Okay, folks. I’ve seen one too many adolescents in the ED for the month of May already! Stress from end of school testing? No. Stress from too much going on? No. Suicidal? No and almost. Surprisingly, it is directly related to bullying!! Yes! Kids are being picked on, hit, harassed, threatened at schools not only in our little corner of the state, but across the state as well. Coincidentally, I watched a documentary on this very subject just last week. Sadly, many victims are attempting or completing suicide. Self cutting is on the rise along with the bullying. Some victims tell me they have not told an adult until now because they were afraid. Kids should not have to live this way!! Okay, so I’m from the Leave it to Beaver generation. But, still, no one should be afraid to go to school because of bullies. Bullying is not a new subject by any means.
When I was 12 and had just moved to NC, I was bullied by a group of girls. I was already shy, so this didn’t help at all! I found myself surrounded by a circle of girls who took turns pushing me back and forth. There was no one to help because I was new. Later, someone locked me in my locker, which “back then” was full size. The teacher came out and found me halfway through class. I didn’t tell anyone. I was ashamed, embarrassed and afraid. I stayed home for the next few days because I was sick. Sick with fear. For the next 2 years, I carried a small New Testament with me to school and prayed everyday that God would see to it that I go home in one piece with no bodily harm. So, what’s the difference?
The bullying I experienced was racially related as were many problems during the early 70’s. Sure it was bad, but the depth of hatred and anger seems to be greater now that it was then. There seems to be absolute malice and terror. Instead of pushing and shoving, or locking one in a locker, kids are being threatened in vicious ways that edge toward greater violence. And the kids I have seen lately have been bullied for being good students and talented individuals. I tell them the bullying says more about the bully than the victim.
True, yes, but that doesn’t ease the pain and suffering from being bullied.
In one school, the victim was further bullied and threatened after telling an adult because the school authorities got involved. The result was, someone else did the bullying instead. In another school, the authorities chalked it up to “kids being kids.” In yet another, the response was, “School will be over in another month. Just stick it out.” The lack of assistance from adults is further pain for the victim. If adults can’t stop kids, who can? Or who WILL? This is frightening stuff to be sure.
Bullies and their victims are not limited socioeconomically. They are rich, poor, all races, all sizes. I don’t have an answer to this problem. Wish I did. But, hopefully, by increasing awareness and conversations about bullying, this issue will eventually be addressed more actively. Being an adolescent is hard enough!! Please spread the word. Take action.