I Was Bullied and the Teacher Laughed

Cynthia Dermody
10

school classroomCyberbullying is the buzz word these days, but let's not forget about the regular, old-fashioned, in-person bullying we knew as kids. It's still happening and one of the many disturbing things about that is that it mostly takes place in the classroom, according to a new study by the American Public Health Association. Not in unsupervised locations. But right under the noses of teachers.

I'm not shocked at this. I have firsthand experience.

This mean boy I'll call Tom Sawyer used to bully me in high school. Anytime I wore a piece of clothing the color red, Tom would call me a "Communist." If you were a teen during the Cold War era, you'd know how hurtful that insult was. Why Tom started doing this IDK. I guess because like all bullies he was a weak jerk and it made him feel good to pick on shy girls.

One day I was wearing leg warmers (hey, it was the 80s) with the color red in them. It was the accent color, not even the primary color! Tom still called me a "Commie" and my history teacher actually laughed. He LAUGHED! Tom wasn't vilified but validated!

Had I known then what I do now, that history teacher would have been on the unemployment line so fast and that loser Tom ...

(Taking a deep breath).

At least the experience taught me valuable lessons about what to tolerate when it comes to my own kids. My husband is a teacher. It's impossible for educators to know and see all. Kids aren't dumb. They know how to bully under the radar. Which is why within the last month ...

  • 43 percent of students have been physically bullied; 51percent teased in an unfriendly way; 50 percent called hurtful names; 31 percent excluded from a group to hurt their feelings; 28 percent had belongings taken or broken; 39 percent had an unkind rumor spread about them; and 21 percent were threatened to be hurt.
  • 66 percent of the middle school students had been the victim of multiple bullying behaviors.

Other alarming stats from the research:

  • During the school year, 8 percent have skipped school at least once due to fear of others hurting or making fun of them.
  • One out of every four students had skipped recess, not gone to the bathroom, lunch or a class, pretended to be sick and went home, or avoided a hallway or some other place at school to get away from a bully.
  • The classroom, lunchroom and hallways at school were the places where victimization was most prevalent (50 percent to 57 percent of all students in each of these settings) compared to all other areas where prevalence of victims was much lower (19 percent to 37 percent).

Were you bullied as a kid? How did you handle it?

 

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