very well have ADD/ADHD, especially the non-hyperactive kind that is most common in girls.

Re >>The hard ones are the kids who keep getting bullied and we don't understand why.<<

Virtually nothing was known about ADD when I was in school in the 1950s and 1960s, and even into the 1980s the term was only applied to very hyperactive boys. I just thought I had been born under a curse. There was some kind of weirdness about me that the other kids picked up on immediately. But nobody--least of all me--had a clue what it was. I didn't learn the name of that curse until I was 57 years old, and I'm about to turn 64 now. It's the subject of my first two blog posts, written last summer:

http://rakshaspersonalblog.blogspot.com/2009/08/introdu...
http://rakshaspersonalblog.blogspot.com/2009_08_01_arch...

I explained it all a lot better in those posts than I can here. Anyway, it's something you should definitely check out with your students who are being bullied when there seems to be no obvious reason for it, and especially if one or both of the parents were also bullied. ADD runs in families.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 07:47 PM
Response to Reply #110
113. I wrote my thesis on ADD
Sadly, some of our bullies are also ADD kids.
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Raksha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 08:10 PM
Response to Reply #113
121. You know, I am NOT surprised by that at all.
Re >>Sadly, some of our bullies are also ADD kids.<<
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Diclotican Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-11-10 06:31 PM
Response to Reply #110
340.  Raksha
Raksha

I know what you are talking about.. Have AD/DD myself, and was bullied by many classmates and others at school from 1 grade to 9 grade - and then some more in higher grades.... But not that mutch, as it was more "grown up" school than 1-9 grade... In 1 grade I got suspended becouse I "snapped" and trow the biggest rock I could find in the head of one of my bullies.. I hit im well right in his dam head and down he got... When I finally told home, after been suspended for a week what happend my fosterfather was making many things right, and confronted the kid, who bullied me, and his parents.. But I have to say, the week I was suspended was maybe the best week in 1 grade.... And then it got worse and worse as the years passed.. I have my scars from school days I might have to the end of my days.. But somehow I surive and at least are alive..

And got my "diagnose" at age 27, AD/DD, after many many hard years fighting with my problems...

And I also belive my father was bullied in school, he have never told to mutch about it, but I have a suspection that he was bullied many times over at school.. I know at least his brother, my uncle was bullied, but he was fighting back also.. And was bigger than my father so he was not a person to be fighting with....

Now, even after been invited to many of "reunions" both at grade school and high school I have never been to a reunion, have never deared to go there.. I know my old "devils" are in the hallways and dosent dear to confront them.. Life is hard enough, with enough devils to fight every day, than to go where old one lie....

Diclotican
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TrogL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-11-10 11:59 PM
Response to Reply #340
346. I don't dare go to reunions - I'd kill somebody
I'm waiting for them to Facebook me, wanting to be friends. I thought I had tracked one through Classmates.com but when he discovered I was looking for him, he took his profile down.
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Diclotican Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-12-10 08:04 AM
Response to Reply #346
351. TrogL
TrogL

True, that is also a way to end old nightmares to do that...

I don't hate them anymore but I just dosen't want old ghost to be waken up again.. Even tho I guess it would be somewhat fun to se old clasmates, it was not just bad things at school too.. Just allmoust :P

But, I have a life, with new friends who are better friends than my old clasmates was.. So I guess I surive withouth reunions

Diclotican


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Political_Junkie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 08:53 AM
Response to Reply #110
352. Thanks for the links, Raksha.
"I have Coyote the Trickster in my DNA, commonly known nowadays as ADD or ADHD, depending upon whether hyperactivity is present or not." - I too have The Trickster in my DNA. It's taken me 45 years to learn this though, but at least now I know there is a cause and maybe I can learn to stop beating myself up for all my failures.
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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 10:05 AM
Response to Reply #73
246. My guess would be some of it is body language. Some people's body language may indicate that

they lack confidence.


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AlienGirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 09:49 PM
Response to Reply #53
150. I can tell you some: Tendency to avoid eye contact, posture that appears "slumped,"
Crossing your arms or legs frequently, uneven gait or tendency not to swing arms in rhythm with walking, looking down at the ground a lot, any visible sign of nervousness in a social situation, self-comforting behaviors like scratching your head, rocking, and tensing the muscles around your mouth. These are all NT human indicators of discomfort, weakness, or submission.

I've learned that it's best to look at people's eyes, stand straight with shoulders back (like imagine if you're trying to point your shoulders at the floor), keep your chin parallel to the floor, have hands at sides, and practice making a good "social neutral" face--the expression you wear when not smiling or talking. For me, my mouth has a slight downward curve, so my social neutral is to relax everything else but curl the corners of my mouth up slightly.

The important thing is this: You don't have to be able to maintain this social presentation for more than about ten minutes. Combine it with a friendly smile and warm handshake while looking right at their pupils at first meeting, and you will make an irrevocable first impression that you are confident because you're an "alpha" in the pack. NT people really do make an instant judgment about how nice you are, whether they want to sleep with you, and whether they think you are smart or dull. After that impression's made, you will remain tagged in their mind as "confident and friendly."

You don't have to change who you are--you only have to emit the right human social signals, the same way you need to emit the right wolf social signals if you're going to hang around with wolves.

Tucker
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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 10:08 AM
Response to Reply #150
247. Thank you. What does "NT" mean in your post? nt
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AlienGirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 01:36 PM
Response to Reply #247
284. Neurotypical.
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TeeYiYi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 09:59 PM
Response to Reply #26
153. Once a child has been the target of bullies...
... their self esteem takes such a nose dive that they are forever socially altered. Changing schools doesn't change the damage that has been done to their self-identity. Once a child has internalized the abuse they've endured, they've also spent time questioning their own self worth and asked themselves what part they played in causing the abuse. It's a snowball effect.

Kids start school as blank slates. Little innocent people who are ripe for learning, growth, nurturing and discovering their place in this big old world full of opportunity. So they start accumulating experiences that mold their ideas of who they are and where they fit in. Eventually, they've accumulated a big fat laundry list of experiences that have helped them to figure out their identities, self worth and social status. "Am I smart? Do people like me? Am I safe?" That laundry list, like a downward spiraling snowball, just keeps getting bigger. Some snowballs pick up more snow. Others accumulate rocks, sticks, dirt and garbage.

Weird metaphor, I know. The point is, kids take their cumulative damage with them. Changing schools doesn't erase the slate. If their laundry list includes a 'kick me' sign, then you shouldn't be surprised when they show up in a fresh environment still tarnished by their past experiences.

Bullying needs to be stopped at its inception. Schools need to be safe, bully-free zones starting in preschool and vigorously enforced K-12 and beyond. Zero tolerance for bullies needs to be mandated. I would go so far as to suggest that bullying be illegal and a crime that is punishable by law.

TYY

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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 10:36 PM
Response to Reply #153
178. I don't favor zero tolerance for any school offenses
I think we can get tough on kids without a zero tolerance policy. Kids are still growing and learning. We throw out any idea of change or rehabilitation when we approach childhood misbehaviors with a zero tolerance approach. I am also inclined to believe that not all kids who bully are mean spirited. Peer pressure and impulsivity might go a long way in explaining why kids bully.

However, I do think we need to start with a zero tolerance policy for teachers and school officials who ignore bullying. As a teacher, I am amazed by how many people tell of being bullied and report that teachers or other adults were aware of the bullying but did nothing to stop it. I can't even imagine being that uncaring and indifferent. Parents expect us to take care of their children while they are at school. They have every right to demand that their children are in a safe and nurturing environment while they are at school. It is indefensible to violate their trust and ignore our obligation as educators to keep their children safe. Teachers and other adults who violate that trust should be penalized severely.
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greenbriar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 10:18 PM
Response to Reply #26
170. I try to do the same thing
it breaks my hear to see kids be so cruel and Middle School kids are the WORST>



I was bullied often as a kid because I had braces and my mom made us girls wear dresses every day.

Gives a whole new meaning to the term "dress up day"

I carry that in my heart and do not allow bullying in my room.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 10:44 PM
Response to Reply #170
181. This is the first year I have had 8th graders
And I am getting an education :)

I am blown away by how they punch each other, slap each other's heads, push, run, act crazy . . . you know the drill.

The girls are the worst. They talk about how someone smells, how big their butt is, or 'she's so poor'. :mad:

I had a sibling who was a bully. So I never got away from it. She bullied others more than me. But I had a front row seat for my entire childhood. Our parents and a few teachers tried to deal with it, but she would get in trouble, calm down for awhile, and then go right back to being a bully. Still pisses me off when I think of how much chaos she created for so long.
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greenbriar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 11:21 PM
Response to Reply #181
192. 7th grade is way worse
do you know what "ball tag" is?
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 11:29 PM
Response to Reply #192
195. No what is it?
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mackdaddy Donating Member (177 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 11:38 PM
Response to Reply #26
196. I think that your Internal Self Image is broadcast some how...

I had some bullying done to me, but I stopped it by a combination of avoiding the situation, Working on a Farm and developing farmers muscles, and most importantly the internal attitude of "Don't fuck with me, and I will be gone. But If you do fuck with me, I have NO LIMITS on what I will do so you don't fuck with me any more." I guess it is a bit of an attitude like a badger. I guess I never saw the point of people getting into bar fights and such. It is probably a good thing that no one ever tested me, as I think that I do not have any upper limit on defending my self, or my loved ones.

This attitude does slow down being targeted for the bullying, but it also make you a social outcast. Kind of hard to find the middle ground, but I am less anti-social than I was. I still really hate bullies though.
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RKP5637 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 10:25 AM
Response to Reply #26
257. Thanks! You are clearly one of the good teachers! n/t
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hlthe2b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:37 PM
Response to Original message
28. You touched a lot of chords here, Will
I remember being in Junior High and being bullied by a girl--very athletic and muscular--but with a pack of enabling younger boys... Explain that dynamic? She was as nasty as any male bully and went after females like myself as well as many smaller boys.. She'd get the boys to do really nasty things with sexual overtones, meant to embarrass. Horrid creature, she was and I have to wonder what permanent "lessons" she passed on. I never said anything to anyone because who would believe a GIRL would be doing this? Certainly not in my school and she was careful to restrict her overt incidents to bus stop or during the walks home.

I have to think that the common denominator is those kids who are not taught tolerance and empathy--very very early on in life--both with pets and people. Certainly, some are incapable of feeling empathy and thus can not be taught, but those are the minority. But in a time of rising power of those on the "right" who denigrate tolerance and empathy as signs of weakness, we have a societal bully that must be addressed as well. In the 10 years since Columbine, we've found that these were not ordinary kids who were bullied into retaliation. But that doesn't mean bullying did not play a role, since it seems clear that Eric Harris, feeling burdoned and persecuted manipulated (or even bullied) Kliebold into his willing killer sidekick. As Dave Cullen writes in his comprehensive review, Columine, "Harris, who conceived the attacks, was more than just troubled. He was, psychologists now say, a cold-blooded, predatory psychopath a smart, charming liar with "a preposterously grand superiority complex, a revulsion for authority and an excruciating need for control." He was thus the perfect bully, himself, readily able to bring Dylan Kleibold in as his murderous partner, the co-bully.

The story of Phoebe Prince has really stayed with me. How do we break this cycle, which can be every bit as serious and deadly as that of domestic violence?
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:39 PM
Response to Reply #28
30. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
AllyCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:38 PM
Response to Original message
29. I had to walk away from this several times because I could not keep reading
Thank you for telling your story. I cannot imagine that kind of torment, at the hands of children no less. My first thought was "Where are their parents?". Maybe they were bullied. Maybe they were the bullies. Maybe they have a lot of other problems and don't watch their kids. It is up to all of us to stop it where we can, but I'm not sure how. Any readings/classes you might suggest? The schools need to stop this, but I heard a story from a parent of a teen at our only high school tell me a similar story about her son. And HE ended up with the suspension!! This has come after a weekend reading about making the decision to home school and my husband and are are quite certain that is the route we will go.

Neither of us were really ever the bullies or the bullied (some emotional torment to me from older kids, but nothing major), but we saw it day in and day out. This was 25 years ago. To step in and intervene was nearly suicide, but if enough of us decided to do it as a group, it would stick.

Both of our children are very sensitive and we are worried about what they will learn at school that we did not intend. I know homeschooling won't stop everything, but stories like this would keep me wondering every day if my kids were okay.

Thanks again for posting this!
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wolfgangmo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 05:01 PM
Response to Reply #29
50. Just a comment here.
But when I was a teacher I saw lots of other teachers and most of the administrators just stand back and let bullying happen with a "boys will be boys" or "there's nothing we can do about it so why try" attitude.

This is, IMHO, completely irresponsible and thouroughly unprofessional. Bullying needs to be dealt with swiftly, completely and stongly. Response to bullying should be like a tactical nuke.
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AllyCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 05:06 PM
Response to Reply #50
54. I agree, but sometimes I see it in the community and I always say something
but I worry about making things worse for the kid that is getting the stick in the eye. Everyone can do something, but we need to pressure the schools to do something about this widespread and largely unchecked horror!
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TrogL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 05:08 PM
Response to Reply #29
55. Where are the parents?
  • Bullies/sociopaths themselves
  • Drunk
  • In jail
  • Watching professional wrestling on TV
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    Matariki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 05:49 PM
    Response to Reply #55
    78. I suspect a lot of kids that are bullied feel too much shame to talk to their parents
    and try to keep it to themselves. And sadly there's far too much 'boys will be boys' dismissal of the seriousness of the problem.
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    TrogL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 06:07 PM
    Response to Reply #78
    89. No point. That just makes it worse
    My parents went to the principal. The principal retaliated in class saying I shouldn't have dragged my parents into it and should stand up for myself.
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    Matariki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 06:12 PM
    Response to Reply #89
    94. Sheesh. That's terrible. Really terrible.
    I had a friend whose mother was abusive toward him and his sister. They finally went to the guidance counselor at our school in the hopes of having an adult to talk to about it. The guidance counselor promptly called their parents and they consequently were beaten for weeks afterward for talking about the family situation. The counselor didn't do anything in terms of follow up. When I was in school there was an attitude that those in authority were always correct - so the parents were believed but not the kids.

    And this guy was getting paid to counsel kids - you've really got to wonder.
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    Patchuli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 12:00 AM
    Response to Reply #94
    200. I hope he was exposed for the POS he was!
    How dare he allow them to be abused further??????? arghhhhhhh
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    Matariki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 02:42 AM
    Response to Reply #200
    210. No, sadly.
    It just added to their sense that they couldn't trust adults. Apart from telling their friends, they didn't think there were any adults they could appeal to about the about the counselor.
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    Patchuli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 11:05 AM
    Response to Reply #210
    265. I work in a high school
    and while I am not a counselor, kids know they can come to me for anything. I wish we'd had more caring adults when we were kids...
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    greenbriar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 10:22 PM
    Response to Reply #78
    172. and the parents of those that bully are teaching them how more often than not
    students adopt what they know. With many of my students, it is not hard to see where they got their personality after seeing their parents.
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    Donald Schneider Donating Member (5 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 10:46 AM
    Response to Reply #78
    263. School Bullying and Shame
    An email friend of mine referred me to Mr. Pitt's moving account of school bullying and the subsequent thread it engendered. The suspicion that shame renders many victims of school bullying silent is exactly correct, about 52% according to the State of Nevada's erstwhile website on the subject. If Mr. Pitt's mother knew nothing of this until now, she was not alone. My parents went to their graves actually thinking I had been popular in school. That was far from the case.

    I have an anti-school bullying website centered upon my short story "Pride's Prison," a thinly-veiled personal memoir of severe school bullying, very similar to what Mr. Pitt describes. The story answers the question why parents so often are in the dark when it comes to what their youngsters are enduring at school, and why in worst case scenarios, when tragedies result, all too often their stunned response is: "We never saw it coming." I believe them.

    Many find my short story, free access and published online, to be both very poignant and illuminating. If Mr. Pitt (whom I have no doubt can relate closely to it) or anyone else would care to read it, here is the URL:

    http://wwwdnschneidercom.xbuild.com/#/prides-prison/452...

    Or simply assert its title into a search engine and look on the first page for my website regarding school bullying and Tourette's Syndrome. (The TS was mild and undiagnosed at the time. So like Mr. Pitt, I had been perplexed as to why this was happening to me. The exact reason(s) why a youngster is being tormented in school is irrelevant to me and within my story.) As with Mr. Pitt's account, the story addresses the long term consequences of school bullying.

    Thanks to Raksha

    Don Schneider
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    AllyCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 01:57 PM
    Response to Reply #263
    286. Welcome to DU Mr. Schneider and thanks for the link.
    I've saved it in my favorites and plan to do some reading when not chasing my little ones around :)

    The same kid I referenced in my post above received a head injury from a bully so bad that he temporarily lost short term memory and a Tourette's like disorder that resolved later, but as you can imagine, it only made things worse for him with the bullies.
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    Donald Schneider Donating Member (5 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 02:21 PM
    Response to Reply #286
    291. School Bullying and Shame
    And thank you, sir. That's very kind of you.

    Yes, I can well imagine that being the case regarding the youngster you referred to with the head injury. I understand and am very sorry.

    Thank you, again.

    Don

    P.S. Regarding my original post, "assert" should have been "insert." I'm notoriously typo-plagued, especially when rushed. However, the story is flawless, at least from a typographical/editorial standpoint! <G>
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    Matariki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 05:39 PM
    Response to Reply #263
    311. I'm looking forward to reading your story
    thanks for posting and welcome to DU.
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    Donald Schneider Donating Member (5 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 11:23 AM
    Response to Reply #311
    354. Dear Matariki:
    Thank you very much! Please let me know if you liked it and what could have been different to improve it. Thanks again very much.

    Don
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    Raksha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 07:49 PM
    Response to Reply #263
    322. Don, there seem to be many reasons children don't tell their parents.
    Edited on Tue Feb-09-10 07:52 PM by Raksha
    I've been trying to keep up with this topic all day because each new reply sheds new light on it. There isn't just one reason. I can't speak for the author of the OP (original post) who is more than capable of speaking for himself, but it's important to remember that the ringleader of the group who bullied him was the son of the dean of students. Kids KNOW when the deck is stacked against them! If he had told his mother and she had gone to the school authorities, what would have happened? Nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch.

    Then there is the even more horrendous situation some posters have described, where the parents themselves are bullies--or abusers, as we usually call them when they are old enough to be parents. Parents like that are more ashamed of their children for being victims than for being bullied, and will make their kid's life an even bigger hell than it was before if they find out about the bullying. Fortunately, this wasn't Will Pitt's situation, but it was for a number of other people who have posted here.

    The more I think about it, the more I think a "zero tolerance" policy should apply, not to the school bullies per se but to their parents, teachers and school administrators. Any administrator who permits a culture of bullying to exist at his/her school is guilty of criminal negligence. Bullying will stop when we as a culture stop tolerating or condoning it.

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    Donald Schneider Donating Member (5 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 10:08 AM
    Response to Reply #322
    353. Bullying and Shame
    Rashka, my friend.

    Very well written indeed! Yes, there are indeed many reasons why bullied youngsters keep quiet. My story merely points out what appears to be the foremost one according to statistics I read compiled by bullying experts from interviews with past bullying victims. (And to think, all these years I had actually believed my response had been one of some personal, idiosyncratic nature!)

    As I noted many times before, many parents would be flabbergasted to learn what superb child actors they are raising, how the instant smile appears right on cure the moment they enter the door after school; their mantra of "Fine" when asked how their day went. Then they run up to their rooms and shake, cry or suppress the latter (especially boys).

    Thanks again. As I told you privately, our weather has been severe, the worst winter here I can ever recall. Now we have yet more snow due next week. I barely made it in to my office today, and I have a ton of work to catch up on while I can. Ill catch up with you privately more thoroughly ASAP, though I dont know when that will be, maybe a week or more!

    Best regards, as always,

    Don
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    Rosa Luxemburg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 11:05 AM
    Response to Reply #78
    266. sadly kids may not tell their parents or teacher
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    Posteritatis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 01:17 PM
    Response to Reply #78
    279. My parents told me explicitly not to tell them about bullying
    They were deep in the "ignore them and they'll stop hitting you" camp.
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    Matariki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 05:45 PM
    Response to Reply #279
    312. I tried that *literally* once
    sat in summer camp eating my sandwich while a crazy girl punched me repeatedly in the head. Amazingly, the counselors (older, teenage kids themselves) sat by and did nothing. Guess I should have screamed or fought back or something.

    My parents definitely repeated that useless advice to "ignore them", etc.
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    spin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:39 PM
    Response to Original message
    31. K&R (n/t)
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    redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:40 PM
    Response to Original message
    32. "But that, in the end, is a rationalization."
    Thank you so, so very much for this.

    K&R
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    LiberalEsto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:45 PM
    Response to Original message
    36. I am sorry for what you suffered
    Edited on Mon Feb-08-10 04:52 PM by LiberalEsto
    Being bullied is hell.

    I was bullied as a kid, though not with the intense physical violence that you had to endure, probably because I'm female. But it left lifelong psychological scars. Later in life I too daydreamed about going to a high school reunion with a machine gun.

    I still have depression and anger problems. I still avoid sitting in the center of a restaurant because I used to sit on the sides of the school cafeteria with my back to a wall, so nobody could sneak up behind me and dump food on me.

    About 10 years ago I worked teaching child abuse and bullying prevention at workshops in public elementary schools. How I wish there had been something like the CAP (Child Assault Prevention) program when I was a kid.

    Maybe you should write in more detail about what you did to stop bullying in the classes you taught. We need more solutions.

    Thank you for what you wrote. This one's a keeper.

    LibE.
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    WilliamPitt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:48 PM
    Response to Reply #36
    38. When I grew up, and especially when I was teaching,
    I very clearly remember thinking, "At least I wasn't a girl" whenever I remembered my experiences or had to deal with an incident at my school. Girls are unutterably savage to each other, and without ever throwing a punch. I've never seen anything like it, even when I myself was dealing with it.

    :hug:
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    City of Mills Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 05:44 PM
    Response to Reply #38
    74. They sure are
    Some things never change, the bullying that went on at my high school hasn't stopped, only now more girls are involved. And they are vicious! Here's an article from a couple of days ago -

    http://www.lowellsun.com/ci_14340490

    GIRLS GONE VIOLENT: Lowell schools, police grapple with rise in female fisticuffs

    LOWELL -- Teen girls are being arrested in growing numbers -- a trend that Middlesex District Attorney Gerard Leone said authorities are seeing not only in Lowell but statewide as bloody fights among young girls increase.

    Lowell High officials say budget cuts and layoffs have set back ongoing efforts to curb violent conflicts among students as caseloads pile up for the remaining social workers and mediators at the high school.

    The spike in violence among girls recently gained public attention after a series of videos was posted to YouTube showing teens -- mainly girls -- in various locations around Lowell punching, kicking, pulling each other's hair and drawing blood.

    "Unfortunately, this doesn't come as a surprise to us," said Leone, who reported that many other communities are grappling with the rise in violence among young girls.

    While boys still make up the majority of juvenile arrests -- 73 percent from 2006 to 2008 -- Lowell police reported that the rate of girls being arrested increased by 23 percent from 2006 to 2008, the latest data available.

    Nearly one-third of girls arrested during those years were cuffed for violent crimes, according to police.
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    Mopar151 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 06:09 AM
    Response to Reply #38
    222. "Odd Girl Out"
    Is a book I'm currently reading about girls bullying. The authour talks about "alternate agression" - how it slides by under the radar of teachers and parents - and how much more harmful it can be than the punches and kicks.
    I took some punches, and a lot of verbal abuse, in high school. I showed up in a large regional high school with my own "Kick me sign" - an eye patch from an accident - and under medical orders to do nothing strenuous."Hilarity ensues", as they say in sitcom synopsis.
    I got better at avoiding the jocks, especially after I found out that the guidance counselor would let me write my own schedule, 'cuz he was a lazy dub, and I wanted a schedule outside the norms (College Prep & Vocational Machining). So, I avoided the teachers that could'nt control a class, and the ones who had given up trying. I was lucky to be able to fit in in the higher academic "tracks". I did'nt adapt well to college, so it's been the blue collar world for me - which stinks in the current economy.
    it's given me an interesting viewpoint on "alternate agression", though - the white collar world is poisioned by it, and it goes on in the blue collar world, but to a lesser degree.
    It explains GWB and the Queen of Wasilla pretty well, though - they know how to work it, and use those code words, phrases, and attitudes that draw the weak and the bad to them like magnets.
    Hope you get to read this - I understand some of what happened to me better, and to poor, pretty, awkward Pheobe - who walked into a buzzsaw of these little monsters.
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    LiberalEsto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 02:17 PM
    Response to Reply #38
    290. Very good point, Will, about girls
    Girls can be savages. In middle school, my older daughter was targeted. They girls were like rabid animals. A couple of them lived down the street, and my daughter was afraid to even go out our front door.

    A year or so later, one of them was caught trying to set fire to a school restroom. She was suspended for a while.When I found out she was being allowed to attend the 8th grade dance (a big event) despite the arson, I raised hell with the principal. According to the rules, the girl shouldn't have been allowed to participate in it. I was afraid this kid would torment my daughter at the dance. The principal refused to keep the girl from attending the dance. This is the kind of enabling shit that allows bullies to flourish.

    When I was growing up in the 1950s and early 60s, I was bullied relentlessly from second grade on. My parents were Estonian immigrants, and I didn't start learning to speak English until kindergarten. I had no clues about American social behavior, and my parents didn't have a clue either. Then I was found to be highly intelligent, and was skipped a grade.

    I ended up being the smallest, youngest kid in class, while still getting high grades. Add a pair of ugly eyeglasses, no money for nice clothes (I wore dowdy outdated hand-me-downs from a distant cousin), and extreme skinniness due to anxiety, and I was the perfect victim. I was very thin because I had a hard time eating, since my parents too frequently yelled, criticized and beat me with a leather belt. So I was a victim at home and at school. And I was too small to fight back. I spent a lot of time playing in the woods, alone. (One good thing came of this: I became fairly expert at identifying wild flowers and other plants).

    When I told my mother about the school bullying, she dismissed it, saying the others were just jealous of my good grades. This kind of stuff didn't happen to her in Estonia, so she didn't realize how bad it was. I ended up learning how to fake illness to avoid going to school, and consequently missed months and months of classes, mainly in junior high. I was always "sick" when I had to give an oral report.

    To this day I have a lot of internal anger, anxiety and depression.
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    TrogL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-12-10 12:24 AM
    Response to Reply #290
    347. Skipping should be banned
    I was put forward a grade, which put me into a class full of bullies who had repeatedly flunked. They were four years older than me and twice the height.
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    Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:47 PM
    Response to Original message
    37. K&R
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    Grand Taurean Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:48 PM
    Response to Original message
    39. It's everywhere.
    I know this first hand.
    Have you ever gotten in trouble for defending yourself because your assailant was in the "preferred" "Odyssey of the Mind" program(in which yuppie parents do the work and let their kids take the credit)?

    Of course, for the remaining days, my parents (and I for a few years that I lived there) always voted NO on the inflated school budget.
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    WilliamPitt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:51 PM
    Response to Reply #39
    41. I definitely got some detentions
    for fighting back.

    The son of the dean? Not one. Ever.
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    wolfgangmo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 05:04 PM
    Response to Reply #41
    52. You and some friends should have dragged his ass into an alley
    And beat him until he couldn't see. Dump the body in a dumpster and then call the cops.

    At least that is the advice a cop I knew used to give out.
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    Better Believe It Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:51 PM
    Response to Original message
    42. I wished you would have known how to fight back effectively to avoid ....

    those horrible experiences you describe.

    I had bullys in high school. They bothered me until I caught one of them alone and I kicked the living shit out him.

    One day a different high school bully challenged me to a fight after school. I didn't like fighting and wasn't really that tough but he kept bugging me in class for several days in front of other students in class. Finally to get him off my back I agree to meet him after school.

    I didn't chicken out and showed up for the fight. About 50 schoolmates showed up to watch us. No knives or guns, just fists.

    He beat the hell out of me! :)

    But, he never bothered me after that because I wasn't a coward and stood up to him.

    When I got home with a badly bruised face and black eye my Dad asked with a smile why I lost the fight! :)

    We all have different ways of handling bullys and that was my way.

    It worked for me.

    I think it's good for kids to learn how to defend themselves in classes or from a relative or friend who has experience and expertise in this area.

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    WilliamPitt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:53 PM
    Response to Reply #42
    43. "I wished you would have known how to fight back..."
    Edited on Mon Feb-08-10 04:53 PM by WilliamPitt
    I learned. The first kid to try me after I learned never looked at me again.
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    Better Believe It Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 05:58 PM
    Response to Reply #43
    81. Good for you William! :)
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    TrogL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 05:12 PM
    Response to Reply #42
    60. Fighting back doesn't help if the administration is in on it
    I tried fighting back. I got punished. The school body was told to make the bully class president or else.
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    Posteritatis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 05:16 PM
    Response to Reply #60
    62. There's a certain nothing-to-lose point
    In schools in my neck of the woods it's a suspendable offense to be attacked. So if, according to the rules, the mere fact that you're being bullied means you're going to get punished...
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    SalviaBlue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:53 PM
    Response to Original message
    45. Powerful. Recommended. nt
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    lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:55 PM
    Response to Original message
    47. I was bullied too.
    Edited on Mon Feb-08-10 04:57 PM by lumberjack_jeff
    Nietzche said that that which doesn't kill a person makes him stronger.

    It has made me independent to a fault. In exasperation, some people say "you just can't count on anyone". I know you can't count on anyone. Once you accept that, you really don't care which way the stream is flowing. I'll swim the direction which suits me.

    I've seen the monsters too. I acknowledge that they've influenced my outlook. Better? Worse? I dunno. I yam what I yam.

    Will: My father was an alcoholic. Mean fuckin' drunk. Used to come home hammered, looking to whale on someone. So I had to provoke him, so he wouldn't go after my mother and little brother. Interesting nights were when he wore his rings...
    Will: He used to just put a belt, a stick, and a wrench on the kitchen table and say, "Choose."
    Sean: Well, I gotta go with the belt there.
    Will: I used to go with the wrench.
    Sean: Why?
    Will: Cause fuck him, that's why.


    - Good Will Hunting.
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    wolfgangmo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 05:11 PM
    Response to Reply #47
    59. Hell ya.
    I loved that movie.

    I was a lucky kid. My dad was abused as a kid and he stopped the cycle with his kids. He never raised a hand to us.

    I was never bullied but I helped a friend beat the shit out of a bully who had bothered him for a year. The bully was too stupid to know that he was outclassed and outgunned. He kept trying to attack us as we walked away telling him we didn't want to beat his ass no more, until we did have to beat his ass.

    I guess, because of all the kids watching he thought he was losing face. And in a way he did - we wailed on him until he was pulped. I always wondered why he wouldn't give up and then years later, I met his dad and it all became clear. His dad was a major dick. Kind of like Will's dad in Good Will Hunting but without a smart kid as a son. I figure our bully couldn't back off because his dad would wail on his shit if he didn't.

    I'm not sure what the solution is. Are there smarter folks on here who want to give a few suggestions?
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    Raksha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 04:57 PM
    Response to Original message
    48. I can so relate to this! I was bullied in school too
    although not to the same degree. It was mostly verbal abuse, although it did get physical occasionally.

    Re >>I had been the different one, socially awkward and unsure, sensitive, shy. Something in me had brought out the savage side of my schoolmates, and something in them had changed me forever. It took me years, decades, to come to grips with what I had been put through. To live in such a situation is to be in complete darkness. It is toxic to the mind, body and soul, and all too often ends in tragedy.<<

    I know exactly what you mean! Thank you for an incredibly brave and powerful essay.
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    JPZenger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 05:11 PM
    Response to Original message
    56. Neil Young and bullying
    When Neil Young was in elementary school, he was very shy and quiet and suffered a great deal from bullying. One day in school he went to the front of the class and asked the teacher if he could borrow the enormous unabridged dictionary. He then quietly carried it back to his seat and smashed the dictionary alongside the head of the worst bully - knocking him out cold. He said the bully never bothered him after that. Neil said it was definitely worth the day and a half suspension.
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    Lyric Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 05:11 PM
    Response to Original message
    57. It was damned hard for me to read that.
    Too eerily similar to my own childhood. I don't call what happened to me "bullying"--I call it TORTURE, because that's what it actually was. God help me, I was the "poor" kid wearing shitty, secondhand clothes, the "smart" kid that everyone envied and hated at the same time, and (worst of all) the official Fat Kid. Sure, I caught hell for being poor and smart--but it was NOTHING compared to the abuse I suffered for being "fat." Looking back at old photos of me from junior high and high school, I can't believe that I ever thought I was fat. I was chubby in elementary school, but I grew out of the worst of it by 8th grade. None of that mattered, though--once labeled a "Fat Kid," you will ALWAYS be a Fat Kid unless you starve yourself skinny enough to have bones sticking out.

    It started in 2nd grade, the year I won every single class spelling bee. Even the teacher seemed a little annoyed about it--the other kids HATED me for it. Once, just once, I deliberately misspelled something so that another kid would win, and the class actually CHEERED over it. The name-calling began then.

    Third grade was worse. That's when the physical abuse started. Every day, someone would trip me in the hallway--they especially liked to do this at lunchtime so that I'd spill my tray and be forced to go without lunch. "You don't need it, fatso!" was all I heard. The teachers pretended not to see.

    Fourth grade, they started walking behind me making fat-person "tuba" sounds every single time I left the classroom. At lunch, my food got stolen. Again, the refrain "You don't need this as much as I do, fat girl." I tried telling a teacher once, and she looked at me with this disgusted look and said, "Kids, play nice." I knew what she was thinking. "Oh great, a fat kid whining because she doesn't get to eat. Like she needs it." Except that I *did* need it. My family was dirt fucking poor, and sometimes my school lunch was the only real, wholesome meal I'd get.

    Fifth and sixth grade, it got infinitely worse. All the other torments were still firmly in place, but now they added new ones. I was "dirty". My family lived in a "dirty trailer with roaches and lice." Any kid who was forced to sit anywhere near me loudly complained that he/she was going to get my "bugs." They made up songs about me and would sing them loudly at lunch and on the playground--I particularly remember the twisted, vicious versions of "Jingle Bells, Brandy smells...." yadda yadda yadda. I didn't actually smell--I had the most meticulous personal hygiene you could imagine, thanks to all those taunts, but they still sang it. Boys who got off at my bus stop would follow me home throwing rocks at me all the way, or sneaking up behind me with rubber bands and snapping them hard on my back. If it had rained, I would inevitably get my backpack torn away from me and thrown into a pothole puddle.

    The first two years of junior high were the worst of all. Remember that nobody would ever voluntarily sit next to me? Well that had never been a problem on the school bus, because our trailer park had its own bus run in elementary school. Not so in junior high. By the time the bus got to our park, it was already mostly full--there WERE no empty seats. The very first day of 7th grade in my brand-new junior high school, I was forced to kneel on the floor because nobody would let me sit down and the bus driver wouldn't make them let me, either. Every day after that, it was the same--either sitting beside someone who griped humiliatingly about it the whole way, or kneeling on the filthy floor and trying not to fall over. I started skipping my last period class because I wanted to be the FIRST kid on the afternoon school bus, thus assuring myself of at least having a place to sit.

    During elementary school, there had been no difference between the kids who ate paid lunch and the kids who got it free--nobody would know unless you told them. In junior high we were issued lunch cards that had to be scanned, and guess what: free lunch cards were a different color. I would wait until the very last few minutes to even try to eat lunch, so that everyone else would be occupied and nobody would notice my free lunch card and torment me over it. Most of the time I didn't get to eat at all. When I did, some of the boys occasionally came over and stole my tray, and then spit in it. The other girls mostly ignored me, unless they wanted to ask some mean-spirited question meant to humiliate me, like "Gee Brandy, those are awfully nice shoes. I bet your parents paid a fortune for them. *snicker*" Gym class was horrific--we were suddenly expected to take showers, and none of the shower stalls were curtained. That meant exposing the body I hated so much to the girls who could then go off and give loud and mortifying descriptions of me to the boys, all of whom would feign "puking."

    The torment mostly stopped at the end of 8th grade, when one of the girls (who lived near me) decided to throw rocks at me again. This time she threw one that was REALLY big, and it hit me in the back of the head. I saw stars for a minute, she giggled, then I completely fucking lost it and went after her. I snatched her by the hair, banged her head off the curb a few times, then held her face to the pavement and just beat the shit out of her face. On and on. Her Dad had to take her to the hospital, and when I saw her again a few days later, she was swollen and cut and bruised like she'd been in an accident. She later apologized, and I didn't get into any trouble, but none of the other girls EVER bothered me so directly again. The boys eventually started just ignoring me too, when they got old enough to be more interested in girlfriends than in impressing the other boys by tormenting me. But I as still shunned, still ignored, still nobody's friend. And nobody would ever willingly sit with me, even though they wouldn't loudly gripe about it anymore if they were forced to. All because I was "fat" and "ugly." Tell me--here's a photo of me from years ago. Do I look all that ugly and horrendously fat to you? It's just my face, but still--I'm sure you can make at least something of a judgement from it.



    A little fleshy, sure. And while not a supermodel, also not a butt-ugly freak. And yet, I never had a date or a boyfriend my own age. Never got invited to a party. Nobody ever wanted to have anything to do with me.

    Unlike you, I don't feel like my ordeal made me stronger or wiser or better. It damaged me in a way that time has never been able to heal. Oh sure, I definitely have a fiercely protective nature now when I witness abuse and bullying and injustice--maybe even more so than a lot of others here, as I have never been able to bring myself to counsel patience to those who suffer from political oppression. But I'm also fucked up. I have a social anxiety disorder that leaves me practically agoraphobic, and I can't stand parties or gatherings or social events where "in" people might be. I absolutely LOATHE fashion and "trendy" stuff, to the point of appearing more plain than I need to in order to avoid all such things. I am always suspicious of pretty women and handsome men with nice clothes and fashionable haircuts. I don't have many friends and probably never will. I do most of my socializing online, and I feel awkward and phony when I am forced to interact with others socially, trying to pretend to be normal. I fear answering the phone or the door. I am incredibly clingy and needy (thank god my partner understands and is happily supportive of those needs.)

    To me, the torture I went through left me traumatized, scarred, and with practically no self-esteem at all. I too attempted suicide, and spent a month in the hospital psych ward over it. I was sixteen. Part of it was my Dad's terrible murder, but part of it was also the abuse I was enduring at school, and the poverty of my family overall. Frankly, I'm surprised that I'm still alive at all. I feel nothing but a burning hatred that will probably NEVER die for the kids who abused me back then. One of them recently "Friend Requested" me on Facebook. I denied the request and sent them a small message along with the denial.

    "Are you fucking kidding me? Why don't you do the world a favor and refrain from breeding any more brutal, sadistic children like you were."

    Then I blocked him.
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    Political_Junkie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 05:36 PM
    Response to Reply #57
    71. My God, honey.
    I'm so sorry. The world is a horrible place for children. You said, "once labeled a "Fat Kid," you will ALWAYS be a Fat Kid unless you starve yourself skinny enough to have bones sticking out." I had the bones sticking out and kids are just as unforgiving. You either have to be perfect or else. I'm so sorry for what you went through and what you are still dealing with.
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    Demoiselle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 06:26 PM
    Response to Reply #57
    99. Dear Lyric...
    We need people like you on the planet who are "fiercely protective" and impatient with political oppression. And, by the way, I LIKE the way you look! Great eyes, great cheekbones, great coloring. I know that that's probably a terribly superficial response, but I am terribly saddened by all of this thread and by the thought that you would even feel the need to post a picture. I'm crying right now. I went numb from the bullying I went through and was a very long time coming out of it. Having children made me able to feel again. Or rather, woke me to the fact that I hadn't really let myself feel anything for a long time. I can't really add anything new to this thread, the comments have been astonishing. I just wish everyone comfort and peace.
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    Raksha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 06:51 PM
    Response to Reply #57
    102. My God, Lyric...you make my school years seem absolutely tame
    by comparison--and they were anything but tame.

    Re >>I saw stars for a minute, she giggled, then I completely fucking lost it and went after her. I snatched her by the hair, banged her head off the curb a few times, then held her face to the pavement and just beat the shit out of her face. On and on. Her Dad had to take her to the hospital, and when I saw her again a few days later, she was swollen and cut and bruised like she'd been in an accident. She later apologized, and I didn't get into any trouble, but none of the other girls EVER bothered me so directly again.<<

    GOOD!!! I'm so glad to hear you beat the crap out of that little bitch. I bet nobody bothered you after that. I only wish I could say I had done the same, but unfortunately I only weighed 100 pounds in my senior year of high school (and got called "Skinny Minnie" in grade school). In other words, I wasn't physically able to beat the crap out of anyone, although there were plenty of times when I wanted to.
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    WilliamPitt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 06:55 PM
    Response to Reply #57
    103. (((HUG)))
    :hug:

    No words.
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    evilkumquat Donating Member (363 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 07:32 PM
    Response to Reply #57
    108. Facebook - Does It Cause Amnesia?
    I was bullied a lot in school, too... Not NEARLY as badly as you were, though.

    If one were to assign numbers, with "ten" being Prom King and "zero" being Paris Hilton's crotch lice, I was a three. This meant I had one or two friends of roughly equal status and I had a girlfriend (who was often treated as badly as I was).

    It just slays me to get Facebook Friend Requests from some of the same people who treated me so shitty in school. Hell, I had one asshole come up to me at a school event for my children and acted all chummy and thrilled to see me, like it was old times and we were the best of friends.

    See, to sociopathic assholes like him, the time spent in middle and high school WAS good times and worth reliving. Seeing someone they bullied, probably forgetting how badly they treated me, just made him all smiles and hugs thinking back to a simpler time when his shit didn't stink and he was a big fish in a little pond.

    Luckily, most of the bullying I received was verbal- the teaching staff in my school did a good job stopping or preventing physical violence (although it did happen occasionally- I never got a black eye but I did get a bruised cheek once). Still, at that age, verbal can often be just as bad as physical and it certainly made me hate and dread school. I have also taken steps to keep my kids from EVER having to ride a school bus, since most of the worst things that happened to me in school happened on the ride to or from the building.

    Finally, though, worse than any bullying I received, my biggest shame comes from the fact that at times I bullied those lower than me on the social ladder. Any excuse is rationalization and I don't offer anything else but the truth that bullying those I could was an act of gutless self-defense (diverting attention away from myself). As an adult I have seized upon those few opportunities to apologize to those I had treated poorly and felt better for it... but not much better.

    Which just makes me wonder: are there any prominent Conservatives who suffered from bullies in school? Their total lack of empathy just smacks of those who never got the short end of the stick.
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    TeeYiYi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 07:41 PM
    Response to Reply #57
    111. I think you're beautiful...
    ... You look like a Renaissance painting with your clear eyes, full lips and porcelain skin. This painting is Raphael's "The Woman with a Veil" from 1516.



    TYY
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    Midlodemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 08:37 PM
    Response to Reply #57
    126. I love you. Hopefully, you knew that.
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    Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 09:07 PM
    Response to Reply #57
    134. I'm so sorry you went through it too Lyric. I could have written so much of that myself
    I was either pudgy or anorexic throughout my school career. Also poor (had one pair of overalls and three shirts through all of junior high), wore thick glasses, and had deformed upper and lower jaws that did make me unattractive and slurred my speech. I was smart, but because of my shyness and slurred speech was constantly referred to as "the retard." It sounds like we were tormented in much the same manner and with the same long term results. I was also hospitalized for attempted suicide and have fought with social anxiety disorder throughout my life. I don't feel burning hatred for my tormentors. I just have regrets ; that I wasn't born a more attractive, outgoing person, that I never had a family or a long time significant other, that socializing is so hard even though I'm lonely. I can't afford therapy, but I've tried meditation and self hypnosis to try to overcome all of it. Maybe it helped a little, but not enough to help me have the kind of life I wish I'd had. I'm middle aged now, so there isn't much time left for change. You're young; I truly hope that you find a way to overcome all of it and enjoy your life the way you should have been allowed to all along, had the monsters not taken so much away. :hug: :loveya:
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    Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 11:00 PM
    Response to Reply #134
    186. Aw Lorien, I've met you, and you seemed like an attractive, outgoing person to me
    Edited on Mon Feb-08-10 11:01 PM by Lydia Leftcoast
    But I know what you mean.

    I was the smart girl with a mother and grandmother who dressed me out-of-style and thwarted my attempts to socialize with other kids.

    I was never physically bullied (except for one girl who pushed me off the back risers during a seventh grade choir rehearsal--the teacher never skipped a beat), but everyone made it clear in every possible way that I was on the lowest rung of the social ladder.

    Deep down, I still feel like an awkward teenager, even though I usually try to cover it.
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    susanwy Donating Member (461 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 09:18 PM
    Response to Reply #57
    140. I can relate....
    Edited on Mon Feb-08-10 09:21 PM by susanwy
    I was the skinny red-head...now that I'm grown people tell me I look like Julianne Moore (lol).

    When I was in first grade I had a severe burn and had to go to school with open back dresses that my mom made. Everyone could see my underwear. It was awful and I was picked on from that time on, we never moved and I went to school with that core group for 12 years. The only thing that made it bearable was my neighbor, she would hang out with me as long as no one at school ever found out. I remember one time she felt bad and invited me to her 4th grade birthday party. The other kids were so cruel, they thought she invited me for a joke and they picked on me relentlessly until I walked home. She moved the next year.

    In Jr high I got into drugs and alcohol. I wasn't poor and could afford to "buy"...that finally make me accepted, as long as I had money. I did manage to make a couple of friends, but they were few and far between. In high school I partied and was always looking for affection (in the wrong way). It is amazing it all goes back to how I was treated as a child.

    I, like you, have few friends as an adult. I'm uncomfortable in normal social situations, I always think I'm shy, but deep down I always wonder if people just don't like me. You always hear those voices from your childhood, although I've paid a lot to try and learn to shut them off. Once, when I was in counseling years ago, one of those awful girls was in the same woman's group and she broke down in tears telling me how bad she felt for the way she treated me and others. I was floored, really quite speechless. How could I tell her that the scars they left were life-long and that they affected every social relationship I ever had?

    Anyway, I'm ok, I've resigned myself to being a loner and I've been sober almost 20 years. I garden, travel and enjoy my family. My biggest fear is when I get old and my family is gone...then I might be lonely.

    :grouphug:

    Susan

    edit: spelling
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    Marlana Donating Member (77 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 09:29 PM
    Response to Reply #57
    144. That sounds exactly like what I went through in school.
    I mean, exactly. I'm 32 now and I still don't like to talk about it, and when I do people just tell me that it was a long time ago and I should get over it. It's something you can't understand unless you lived through it yourself.

    "To me, the torture I went through left me traumatized, scarred, and with practically no self-esteem at all" that's me to the letter, even today, you just write it down better than I ever could. Thank you.
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    TZ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 09:49 PM
    Response to Reply #57
    149. There's a hell of a lot that was very similar to what happened to me
    I'm probably single for a reason. All the bullying has me convinced that I'm unattractive to men physically...even though the bullying about my appearance stopped well over 20 years ago. I was well into my late teens before I found any male that wasn't horribly mean to me.....Probably why I'm single and likely to stay that way.
    Thank you for sharing.. :hug:
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    Jefferson23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 11:23 PM
    Response to Reply #57
    193. I am so sorry that no one put an end to the abuse you suffered.
    That bothers me as much as the torturous conditions you describe, unconscionable.
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    WildEyedLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 04:09 AM
    Response to Reply #57
    216. This was really painful to read, but I owe it to you to bear witness to your pain
    I don't really have anything to say, other than :hug: I was awkward and poorly dressed and too smart for the other kids, and I didn't have any friends in junior high, but the worst that happened to me was more of a subtle exclusion and mockery. Nothing like the horrible torture you described. But yet it all rings so true, because I saw so many similar things, similar schoolyard taunts, directed at the other kids who were "poor" or "fat." It's so fucking ugly and the fact that school officials are aware of the problem but still do nothing to stop it is beyond disgusting.
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    tango-tee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 04:44 AM
    Response to Reply #57
    217. You have absolutely beautiful eyes. But they are sad eyes.
    There is a smile on your lips in that photo, but it is a sad smile as well.

    Dearest Lyric, what happened to you is terrible.

    Isn't it amazing that the attempts to "do good" end up stigmatizing children? And it goes on into adulthood.

    Of course you were damaged, as you say. The vestiges of pain inflicted on you will never completely go away. However, reading your post, you are not giving yourself enough credit for having come out on the other side of all the mistreatment, the nightmare, as the strong, wonderful, eloquent woman you are today. No one should have to endure what you have lived through - only it happens all too often. Thank you for bringing this into the open in words that touch the heart.

    And I applaud you for having kicked the shit out of that monster. You go, girl! There are times when nothing else will do.

    And then there are times when I wish I had the power to simply hold someone and make all the pain of the past go away. This is one of these times.



    :hug:
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    jedicord Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 09:39 AM
    Response to Reply #57
    237. Lyric? I'm Chaunce's Mom
    Are you the same Lyric, one of Chaunce's best friends? I sure hope so, either way my heart goes out to you for your experiences. Will's story is almost an exact replay of Chaunce's life at school. And, if you're the same Lyric, you know that his response a few months ago was scarily similar to Will's.

    PS - You're beautiful on the outside, but most importantly, on the inside. Ultimately that's what counts.
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    AllyCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 02:12 PM
    Response to Reply #237
    289. Dear God Lyric, I am so sorry this happened to you. You are beautiful and brave
    Thank you for posting even though I am horrified to have my eyes opened that little kids could do something like this. I hope you are able to find some solace from this that we all care for you.

    And your response to the FB person was perfect!
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    bitchkitty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 09:44 AM
    Response to Reply #57
    238. Not ugly at all.
    In fact, I consider myself a connoisseur of beauty, and you own it. You have strong features softened by tender lips, and beautiful eyes.

    If any bullies tell you otherwise, send them to me for annihilation! Kidding, but seriously - it's amazing what our treacherous minds can do to our self-esteem!
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    redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 10:22 AM
    Response to Reply #57
    254. ...
    :hug:

    I count myself so lucky that I remember so little of my childhood.
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    RKP5637 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 10:45 AM
    Response to Reply #57
    261. Thank you for sharing this. You're a very strong person! n/t
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    nightrain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 12:26 PM
    Response to Reply #57
    273. It never was your fault.
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    juno jones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 04:44 PM
    Response to Reply #57
    307. You are beautiful.
    Compare yourself to the women portrayed in the pre-raphealite paintings, such as Jane Morris:



    Or the 'Gibson Girl';



    Or even:


    As recently as the fifties, this was the ideal...

    I suspect the recent taste for skin and bones points jointly to the danse macabre and pedophilic strains that run under our present society. I was out back on break the other day when a gaggle of kids (just barely drinking age) slouched by complaining about the 'fat', 'old' waitress they had.

    The girl's a size twelve and 26. She's not even as big as Marilyn Monoe.

    Society has become so shallow.

    :hug: I got it too. I am 5'4" and am basically built along the lines of the kind of guys who played football in college. "Linebacker Shoulders", as one of my former sous chefs would say. My 'handle' is the name of a amazonian female wrestler in a Fritz Lieber sci-fi novel. I've enjoyed my attendance at sci-fi cons, ren-faires, SCA, and venues like Pantheacon. The presence of people who are not as motivated by 'conventional' physical beauty and more stimulated by mental discourse is a good pick-me-up. Smart is good.

    Remember: The best revenge is a good life. :hi:

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    Diclotican Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-11-10 06:49 PM
    Response to Reply #57
    341. Lyric
    Lyric

    You look buitifull if you ask me ;). If you had been at my school I would try to date you, if I had deared to ask you out then... Was not excactly mr popular myself at school.. rather the opposite of popular...

    I know about bullying as I have been bullied from 1 grade to I got out of school more or less.. Sometimes it was worse, sometimes it was not that worse, but it was allways something I had to have back in my head and to bite the bullet for more than one time every day... Sometimes I could imagine to have a "Normal" time at school, with no bullying and where I in fact was mastering something.. And then... The world was falling down and I was there I allways were, at the botton of the food chain...

    Was not rich by any means, but never poor either.. Was just different... And have a history who was hard long before I was old enough to go to school at age 7... Parents who was not able to take care of their kids, orphenage, foster parents... all nine yards and then some.. But was also bullied both by my own peers and by others.. Wel I surived it somehow, but I do have some ghost in my closets, who I properly wil have with my for a long time even today..

    Diclotican
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    wysi Donating Member (475 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 05:11 PM
    Response to Original message
    58. Yeah, I lived it too.
    Now it's my daughter's turn, and it is heartbreaking to watch and try to help her through. :(
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    AlienGirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 05:49 PM
    Response to Reply #58
    77. Me, too. First grade through high school. Also physically abused by a principal
    My principal in second grade didn't like me, and really hated it that I was a "picky eater" and ate slowly. One day she took me into the broom closet, forcibly held my face and force-fed me food I was allergic to that made me throw up. When I gagged, she told me "Not on the janitor's nice clean floor!" So I swallowed it back down. My parents didn't believe me, and I got in trouble for lying.

    I stopped telling. One day I secretly made my own cold lunch and snuck it into school. The principal called my mother and from then on I could bring my own lunch, but the principal made me use the chest-freezer as a table and eat my lunch standing, apart from the other kids. They could see me standing alone at the freezer in the back of the lunchroom, facing the wall, my back to my classmates. That served to single me out even more--I was already a weirdo because I was too small and skinny and smart and couldn't throw a ball and liked bugs girls were supposed to fear and so I'd try to make the boys stop killing bugs--and my role as bottom of the social heap was set from then on.

    In junior high, I never had the "right" clothes or makeup. Between being poor and not able to afford the trendy designer stuff and an antiquated sense of style, I had no chance at beauty--or really even at conformity. It was then that I learned I was ugly. I had bad acne and a dumpy body. Girls would sometimes pretend to be my friend for a day or two, just long enough to get me to tell them something embarrassing like who I had a crush on, and then would go back to their real friends so they could ridicule me with whatever I'd disclosed. I did have two or three real friends: one of them paid the basketball player I had a crush on $5 to slow-dance with me at the Valentine's dance. (V-day is also my b-day, so it was her birthday present to me.) Unfortunately, basketball boy ruined it by telling me it was a paid-for present once the song ended. He wanted to make sure I didn't expect to dance another one with him.

    Even into high school, kids were throwing gum in my hair, calling me names, playing mean tricks...Before a big dance, I found a note from a guy a grade up from me, asking me to go with him. Of course I found him in the hallway between classes. He was surrounded by his popular football guy friends and a couple of popular girls. Breathlessly, heart pounding, I accepted the invitation. They all laughed: the girls had some wager about whether I'd realize it was obviously a trick, or whether I'd fall for it. The guy rolled his eyes and sneered and said, "Not if you were the last piece of ass on earth!"

    I never thought about killing my bullies, but suicide was never far from my mind.

    Oddly, most of my former bullies apologized to me in adulthood. (The abusive principal died, and the high-school top bully has disappeared, possibly into prison.) None of them, though, could explain exactly *why* they did it.

    Tucker
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    Spazito Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 05:29 PM
    Response to Original message
    64. Very powerful OP
    Sadly, your experience is far too often the norm for kids today as well as 'yesterday'.

    Recommended.
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    johnnie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 05:31 PM
    Response to Original message
    65. What a sad story Will
    I hated bullies and still do. When I started school I was puny and took a lot of shit, but I didn't give a shit. I was and still am pretty short so I was an easy target. It didn't take me long to learn to blow it off, but I quickly found out that many of the kids didn't have that easy of a time.

    I can't even count how many times I stepped in when I saw that shit going on and I was willing to fight for the victims if that's what needed to be done, it really never came to that. There were many times that I would step right in the middle of it and tell the bullies to kick mud and they would. To this day I hurt for those people who get bullied and do what I can to stop any I encounter.

    I guarantee that if I was around back then, you would have had a friend in me and that shit would have been stopped.
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    mzteris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 08:34 PM
    Response to Reply #65
    125. I used to "bully
    the bullies".

    I was a very tiny girl but I was used to fighting with my 4 years older brother and his friends - wrestling, etc... I had NO FEAR back then. I was tough and I was smart and I would GO OFF on other kids. Kinda batshit really. BUT - no one would ever tell because I was so much freaking smaller than they were - and a girl - so who wanted to admit some little girl just kicked their ass.

    As years went on, I didn't get into as many physical altercations, but I was totally ruthless with a very sharp tongue. People didn't really want to get on my "bad" side. Granted I wasn't "popular" by any means, but no one bullied me, and no one bullied anyone else when I was around or they had me to deal with, too. Maybe it's like that "berserker" thing - some crazed nut comes at you screaming bloody murder and kicking and hitting and scratching and - yeah - even biting - and it scares the living sh*t out of people.

    Once in high school my best friend started mocking another girl. The other girl wasn't very smart, was dirt poor, was a compulsive liar, and had a crossed-eye. Anyways, I told my friend and a group of other students to "stop". They didn't. A good friend of mine found herself on the ground.

    "Say you're sorry. . . "
    "wha?"
    "SAY YOU"RE SORRY!!"
    "ok ok , uh, I'm sorry."
    "and don't you EVER do anything like that again!"
    "hey - I thought we were friends" (as I helped her up.)
    "Yeah, we are. Just as long as you treat everyone like a human being with feelings. . . " which led into a whole conversation.


    My kids are the same way. They never start fights. They never "pick on" other kids. They stand up for not only their friends, but for the kids who might not have any. They intervene in cases of taunting. My older two inherited the very sharp tongue which they use mercilessly. My younger? Well - he LOOKS like he'd kill you as soon as look at you (even though he's the sweetest kid ever!!!) he's big - very big - for his age and other kids don't tend stick around when he tells them to scram.

    I'm very proud of my kids and the way they not only treat others, but the way they take up for them as well.

    My middle child - the older son I homeschooled for a number of years - was bullied when he tried to go back to middle school in 8th grade. He stood up to them, but it wasn't worth it (especially as he wasn't learning anything anyway, hell he was helping teach half his classes!) so we pulled him out mid-year. He now attends an "alternative highschool" for kids who "don't fit in" at other schools.

    Most people think they're a bunch of weirdos, etc - there are a lot of GLBT kids and overweight kids as well as a whole damn bunch of Aspies... These kids are SO SMART and great. They feel such freedom at this school- to be themselves, to not worry about censure and teasing and mocking. They are free to learn and experience life without the total BS that they would have had if they had attended a "regular" public high school.
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    Hekate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 05:32 PM
    Response to Original message
    66. It makes my own experiences sound like a walk in the park. Thank you, Will....
    :hug:

    Oddly, my mother's experience of being bullied in parochial school (among other things, someone put a tack on the seat of her desk so that when all the kids knelt for morning prayers the damn thing jammed itself into her knee) led her to set me up to expect it.

    I think my junior high school still would have been hell even without that set-up. I was socially a bit awkward, shy, overly sensitive, big thick glasses, took refuge in books. Whoopie.

    Will, you are a great guy and the kind of teacher I wish could be cloned for every school in the nation.

    Hekate
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    proud patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 05:33 PM
    Response to Original message
    67. I was teased mercilessly as a child by peers K and R
    :kick:
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    asdjrocky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 05:34 PM
    Response to Original message
    68. So hard to read.
    I've been telling people to tell their kids not to bully but I almost think we've come to the point where we have to take it further.

    I always told my step son and daughters not to bully, but I also told them if they see someone getting bullied, they have to get involved.

    I wish I had answers.
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    City of Mills Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 05:35 PM
    Response to Original message
    70. Thanks for posting this - I was bullied in a Massachusetts school as well
    It went on from 9th to maybe 11th grade...after awhile there weren't too many days I didn't go to school without carrying a knife. This was back when 'Gangsta Rap' was just becoming mainstream, and a lot of the kids in my school were either in active gangs or wanted to be. It was a very toxic environment, with bullying occurring out in the open in the halls. I would walk down a hallway and feel someone smack the back of my head real hard, and I'd look back and see a group of them looking at me, one of them would would say something clever like "What? You got a fucking problem, I'll fucking bust a cap in your ass bitch" and the others would laugh or just hurl insults. After school fights were an almost daily occurrence; a police detail would be ready right after school let out, but fights would break out anyway. 2-4 cops can't watch 1000 kids, they were simply outmanned.

    One of my friends was bullied so bad he transferred to a different school because he and his parents feared for his life after he got jumped. I recently found him on Facebook, and we caught up a little. He mentioned to me he'd never forget the time that a couple of kids were after him and I met up with him and 'had his back', pulling out my knife and frightening off his tormentors. The real scary thing was I had no recollection of this incident; to me it was simply too mundane to even recall, as a significant or unusual incident.
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    David Zephyr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 05:42 PM
    Response to Original message
    72. K&R! Very proud of William Rivers Pitt today!
    Edited on Mon Feb-08-10 05:45 PM by David Zephyr
    Moving. Excellent. Powerful.

    Bullying is one of the sanctioned monsters in our society. It is wicked to the core.

    Thanks, William for brutal honesty.

    Edit: OK. I'll be honest, too: you made me weep.
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    givemebackmycountry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 05:45 PM
    Response to Original message
    75. Great Post Will - every now and then you post something that speaks to me in a big way...
    This was one of them.

    I wasn't bullied much as a young student in the 60's.
    No issues in 8 years of Catholic grade school in NYC, because the NUNS were the real terrorists.
    And torture me they did.

    Public High School, in Jamaica, Queens.
    Played on the football team as a 3rd string wide receiver.
    I was close to six foot (but rail thin) as a freshman.
    Big and gang-ly, shy with a face like a pizza, I was a easy mark and I didn't know it.

    One day I found myself cornered in a stairwell with 8 guys half who wanted money, and the other half to just fuck with me.
    I got lucky as one of my team members happened on us, and minutes later a third of the football team was there ready to throw down.
    I got lucky because I could run and catch a ball.

    Then my parents move me upstate to a little tiny small town with a little tiny K-12 school.
    I was a sophomore.

    First day of school, I am halfway through the day and in history class waiting for the teacher to come in the room.
    I'm sitting at my desk minding my own business, and this huge corn-fed redneck walks up to me and picks up my history book and SLAMS me in the forehead with it and just about knocks me out and says "Fucking City Boy".
    Everyone in the class is laughing at me, and I am on the verge of tears.
    My first day.

    Next day, same class, same redneck walks up to me and does the SAME fucking thing again, and then proceeds to sit down while he and everyone else is laughing at me.

    Only this time he caught me in the nose, and I started to bleed.
    So, without giving it any thought, I got up and picked up my desk and I bashed it over his head.
    Then I did it again.
    And again.
    And again, until I had broken his nose and knocked out ALL of his front teeth, and my goal right there and then was to FUCKING kill him.
    I wanted him dead.

    When they pulled me off of him, the room was staring at me and you could hear a pin drop.
    I was dripping in sweat, hyperventilating and crying all at the same time.

    No one ever fucked with me again, but no one ever talked to me again, so there was that too.

    I understand about the big knife you carried to school.
    If I had one on me when that happened, I would still be behind bars.
    Because, I would have filleted that fat fucking redneck like a grouper.
    I had never been that angry before, and never have been again.
    Wanting to kill another human being, I mean really wanting to kill someone, is a frightening feeling and one I've never forgotten.

    Being bullied is a problem that manifests itself in many ways.
    Thank God, like a previous poster said I didn't have access to a gun.

    All these years later and when I think of those two days, I still get upset.










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    Matariki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 05:58 PM
    Response to Reply #75
    82. In the 60's you could knock someone's teeth out with a desk
    and still go back to school. Did they give you detention?
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    givemebackmycountry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 06:21 PM
    Response to Reply #82
    97. No teacher in the room, so no detention.
    This was a school where half the seniors came to class in pickup trucks with gun racks in them, and deer rifles proudly displayed.
    Not exactly a bastion of "higher" learning until we all discovered weed in our last year there.

    Funny thing about that redneck, a few years later I ran into him in a bar and thought for sure I was going to have trouble.
    Wound up smoking a joint with him out in the parking lot.

    I heard awhile back he died in a car wreck.
    Hit a deer one night flying up the mountain at 90mph in a Camaro Z-28.
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    Swamp Rat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 05:46 PM
    Response to Original message
    76. k&r
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    MilesColtrane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 05:56 PM
    Response to Original message
    80. I still have a black mark on the base of my thumb from when I was stabbed with a No. 2 pencil.
    Edited on Mon Feb-08-10 06:18 PM by MilesColtrane
    The bullying I received didn't go on nearly as long as yours, but it was equally savage.

    My nose remains broken from getting cold cocked in the locker room once after gym class. I still can't breathe out of one of my nostrils to this day.

    Being the object of constant bullying killed something inside of me. I used to be outgoing and friendly with everyone. Now most people probably think I'm autistic.

    I too have had my bouts with substance abuse over the years.

    I recently found a drawing I made during that year.

    It was a picture of me in hell.

    Thanks for writing this.
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    Raven Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 06:00 PM
    Response to Original message
    83. Where were your parents through all of this?
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    WilliamPitt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 06:06 PM
    Response to Reply #83
    87. Working 18-hour days to keep the lights on
    Edited on Mon Feb-08-10 06:06 PM by WilliamPitt
    The parents of kids who get bullied, especially mine, deserve no censure because of this. Ask anyone on this thread; no matter how good parents are, they can't be in the school to keep it from happening. The girl who committed suicide last week had, by all reports, a total Norman Rockwell life. It doesn't matter.

    The fault lies with the little bastards who did it, the parents of those little bastards who failed to raise them properly, and the school personnel who allowed it to happen under their noses.

    Not talking about it allows it to continue.
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    Raven Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 06:11 PM
    Response to Reply #87
    93. Just for the record: would have liked a "heads up" before you plublished
    this. It was a shock and it says to me that no matter what I did, I couldn't reach you on this. No matter how many talks...no matter how many "Mom, everything's ok" didn't matter. So now, 25 years later, I'm reading this on Truthout and DU....for the first time.
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    Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 09:41 PM
    Response to Reply #93
    145. Raven that's the joy and torture of being a mother.
    There are just some things we don't share with our parents. There are things we don't share with our kids. Often things we didn't see happening come out in the open as a big surprise when it's all over with. It doesn't mean that the love wasn't there.

    :hug:
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    WilliamPitt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 09:42 PM
    Response to Reply #145
    146. Been trying to say exactly that for a few hours now.
    :hug:
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    puebloknot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 03:47 AM
    Response to Reply #93
    214. We haven't "met," but while you were raising a boy, I was raising a girl ...
    ... who, from what I've read about Will Pitt, is his age.

    I got a divorce when she was a year old, and never remarried. Now that she's tending toward 40, there have been several talk sessions over the last few years in which my Jennifer reveals things that just hit me in the stomach because I never knew about it when it was happening. And it has made me feel guilty and unreliable and unworthy. But she has thanked me many times for her "raisin'," and in spite of her own wounds to her soul, she is making her way in life with grace and a degree of happiness.

    A close friend and I had our daughters in kindergarten together, and we became close. One day, Sandi came home from her job to see an ambulance outside her apartment, and her daughter being handed into it. She had fallen off a swing and she broke her leg. Sandi rushed to her, and her little daughter said, "Oh, Mommy, I'm so sorry. Can we afford this?"

    Children of struggling single mothers are intimately aware of the subliminal worry that their parents are wrestling with. Early on, they become our protectors and try to relieve us of some of our burden.

    You had to be a stellar mother to have produced such a stellar son. This article he's written helps us all to understand how it is that he's occasionally a tad brusque! :) But he's nothing if not a soulful and eloquent writer. And maybe writing it is the best way he had to tell you all this.

    I have not meant to be presumptuous in this sharing. Only to say that common experiences can help us all to find our way through life.

    Warm regards,

    Judy Barrett
    Santa Fe, NM
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    GCP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 03:51 PM
    Response to Reply #93
    304. Raven, I'm so sorry you had to read that
    Edited on Tue Feb-09-10 03:51 PM by GCP
    I know you live Will more than life itself, and the thought that he was going through such horrendous times and not telling you, must cut you to the core.
    We all want only the best for our kids, and reading this must have been heart-rending for you.
    (( :hug:))
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    GCP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 06:03 PM
    Response to Reply #304
    314. Doh - that should have read
    You love Will more than life itself.
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    fedupinBushcountry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 02:27 PM
    Response to Reply #87
    292. Exactly
    "The fault lies with the little bastards who did it, the parents of those little bastards who failed to raise them properly, and the school personnel who allowed it to happen under their noses."

    Will, my son is a HS History teacher and he tells me the stories of what is happening at his school. Luckily it is not happening in his classrooms, he has always believed in to get respect you must also show respect, he lets his kids eat in his classroom as long as they pick up their mess, he also lets them listen to music during paperwork as long as they do the work, the older teachers can't stand it, but it works and his students are better and more respectful for it. He does lunch room duty and that is where a lot of it happens and the bullies will even tell the teachers to fuck off, he'll write them up and expect to see them in detention or even expelled for a few days, but the higher ups do nothing. I said well you have to speak up and demand it, he says Mom , you don't understand, school is like politics, sure, I would still be teaching but if I put up a fight I would be looked at in a whole different way. So your damed if you do and your damed if you don't. Sad. This really needs to get much more attention. The years of Bush I call the bully years, but now I see they get so much attention still as the rest of us just take it, over and over and over again.

    PS Sorry for my rambling, and hope you get what I'm saying, and thank you so much for speaking on this. I am sending it to my son, right now.
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    Midlodemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 08:32 PM
    Response to Reply #83
    124. Doing the best they could to raise the amazing person
    that is my friend Will Pitt. If only, Raven. We, as parents, should all be so lucky.
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    FailureToCommunicate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 06:01 PM
    Response to Original message
    84. Thanks, Will, for your difficult story. Bullying can go on round the clock with Facebook and
    Edited on Mon Feb-08-10 06:04 PM by FailureToCommunicate
    similar 'social media' according to the expert that worked with the school Phoebe Prince attended. She said that in times past kids could at least find some refuge from (school) bullying once they were back home...
    She also said that what happened to Phoebe Prince could be called a federal hate crime, and that kids or grown-ups that know of abuse and not report it, and especially kids that pass on e-mails of abusive nature are guilty as well.
    The kids that went after Phoebe Prince were back at school, unrepentant. We'll see if the school and the school district has the courage to do the right things.

    Thanks for your strength to speak out.
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    SutaUvaca Donating Member (472 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 06:07 PM
    Response to Original message
    88. thank you Will. nt
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    Norrin Radd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 06:07 PM
    Response to Original message
    90. kr
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    mac56 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 06:09 PM
    Response to Original message
    91. takes me back
    Thanks, Will.

    When I was in 8th grade, one night my mom noticed a large deep-red boot print in the middle of my back. She freaked. I told her and Dad that I was the target of near-daily beatdowns before the last class of the day, courtesy of a few of the assholes in my class. It had been going on for months. I didn't say anything sooner because I was afraid of more and stronger beatdowns.

    I hate bullies. Hate them with all the fiber in my being.
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    Missy Vixen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 06:11 PM
    Response to Original message
    92. Will, thanks for the great essay, and for having the courage to speak out
    Those of us who know what it's like to never, ever fit in, no matter what we did or did not do, thank you.

    :hug:
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    bridgit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 06:14 PM
    Response to Original message
    96. Yup - "In the clearing stands a boxer...
    "And a fighter by her trade
    And she carries the reminders
    Of ev'ry glove that layed her down
    Or cut her till she cried out
    In her anger and her shame
    'I am leaving, I am leaving'
    But the fighter still remains"

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    redwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 07:16 PM
    Response to Original message
    104. This thread is heartbreaking.
    I am so sorry. I wish I could make it un-happen.
    Getting through the average day for most people deserves fireworks and a brass band. You deserve a purple heart. I am so glad life is better for you now.
    :hug:

    And one for your lovely mom too. :hug:
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    omega minimo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 07:20 PM
    Response to Original message
    105. It is astonishing
    that the author of this essay, with this experience and awareness, would present on DU to be dismissive and flippant regarding the bullying that women receive here. (Women's rights issues have mostly been dungeoned due to that bullying, so there won't be recent examples of this unsupportive attitude).

    It's hard to imagine how that childhood experience would not generate an empathy that transcended the male gender -- and its place in the pecking order.

    Thank you for sharing this story and congratulations on your achievement. It's a beautiful thing to prove that idealistic methods can work:

    "By the end of the year, my "out" kids were the most popular ones in class, and my "in" kids thought hitting the books and getting good grades were the keys to the coolness kingdom. This pattern held until the day those kids graduated."

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    Orrex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 04:44 PM
    Response to Reply #105
    308. I'd like to thank you for the Secret Admirer hearts, by the way.
    You're the sweetest!
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    omega minimo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 06:22 PM
    Response to Reply #308
    315. sorry, forgot to tell you
    ya haveta share em with all the septics, sweeten em up a bit.
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    Midlodemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 07:06 PM
    Response to Reply #315
    319. The septics? Is this a bodily function post?
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    omega minimo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 08:02 PM
    Response to Reply #319
    323. dunno
    have you had yourself deswarmed?
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    Midlodemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 08:18 PM
    Response to Reply #323
    325. Swarm?
    Oh, that is so 2008. Try to keep up.
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    Dr. Strange Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-11-10 10:33 PM
    Response to Reply #319
    343. Someone's in the tank.
    (Tank you very much.)
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    Midlodemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 07:05 PM
    Response to Reply #308
    318. You rat bastard!!!! I told you that was ME@!!!!!!!
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    flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 07:20 PM
    Response to Original message
    106. I had the exact opposite experience, and I'm so very thankful.
    Without going into detail, I was seven when I wailed the shit out of the neighborhood bully for beating up my ten year old brother. Neither of us were bothered in that town again.

    We moved when I was 9. New town, new neighborhood, new bully. He was decidedly unsuccessful with me.

    I got really lucky in high school. My mother taught senior english. All of it, honors to basic. If you wanted to graduate, you had to pass her class. I sat at lunch with the senior football team (although I had a problem with one of them late in the year), and their girlfriends all pinched my cheeks. Basically untouchable (thanks, mom!).

    That said, I've come to the conclusion that being a kid is basically like entering prison when you hit a certain age. No matter how big or bad, the first asshole to come after you for no reason you either beat the shit out of (or get beat trying). In time, maybe you get lucky and earn/garner some protection, either in numbers or because touching you means that someone high in power will crush you.

    Hell of a way to raise our kids don't you think?

    I read these stories of bullying (and thanks for sharing yours, Will) and it breaks my heart. It makes me realize how easily I could have been one of the suicides. My emotional scars have resulted in my no longer believing in violence, I guess. Hurting people turns my stomach as I have a fair amount of blood on my hands.
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    Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 07:24 PM
    Response to Reply #106
    107. Deleted sub-thread
    Sub-thread removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
     
    longship Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 07:38 PM
    Response to Original message
    109. Everybody has said much of what I think about Bullying
    Recommended and :kick:ed
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    blues90 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 07:41 PM
    Response to Original message
    112.  I went through something similar and can relate.
    I not only had an abusive father who could be great one second and suddenly turn on a dime and get the belt or fists out, he was also mentally abusive calling me names if I cried.

    I think this was what made me shy and a loner and these seem to be the types the bullies seek out.

    There is never one bully , they always came in packs of three to four and wait for me to walk to and from grade school for the attack.

    The only thing in my favor was I was a fast runner.

    It is very trying and always a worry. Zorro was popular back then . One fine winters day I was attacked, pinned down and had the Z from Zorro carved in the middle of my back , a place I can just reach and feel the scar that will be there forever.

    I had no support group. Teachers would say defend yourself, parents would say they will stop.

    What it has done to me even now that I'm 61 is make me disdain all authority figures, have little trust in people and make it so I did not have to depend on other people.

    When I did finally strike back I was the one who was punished simply because they felt it was out of character for me to act this way, so it had to be me.
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    Posteritatis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 07:52 PM
    Response to Reply #112
    115. Gotta love the irony of Zorro fans pulling crap like that
    Talk about getting the wrong messages from one's role models; ugh.
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    Truth2Tell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 07:51 PM
    Response to Original message
    114. This is the best piece I've ever read of yours Will. K&R! nt
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    EmeraldCityGrl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 07:56 PM
    Response to Original message
    117. I met a mother in NV. who lost her son to bullying.
    He hung himself in his bedroom one day after school because he just couldn't take it anymore.
    This mom was one of the most tortured people I have ever met. She was on the phone daily
    with the school on her sons behalf. Without a school staff that supports a no tolerance policy
    on bullying, a parents complaints sometimes aggravates the situation. If they can afford to
    put cameras on every corner of my small town, they can afford to put them through out the
    schools and monitor for bullying. Administrators that can't enforce the policy should be terminated.
    You think about the bravery it takes for these children to return to school everyday opposed to
    the cowards they are forced to face.
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    Chemical Bill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 08:01 PM
    Response to Original message
    118. With me it was my father and my older brother.
    My brother because of the way my father taught him. I learned how to run, in fact I was undefeated in the two mile run one season up until the class championship.

    I listen to "What's The Matter Here" by 10,000 Maniacs and can relate when she sings about the scars "that don't heal with time or with age."

    Thank you for this.

    Bill
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    KatyaR Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 08:02 PM
    Response to Original message
    119. Bless you, Will, for writing this.
    I was never subjected to the kind of bullying that you and these poor children were. However, I did undergo a large amount of abuse when I was in grade school for being "the teacher's daughter." I was taught to read and write before I started first grade and could read at a third-grade level at 6 years. Somehow this was interpreted as me getting special attention, and that plus the fact that I wasn't allowed to socialize outside of school with my classmates except on rare occasions led to me bring the brunt of a lot of abuse. I never could understand what I had done to deserve such treatment; I guess I was just an easy target. I never was very comfortable at school from then on: it wasn't until I went to college that I finally found friends that I felt truly liked me.

    Anyway, I know how bad I felt--I can't imagine how it would feel to know you were going to be be abused and assaulted at school on a daily basis. It's no wonder so many kids go off the deep end. So much more needs to be done to stop this behavior.
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    dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 08:08 PM
    Response to Original message
    120. I am so sorry
    I had my share of problems in school but nothing like that. You deserved better.
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    ceveritt Donating Member (151 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 08:15 PM
    Response to Original message
    122. It is ...
    ... indeed a terrible, horrible thing to be The Otherespecially when you're young.

    When you get older, the physical violence seems to diminish, but the emotional violence does not. It tends to be more subtle, but nonetheless damaging. The only positive thing about it is that, when you are older, the attacks become a little bit easier to see and predict, despite their increased subtlety. "How can that be?", one might ask. Simply because of experience. If you've been attacked like that for your entire life, you do eventually learn some of the signs.

    I wish you the best, Mr. Pitt. And I wish there was no scar on your hand.

    ce
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    Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 08:47 PM
    Response to Original message
    127. I was also constantly bullied from first through tenth grade
    because I was shy, wore thick glasses, and because my jaws were deformed which slurred my speech and made me unattractive (I've had surgery since). Children can be brutal, and both parents and school officials always looked the other way. Since my tormentors were mostly boys they would tell me "they're only doing it because they like you." That could not have been further from the truth. They taunted me, tore out my hair, destroyed my property, robbed me, and would turn on any child who dared to publicly befriend me-which meant that I spent nearly my entire childhood alone. To this day I have difficulties with trusting others, though I desperately WANT to trust them. These days it seems so much worse for children. The bullies are more vicious and more organized. They used technology to publicly humiliate others in a way that was nearly impossible before. I don't know where all this viciousness comes from, either. The parents? The media? Are they just "bad seeds?" Compassion has almost become a dirty word in today's society. Something that denotes weakness and must be crushed. Coldness, cruelty and apathy for the well being of others just seem to be a widely accepted and promoted part of our culture now. It's part of the legacy of Reaganism and I don't think that the trend will reverse any time soon.How many more kids must spend a lifetime living with such scars before we start to care enough to strongly condemn bullying?
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    Midlodemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 08:50 PM
    Response to Reply #127
    128. Who's laughing now?
    The artist for Disney? or the loser who picked on you and is now asking if you want to supersize that?

    Living well is the best revenge.

    I've missed you.
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    Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 09:16 PM
    Response to Reply #128
    138. Thanks Midlodemocrat. A single unemployed artist now, so I can't say that I'm
    laughing. One of my tormentors is now a successful architect, another is a handsome geologist with a happy family, a third one died in a plane crash (his own plane-he was a multi-millionaire). So often that's the case, isn't it? The more vicious and cruel a person is the further the get ahead-just like the BFEE. I have some rather large health issues to overcome and once I do I hope that I'll get my life back on track, but right now it's just really, really hard.

    I hope all is well with you! I've missed seeing you around here too-is everything OK?
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    Midlodemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 09:23 PM
    Response to Reply #138
    142. Yes. Thanks for asking.
    Spending a lot of time on FB. If you're there? Shoot me a PM. I would love to add you.

    I LOVE your work.
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    LearnedHand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 08:55 PM
    Response to Original message
    129. Oh, man. I was the recipient of bullying also
    Elementary through high school. It was always painful; I never developed the thick skin to just ignore the losers (until I got into college, that is). I was also shy, fearful, and didn't have good social skills. NO ONE took the bullying seriously. "If you laugh with them, they'll leave you alone." I heard that all the time. Maybe that was true, but if I already didn't have good social skills, how the hell was I supposed to figure out how to "laugh with them"? I have no idea what the solutions are, but it would sure be great if school administrators took the complaints seriously.
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    BeatleBoot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 09:03 PM
    Response to Original message
    131. Parents are the answer to this shit

    It's a pretty simple solution.








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    WilliamPitt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 09:05 PM
    Response to Reply #131
    132. If it were simple
    it would have been solved already.
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    BeatleBoot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 09:13 PM
    Response to Reply #132
    137. Parenting isn't simple, I guess is my response
    Edited on Mon Feb-08-10 09:22 PM by BeatleBoot
    But I'll bet you a dime to a donut that if parents were more involved in their kid's school life, a lot of this shit would be mitigated.

    Given that the parents aren't morans.


    The kids who harrassed me at school had broken homes. I had one too, but I didn't harrass people.

    My Dad always taught me to look out for the underdog. And he was in my grille when I messed up and always took an active role speaking with my teachers.


    On edit: I love your work by the way. You are a leader. And to me, that is highly admirable.







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    jeff47 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 02:36 AM
    Response to Reply #137
    209. Still not that simple
    The parents of the bullied child, if they hear about it at all, have very limited tools. They can complain to the school, but if the school was gonna do anything about it, the bullying wouldn't be happening in the first place. And the usual advice is almost always wrong. Bullying is a complex social interaction, and there is no single approach to stop it from happening to you.

    Obviously, the parents of the bully could have done a better job raising their kids. But most of the time the parents either don't care, actively promote the bullying, or the bully does well enough covering their tracks.
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    BeatleBoot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 08:40 PM
    Response to Reply #209
    326. I think we agree.
    "Obviously, the parents of the bully could have done a better job raising their kids. But most of the time the parents either don't care, actively promote the bullying, or the bully does well enough covering their tracks."

    I think parenting and a healthy home life would mitigate their actions.


















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    omega minimo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 03:00 PM
    Response to Reply #132
    293. It comes from the top
    You alluded to it in your story, the authoritarian society, the gender divide, the pyramid of the pecking order.

    The things we sometimes try to discuss on DU and are shut down, without more support from those who understand the macro/micro level of our society/culture.
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    Midlodemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 09:10 PM
    Response to Reply #131
    135. Unfortunately, no. It's not that simple.
    Many kids are too embarrassed to tell Mom and Dad what has happened. So it gets swept under the rug. Not for lack of parenting in the least, but because it is still such a taboo to be bullied. You should be able to stick up for yourself, right Frankie? Um, no. Not always. Not when I'm the only one in the bathroom and the bullies are blocking the exit.

    We need to strive to convey the message that bullying is unacceptable in any realm. Until we do? Our children will continue to suffer.
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    Ellipsis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 09:07 PM
    Response to Original message
    133. Wow just wow, never would have equated your life to those experiences.
    Now that you mention it though from some your other writings it makes perfect sense on how you champion certain causes and people.

    I'd have agree with the "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" scenario. While dealing with scars specific to painful past memories seem to make us more vulnerable, the overall awareness to the brutality of life makes one wiser and sometimes like your OP more prolific.

    From my experiences there's truth to Karma coming back on you.

    The one I'll share had to do with getting beat up on a regular basis at a very young age by the same guy. I wasn't the only one but I remember him to this day. He was a bully and a fighter all his life... till one day. I heard he was at a beer tent at a local festival, the kind of tent they use one inch re-bar as tent stakes, he got into an altercation and the other person pushed him, being a drunk he flew backward and impaled himself up through his anus and well into his body. A vivid image I know but when people try to bully me I think of what happened to that guy and I can't help but smile.

    Thanks for the article and for sharing, truly moving.


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    patrice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 09:10 PM
    Response to Original message
    136. If I recall correctly, where "there be monsters" marks the end of the World.
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    undergroundpanther Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 09:17 PM
    Response to Original message
    139. Thanks.
    Edited on Mon Feb-08-10 09:24 PM by undergroundpanther
    For saying it. I have too many scars to count.Some were made by taking a razor to my own skin.Why do I do this? I do it to rewrite,to learn how to nurture this body,to remember, because the body keeps the score.Every scream silenced,every person that could have helped but chose not to get involved,every assault,threat,beating,humiliation,and wound..the body remembers it all. Even if the mind shatters into pieces trying to find a way to function and hold all that poison down,to not go insane.Still that venom of hate without cause,bullies dish out without a second thought about the pain they are pouring into those they target burns years later after the incident. The truth cannot be denied forever.The truth comes out as symptoms,as a razor dragged over numb skin. It is a jagged red message from a self long forgot that bleeds out the I tears held back,my own screams I forced into silence,my screams that went unheard. So many screams denied become another scar on my body if it cannot be expressed. I do not hide my scars anymore,they are part of me now, for they scream for me now,they speak for me when I did not dare scream for myself..the body remembers,even when the mind can't.The body it keeps the score,in stress disorders...So if you an onlooker shocked at what you see feels uncomfortable when you look at the layers of scarring,on someone else's skin,don't look away,look within. Because every body keeps the score and your shudder asks you to run away,but your human empathy asks for you to to listen.
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    WillyT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 09:20 PM
    Response to Original message
    141. That Was Great Will !!! - K & R !!!
    And... I did the same sort of thing you did when I was an 8th Grade teacher.

    And you're right... it works.

    :toast:
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    ibegurpard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 09:24 PM
    Response to Original message
    143. I can recall an incident
    where if I had a weapon in my hand at that moment, I would have killed a kid...I was THAT angry about some bullying. And to this day, I can't summon any potential regret about what I would have done.
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    Initech Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 09:43 PM
    Response to Original message
    147. High school for me, well, sucked.
    I was a victim of bullying, and it just... sucks for anyone. The sad thing is the fuckers get away with it most of the time because of oblivious teachers / parents.
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    lupinella Donating Member (124 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 09:48 PM
    Response to Original message
    148. Crying as I'm typing.
    As an non-neurotypical, ADD/Anxiety adult, who grew up in an era when such things weren't understood as they are now, I found this piece extremely moving. I will never understand why our society encourages bullying. Children learn the lessons of parents. It just seems that so often the parents are not actually mature in any way other than years. We must become better guardians of the vulnerable in our society and teach that such behavior will not be accepted to or by any group or individual. Equal rights and protections for all.
    For all of us that were 'freaks and geeks' in our youth, a big hug. We survived. We bear our scars. Now we must work on changing the popular idea that victims are to be blamed.
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    HughBeaumont Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 09:52 PM
    Response to Original message
    151. K & R. Fighting back would have sent me to jail in a fast hurry.
    That's how those Bocephus wannabe bitches worked. Most of them were popular kids and sons of teachers. Just like most people in this thread, I was told it was my fault. "You stand up to them, and they'll stop". Really? You mean they won't hunt me with six MORE of their friends? You mean I WON'T get in trouble for using blunt objects on their skull? You mean you teachers who are practically aiding and abetting these coital mistake fuckers and their assaults WON'T make the rest of my time here in Vermilion High Penitentiary like a stay at Shutter Island? COME on, fucking guy.

    They knew nothing was going to happen, because they knew the deck was stacked. My life would be ruined because these pieces of shit had people on the inside protecting them. They worked this way against outsiders. That's how small towns are.

    I couldn't read much of this thread or OP. I still carry it. I act like I don't, but I do. When I go back to that town, I want to blow it the fuck up, set it on fire and walk away grinning. I see it deteriorate and smile. I'll eat somewhere and secretly look around for any of them. I see anyone, I'll leave to save them. It's only happened once. You're welcome.

    I secretly love the scene in Sleepers when now 20-something abuse victims O'Reilly and Marcano unload round after round into that arrogant shitbag Nokes, finally sending his pedophilic inhuman ass to hell for the whole world to see.

    I want to do just one. ONE. Alone. No pigs, none of his drinking buddies or co-workers to save him, no one watching. Corner his out-of-shape ass and beat that bitch so bad, he soils himself. Let him know what it's like to be afraid. Then it will finally lift. Then it will stop.

    I don't give a shit if people think it's immature or I should grow up. I don't really care. I didn't deserve the verbal abuse. I did nothing wrong.
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    WilliamPitt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 10:00 PM
    Response to Reply #151
    154. You sound like me
    20 years ago.

    It gets better. I swear it does.

    But I still know how you feel.

    :hug:
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    HughBeaumont Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 10:33 PM
    Response to Reply #154
    175. It's not supposed to eat me up 25 years after the fact.
    :toast:
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    WilliamPitt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 10:36 PM
    Response to Reply #175
    177. And if my wife had wheels, she'd be a wagon.
    Don't tell her I said that.

    ;)

    :hug:

    It is what it is.
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    WilliamPitt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 10:00 PM
    Response to Reply #151
    155. Dupe post
    Edited on Mon Feb-08-10 10:00 PM by WilliamPitt
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    Grand Taurean Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 10:08 PM
    Response to Reply #151
    159. Small towns in New England are not that great either.
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    Grand Taurean Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 10:08 PM
    Response to Reply #151
    160. Small towns in New England are not that great either.
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    TeeYiYi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 10:35 PM
    Response to Reply #151
    176. I understand...
    ... I couldn't read the OP either. Not initially. I finally got my courage together (with the help of an adult beverage) and went back to read it over an hour later.

    Truly one of the most relevant and courageous pieces I've seen from William Pitt. This thread is a testament to the true number of walking wounded among us. Ghosts with stories so painful, they've locked them away inside the shadow vaults of their broken souls.

    TYY


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    TrogL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-12-10 01:23 AM
    Response to Reply #151
    348. I so should not be reading this
    You're giving me ideas.
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    mindwalker_i Donating Member (836 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 09:56 PM
    Response to Original message
    152. As a total geek...
    Yeah, I got harassed lot! But I look back on who I was then, and I was really an ass hole. Not on purpose, just because I had no clue how I was coming off. Yeah, I earned it.
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    Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 10:02 PM
    Response to Original message
    156. The most amazing thing about this heartfelt story IMO
    is how you were able to transform the "out" kids into "in" kids. I've never heard of such a thing. Were you able to do that through insight and introspection, or did you have external sources to help you? It seems like this experience could be an important contribution to the literature on this subject. Have you considered writing a book about it?
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    WilliamPitt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 10:11 PM
    Response to Reply #156
    163. It was organic
    It was me, and them, and the way we all blended. They took my cues, listened to me in counseling sessions, and I had AMAZING help from other teachers and other administrators. Even the worst of those kids were just good at heart, and easily motivated to do what was obviously right. Maybe I was lucky, or they were, or we were. I couldn't tell you how I did it, how we did it. I'd need to be in a classroom again with the same dynamic at work to be able to explain or re-create it.

    I was a damned good teacher, and am looking forward to being one again.

    P.S. Your work is absolutely astonishing. Thank you for all you do. You've made me and a lot of other people smarter and better...speaking of great teachers.

    :toast: :hug:
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    greenbriar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 10:32 PM
    Response to Reply #163
    174. in 7th grade, a really horrible incident happened to me
    I sat in the front row and the worst bully of of our class sat behind me.

    On one particular day, I had my coat on and somehow, that bully tied the belt to my chair. We had the desks that were a chair/desk all in one.

    The bell rang and I stood up to go and the belt that was tied to my chair made the desk fall over with me along side it. Of course the whole class laughed and I was mortified.


    The teacher who was at least 300 lbs, said go take care of it...

    the bully's locker was right outside the classroom. As 7th graders, we had bottom lockers. He was bending over his locker (the 8th grader above him had his locker open too) I kicked him in the rear as hard as I could carrying 5 years of being bullied behind that kick. The bully stood up ...hit his head on the open top locker and started coming after me. I went back into that room and the 300 lb teacher stood in front of me and said you leave her alone. You deserved it and we can go to the principal if you like and tell him what you did. I have never loved another teacher like I loved her!!!
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    Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 12:16 PM
    Response to Reply #163
    271. Thank you Will -- I was a teacher too
    of public health students -- I taught epidemiology, public health and preventive medicine. But I never experienced anything similar to your remarkable transformation of those students.
    :toast: :hug:
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    LynneSin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 10:10 PM
    Response to Original message
    161. Been there done that....
    Our school lacked any minority - we were all a bunch of white rednecks so they had to find someone else to harass. Because I was too smart and I was awfully pale and extremely tall - I was a target for the tormentors. And people wonder why I wont' go back to my high school reunion.

    I swear that the rash of gun violence where students are killing students could be minimized if we finally dealt with the bullies. A child can only take so much until they break. I don't know how I handled going to the same school for 12 years (I was in a small school system where there was only one elementary school and one high school - so some of these bullies I spent 12 years with them), eventually I learned to zone them out and I went to Vo-Tech for 2 years (I was a gift student, deans list and destined for college and I went to a Vo-tech for 2 years just to escape my high school for half a day each day. Oddly enough I fit in perfectly with the votech kids)
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    Mopar151 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 09:34 AM
    Response to Reply #161
    236. Vocational classes were my refuge too
    That and the hardcore gearhead subset.
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    LynneSin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 10:23 AM
    Response to Reply #236
    256. It was funny - no one understood why I would go to a local Vo-tech
    Mind you, Cumberland-Perry Votech was one of the best in the state of Pennsylvania - it wasn't filled with the perceived 'flunkies'. But even still everyone figured I was college bound so why would I go there? I only went 2 years. I went for medical assistant but the one thing I did not want to do was serve 6 months in an office. I was told that not everyone does the intern and they had programs for us wanting to do lab work. Well they changed the policy my senior year which made it impossible to take a math course at the votech school. So I dropped out and went back to high school. I overloaded in college prep courses and made up for the missed Calculus over the summer at the local community college. I was still able to get into a top college. And when I returned back to my high school, people forgot that I was a common target and my senior year was a bit uneventful.

    If I had a chance to change things, I wouldn't. I had so much fun for those 2 years at Vo-tech
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    Mopar151 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 12:37 PM
    Response to Reply #256
    274. Educator attitudes about Vo-Tech need to change
    It never should have been intended for "flunkies" - but, as we've both found out, many of our school administrators have no idea what technical careers are really like. For anyone going into the mechanical trades, or any of the mechanical or industrial engineering sub-specialties, the things I learned in Vocational Machining were vital - I know, because I've had to try and teach degreed engineers these things, and they have little to no clue.
    I wish my last 'real" employer had not gone broke - the shop was Odd Duck Central, and I fit right in!
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    Dinger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 10:11 PM
    Response to Original message
    162. I Am An Elementary School Teacher Will. Thank You For Posting This
    It is personal for me too. I was a victim in middle school and high school.. Our family moved to a suburb when I was in 9th grade. We weren't poor, but the school district we moved to had cliques formed in preschool, and was very wealthy. I teach a 3rd/4th grade split right now. I work hard every day to address bullying immediately. I hope that I am as successful as you in turning the bullies around. Thank for posting this Will, and if you'd like to share some ideas, I'd sure appreciate it. :yourock:
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    Blue Texas Voter Donating Member (17 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 10:13 PM
    Response to Original message
    165. My Grandson has Systemic Lupus and is a victim of Bullying
    My 14yr. old grandson was diagnosed Feb. 0f 2008 with systemic Lupus, it is a fatal disease if not for steriod and chemo thearpy he would have died. He had to take massive doses of steriods which in turn made him gain a lot of weight and made his cheeks extremely puffy, he has now been in remission for 3 months now thank goodness but the bullying has gotten so bad at school that he told his parents three weeks ago that if they didn't transfer him to another school that he would kill himself, my son and daught-in-law now has him in therapy and the therapists suggested that the school send a teacher to the home as they did when he was too sick last year to go to school.
    The schools way of dealing with it is they look at tapes and then the students (only if their caught on tape) then are punished-they get a warning, the school officials do not want to deal with it. If you are caught fighting you receive a ticket of $700.00 whether your guilty or not, this is a Texas law so the shool district does not discourage fighting because they are racking in the money.

    My grandson went to his counselor and now is in a different class, school is not what it was when I was going, now the school principals' and their people would rather lock their office doors than to deal with a problem. By the way my grandson goes to a Crandall school which is about 30 miles from Dallas, Texas.

    I was so touched by your story and I know that what happens during your school years whether good or bad WILL affect you for the rest of your life, sorry for the long reply but I am really scared for my grandson.
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    Raskolnik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 10:17 PM
    Response to Original message
    168. While the larger point is valid, it is kind of sloppy for the writer to be perpetuating the myth
    that Columbine resulted from the bullying of Harris and Klebold. That's not how or why it happened.
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    Left coast liberal Donating Member (889 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 10:18 PM
    Response to Original message
    169. Thanks Will. XO
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    Jefferson23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 10:19 PM
    Response to Original message
    171. Outstanding piece, thank you for posting it. There are schools that
    Edited on Mon Feb-08-10 10:47 PM by Jefferson23
    that respond to students indiscretions with absurd inappropriate reactions. We have all heard them, the most recent, 12 year handcuffed
    for writing on her desk. Or as the young student in Florida, brought to police headquarters because she brought a knife to cut her steak at lunch time.

    What seems rooted in an authoritarian approach, perhaps is more about fear of litigation. If that is the case, it would be a poor excuse
    for zero tolerance rules to continue, as it does not allow for school staff to think through a situation.

    With that said, is there a zero tolerance rule applied for bullies in public schools? Bullies and their parents seem to have a hideous and unjust advantage.


    I want to post this story from 2007, please take the time to read about these inspirational students, who took the matter of bullying
    into their own hands. Other students from different locations have adopted this practice too.


    Bullied student tickled pink by schoolmates' T-shirt campaign

    Last Updated: Wednesday, September 19, 2007 | 12:25 AM AT
    CBC News

    Two Nova Scotia students are being praised across North America for the way they turned the tide against the bullies who picked on a fellow student for wearing pink.

    The victim a Grade 9 boy at Central Kings Rural High School in the small community of Cambridge wore a pink polo shirt on his first day of school.


    Bullies harassed the boy, called him a homosexual for wearing pink and threatened to beat him up, students said.

    Two Grade 12 students David Shepherd and Travis Price heard the news and decided to take action.

    "I just figured enough was enough," said Shepherd.

    They went to a nearby discount store and bought 50 pink shirts, including tank tops, to wear to school the next day.

    'Sea of pink' support

    Then the two went online to e-mail classmates to get them on board with their anti-bullying cause that they dubbed a "sea of pink."

    But a tsunami of support poured in the next day.

    Not only were dozens of students outfitted with the discount tees, but hundreds of students showed up wearing their own pink clothes, some head-to-toe.

    The two Grade 12 students show off the pink shirts they wore to school.The two Grade 12 students show off the pink shirts they wore to school.
    (CBC)

    When the bullied student, who has never been identified, walked into school to see his fellow students decked out in pink, some of his classmates said it was a powerful moment. He may have even blushed a little.


    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/nova-scotia/story/2007/09/18/p...


    Published: 2008-06-08


    Published: 2008-06-08
    Student campaign takes on bullies

    By JOEL JACOBSON
    Great Kids
    KIDS ARE POURING into the Centre Consolidated School gym, creating an ocean of pink.
    The anti-bullying committee, spearheaded by two Grade 7 students who are being bullied
    at school, has created Pink T-Shirt Day. More than 600 people will fill this space to hear a
    rock band, listen to a few speeches and, as staff and most students hope, impress that
    bullying is a behavior that wont be tolerated.
    Rachel Kendall, First South, and Kelsie Mosher, First Peninsula, both 13, started this
    program a couple of months ago.

    "We were inspired by David Sheppard and Travis Price from the Annapolis Valley who
    started a pink shirt campaign when a male friend of theirs was bullied for wearing pink to
    school," says Kelsie. "I was being bullied by girls saying mean things and yelling at us
    and starting rumors about us."

    http://www.canadiansafeschools.com/content/documents/Li...
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    WilliamPitt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 10:22 PM
    Response to Reply #171
    173. I. Love. It.
    *standing ovation*
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    TuxedoKat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 10:18 AM
    Response to Reply #171
    253. Thanks for sharing this story...
    This has been my belief for awhile that if schools instituted programs that worked with the students to empower them to come up with ideas to take a stand against bullying, it would greatly help the situation.

    Years ago when I was in 3rd grade a new girl moved to our school, "Bonnie". We all liked Bonnie and she fit in fine, except for some reason Bonnie took a disliking to one of our classmates "Candy" who was a little slower than the rest of us, and Bonnie started bullying Candy almost immediate and quite often too. Most of us had known Candy from other grades and she was our friend and classmate and we were confused, surprised and finally angered by Bonnie's behavior. Anyway, Bonnie's cruelty to Candy got to be intolerable to the rest of us and one day a good 2/3 of the class or more, maybe even all of us decided to confront Bonnie about the bullying. So one day we all just went up to her on the playground and one boy I'll never forget, Eddy, who was sort of our leader, said "We don't like the way you've been treating Candy." Bonnie got scared and started crying when she saw all the kids confronting her although there was never any intent to physically hurt her, just to get her to stop abusing Candy. At this point a teacher noticed what was going on and took Bonnie away. I don't remember exactly how it got resolved. Bonnie never bothered Candy again though that I know of, as I think she may have even been moved to another classroom. Our class never got in trouble for confronting Bonnie either. Our teacher never said anything about the incident and I hope Bonnie learned her lesson from that not to bully other kids. God bless Eddy too, I should try and find him on FB and tell him how much I admired him for helping us organize to confront a bully when the teacher didn't do anything.

    *All names changed except Eddy.
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    Jefferson23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 10:37 AM
    Response to Reply #253
    260. You're very welcome, it was painful to read the stories posted here,
    and when I read that story a few years ago my heart swelled, and never forgot it.

    I hope schools every where take the approach these young people have, strength in numbers, strength in a non violent unified confrontation
    of the bullie(s)....some schools have a lot to learn.
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    WilliamPitt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 10:40 PM
    Response to Original message
    179. HEY EVERYONE - PLEASE READ THIS
    Edited on Mon Feb-08-10 10:41 PM by WilliamPitt
    I want to thank everyone who shared their own experiences and thoughts in this thread. It has been incredibly moving to read, refresh, read, refresh...I wish we were all in a room together so we could look each other in the eye and smile the sad, hard smile of the survivor.

    This essay meant a lot to me, and I think it's the best work I've ever done. Sharing it here, with all of you, has been a blessing and a privilege.

    :grouphug:
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    omega minimo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 10:44 PM
    Response to Reply #179
    182. the phrase "you let your hair down" may not apply
    but you touched your readers' hearts. Thanks for telling your story. :toast: :grouphug:
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    Raksha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 01:21 AM
    Response to Reply #179
    207. I agree - this could very well be your best essay yet,
    and you've done some brilliant writing in the past, so that's saying a lot.

    Re >>I wish we were all in a room together so we could look each other in the eye and smile the sad, hard smile of the survivor.<<

    Yeah, me too. Thanks again for sharing your story.
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    redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 10:28 AM
    Response to Reply #179
    258. Thank you again for writing it. (nt)
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    DarkTirade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 10:45 PM
    Response to Original message
    183. I don't have scars... but my nose is still crooked to this day.
    But that was from when I'd had enough and I fought back.

    For some reason my personality is fairly anti-bully, but this guy was a little too dumb to notice so he kept trying. Took a few months to finally get a rise out of me, but he got one.
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    mistertrickster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 10:55 PM
    Response to Original message
    185. Small quibble--The song you cite, Will, was actually written by Richard Farina,
    Edited on Mon Feb-08-10 11:01 PM by mistertrickster
    a brilliant novelist and folk singer who was tragically killed at a young age.

    He was married to Joan Baez's younger sister, Mimi, when he died in a motorcycle accident.
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    A-Schwarzenegger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 11:03 PM
    Response to Reply #185
    188. "I Shall Be Released" ??
    Where did you see that?
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    WilliamPitt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 11:08 PM
    Response to Reply #185
    189. No shit.
    I did not know that. Thank you for the correction.

    :toast:
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    A-Schwarzenegger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 11:28 PM
    Response to Reply #189
    194. Somebody better tell Dylan he didnt write it.
    He's goin around sayin' he did.
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    WilliamPitt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 11:44 PM
    Response to Reply #194
    197. Oscar wrote it.
    Prove me wrong.
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    A-Schwarzenegger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 11:55 PM
    Response to Reply #197
    199. "Standing next to me in this lonely crowd
    is a mixed animal who swears he's not to blame."

    By the way, powerful & moving writing, Will, thanks.
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    WilliamPitt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 12:21 AM
    Response to Reply #199
    201. You are a bad person.
    :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

    Thank you. :hug:
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    mistertrickster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 01:23 PM
    Response to Reply #194
    281. I was wrong. Dylan did write it. Somebody told me different once.
    I should have checked it out before posting.

    Language is viral, as they say.
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    mistertrickster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 01:20 PM
    Response to Reply #189
    280. Okay, I didn't KNOW it either. I was repeating something that some old folkie
    told me when he sang it at a war protest.

    After researching this, Dylan has it on his website as one of his songs.

    My bad totally.

    Note to self: research first, then post.
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    LiberalEsto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 01:31 PM
    Response to Reply #185
    282. Farina also wrote a novel
    called "Been Down So Long it Looks Like Up to Me"
    It was a classic in my college days - late 60s, early 70s.

    More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Been_Down_So_Long_It_Looks...
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    ladym55 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 11:01 PM
    Response to Original message
    187. And a few words from the mom of boy who was bullied
    I've read every post in this thread. What I learned when my son was bullied??? The teachers fed into it and supported it. The bullies were all the local athletes ... they were chosen and special by age 8, which is when the bullying began. My son apparently was "too smart" and that was "a problem." I worried for years for his safety. It mellowed by high school. The cool athletic guys didn't care about tormenting him anymore, and he had become a comedian, so apparently not a threat any longer.

    Am I surprised that he decided to go to college 500 miles away??? And then stay there??? Nope.

    I remember talking with teachers and administrators. The teachers told me it was my son's fault ... it was our fault. Apparently there was an issue because my husband was a faculty member at the local university. THAT was a problem. The principal said that bullies made good athletes, and the bullies would make for good sports teams in high school.

    By the end of middle school, I kinda hated the teachers in the school district for having the maturity level of their students ... eating lunch with the cool kids and talking about their love lives. Good news is that the high school teachers WERE adults, so my kid had some good role models.

    I hate how we are SO hung up in our culture about who is cool and who is not cool. We feed into this awful tribalism instead of helping kids up and become functioning, compassionate adults.
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    Eyerish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 11:14 PM
    Response to Original message
    190. From one bullied kid to another....Thank you.
    My scars from the verbal abuse affect me to this day. Thank you for sharing your story.
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    Wednesdays Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-08-10 11:20 PM
    Response to Original message
    191. Thanks for this, Will.
    I only have one thing to say. That is, I'm amazed at people who come on here to say, "All you need to do is punch the daylights out of him, he'll leave you alone forever. Worked for me."

    Either they've never faced a REAL bully (or gang of bullies), or they're just naive. Things don't usually have neat, tidy happy endings like in the Karate Kid movies. I've seen it personally many times. If you punch them hard, they'll blindside you with a chair. If you carry a chain, they bring a knife. If you bring a knife, they bring a gun. If you bring two friends, they bring three.

    Violence solves everything, eh, DUers? Where does the madness end? Unfuckingbelievable.
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    Raksha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 12:44 AM
    Response to Reply #191
    203. We have personal testimony from several people here
    that beating the crap out of a bully DOES work, Of course you have to get the bully alone, because one person can't beat up three or four at a time, but according to several people on this thread it solves the problem permanently. I'm only sorry I can't count myself among them.
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    jeff47 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 02:48 AM
    Response to Reply #203
    211. It works, but only sometimes
    Sometimes it works.

    Sometimes it results in escalation.

    Bullying a complex social dynamic, and no kid is going to have learned enough about social interaction to figure out the right solution. One-size-fits-all solutions will fit just about as well as they do in adult situations.
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    truebrit71 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 03:24 PM
    Response to Reply #191
    297. It worked for me. One fight and it ended. At least from that particular douchebag...
    ...the other ones got taken care of on the rugby pitch..
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    FreedomRain Donating Member (164 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 12:45 AM
    Response to Original message
    204. Thanks Will
    Edited on Tue Feb-09-10 12:52 AM by FreedomRain
    and all the posters! *Hugs all around*

    We moved A LOT, nearly every year. So there was always the hope that this new place would be better. It rarely was, but there were brief respites from the bullies. Like 8th grade (in an American School in Jordan) , I was nearly even popular there! 9th grade back in Virginia proved it wouldn't last. The very worst was 6th grade in Colombia (very mixed private school, taught in English, all the diplomats and high rollers sent their kids there.) 7th grade in rural Oregon was little better. A different school in Virginia for Senior year (class of 85) was the fight back success story. (it CAN work, I think is the lesson. If you need to give advice to a kid in that situation, it is ONE possibility. It is NOT a cure-all. )

    So many of your stories, I relate to. My particular offense was having an odd nasal voice, though high IQ didn't help either.

    7th grade fantasy - A battery in my backpack that I could use to shock people who tried to hurt me ;)

    Abusive father, check. (Mostly in the form of ridiculous spankings every day - and I was a model kid. Rest of the family, never seemed to notice and were surprised but not shocked when I talked about it once.) I now believe that may have been a huge part of the "signal."

    The fake set up to ask a girl out - 9th grade.

    Whenever possible , I walked to and from school. Usually through woods, but even in foreign cities. over 15 miles for the Oregon school. Still a big fan of long walks , ha!

    All 4 of my step-kids were bullied at school (Arizona). When it reached the point they cried that they just couldn't go back, what could I say? I knew they were right and the various schools they attended had never done anything positive and occasionally made it worse. They all went to online home-school.
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    Merdy1337 Donating Member (1 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 01:10 AM
    Response to Original message
    205. Heartfelt understanding and my own experiences being bullied

    Wow. What a touching, heartwrenching and emotional story.

    All I want to say is, as a fellow victim of bullying in grade school, my heart goes out to you. Your situation may have been more intense than mine, since I never actually got physically beaten up by my classmates, but the emotions you described having felt, and the depressingly bleak way life must have seemed to you are all emotions I know all too well. You also hit the nail on the head with your last bit...the part where you say how, though this may have been an event that shaped you into the person you are today, there is nothing good about what you went through. That is so true, and I was hoping I could share my story with you, to show you you aren't alone in these traumatic experiences.

    I was bullied for two years, starting in grade 7 and ending at the end of grade 8, and to this day I still consider them the darkest two years of my life. Day in and day out, I was picked on by a group of kids, all of whose faces I remember vividly, and any attempt I made to tell an adult was futile, since all the administration did was to give the bullies a lecture then send them on their merry way. This, of course, meant they went right back to bullying me again. There was a time when I myself wanted to end it all, but having a loving family and a few good friends saved me from that option.

    People always tell me how bright and happy and optimistic a person I am, and wonder why I am a left-wing socialist such as I am...and I have to say a good part of all that does come from being bullied as a kid. It's almost as if, having seen such a low point in my life, I made a subconscious vow never to go back to that dark place, and my outlook on life has become almost neo-hippyish in response. Like you, I care more about social justice and looking out for the little guy that I did before this experience, and like you I am who I am today because of these events, but I don't think these kinds of experiences are the only way to make someone a caring, tolerant person. I'm going into teaching myself, and I have to say that my goal in both the classroom and at home with my kids if I have any will be to teach them not to bully but to accept others. These lessons CAN be learned peacefully...its just tragic that more often than not, those of us who do learn them, learn them in such a destructive way.

    In closing I'd like to share something one of my professors (I'm in college to be a teacher) said about classroom management:

    "The environment in your classroom should not reflect the world as it IS, but rather the world as you WANT IT TO BE!"

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    demigoddess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 02:52 AM
    Response to Original message
    212. my kids went through a lot of this too. and I have a child in special ed that had
    to endure a lot. What was the worst of it, is that some of it came from teachers. And I always wonder if the teachers don't subtly start it going around. They certainly made no effort to stop it and at times they even joined in. I was so disgusted with all of the school districts we were in. It was all over the country.
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    puebloknot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 03:26 AM
    Response to Original message
    213. For this article alone, you deserve the Pulitzer Prize
    My daughter is your age. I raised her alone. Every year, in California, I looked for a better school for her, public or private. She never suffered what you did, but she dealt with social snobbery for being a "scholarship kid" in one private school, and one of the "out" kids wherever she was. She told me about being hit on the head by some kids who had been bused in and were alienated from the others they had to deal with. My daughter, standing right here as I write, just said that with boys it's physical violence, and with girls, it's a "mind fuck," in which girls run in packs and ridicule and humiliate other girls. And I have always agreed with your assertion that it is not inevitable that this kind of situation has to exist.

    You are quite courageous to write this heartfelt and honest piece. I have often said that we expect of children, when we send them off to school, that they deal with situations that would drive most adults out of the workplace. And they are so often silent, out of shame or worry about burdening their parents.

    Another thing that has come to my attention over the last few years is that some people pull their kids out of school and "homeschool" them over the issue of not being able to trust that their children are in a safe environment in our schools. Of course, an underlying theme for much of homeschooling is the idea of protecting children from reality on the part of Fundamentalist "Christians." The matter of safety just gives them an added argument for not putting their kids in public schools where they can get a real education.

    This personal story, to include your success in combatting bullying as a teacher and administrator, deserves wide distribution. We know you have the right stuff to do that. "Here There Be Monsters" sounds like the perfect title for a book on this subject. Be ye writing it?

    Warm regards,

    Judy Barrett
    Santa Fe, New Mexico



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    SeattleGirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 04:09 AM
    Response to Original message
    215. Will, your post nearly brought me to tears.
    And it brought up my own nightmares. I was not abused in the way that you were, and for that I am thankful. But I was laughed at, derided, made fun of, and that's not fun either.

    I was set up as the butt of a joke more times than I care to remember, like the time a "friend" of mine paid a boy to dance with me, or the time another "friend" offered me a seat at the dance, only to have her boyfriend, without looking at me, grab my hand, as he thought it was the hand of his girlfriend. When he finally looked at me, he was horrified -- HORRIFIED -- to see that it was not his girlfriend, but me. Little ol' "ugly" me.

    Things like that DO hurt. I don't care what anybody says about "sticks and stones," they HURT. They HUMILIATE. They can DAMAGE.

    To add in the things that happened to you, and that have happened to countless others....well, frankly, I can totally understand the feelings you sometimes had for wanting to take an Uzi to those people and wipe them off the face of the earth.

    Whose responsibility is it to try and correct this ugliness?

    It is the parents.

    It is the teachers and school administrators.

    And, is it for any of us who sees something that is not right, who sees a pack of kids going after another kid.

    It takes a village, it is said. I agree. Perhaps in our roll in our villages may be small, but it may also be important.

    It is NOT okay to bully. And it is NOT okay to sit back and decide that it is someone else's responsibility to stop it.

    I weep for the bullied kids of the world.

    And I weep for the bullies too, because most of them probably haven't had the care and guidance they needed to stop it.

    There are some among the group of bullies for whom no effort, no person, can make a difference.

    But for the rest.....

    :cry:

    .....it's also not okay to just ignore them and let them slide down into the garbage heap.

    Some folks ARE worth saving, and I mean the bullies and the bullied.

    Will, you seem to have come out of your experience an all right guy, scars and all.

    I, for one, am thankful that you did.

    :hug:

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    TrogL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-12-10 02:07 AM
    Response to Reply #215
    349. Most bullies cannot be saved
    It's in their blood. They grow up to be religious right authoritarian assholes.
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    Manifestor_of_Light Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 05:12 AM
    Response to Original message
    219. The only way to get their attention is to sue the school district.
    Sadly, this is true. They must be sued. Parents must stand up for their kids and hit the schools in the pocketbook. That is all they understand.

    I was bullied for seven years, from sixth thru 12th grade. I had social skills, was friendly, but still was bullied. I was a year and a half younger than the other kids, smallest one in the class, usually, really smart, and a female with glasses. I wasn't big enough to beat anyone up and did not dare hit anyone, because I did not want to break my fingers. I was in orchestra and a serious musician.

    I told the kids to go to hell, which is what my mom told me to do.

    Then when I went off to college at the age of 17, some angry black girl decided to drag me out of my dorm room, down the hall, and toss me out a window at midnight, where I sat on her second story ledge. I went to the Dean and the Dean said it was just "getting injured during rush". This was racism pure and simple. She refused to expel this girl. I should have filed charges and sued the university. My dad read the hazing statute over the phone to the Dean of Students. I talked to her several times, and the resident assistant and nobody did anything. But my parents refused to come to San Antonio and confront the administration, and why I do not know. My dad was an attorney.

    This was in the fall of 1972, the dean of students was Dr. Coleen Grissom, the school was Trinity University and the &^%$ bitch who threw me out a window just because I was white and did not like her was Cascell Noble.

    I could have dropped out and gone home and run off. I got paranoid because word got all over the campus, and all these kids I did not know said "hi" to me. The black men were embarrassed. Once I was in the dining hall and Cascell came over to me and started sitting down and yelling at me. One of the black men came over and said "Do you feel threatened?" and I said Yes. He got her to stop hassling me.

    Wish I'd sued the bastards.
    And gone to the newspapers.

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    Kltpzyxm Donating Member (135 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 05:25 AM
    Response to Original message
    220. Powerful Stuff
    Thanks
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    tango-tee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 05:34 AM
    Response to Original message
    221. Powerful post.
    Although I'm at a loss for words at the moment, needing to let it "ferment".
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    HillWilliam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 07:06 AM
    Response to Original message
    223. I've gone most of my life thinking it was just me
    :grouphug:

    It's all I can do not to cry openly as I so want to hug each and every one of you. I'll be 53 in June, but the pain is just as real as it was when it was all happening. I was the poor kid in Lutheran school. The teachers sneered and the kids joined in the taunts. In middle school, my mom got transferred a lot so I was always "the new kid". Nobody likes "skinny, smart, and new" so I was always the immediate target. Mom's answer was "get an equalizer". How TF can you find an "equalizer" when you're suddenly pounced out of the blue by six or eight kids bigger than you, out for your blood? Junior high and most of high school, it was even worse because "skinny, smart, new, and gay" in the rural south are absolutely a deadly combination.

    The instant I graduated high school, I joined the Army and left the godforsaken redneck-ridden hellholes of my youth. It was the first time I had had any relief whatsoever. That only lasted a couple of years before some alcoholic nut got loose in the barracks and decided that I (of all frickin' people) needed an asswhuppin' while I was minding my own business, coming off shift-work one night.

    How do they fucking know?

    Fortunately, that time, the top-kick had already had an eye on that number and it was the last straw for both. The drunk got bounced out with a dishonorable/FTA and I was left alone.

    For most of my life, I've been no fashion plate, a skinny, bearded biker. I compensated best I could to overcome my shyness, a brief descent into the bottle, too many men, too many of the wrong men, one partner who promised undying love putting me in the ER twice.

    It was after that I finally learned to value myself, vowing never to accept "less" again. Something inside me snapped and I realized that, after all that negativity, I was really OK "inside", worthy of nothing less than real love. If it meant I had to be alone but self-valued the rest of my life, I was really good with that.

    It was at that moment the best thing in my life occurred: DUer HillbillyBob showed up. On Friday, we will have been together 14 years. His story is as rough as mine. Together, we've healed, become something stronger. Nobody gets bullied in our presence. Our home is a sanctuary of love, respect, deep friendship, peace, and laughter.

    We wish that were the case for everyone. The peace that we have now we wish for our fellows here.

    Will, thanks for sharing. Healing is always on-going. It's hard not to pick up and meddle with the pain, I know. But we can stand back from it and say "never friggin' again."
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    zeemike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 08:17 AM
    Response to Original message
    225. May I recount my experiences?
    Which are quite different than this OP.
    My first experience was in 2nd grade...two big kids told me they would beat me up after school....I thought they were just talking but sure enough as I was walking home with my lunch box there they were on the corner waiting.
    When the first one came at me I swung my lunch box and hit him square on the noes and a gush of blood came forth and he and his friend went home and never bothered me again.
    Later I went to a Catholic school with mostly Irish kids that immediately challenged me to fight....and we did...mostly wrestling on the ground for a while until we got tired and brushed ourselves off and walked home togather....we then became best buds....in that school no one really fought....but they wanted to know that you would....but that was a whole different time.

    And I am not proud of the fact that I used preemptive violence but it did work in my case and at that time....but I in no way endorse it for anyone today.

    The problem I see is in the system we have....schools have become a social conditioning system, with layers of classes that you must be accepted by....If you are the quarterback of the football team or captain of the cheerleader squad you are on top and nothing you do will have consequences.
    If you are poor and wear shabby closes or look or act different you are on the bottom and will be ridiculed by the ones on the top and ignored by the teachers or even made fun of by them....every thing you do will be wrong, and in order to get by you must become invisible.

    In my opinion schools must change...they need to become institutions devoted to education and nothing else....drop the sports teams and the school spirit and the promotion of class distinctions.
    But this idea will be unpopular because it is the adults that get off on it and they like it that way.
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    fleabert Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 08:22 AM
    Response to Original message
    227. thank you for this- those of us that were tormented appreciate it.
    I would give anything to meet 'betsy' again. the girl in 7th grade who tormented me with taunts of "Lesbian", threatened to kill me, chased me home and beat on my doors and window- screaming 'lesbian!'. If I hadn't moved to another state, she might have escalated to actually hurting me.

    I just could not understand why it would make her so mad if I was a lesbian.

    I would actually say thank you to her today, because it gave this straight girl a sense of empathy for my GLBT friends that I don't think I could have learned otherwise. I grew up in the bible belt, being told that being gay was a sin of the worst sort. My best friends now are gay and queer men and women, with a few straights mixed in. I have marched in the Pride parade in SF, and worked the main stage the next year.

    Thanks Betsy.

    (now, the others in elementary and jr. high who just teased me relentlessly and chased me home with threats of violence, fuck them)
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    LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 09:00 AM
    Response to Original message
    228. Why choose
    to blame the school system rather than the bullies?

    Or, if you think the school system helps to foster bullying, why not offer up some support for positive changes in the system, instead of attacking?

    Smaller schools, and more adults per students, for example?

    Less focus on test scores, and more on the social dynamics going on....but that would fly in the face of the current admins' determination to amplify the misuse of "high stakes" test scores.

    I HAVE encountered high schools that ignored the toxic social dynamics going on, for whatever reason. What cure is the author of this piece offering?

    Why not look at the larger picture, and address bullying at it's source? We're a bullying culture. We thrive on bullying. No wonder our children bring it to school with them.

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    WilliamPitt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 09:05 AM
    Response to Reply #228
    230. Write your own article
    You can focus it wherever you please.

    Don't try to tell me about my experiences, friend. As far as I can tell, you weren't there.
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    LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-11-10 08:06 AM
    Response to Reply #230
    337. Please point out
    a place where I "tried to tell you about your experiences."

    I didn't, of course.

    Again:

    What are your suggestions for a cure?
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    Ignis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 09:00 AM
    Response to Original message
    229. You're a brave man, Mr. Pitt.
    Thanks for posting this. For every person who speaks out on bullying, there are many others who will never find the courage to do so.

    :patriot:
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    Happyhippychick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 09:07 AM
    Response to Original message
    231. I work as a school counselor and your story was very helpful for me.
    We do a lot of work on bullying and we take it extremely seriously. We instill a sense of responsibility in the "onlookers" as well - those who witness bullying and do nothing are not held responsible but they are admonished for not coming forward. You would be amazed at how many kids are now willing to come forward or to call out a bully in the middle of his/her brutality because we are teaching the kids to speak up.

    It reminds me of how society has changed in regards to terrorist attacks on planes. The status quo used to be that the passengers should just sit there and do nothing - the end result is that the hijackers would kill everyone on board. Now the other passengers jump into the fray and stop the terrorist in his tracks - the shoe bomber and the Christmas day bomber were all stopped because of fellow passengers. This is how society needs to work - all of us together protecting the most vulnerable members.

    I'm so sorry to read of your horrific story and I don't think badly of you at all for empathizing on some level with the Dylan Kliebolds of the world. Maybe that's because I'm a shrink and I see that there is no such thing as a black and white situation. When a child lashes out it is because he/she is being abused as well.

    Your past is what has shaped you and that is something to be very proud of. You can and do help others by sharing your story, you certainly helped me.

    Peace.
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    Javaman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 09:11 AM
    Response to Original message
    232. Chipped teeth, broken hand, scars on my hands, arms and face.
    Lord of the flies junior and senior high.

    Thankfully, most of those bastards are now in prison or dead.

    As for the teachers, they live with their guilt anytime one of us confronts them on their past evils. I no longer live in my hometown or anywhere near it, but my close friends, who still do, make sure when they bump into these teachers, that these classroom stalin's remember the evil they did by allowing these things to happen.
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    teewrex Donating Member (26 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 09:21 AM
    Response to Original message
    233. I have alway thought that Michael Moore should do an expose
    on bullying. I had to pull my child from school and home school him due to bullying. Usually the one being bullies eventually fights back and then gets in trouble while the bullies are who instigated it are let go scot free. The powerlessness starts in elementary school where children are punished for "tattling" when they are harassed so they quickly learn that the adults don't care. By middle school when the authorities tell the kids to take their problems to an adult, the mold is already set and they don't trust the adults. I home school my kids because of a complete lack of faith in the school system
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    Mad_Dem_X Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 09:23 AM
    Response to Original message
    234. Thank you for sharing that; I'm crying
    I was teased during Junior High, but thank God, it never got physical. Still, a part of me inside retains the scars from the verbal abuse I endured.

    You are a brave person; what happened to you only made you stronger. It may sound stupid, but I believe that. Thank you for your honesty.

    :hug:
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    BonnieJW Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 09:26 AM
    Response to Original message
    235. Bless you, Will,
    for taking your pain and using it to foster the end of bullying under your administration. I agree with others that you should write a "how to" book for schools and parents. It must stop.

    My daughter was bullied in 5th grade. We had to put her in private school (which we couldn't afford) in her 6th grade. She blossomed and we were able to put her in public school after that. She was tall for her age and developed a very hard edge. She knew she could beat up any girls who tried to bully her and that aura kept kids in line.

    Should any kid be subjected to that kind of cruelty? Should any parent have to watch their child be tormented?
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    av8rdave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 09:44 AM
    Response to Original message
    239. Thank you!
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    jedicord Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 09:48 AM
    Response to Original message
    240. I had to print this for my 16 year old son.
    At the beginning of the school year I got a call from the school counselor, as my son had told her that he was so sick of the bullying he didn't just want to hit back, he wanted to kill them. And since killing is wrong he had decided to save them by killing himself.

    Since he said this to school counselor, I had to admit him to a mental hospital for a week and a half and is now on psychotic medication and seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist. Sadly, he has fallen into "the system" and I am desperately trying to get him out.

    And sadly, he is still being bullied.

    Thank you, Will, I hope it helps my son to know that there is life past this horror.
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    closeupready Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 09:51 AM
    Response to Original message
    241. Expensive civil judgments against do-nothing school districts speak much louder than words.
    Edited on Tue Feb-09-10 09:52 AM by closeupready
    In my humble opinion.
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    Bunkie0913 Donating Member (149 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 09:54 AM
    Response to Original message
    242. Bless your heart
    What a powerful story. Very well written, extremely touching. Sorry don't seem to help but I'm sorry for your pain.
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    RKP5637 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 10:01 AM
    Response to Original message
    243. Excellent Article! When will children, teens and adults mature and see
    life as more than being aggressors and/or fostering bullying. We are often a very weak society in doing what is best. This falls far short of receiving enough attention. For example, just spinning the TV channels or following movies one can certainly see extreme aggression as seemingly acceptable in this society. Some of the crap is horrifying. We as a country and society are quite primitive and backward in many ways. At my late age I had thought things would improve through the years. Some have, many haven't. Many priorities are misplaced. Many administrators and teachers are bullies themselves and have no place in an educational system. Many should be dismissed on the spot.
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    kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 10:12 AM
    Response to Original message
    250. K & R
    My friend.
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    Stargazer09 Donating Member (625 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 10:22 AM
    Response to Original message
    255. I'm glad you never used that knife
    I'm also sorry you had to live through all of that.

    My third son was mercilessly bullied at his middle school in Louisiana, so we went to talk to the principal about it. She turned to my son and asked him, "What did you do to deserve it?" I kid you not. She asked my son what he did to deserve being shoved into cement walls, having his belongings stolen during gym class, and who knows what else he had to live through but didn't tell me about.

    That day, I bought my son a plane ticket to Washington, where my ex-husband (his father) lived. As much as I hated to see my son go live with his dad, his safety was my primary concern. I miss him terribly, but I know that he's a happier person for not being bullied on a daily basis.

    That same school district had videotape of my oldest daughter, who was in kindergarten at the time, being beaten on the school bus. My husband saw it, and he listened with disgust as the principal of her school told him that our daughter should have stayed in her seat. We asked to have her assigned to a different bus, which covered the route right next to us and had a much better safety record, but they wouldn't allow it.

    Needless to say, the day my husband received orders to move away from that school district was one of the happiest days of our lives.
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    CraftyGal Donating Member (602 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 10:28 AM
    Response to Original message
    259. My husband,TrogL mentioned this post to me...
    so i want to tell you all my story.

    I have had a very difficult life. I was born into a family, I am talking 1965 here, where I was the outcast to say the least. My mother was 13, my father was 19 and they were siblings to boot. I was put up for adoption and shunted from group home to group home (much like the orphanages that we hear about in other countries). I was 3 years old when I finally hit all my milestones in development. Unfortunately for me I also had a partial paralysis of the face so, my smile was crooked. I hated to eat out in public because I had difficulties with keeping my mouth closed while eating, I still hate it however I am more candid about the physical limitations now. At 4 1/2 yrs old I was finally adopted by a wonderful family. I loved school that is util we moved from Fort Saskatchewan to Edmonton when I was 8.

    My brother and I had to walk several blocks to get to school, we went to Cromdale school which has since closed down and is the new Eastwood Heath Centre. I am not even sure when the bullying happened but I have two traumatic experiences that stick out. One was where I was walking with a group of girls who i thought were my friends. All of sudden out of nowhere my head was slammed into an apartment building. I walked away with a broken nose and smashed glasses. Mom and Dad went to the school which made matters worse. After that my brother and I were fair game. The second one that sticks out was after school my brother and I walking home from school and being swarmed bu about 8 kids, both male and female. My brother managed to escape by going into the ravine, This was prohibited by the school and was a strappable offense, if caught. By the time they realized he was gone he was almost home. I don't remember what happened after that, except that we were called into the office the next day. We were there to get out "punishment" for going itno the ravine. The only way to salove the issue was to move, so we moved to Spruce Avenue and I settled in for grade 4.

    I know I was targeted as my reading ability was not good at the time. God forbid I had to read out loud, that was my worse nightmare. Mom got a teenager, who was 16 at the time to tutor me. My reading got better but what my parents didn't know was that year he was also molesting me. In fact they still don't know, well dad may now if there is a heaven/hell, however I digress. Grade 4 was awesome. I excelled for the most part in fact I was part of a local choir that had produced an album. I was accepted that year. Grade 5 we moved twice so that was a difficult year. Talk about trying to fit in, I had to deal with two schools that year. To top it off, in the second school I had to take French which I had not had to take before. However I discovered I excelled in French, I got the most improved after taking it for 4 months! The following year I won an honors award and the chance to got to the acreage that my French teacher owned. I remember my French teacher recommending French Immersion for Grade 7, junior high. My parents nixed the idea.

    Now onto junior high...it was to bad except I had a difficult time in phys ed, I mean I FAILED phys ed! who fails what should have been arguably the easiest class? Well I did and was told I wouldn't be welcomed back into the class until we knew why. I had a muscle biopsy done in my upper arm and was given the diagnosis of Fascio Scapular Humeral Muscular Dystrophy. I was told of the 4 main dystrophies that this was the best one to get. So now began a different ostracism, one of being set apart because I wasn't physically perfect. Add in that I didn't dress like others and I was very much empathetic to others...we had the perfect storm. This was also the time where I was awkward as I had developed early, into a young woman in every sense of the word. My cramps were so bad that I was on the pill at the age of 12 as I was missing to much school. Someone found out and that was spread around the school very quickly. That somehow I was easy because I was on the pill.

    Junior high was pretty much a blur other than dealing with the "fat" jokes about my mom. then I started saying she wasn't my real mom and that one day I was going to find my real mom and we would be happy (little did I realize that it would be a difficult situation with her). I do remember being asked to go to a hockey game with a guy, who I had a crush on, only to find out that he didn't know anything about it and I sat at home, dressed very nicely waiting for my date. I was crushed and devastated, vowing to never have anyone set me up like that again.

    Grade 10 through 12 were a breeze in comparison. I still was the outcast, however there was a group of us that got together and we called ourselves the misfit club. We were the group that didn't fit in anywhere else and for the most part left to our own devices. Two big things that stuck out in my mind were...finding the one girl, who was the outcast who had been picked on, called names, etc on the floor of one of the girls washrooms. She had overdosed on pills. She survived and we hung out after that. My parents hated her only because of the rumors they had heard. The second was when someone that it would a great practical joke to slip acid (LSD) into my drink in the cafeteria. I ended up in the psyche ward for a weekend because I had a bad trip. I destroyed the cafeteria as I thought the bananas were spiders that were going to eat me. My parents blamed the girl.

    I finally left home at 15. I struggled with so many different issues and living at home was exacerbating the problems. I was self-medicating with alcohol which had it many struggles as well. I am now sober just over 4 yrs.

    Someone mentioned that often children of victims of bullying also get bullied. Not sure if that is necessarily the case all the time. I do my son, youngest of 3, was severally bullied to the point of him threatening suicide. It was actually through TrogL's son and mine that we met. TrogL's son was very protective of my son and often helped him to get out of situations that my son found himself in. It got so bad that I almost lost my job, I was a single parent at the time, which wasn't uncommon in our area, neither was the poverty. So he wasn't dealing with those issues. He was just "different". I actually pulled him out of school with the blessing of my mom, however Children Services had been called and I was told send him to his grandmother (my birth mother-long story) in Victoria or they were removing him from my care completely. So he went to Victoria. He is doing well and entering into Grade 12 in September. He is getting all the supports that he should have been getting here and wasn't. He will have supports to carry him into College or University, whatever he decides to do with his life. He wants to be a police officer and I think he would be wonderful at it as he gets people.

    Sorry for the long and drawn out story, just had to share it.

    CraftyGal
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    coffeenap Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 10:55 AM
    Response to Original message
    264. Everyone I know in admin at schools will receive this from me.
    Thanks for writing it Will. I imagine this hits home somehow with almost everyone.
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    Joe Bacon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 11:09 AM
    Response to Original message
    267. Been there and done that
    And I can NEVER forgive the teachers and football coaches who encouraged bullies to beat me. It left me with a lifelong hatred of public schools. Even now when I vote and see school bond issues on the ballot, I get panic attacks. I wind up voting NO and I won't lift a finger to do anything to help a school. I've never had children because I know I couldn't cope if they got bullied as I was.
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    femrap Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 11:17 AM
    Response to Original message
    268. K and R
    When I grew up, a long time ago, the worst that happened was being called 'fatty.' I kicked a couple of brats.

    I can't believe that the admin and teachers do nothing. It truly is the absolute decline of our crap culture. Our institutions are monsters.

    These bullies....it's as if they can see into someone's soul and know that they are kind and as a result 'bulliable.'

    Some humans would be of better use as compost.

    Thank you for sharing something so very personal...I bet those who bullied you have met up with some very nasty Karma! Karma never fails to level the field for the underdogs.
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    nightrain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 12:04 PM
    Response to Original message
    269. knr for the truth. I have to wonder how many in positions of "leadership" or "authority"
    in the US, and elsewhere, have had similar experiences --perpetrator, victim, or enabler.

    As a society, nation, and as individuals we certainly can interrupt this cycle of violence when we become aware of how it operates. Help is available, that's the important aspect.

    During and after the healing, becoming an advocate for intergenerational healing in others, not being silent about abuse and neglect, reducing shame and guilt are keys to reducing the perpetuation of this violence.

    Thank you for the courage to post your experiences. Bravo.
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    Subdivisions Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 12:15 PM
    Response to Original message
    270. Thank you for this, Will. We just went through this in my town in Oct.
    Edited on Tue Feb-09-10 12:17 PM by Subdivisions
    Hunter Layland, 15, was relentlessly bullied. Why? Because he sustained disfiguring injuries to his face in an auto accident when he was a toddler. Not only did he have to endure seeing the scars in the mirror every day, he sustained brutality at school because of it. He finally had enough.

    http://community2.myfoxdfw.com/_Bullied-Teen-Commits-Su...

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    shireen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 12:48 PM
    Response to Original message
    275. i was listening to a podcast of Bill Moyers interviewing Karen Armstrong.
    One of the things she said really resonated with me: there is a lack of compassion in society. Too many people just don't take the time to empathize with others.

    It happens on so many levels, this lack of empathy. The OP did a brilliant job shining the spotlight on bullying, which is such a serious and dangerous epidemic.

    But this lack of compassion also happens in small subtle ways in our everyday lives, and often goes unnoticed. In this recent snowstorm in Baltimore, a resident at my apartment complex was complaining, one day after the storm, that the sidewalks were not shoveled by the maintenance staff. He did not take one moment to imagine what it would be like for those people, who have their own homes and families to take care of first, and was ignoring the fact that they worked late into the night on the day the storm ended to clear pathways from the door to the road. Today, a friend on facebook complained about snow removal in Baltimore city. My response: the city's first priority was making all roads passable, and they were racing against the clock to do it before the second storm hit. That did not register with two other people who also chimed in, one complaining of snow emergency roadways not being plowed properly, and another wondering why his tax dollars were not spent removing the snow. While this is just a minor example in comparison to the OP, it illustrates the pervasive lack of compassion and empathy at so many levels, in our society.

    I hope Karen Armstrong's Charter for Compassion gains more attention, and helps people become more aware and empathic to others around them.
    http://charterforcompassion.org/
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    willing dwarf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-10-10 05:15 AM
    Response to Reply #275
    329. Yes, in compassion there is forgiveness, strength and healing
    I didn't know about Karen Armstrong's Charter of Compassion, but I just read and signed it, and will share it with others. Thank you for sharing it here.
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    colsohlibgal Donating Member (670 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 12:50 PM
    Response to Original message
    276. Bullies Are Really Cowards
    They are trying to compensate for their own deficiencies, real or imagined. It is so lame that some who have self worth issues try to bolster themselves by hurting someone they think they can pick on. I haven't been bothered much since walking to kindergarten one day when I was pretty tiny - a couple of boy bullies menaced me and it was scary for a five year old. The next day my mom came with me and put the fear of God in them, no surprise, when she got mad you did not want to mess with her.

    Of course bullies can often bite off more than they can chew, things are not always as they seem. I took a women's self defense course not long ago, and I would pay money to watch what would happen if someone tried to bully the two women who taught the course, they were not that big but were Israeli army no nonsense scary tough. My guess is that any man trying to assault either of them would be done fathering children.
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    cliffordu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 12:54 PM
    Response to Original message
    277. K&R
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    unpossibles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 01:04 PM
    Response to Original message
    278. I have a similar scar on my hand, my left hand
    My bullying was also sometimes done by someone in my own family as well. We're closer now, but growing up his temper and physical size were an explosive mix with my sense of humor - many times, I would not realize he was mad at some smart-alec joke I had made until he was beating me, sometimes with an object.

    I learned not only how to take it, but also made a conscious decision to not be a victim, to learn how to defend myself. Not everyone is so lucky.

    I often wish I could tell kids that they need to stick it out, that the "out" kids almost always become better people because we were forced to develop personalities and compassion, while the popular kids almost always end up being unpopular douchebags stuck in the past all of their lives. Revenge is a life well lived, but I do still bear the scars.
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    spandexfantastic Donating Member (55 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 01:31 PM
    Response to Original message
    283. We are a nation of bullies
    any surprise our kids are?

    My being bullied still leaves me with clench-fisted anger.
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    BenjaminFranklin Donating Member (101 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 01:37 PM
    Response to Original message
    285. to ignore it is to condone it to condone it it to be an active participant
    I got a lot of verbal bullying at school growing up. I was the biggest kid in class so they couldn't beat me up. They didn't need to. My abusive father took care of that for them.
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    raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 02:00 PM
    Response to Reply #285
    287. Great post.

    "to ignore it is to condone it to condone it it to be an active participant"

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    SlingBlade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 02:01 PM
    Response to Original message
    288. K & R .... For highlighting this nations sickness
    War anyone ?
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    truebrit71 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 03:05 PM
    Response to Original message
    294. Will, have you had any contact with those sadistic bastards since?
    I always wonder how they turn out..especially the really vicious ones..
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    gorfle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 03:09 PM
    Response to Original message
    295. An article and a possible solution.
    I wanted to share a relevant article about bullying:

    http://www.robertringer.com/school-shootings.html

    The author, Robert Ringer, is not terribly progressive, but the article still holds some valuable insights and jives directly with the original poster.

    Basically, I believe that people who are bullied go one of two ways when they snap. They either internalize the abuse and commit suicide, or they externalize it and go on a murdering spree. Most of them, I suspect, are too weak to stand up to their abusers, and thus are too weak to go on violent sprees and consequently just commit suicide.

    I, too, was bullied during school, and have come to the following conclusions about bullying:

    1) The only way to avoid bullying is to not be different. If you are different, either by the way you look, dress, speak or your intelligence level, you are a prime target for bullying.

    2) Telling adults does nothing. All telling adults does is get you labeled as a snitch, and now they have one more thing to pick on you about. Only the bullying goes underground and anonymous, so that they can't be fingered. So your books will be glued together with superglue by someone - you don't know who. Or your books will get knocked out of your hands while you walk down the hall, but when you turn around and look everyone is just all grins. Or you'll get home to find a note taped to your back that says something cute on it, like "small penis", but you don't know who put it there.

    So for the longest time I came to believe, and was planning to teach my two children, that the only way to stop bullying is to stop it dead in its tracks by punching the bully right square in the nose, as hard as you can. I believed the ONLY way to stop bullying is that the person being bullied MUST stand up to the bully.

    However, in recent years a new option has, I believe, finally emerged that may, just may, turn the tide for victims of bullying:

    Technology.

    Micro-miniature surveillance devices are now easily within the purchasing power of nearly anyone. These devices can be camouflaged to look like clothing - a button can conceal a camera lens, for example.

    If a victim of bullying could carry around a micro-miniature audio/video recorder and catch bullies in the act they would be unable to deny their bullying and school administrators would have no choice but to act.

    You see, school administrators almost never get involved in inter-student "scuffles", because it always comes down to one kid's word against the other. And in the case of an actual fight, school administrators simply punish both the victim and the bully equally.

    But if you can collect actual evidence of bullying, this could all change.

    For example, you can buy "nany watcher" wall clocks nowadays that have audio/video recording capability.

    I would have loved to have one of these when I was a kid as I would have hung it on the wall during class and captured everything that was going on behind me - thumped ears, glued books, notes tossed over my shoulder, the works.

    I could have rigged one into my backpack to catch the people messing with me behind my back in hallways.

    Evidence is the only way you can get school administrators to take actions against bullies.

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    BigD_95 Donating Member (728 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 03:11 PM
    Response to Original message
    296. damn
    that was a good read
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    omega minimo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 03:24 PM
    Response to Original message
    298. Here There Be Monsters
    With all the classic behavioral displays: work in groups, torment and blame the victim, claim they "deserve" it or "asked for it," make false accusaations, try to justify their ill behavior with their peers in the pecking order, fly under the radar or be ignored/condoned by authority.

    Their posts have been deleted. They think they're "nice" and what they perpetrate is "funny" or justified by their own misguided aggression.

    Why? Because there are certain topics here, certain groups that are lower in the pecking order.

    The small minded and misguided can be forgiven and Ignored.

    Unfortunately, the TOPICS that are "fair game" for ridicule or abuse are some of the very TOPICS that we need to discuss and address, if we are to build a better world and try to get our country back.

    :thumbsup:


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    Orrex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-11-10 11:37 PM
    Response to Reply #298
    344. Is this about me leaving the toilet seat up again?
    I already told you: it's so the dog doesn't get her collar stuck on the seat when she's drinking.

    Jeez.
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    TZ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-12-10 06:59 AM
    Response to Reply #298
    350. nice self description there
    You have been guilty of EVERY SINGLE BEHAVIOR you just wrote about. Including I should add, following people you disagree with into forums you are NOT welcome in like the Skeptics group to continue YOUR bullying tactics.
    Also YOU caused the deleted posts by coming out and using ad homs agaisnt other posters UNPROVOKED. If there is anyone here who doesn't know that YOU are the biggest bully on this board they aren't paying attention.
    I very much remember you telling Midlo that if her husband died when he was seriously ill recently that it would be "good for her".
    I suggest you look closely in that mirror when you look for "monsters".
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    juno jones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 03:33 PM
    Response to Original message
    299. I am sorry.
    I know whereof you speak. I was there too. The bullied.

    It pretty much ended for me at thirteen when my main tormentor decided to push me around a little after our shared Home Ec class, my sewing shears wrapped within my project, nestled in my purse. He pushed me up against the lockers and I, not thinking, hit him with my purse...

    Seven stitches to his arm later, I had acquired the reputation in school (despite all my demurrals and explanation of events) as the 'girl who stabbed Roger'. His sister would come around to threaten me, but never struck (years later we became friends and she told me she thought he really deserved it). This of course was years before metal detectors and zero-tolerance policies, so my teachers determined that I, the straight-A student, could continue school whilst he was suspended. I'm sure some of his other victims were happy the wind was taken out of his sails as well because it was a thoroughly cowed Roger who returned to school a less enthusiastic bully.

    I'm not advocating stabbing bullies here, the experience for me was as psychically devastating as any where I had taken the brunt of the catcalls or physical violence as a defenseless victim. We need to stop tolerating bullying as a society. All the John Wayne "Just hit them back, little feller," doesn't solve a damn thing. Just as my violence didn't make me feel any better, it also set me apart from my peers further and contributed to the suicidal ideations of my teen years.

    From the distance of time all I can do is send you a :hug: and say I'm glad you made it.

    From right here I can say that our society is as fucked up as ever if it still tolerates the violent pecking order of the 'Lord of the Flies' as children's business as usual. I guess those bullies will make swell cops huh? And who needs those misfit nerds who read all the time and don't threaten us physically? I have taken heat here for having put my kid into charter schools for awhile. Well, at least the one my (asberger's) child attended had a no-bullying policy that was strictly enforced. He later went to an alternative public high school that enforced the same policies. He is a social misfit, but he was never physically attacked as I was in my childhood.

    Tolerance of bullying seems to be a cornerstone of authoritarianism. Enjoy the ride.
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    crazyjoe Donating Member (921 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 03:34 PM
    Response to Original message
    300. Do you equate those bully's with Republicans now?
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    WileEcoyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 03:37 PM
    Response to Original message
    301. Started to happen to my son
    back in the seventh grade or so. His former best friend turned on him and started hitting him at the private school they were in. The bad kid's mom was a teacher at the school, connected with the administration. The kid felt immune. protected by his mom and my wife wasn't getting any results talking to the principal.

    So I met with the offending kid at a corner of the basketball court and read him the riot act. A conversation that while, effective might not have been legal. I never stated any explicit threats but the kid got the message. Nearly fouled his pants I'm told.

    The kid's mom never spoke to me again and the principal continued being a politics playing wuss.

    But the kid got the message and never bothered my son again.

    I swore when i was a kid I would not grow up to be the kind of hands off parent that my dad was. Dad was a fine man but he never laid down the law to the other bullying kids. Like the person in the story I was held down and mauled by a gang of boys too.
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    KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 03:38 PM
    Response to Original message
    302. The times we live in...
    don't make what some of us experienced as kids lives any easier these days. Even when the scars of childhood faded a bit and we were in circumstances where we had come into our own and put the past behind, the political experiences past l5 years have brought back ugly memories for many of us who have to deal with the political landscape out there. Made worse when we thought we finally had someone who would change things...and now we are back to little kids again...having to put up with what our society has turned into.

    My daughter teaches at an Episcopal Independent school. The "Face Book" phenomenon of bullying has become a huge problem for kids and the teachers. It's not only in the school halls now where kids are ridiculed. It's gang bullying of the most vicious verbal kind and dreadful pictures folks use to humiliate each other in the "friending and unfriending. She tells me that things have changed so much in the last few years that sometimes it's all she can do to keep up with the emotional problems that many of her kids have and try to stay on balance, herself. One of their students was killed in a biking accident this year and kids put jeering photoshop cartoons of her on her "page" making fun of her on a bike not wearing a helmet and blaming that for her death. That's what her sister and family saw on her facebook page. Their last memory of her.

    Many of her kids are on medications, {along with their parents} and in counseling dealing with the lifestyle changes that are going on...societal breakdown, sports and celebrity worship and attacks on their political beliefs. The parents of these kids are very wealthy...but there are trophy wives, multiple wives and husbands and along with the sense of entitlement there's just huge despair with their identities in these times. And, we have to know that the kids out there who can't afford what her kids have in counseling and medications are in desperate times because they don't have that kind of cushion. When even the parents feel bullied by our societal greed how can the kids not act out much of that themselves. Our media fans the flames with Glen Beck/O'Reilly hate and competitive Reality Shows. Plus the other crap.

    Terrible times...and there be "more monsters out there" than ever before.

    Thanks for sharing, Will. :hug:
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    sam sarrha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 04:33 PM
    Response to Original message
    306. i was exceedingly tall.. 6' in the 8th grade.. freshman year 6'2" 117lbs, and autistic, my father
    beat me sometimes daily all my childhood years, he wanted a normal son like my older brother.. i practiced looking normal in my mothers full length mirror... sitting, standing, eating, walking. i found a book on Etiquette in the 4th grade.. i saw it as a code book to being normal, i memorized it.

    i was hounded by a gang of Psychotic animals, i thought they would beat me to death on several occasions. the year after i graduated high school they did kill a young boy. i never told anyone. i feared reprisals from my family, the school system-after all they watched me get beaten bloody, my arm twisted till my wrist was sprained, kicked till my ribs were broken.. i developed behaviors to avoid being seen. my first day in gym in HS i saw a new kid being pushed around in the shower room naked.. they got tired kicked him down and 7-8 thugs pissed on him. i knew my time was coming soon. i changed my schedule so that the class before lunch was wood shop, directly across from the gym, i joined the model airplane club, they hung out there at lunch, i got into the gym first, dressed and ran laps till roll call.. then ran a couple laps after till the showers were clear, got dressed before the next class all got in. i ran home along canal banks and alleys. i told the school all my books got stolen.. so i had a set at home.. i could run home faster without the books.

    i became agoraphobic. and i became a Track star.. call me forrest gimp.

    i became angry and cynical, that wasted years of my life.
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    sam sarrha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 04:53 PM
    Response to Original message
    309. anyone who hits/hurts anyone is committing Assault, they should be arrested and put in th "system"
    Edited on Tue Feb-09-10 04:56 PM by sam sarrha
    their actions should be documented early.. violence against anyone is a crime.. Bullying is Terrorism, and should be treated as such.

    i took a job as a Juvenile Parole Officer to do a special project in the juvenile prison. my project was a pilot study using Meditation as a counseling tool. i got Miraculous results, very violent offenders turned around in a couple months. they started protecting the very children they preyed upon before. they tutored other kids having trouble in the school, one was always there when the bus with the new kids showed up. he gave them a tour, became Mentor, kept them out of trouble.

    it worked too well evidently, making the present system look bad and i was told to stop... then my boss said, "but thanks for getting rid of those assholes anyway."

    there is a video called "Doing Time Doing Vipassana" ..about a program in india that is spreading around the world in many proisons

    http://www.dhamma.org/en/av/dtdv.shtml
    During the following winter of 1994-95, the Israeli filmmakers traveled to both Tihar and to the Baroda Jail in the India state of Gujarat, at which Vipassana courses had also been conducted. There they conducted and filmed extensive interviews with jail officials, including Karen Bedei, and inmates from many different countries who participated in the courses. The result of these efforts was an extremely powerful 52-minute documentary film entitled Doing Time, Doing Vipassana. The film describes the way in which Vipassana has been sucessfully used within the Indian prison system to dramatically change the behaviour and attitude of the inmates and jailers who participated in the courses and, thereby, improve the entire atmosphere of the prisons

    http://www.pariyatti.org /
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    nonconformist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 05:33 PM
    Response to Original message
    310. I had my arm broken by bullies when I was in 6th grade
    These girls had been tormenting me for weeks. I tried to just ignore them. A group of them gathered around me while I was walking home from school and kept shoving me. I just walked faster. They didn't stop until they shoved me down, hard onto ice. My left arm broke clean right under my shoulder. It never healed right, still gives me trouble. I'm 36 now.

    My mom called the police (after she took me to the hospital). The police came to our house, took a report half-heartedly and left. They implied I must have done something that I wasn't telling them to have this happen to me. Anyway, nothing ever came of it. My mother also met with the principal. The school didn't seem to care since it didn't happen on school property.

    Fortunately for me, the bullies eventually moved on. 6th grade was hell, and 7th was no picnic either. 8th was much better, and by 9th grade/high school, it was all behind me. Honestly, I don't remember a lot of what happened to me back then because I try to never think about it. I've blocked it out, I guess.

    My oldest son has had some trouble with bullying. Nothing physical, thankfully. Things are getting better for him now though. He's 14 and in 8th grade.
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    Mike K Donating Member (539 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 05:57 PM
    Response to Original message
    313. The neighborhood we were raised in is best described -
    - as the Brooklyn Waterfront of the 40s and 50s. But big runs in my family so my (older) brother and I never had a problem with the neighborhood bad-asses -- and there were a few of those. As far as school is concerned, we went to Catholic school (St. Francis Xavier) where the Franciscan brothers were the bullies, three of them in particular, along with one lay teacher who was also the wrestling coach. If any student was caught bullying others he would endure a painful and humiliating ass-kicking right in front of his whole home-room class. So there was none of that stuff.

    That's the way it was at St. Francis back then. We were there to learn and learn we did, or else, and some of those brothers were quite intimidating. Today I can say I believe the problem with contemporary education is the absence of that kind of rigid discipline.
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    bluescribbler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 06:54 PM
    Response to Original message
    316. Thanks Will. It took a lot of guts to write this.
    For me it was Jr. High and High School. It's the main reason why I've never gone to a reunion. I just don't want to see those people again, neither the bullies, nor the enablers who did nothing to stop it. I had those machine gun fantasies, too. Luckily, I never had access to any kind of weapon.
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    Diclotican Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-11-10 07:31 PM
    Response to Reply #316
    342.  bluescribbler
    bluescribbler

    The same here.. Never been to an reunion, dosent want, dosent dear to wake up the monsters just waiting to wake up... I just dosen't want to be rembembered it all....

    And I also agree, im lucky I never had access to a weapon if I did I might as well have harmed or killed someone...

    Diclotican
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    omega minimo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 08:05 PM
    Response to Original message
    324. A lot of girls were/(are?) told that boys hit/threw things at/harassed them b/c "He likes you."
    and teachers looked the other way.
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    havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 08:46 PM
    Response to Original message
    327. Possibly the most important (and touching) post you have ever made here
    Thank you, Mr. Pitt.
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    Grand Taurean Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-10-10 01:03 AM
    Response to Original message
    328. K/R
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    willing dwarf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-10-10 05:24 AM
    Response to Original message
    330. The closed door opens a bit
    Thanks so much for sharing this Will. I have sensed in my years of listening to your reports on Truthout and then reading you here that you were a person who carried a deep experience of pain, but also a love for justice and longing for reform. It's always been personal with you and that's what made me, and so many of us pay attention.

    Compassion for yourself, for your tormentors, for the children who witnessed and did nothing...that's what can heal these wounds. That, and working as you have to make things better.

    So many people have lost touch with what's in their heart. I am grateful for your prophetic abilities. You gather the shattered shards of experience and piece them into something which is identifiable, often beautiful -- helping us all to continue on our journey to piece together our stories and share them with each other and to move toward a better future.

    Again, thanks. It means a lot to hear more of your story.
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    Political_Junkie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-10-10 06:33 PM
    Response to Original message
    332. This thread is incredible!
    I have been brought to tears so many times. So many of us with similar pain. So many of us still facing those moments of darkness long after the fact. Someone up-thread called us all survivors and that we are. We survived, not only the years of bullying, but also the years of self abuse trying to forget. Whatever doesn't kill you, indeed...
    I don't know about anyone else, but it's been a bit of a catharsis for me to learn that so many good people here at DU have been through the same pain that I lived with for years. Thank you everyone for sharing in this group therapy session and especially to Will for starting the ball rolling. Excellent writing, my good man!
    :grouphug:
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    Grand Taurean Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-10-10 11:57 PM
    Response to Original message
    335. kick again.
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    Raksha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-11-10 03:21 AM
    Response to Original message
    336. Kicking again, in case anyone hasn't read it yet.
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    MrMickeysMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-11-10 11:45 PM
    Response to Original message
    345. You helped one more person today...
    I'm seeing another angle to what you so vividly described. I thank you.

    Bullying presents itself later in life. I'm seeing it now in the way some people are acting who have been elected to local offices.

    What to do.... Well, for one, I read your missive, so I thank you.
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    Lothrop Donating Member (31 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 11:35 AM
    Response to Original message
    355. Bullying comes
    in so many forms.

    For the most part capitalism encourages and rewards bullying.
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    Donald Schneider Donating Member (5 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-15-10 09:41 AM
    Response to Original message
    356. To Mr. Pitt
    Edited on Mon Feb-15-10 10:00 AM by Donald Schneider
    Dear Mr. Pitt:

    Im new here and am unfamiliar with almost everyone who posts on this forum. I gather that you are or were a teacher and school principal? Considering the hellish experiences you relate which you endured in school, what ever possessed you to go into the field? I can tell you without equivocation that after my own experiences that that would have been the absolutely last field I would have considered. It certainly took courage on your part, and I am most decidedly gratified to read that you used your own experiences by way of empathy to seek to protect other kids so victimized.

    Thanks again for the great article. This is one of those issues which are truly apolitical. Former kids like us were not terrorized because of our political leanings. Such considerations are not in the forefront in the lives of kids that age. As for me, I don't care what specific reason(s) why a kid is being terrorized in school. I simply want it to stop. My website and views on school bullying might be characterized as the "right wing" of anti-school bullying sites because its emphasis is on relieving the situation and saving the child and not on stopping school bullying.

    Kurt Vonnegut, The late, great WW II veteran and P.O.W. turned anti-war writer, noted in his preface to his masterpiece *Slaughterhouse-Five* that when he told a friend of his that he was writing an anti-war novel his friend responded: "You might as well write an anti-glacier book."

    Thats how I feel about school bullying. Just get the victim the hell out of that toxic environment by whatever means possible, starting with the least intrusive attempted solutions on down to the most radical: home schooling. Whatever it takes.

    I also advocate working with kids whose lack of social graces and coping skills are part of the problem. Some might characterize such a view as "blaming the victim." I dont care. Developing good social skills will benefit a child his or her entire life. If helping a child shed the invisible mark of Cain "kick me" sign radically improves the quality of his or her life, then, as I said, whatever works!


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