Reaction to a newspaper article about bullying from letter-writers to that same paper, is really ticking me off.
In the piece, a high school girl actually transferred to another school to escape the incessant bullying by classmates. Some of the writers claim that it’s different now than it was back in their day. Why, teachers turn a blind eye, don’t you know. Kids who bullied used to be expelled without exception and now, well lookee here, the attacks can just go on and on. Oh, and did I tell you that I used to have to hike 7 miles to school, uphill both ways?
What a load of crap! I was bullied daily – yes daily – through my grade four year by a kid named Terry who was just too cool for school. Terry thought he was the king of recess and for some reason, I was his whipping post. He was taller and bigger than me and I don’t remember exchanging so much as a sentence with him before he started his regular assaults. He beat the crap out of me and I distinctly remember my teacher, Mrs. Killins, staring out her cat’s eye glasses through the school window to watch me get brutalized and not doing a single thing about it. And when it came to taking sides, Terry had the advantage and rallied some of his pals to taunt and humiliate me, even writing a song in my “honour” whose lyrics I remember to this day! I also recall one especially brutal winter day, having my face repeatedly smashed into the hard snow as Terry sat on my back and pummeled me. He was never expelled. He was never reported on. I was threatened with worse if I said a word so my focus that year was to get the hell off the school yard before he had a chance to grab me and start an attack because once I was on the street and in front of houses, I was safe. On the school grounds it was open season on Lisa and I was fair game.
I guess I came home with one too many bruises I refused to explain because my Dad (bless his heart!) apparently sat in his car in view of the school yard one day to see me get my ass kicked. He then followed Terry home and walked up to his door and explained the situation to Terry’s Dad, who gave his son an option. Continue to beat Lisa up or play hockey – you can’t do both. He knew his son would choose hockey. Years later it struck me that it was an awfully risky position to put me in! Why was beating me up even an option?!!! It should have been taken off the table entirely, in my view!
Terry never said another word to me as I continued at that school until Grade 7. Not a word about the assault was spoken. He backed off and the other kids backed off with him. I got back on track in Grade Five and even discovered my love for writing and took on a few leadership roles at school. In other words, I recovered. But don’t dare tell me things are allowed to slide these days where they never did before. If you have a terrible teacher, you were just at risk back then as you could be today.