I’m beginning to believe that bullying is not a problem of two parents and a child; it seems to be a problem of entire communities.
When a bully named Scott targeted me in junior high (middle school), it wasn’t just him. It was Scott, his six friends and the school’s principal.
One day, Scott informed me during the bus ride to school that he wanted to beat me up. His anger toward me was intense, but I never knew why.
Word got out by late morning that there was going to be a big fight off campus. Being shy at that age, I had told no one.
Toward the afternoon, the principal caught me in the hallway and told me that if I fought, I’d be suspended or thrown out of school. I told him that I didn’t want to fight, but that Scott and company planned to gang up on me at my bus stop.
“That’s your problem,” the principal said. “Just get out of the fight.”
I told the principal that if I avoided the fight, I’d be a target for the rest of the school year. The principal again told me that was my problem.
There was no kindness or concern in this man’s heart. He was just worried about the school’s image.
All during the bus ride home, I was taunted by Scott and his gang, mostly weak boys emboldened by Scott’s cockiness. I knew that if I fought Scott, they would never bother me again.
But despite my shyness, I loved school. I wasn’t about to get suspended or thrown out.
I also was the strongest runner in my school. So two stops before my own, I jumped off the bus and ran home.
Scott and his gang missed their chance. To my surprise, no one bothered me much for the next few weeks.
Then, while passing one of Scott’s lackeys in a vestibule where no one was present, Jan knocked all of the books out of my hands. The boy laughed, saying he “owned” me. “Wimp.”
Without thinking, I punched Jan in the chest, knocking him against the wall. I watched him slide to the floor completely winded. No one from Scott’s gang ever bothered me again.
After that, Jan stopped hanging around with Scott. The boy would even move to the other side of the hallway whenever he saw me.
But to be honest, I lucked out. I think Scott was having other problems that made him forget about me. In the end, I was more angry with the school principal.
Still, my experiences were nothing compared with what is happening to Billy White in Arkansas. This boy gets beat up on a regular basis, and the school has completely failed to stop the cruelty, reports The New York Times.
Several of the incidents, which have required stitches, were even caught on video. The Times posted photos of Billy’s abused body.
Perhaps most disconcerting to me is that Billy’s parents let him continue on at the school. I mean, there’s fighting the good fight, but Billy, who already suffers from learning disabilities, is growing up fearful of education.
Why does this family want to stay in a community complicit with torturing this boy? Some of the students even “started a Facebook page called ‘Every One That Hates Billy Wolfe.’ ”
After one incident, a school official refused to call police, saying Billy got what he deserved. Another school official complained that Billy’s demeanor was to blame. Gee, do you think a boy who has been getting attacked since he was 12 and fears going to school is going to act normal?
No, most of us know what the real problem is: parents and communities that encourage kids to pick on the weak like a pack of hyenas.