UNCOMMON SENSE: Bullying doesn’t end after school
I think it’s safe to say that everybody has, at one point in his or her life, experienced some form of bullying.
It could have been when you were young and still growing, making you an easy target for bigger kids.
Or maybe you were one of those bigger kids and that made you stand out, providing an opportunity for teasing.
I remember being teased for getting good grades in junior high school. One of my projects which received an “A” was vandalized with crudely drawn genitalia all over it.
The next year a couple of kids from high school tried to rob me in an alleyway. The social changes following that incident can be said to have had a direct effect on the next 15 to 20 years of my life.
Because of the bullying, I tried to “get tough.” I started doing poorly in high school and got into trouble with the police. I dropped out at the age of 15.
Clawing my way back to the road of success wasn’t easy. Dropping out of high school led to prolonged conditions of poverty, unemployment, and an inability to enjoy my roaring twenties.
It’s no stretch to say that bullying set me on the road to self-defeat.
The truth is that bullying doesn’t end after school. The trauma is felt years later, and without learning to deal with bullying it can happen even in adulthood.
Because of my lack of education I spent years working construction, where I was also teased for not fitting in. One boss would ridicule me in front of the other workers, which led to a pile on and further loss of self-esteem.
Getting up in the morning was difficult because I didn’t want to spend another day with coworkers who were going to treat me poorly and make me feel worse about myself.
The fact is that although we think of bullying as a problem for kids, it just isn’t. It’s a problem for our entire society, young and old alike.
Not only do we have to cultivate respect amongst our peers, we have nurture the sort of courage it takes to stand up to bullies. Because often the victims of today remain the victims of tomorrow, and every day after that.