The blog post “Bullying” has generated so many emails that I feel I need to further clarify the story. First of all, yes, that was me. It is also a true story. If the story is fiction I will either specify it as such within the construct of the story or tag it as fiction. It was a very traumatic and emotionally draining experience, one that affected my life, relationships with peers and outlook on violence. I have since avoided violence at all costs – I was certainly never picked on again. I was also treated as an outsider and somewhat ostracized by the event. My fellow students and friends never really accepted me back into their world after that, much to the contrary of what our entertainment outlets would make you think. Violence, while a very real part of our world, is met with suspicion and fear – no matter the reasoning behind it.
Secondly, I do not condone my actions. I was trying to make a point over what can happen amongst children when bullying is met with apathy or ignored by adults. I should have walked away, but many would argue that I did the right thing. I did not do the right thing. But such was the culture of our environment – children were expected to stand up for themselves and not involve adults in every conflict. I took this attitude to an extreme, with terrible results.
The bully never bothered anyone at school or within our area again. He didn’t come back to school, and as far as I know never graduated. The psychology of bullying is complex and multi-layered, and is not socio-economically stratified. It occurs everywhere, and on many levels. Such scholars as Dr. Joseph Jones can do this topic much more justice than can I, so I will say that I don’t know what long-term effects my harm to this young man did.
Finally, it is up to us as parents, educators and adults to watch for bullying and to do what we can to educate those young people that we have contact with that it is wrong and that violence is wrong. We often tell young people that – if you don’t stand up to him/her now, then you will have to deal with it all your life. That is not the right way – it’s up to us to provide safe and caring environments and have happy, well-adjusted children in our lives. Only then will bullying be minimized. Will it still occur? Of course. But the children and young adults will have the emotional ability and mental tools to stop it themselves. Without an emergency room doctor being involved.