By Anonymous

I was reading a story about bullying in schools and one sentence stood out to me: “Perhaps more than any other school safety problem, bullying affects students' sense of security.”   The truth is, I want to feel secure at school but I don’t. People talk about preventing bullying but it seems that very little has been done to stop it, at least that was the case for me.

I remember going to preschool when I was three or four years old.  Thinking about it now, I remember it as a safe place. All the kids played together, and we shared our toys with each other.  Sometimes we fussed a little about who would play with a certain doll or wear a certain costume. Sometimes we pushed each other down or even hit one another, but the teachers always made us stop and the playing resumed.

The happy day finally came for our graduation program and the teacher put me on the front row. I was so nervous. She told us that next year many of us would be going to "big school" which was kindergarten. She made it sound so exciting and fun and I couldn't wait to go there.

At first things went well. I was the fastest person when we had races in P.E.  I even ran faster than the boys—but that did not last long.  Soon most of the boys could out run me and even some of the girls.  One day, during recess one of the larger boys in our class pushed me down.  I  didn't  say anything because I thought it was an accident.  A day or two later he pushed me down again. He pushed other classmates down too.

The teacher saw what had happened and talked to him about his behavior. He got in big trouble.  He stopped.
When I was in the first and second grade, several boys and a few girls would hit me and take my pencils. I always had difficulty telling the teachers when people were bothering me. I’m not sure why I felt that way, but I guess I was afraid. My mom sent a note to the teacher about it, but my pencils were still "borrowed" from my desk and book bag. When it continued, my mom went to see the principal and told the principal who was doing it. The principal had a conference with parents of several students and things got better.

From fourth grade on I really never said much in class. Sometimes when I asked a question, a student(s) would say, "that’s stupid."  Sometimes the teacher would scold the students for saying things, but most of the time the teacher didn't hear what was said. I learned that it was best not to ask questions in class at all. I didn’t like being called stupid or airhead in front of everyone.

By middle school things didn't get much better. I was often pushed from the back while walking down the crowded hallway. Sometimes my books were knocked out of my hands. The worst thing was when someone would make negative comments about my hair or my clothes while others would laugh. Middle school is hard for a lot of people, but I was never prepared for what to expect each day.

In high school there was still no relief—even in church. Often, it was the most popular people who did most of the bullying. One student, a cheerleader, stood next to me at choir practice and intentionally stepped on my foot several times. When I complained to the teacher about it, the student cornered me in the church restroom and told me to never tell on her again.

While the pushing and hitting was bad, the name calling was worse. I didn't have many friends in my class at school, but there was one girl who befriended me and took up for me. When someone bothered me, she would threaten to hit them if they didn't leave me alone. One time she got into a lot of trouble when she punched a student who was bothering me. I felt safer when she was around. I wish I had more classes with her.

Another time in the lunch room, a former friend threw bits of food into my hair.  She would laugh every time she threw it.  My back was to her and her friends, but someone told me she was throwing food into my hair.  I turned around and asked her to stop, but she didn't. When I told the assistant principal about the incident, he said he would investigate. The next day he told me that he had talked with the student. She told him she was throwing the food at another friend, and it had hit me by accident. She continued to taunt me and even told me later that the principal wouldn't believe anything I said because I was a "tattletale." My mom talked with the school's counselor several times but the taunting continued. In parent/teacher conferences, the teachers would always say that I was cooperative with them and quiet in class. They wished I would talk more. They did not see the problem.

The truth is, I am afraid to go back to that school. I have no idea how to make it stop.  I went to another school for a while.  I thought I could get a new start where no one knew me.  My mom says to stand up to the students who bully me but it's harder than you think. I don’t like causing a scene.  Sometimes I ask myself—what is wrong with me?
Now that school is starting back, my only option is to be home-schooled. If that doesn't work out, then I want to quit school all together...but really I don't. What I really want is to be able to go to school and not worry every day about what will happen to me. What I really need is for someone to help me and the other kids who are bullied. We are scared, we are alone, we are silent—and we are all around you. Do you see us?

Editor’s Note: Many schools are implementing programs that promote positive behavior rather than simply trying to stop bullying. Parents can contact their local school system to inquire if their child’s school is one of them.

11 Things To Know About Bullying

REPRINTED FROM DOSOMETHING.ORG

  1. Over 3.2 million students are victims of bullying each year.[1]
  2. Approximately 160,000 teens skip school every day because of bullying.[2]
  3. 17% of American students report being bullied 2 to 3 times a month or more within a school semester. [3]
  4. 1 in 4 teachers see nothing wrong with bullying and will only intervene 4% of the time.[4]
  5. By age 14 less than 30% of boys and 40% of girls will talk to their peers about bullying.[5]
  6. Over 67% of students believe that schools respond poorly to bullying, with a high percentage of students believing that adult help is infrequent and ineffective.[6]
  7. 71% of students report incidents of bullying as a problem at their school.[7]
  8. 90% of 4th through 8th graders report being victims of bullying.[8]
  9. 1 in 10 students drop out of school because of repeated bullying.[9]
  10. As boys age they are less and less likely to feel sympathy for victims of bullying. In fact they are more likely to add to the problem than solve it.[10]
  11. Physical bullying increases in elementary school, peaks in middle school and declines in high school. Verbal abuse, on the other hand, remains constant.[11]

 

  1. Cohn, Andrea, and Andrea Canter, Ph.D. “Bullying: Facts for Schools and Parents.” NASP Fact Sheet. Accessed February 9, 2014 http://www.nasponline.org/resources/factsheets/bullying_fs.aspx
  2. The National Education Association. “Nation’s educators continue push for safe, bully-free environments.” NEA. Accessed February 10, 2014, http://www.nea.org/home/53298.htm.
  3. Valerie, Strauss. “New data on bullying: 17% report regular abuse.” The Washington Post. Accessed February 10, 2014, http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/bullying/2010bullyvictimdata.html.
  4. Cohn, Andrea, and Andrea Canter, Ph.D. “Bullying: Facts for Schools and Parents.” NASP Fact Sheet. Accessed February 9, 2014, http://www.nasponline.org/resources/factsheets/bullying_fs.aspx.
  5. Rigby, Ken. “Bullying in Schools and What to Do about It: Revised and Updated.” Aust Council for Ed Research, 2007.
  6. Cohn, Andrea, and Andrea Canter, Ph.D. “Bullying: Facts for Schools and Parents.” NASP Fact Sheet. Accessed February 9, 2014, http://www.nasponline.org/resources/factsheets/bullying_fs.aspx.
  7. Nolin, Mary Jo, Elizabeth Davis, and Kathryn Chandler. “Student Victimization at School.” Journal of School Health 66, no. 6 (1996): 216-221.
  8. Osanloo, Azadeh. “Implications From UCEA Addressing Bullying in School.” UCEA.org. Accessed February 10, 2014, http://ucea.org/storage/implications/Bullying-Implications%20from%20UCEA%20July2012.pdf.
  9. Osanloo, Azadeh. “Implications From UCEA Addressing Bullying in School.” UCEA.org. Accessed February 10, 2014, http://ucea.org/storage/implications/Bullying-Implications%20from%20UCEA%20July2012.pdf.
  10. Rigby, Ken. “Bullying in Schools and What to Do about It: Revised and Updated.” Aust Council for Ed Research, 2007.
  11. Cohn, Andrea, and Andrea Canter, Ph.D. “Bullying: Facts for Schools and Parents.” NASP Fact Sheet. Accessed February 9, 2014, http://www.nasponline.org/resources/factsheets/bullying_fs.aspx.