13 Feb 2014

I live in the Philippines. Today, everyone at school watched the film Bully. It was mandatory, every student had to attend the film showing and write a reaction paper about it.

As I was seated in the movie theater, I didn't know how great the impact would be. It broke my heart. I admit, I hang out with rude people. My friends are about twenty times as rude as I. In our high school, our group was, well, feared. Loathed. By both students and teachers. And this makes me feel really bad. It is very unclear to me how I can go on tagging along with my friends when all they do is notice other people and harass them verbally. I guess I don't want to be a loner. If I stop hanging with them, I would go friendless. I have experienced being friendless before and I would never go back to that. So I guess that's a really big factor. And I feel sorry-- for the people they bully, for them even, and mostly, my pathetic self. I am a bystander who is often seen in the bullies' posse. I'm awful. I might just be the most awful person I know.

Fifteen minutes through the film, my friend who was seating beside me already got bored and fell asleep. The people behind me are talking so loud, obviously not paying attention. Countless cellphone screens were illuminated. The wide screen in front of us is the main attraction in that room but somehow, it became the least noticed thing. Of course there were teachers there but I think all they did was talk about latest gossip. They were impossible.

Soon, students were leaving to get drinks outside. And the sad thing was, the teachers let them. They should be watching over us, they should be watching the film. But it seemed to me that they didn't care at all. And this makes me really sad because they missed the film which was a legit eye-opener. And tomorrow, when it is expected to see change, there will be no change. Nothing will change. Because they don't care. I admit I broke into tears while watching the film, but what made it really painful was the fact that it goes on in our school and it will go on tomorrow and the day after that and even five years after that just because we are not taught enough to reassess our lives. Yes, everything starts at one; but lo, how quickly does one give up with all the unapologetic people weighing him down. It's sad.

I have a brother who will enter high school later this year. And I'm going to college which leaves him alone with himself and some friends he knew at grade school. It breaks my heart to know that he is not safe inside that school. He will learn things the hard way, he will be forced to fit in, people will tell him awful things from time to time. I know. I've been there. And these might have made me strong but what if he's fragile? What if he couldn't take it? I cringe at the thought. The fact that teachers are impassive about this thing is so depressing; they think that bullying is touchy or even a non-issue. And it's wrong. So wrong. And I couldn't even do anything about it which makes it more wrong.

Last year, a kid in our school tried to jump from the fourth floor. He's autistic and he doesn't have any friends and worse, his classmates were bullying him as if an autistic kid doesn't have feelings or even a shred of dignity. What they did, they made him go to the faculty room to calm him down. And that was it. They didn't even call his parents. They didn't even reprimand the bullies. They think they've helped because they made him calmer but, no. That was hardly a help. Because the day after that he was bullied again. And now, a year after that, he still gets bullied. I witnessed him a few weeks ago. He was getting hysterical and he was crying and the discipline officer was just nodding and even laughing. God, was she laughing. How could anyone laugh at something like that? She promised this kid that she will talk to his tormentors but she never did. Just because this kid is not normal and she thinks that he doesn't have a mind that feels pain.

Anyway, it is sad how people in my school react to bullying. Including myself, of course. I hate myself for it, to be honest. The students don't care. The teachers are too busy to care. The principal just nods at everything. It's horrible. I wish I knew the solution, but I don't. I am very sorry for this.

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