In the wake of all the talk about bullying, perhaps a story from someone who was bullied might help others figure out how to cope or how to help others cope. This story also makes us aware of what goes on in the schools. The author’s name has been withheld for their privacy.
Beating the Bullies — One Teen’s Story:
When I entered sixth grade, it was only two years since I had made the transition from private to public school, so I had very little time to really meet and understand many children. I made some friends; that was not the problem. The problem was not like other children. I didn’t think like, talk like, look like, or believe what they did. I have had previous racism issues before, but this time, they carried knives.
My old school was small; it never had more than twenty students attending in the six years I was there. I fit in pretty well. I had some problems with one student, but it was always dealt with in minutes, and we ended up becoming friends.
At the public middle school, it was large and out of control. I am a white, redheaded Jew who is covered with freckles from head to toe, and on top of that, I’m chubby and wear glasses. I’ve since grown taller and my weight balanced out a bit, but then, I stood out like a big red stain on a clean, white shirt.
The public school I went to was a majority Hispanic and Catholic (I saw in a local paper that they were 97.3% Hispanic.), and my band teacher told me that I was the first Jew there in a while. The students in my school were not tolerant at all. They would often speak Spanish to me, knowing I didn’t speak it, and laugh at me when I asked them what they said to me. Spanish was even used in my English Language Arts class. I failed that.
Whenever I would report bullying to the office, it would take at least three weeks for them to bring me into the office to ask what happened — when they even bothered to ask. When they did do something, they would only tell the bully and me that it was nothing more than a misunderstanding. So me losing almost everything I ever took to school to a “gangsta” kid was a misunderstanding on my part.
Administration was more than willing, however, to threaten to throw me in jail when that same kid spread a rumor that I had brought a gun to school (I don’t have one and neither do my parents. He was just trying to get me thrown out of school.) . I got searched not once, but twice by security! They searched me and went through my backpack, but the kid who accused me said I threw the imaginary gun in the trash (This was after they searched me the first time.), but security said they had to check me again. After taking my backpack to search it, they left it unattended and someone stole my CD player that I had brought for band class. They didn’t do anything about that, though.
There were daily occurrences of verbal insults. I would get tackled at least once a week. M things were stolen. I was a regular target of what they called, “Slow Friday” seven days a week. No administrators did anything more than talk to them and say, “Stop, please.” No other actions were taken, but they continued (naturally). I was obviously at the wrong school to be asking for amnesty, considering they pass out bibles once a year (It originally wasn’t optional until recently.). I had no place at that school, and no one cared to do anything to help.
One day, in P.E., it all got to be too hard to handle. My wallet got raided,, my Gatorade got stolen, I was almost “pantsed,” and got tackled then tripped (Just to add to the frustration, the day before, one of my shoes was stolen, just to have to it thrown at my head by the end of the period.). I was furious, tired, and couldn’t handle it anymore. By the end of the period, I had my backpack stolen, as well. That was it! I yelled words too explicit to put in a school essay (I can’t even remember the exact words, because I was blind with rage.). I found my backpack, found the person who took it, hit him firm and hard in the shoulder, and started to walk away, but just as I turned around, he called, “Hey, White Boy!” Realizing I was one of only three white boys in the school, I turned around. He was just finishing shaking off the blow I delivered just seconds before. He jumped up and started giving everything he had, aiming at my stomach, blow after blow, as fast as he could. I thought I was done for, until I realized that the best he could do didn’t hurt. I wanted to feel the excruciating pain from the punches, but I felt nothing. He was pathetic. He and his friends were making my life horrible, but I found out they were nothing but weak, egotistical, and pathetic. I knew then, after he finished his first dose, it wasn’t worth it.
I could have brought him the pain and suffering I went through during the entire school year all in one beating, but was t really worth it? Wouldn’t I be just like the ones who tortured me? I raised my fist for a second time, and the rest of the students in the locker room saw and gathered in a weird oval and started saying things like, “Ooch, White Boy is goin’ down!” and “You in trouble now, Freckles.” Then, it hit me; this was what he wants — a reaction, nothing more. He feeds off this and does anything to get it. I lower my fist, smile give a small laugh, and say to him as he is hopping around with his arms spread wide to draw attention to himself, “You’re pathetic. I’m not wasting my time.” Then, I just walked away, because it was not going to turn out as a fight, but more like a ruthless beating on a weak little kid, and I was raised better than that.
All they ever wanted was a reaction. All these bullies were just trying to get attention by pushing someone different from them under the water until he had to gasp for air. All they wanted was to see if I would drown or come out of the water and swim away.
What I learned that day was that people get singled out for their differences every day, but the bullies use it as a way to boost their own sagging egos. So from that day on, I stood strong on my opinions. I never let anyone else’s opinion of the way I looked, my religion, or anything else about myself effect me emotionally, and I will never let anyone kick me around again!
©Gossip Ain’t Sweet, LLC 2010