When I was in elementary school I had an overbite and was verbally abused, relentlessly, on a daily basis. Bucky, Bucky Beaver and Peter Rabbit were some of the names I was called. It had a profound effect on my grades. It made me self-conscious, insecure and was most likely the cause of the depression that for years I didn't know I had. Teachers ignored it, and the one friend that finally did stick up for me was paddled for doing so. By the 4th grade, I was almost completely despondent. A teacher had man-handled me [he grabbed me by the neck and forced me into another seat for asking another student a question] and my grades were bad enough that I was given a choice. Enroll in "special" classes at another school for 5th grade, or repeat 4th grade. Needless to say, even at that young age, I had no trouble agreeing to going to a new school. I figured that if nothing else, I'd be away from the bullies that made the first four years of my school life completely miserable. Fortunately, the move was good for me. I never got less than a B. I wasn't bullied and, although I was still self-conscious of my appearance, I was starting to feel better about myself.
Today, I am 45-years-old and a parent of a 14-year-old who fortunately is not being bullied. However, bulling still exists and its disconcerting to know that there are kids that feel that the only way out is to hurt themselves -- commit suicide. I also find it disheartening that teachers and school administrators are still so incapable or unwilling to do anything to stop bullying -- zero tolerance policies are not the answer. School should be a place for kids to get a great education and feel safe and secure while getting it. I have absolutely no affinity for bullies or for people that condone bullying. We don't need legislation to stop bullying. What we do need is a society that, in concurrence, says enough is enough. We are not going to take it anymore.
By writing some words below, you are showing your support and letting everyone know they're not alone.