LONG BEACH (coup2k.com) April 25, 2001 -- The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has published its findings on bullying in American schools (grades 6 through 10) in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association. Their findings? Bullying is widespread in U.S. schools, creating a public health problem that impacts both victims and perpetrators later in life.From a Resistance eDialogue
March 7, 2001
[EDITOR'S NOTE: The following memoir of a bullied child was originally written on March 7, two days after the Santana High School shooting in California, in response to a general dialogue about school violence. The general impressions of those who read the memoir, at that time, was that it would be best to wait to publish the piece when the high school shooting story had 'cooled off', so as not to give the impression that anyone associated with the BBBR website was excusing the actions of the shooter.]
What I was wanting to write was about my personal experiences, about being beat up a lot at school, near school, getting off the bus going home from school, biking to deliver my mom's Avon orders to her customers, walking to go babysit...
About how these kids broke into my house and fed my neighbor's hamster (I was caring for it while my neighbors were on vacation) to my cat, about how they ransacked my house (and left pictures of my family around the torn up house, with kitchen knives over the faces, and the glass shattered).
About how they would show up where I was babysitting, spread out and pound on the windows and doors all at once, trying to either terrify me or get inside to hurt me (and how frightened my charges were -- the poor things), about how I was kicked off a bus on school grounds, and tore my back all to hell sliding down the steps, right in front of teachers, who did nothing, not even help me up, or send me to the nurse to fix my back.
About getting off the school bus at my stop and getting my skull slammed into the pavement over and over again until my older and bigger sister showed up to save me (my sister is TOUGH), and about how they tried another time to decapitate me with a garotte, and almost succeeded. About how lucky I feel to be able to speak, and to be alive.
About how the school and the police looked the other way, no matter how bad it got, or how badly I was injured. About how the ringleader of the group that regularly kicked my ass was the son of a police officer in our small town. About how his sidekick ended up on death row for pumping bullets into the chest of a 7-11 clerk, all to steal cigarettes. About how that clerk's life could have been saved, if this guy had been stopped when he was young, when he was just messing with me, before he killed somebody.
About how the cops said my troubles were just "kids picking on kids," and how that didn't merit any action on their part. About how the cops and the adults at the school said I should just "learn to stick up for myself," whatever the hell that means...
I also wanted to talk about how the teachers in my school wanted to be "in" with the popular kids bad enough to call me names in the classroom, and to give out my locker combination to the kids that hated me, so they could burn my books and papers, and steal the key to my house (see above).
About how nobody but my parents (who never blamed me for what was happening) gave a damn, and about how hard it was on them not to be able to help me. About my parents considering an early retirement, at greatly reduced pay, from the Army for my dad, so we could get the hell out of that town, to someplace safe for me.
Basically, I wanted to write that I was always confident that if I could just make it through to graduation, then I could get out of that small town, and never go back. About how I don't know what I would have done, if I hadn't believed I could get away someday.
About how I might have reacted differently if I was an adolescent boy, and dealing with the first jolts of testosterone my young body was feeling, and if my parents considered talking about such things "dirty" or "bad." Or about how I would have felt if my father had called me a "wimp" or a "pussy" and told me to "be a man" or "fight back," and what I would have done if I knew I was out-muscled or outnumbered.
I don't know exactly what I would write... It's hard to say. But I think about the school shooters, and I wonder... Are they more like me, or more like the kids who messed with me? It seems, since the shooters never go after their tormentors, and just "go off" on everybody, that they are more like the kids that messed with me. Either that, or they are mentally ill.
I don't know.
Anyway, that's sort of what I was thinking about writing. But maybe it isn't such a good idea after all.