Many thanks to Brenda for her courage and conviction and permission to use Jared's story for this article. Please read Jared's story at the end of this article, and visit the website dedicated to ending this needless cruelty. This is an ongoing problem throughout the world. It needs to stop.
I've tried my entire life not to hate people, to avoid the bitterness that comes with hatred and prejudice. There is one group of individuals that I could very nearly hate, though, and those are bullies. When I was a child, I had probably more than my share of bullies, due, in part to my small stature and the fact that we moved a lot. Always being the new kid has its special problems, and the new kid is like a bullseye to a school bully, because a new kid hasn't had the time to make friends and build alliances. They're out there on their own, until they do.
I can remember when I was in grade school, and the new kid, being a bull's eye for girl and boy bullies alike. The girls would taunt me on the playground, threaten to cut my hair, exclude me or run away from me, saying cruel things. One particular day, I was about at the end of my rope with these abusers, having sat through an entire morning of having spitballs thrown across the classroom when the teacher would be turned writing on the board. I had already been kicked very hard, on the tailbone by a boy bully that day. When the bell rang and they all left, headed for the cafeteria, I stayed in my seat and cried. The teacher came over and tried to ascertain the problem, by I was inconsolable at this point.
The straw had broken the camel's back. I had not talked to anyone about the things happening at school, not teachers, not even my parents. I would not stop crying, so the teacher brought the principal into the room. He talked to me, and calmed me down enough to get me to go with him and personally have lunch with him in the cafeteria. Just him and me. Those kids must've realized how much trouble they could be in, and began approaching our table with their desserts and food from their trays. I thought, trying to look good to that principal. I doubt if he was fooled, but the bullying stopped, at that school anyway. I didn't make friends there before we moved again, because I had no interest in befriending people who would treat me that way.
In other schools I encountered different versions of bullying. I look back now, and realize that I must have had some strength, to never tell on them. Sometimes, the bullying gets worse if you tell. In one school the senior class heard about the cruelty of a group of girls I had hung around with, and threatened them. One senior (I was a freshman) told me, "there's something wrong with this class, they're just the meanest bunch of kids." I silently agreed, and befriended another group of girls who were very nice. But then we moved again...
We moved to another town, in the middle of a terrible time with racial unrest and violence. I heard that a cheerleader had been shot in the face, so I decided I wasn't going to public school any more. My parents didn't fight me on it, I was fourteen then, and I was homeschooled from then on. This article is about children and teens who commit suicide as a result of being bullied. The one thing I had going for me was thinking, "I can get through this," and my faith in God. My family belief was that if you commit suicide, you couldn't ask forgiveness, and you've taken a life (your own), and therefore you would not go to heaven. Hey, it worked for me.