I'm a teacher now, for the last 22 years. Bullying for me started in first grade. I was taller and generally bigger than most kids my age, I got glasses in first grade, and I was hispanic... one of very few in my school. I was always different, I didn't even fit in with all the other "weird" kids. It went on through elementary school. Once I got to junior high school, I had my cousin, Gerald, to be my champion, everyone loved him so they pretty much left me alone. Then in high school things really got worse. My father was an alcoholic and my mother backed him up all the time so I was really angry and had a short temper and very melodramatic personality. We were not wealthy, but all my "friends" were. They soon stopped inviting me to parties and such because I was so angry all the time. The one time someone, other than my cousin and sometimes my little brother, stood up for me was in 10th grade. A football player was throwing snowballs with rocks in them at me, keeping me from entering the band room. This guy, a really BIG guy named Silas, stepped in front of me and dared this jock to throw another one. He also told the guy that if he ever caught him or his friends bothering me again, they'd have to deal with Silas. That put an end to that, for a while... then the girls started in on me. Finally, it took me slapping the meanest girl to the floor in driver's ed class. On one hand, the coach teaching the class listened to both our sides of the story and ended up punishing both of us. That made me REAL popular with everyone, so things just got worse. But by then, I had punched a couple more people for stealing my clothes after gym class and once for shoving my head in my locker, and people stayed away from me. All the words are what stuck with me the most: stupid, freak, ugly, fat (I only weighed 115lbs and was 5'7"), idiot, greasy Mexican (I'm not even mexican OR greasy), worthless, etc., etc., etc. The words don't go away. Now that I'm 46 and as a teacher help kids deal with being bullied, or being bullies, it hurts to see the kids hurt, and sometimes I cry for the kid I was who went to teachers, parents, principals, and was just blown off. I want to make sure I am available to kids so they at least have someone to talk to, even if I can't always solve the problem. I do wish I could snap my fingers and magically make it go away.
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