In 4th through 8th grade, I was verbally bullied by other students, but the worst of it came from teachers in high school. I went to a small, all girls catholic high school. There were two things about me that they felt the need to ridicule: the fact that I am an atheist and the fact that I am "not very lady-like", as they put it.
I've always been an open person, so when someone would ask me, teacher or peer, I would tell them what I think. One of the hardest moments in those four years was when my 12th grade theology teacher pointed that I was an atheist to the entire class and then proceeded to tell them that atheists are worse than murderers and they deserved worse than a murderer. Her reasoning was that a murderer can pray for forgiveness from god, but god would never forgive an atheist. By the time this happened, I was used to teachers taking indirect jabs at me, but this, something so direct and so cold, caught me completely off guard. Who tells someone so young that they are essentially a plague on society and that murderers deserve better than they do? I reported her to the school's administration, but nothing was done. I am grateful that I was nearly 18 at this point and far past the point where I took anything from them too seriously. I am grateful that this didn't happen when I was younger and more reliant on their opinions for emotional validation. I hope that she never says this or anything else hurtful to another student.
I just finished watching "Bully". I cried like I was at the funerals of those poor children. They didn't deserve to die, and neither does anyone else. The film hit me really hard. I remember being about 16, finding it really hard to think of a reason to keep going. I was fortunate enough to have friends that stood up for me. I can never fully express how grateful I am to them for that.
I have three really close friends that have attempted suicide at one point or another in their lives, before I met them. These three friends are the most wonderful friends, anyone could ever ask for, and I am so glad that their attempts to take their own lives failed. They deserve so much better and I make sure to regularly tell them, and everyone else that I love, how much they really mean to me. I know what it is like to feel worthless, and I believe that no one on Earth is worthless. When I think about my friends' failed suicide attempts, I often wonder how many other wonderful people I will never get to know because they succeeded in killing themselves.
Many adults often say that some kids are going to bully other kids and that there's nothing really that can be done about it. This is not true. I think that children who bully others need to be held accountable for their actions. It needs to be pointed out to them just how harmful their actions are to their victims. While I know that it is often hard to get a child to do what they are told, bullies, especially repeat offenders, need to be punished by both the school and the parents/guardians. It is not the victims fault that they are being bullied, so those children that do not obey the rules, despite multiple warnings, should be removed from the schools and placed into schools where stricter disciplinary rules are in place. School should be a place where children can learn in a both physically and emotionally safe environment, not a place where they are told by others that they are worthless and have no reason to live.
I wish that I could shout out for everyone, especially every child, to hear that they are beautiful people and that things can and will get better. I want to tell them that they are loved, even if it doesn't feel like it, and that they are not alone.
By writing some words below, you are showing your support and letting everyone know they're not alone.