I recently viewed a popular talk show where the topic concerned online bullying. It really hit home to me, as I was bullied nonstop at a high school in Carroll County four years in a row.
My books were stolen, and later thrown at me in the hallway with obscenities scribbled all over them. My pants and underwear were pulled down in the lobby of the school, in front of the cheerleading squad, and no one cared. I didn't bother with going to the office, as their apathy was common knowledge, including among some of the faculty. No one saw anything, as they didn't want to be retaliated against by the perpetrator(s).
I looked over my shoulder constantly to protect myself just walking down the hallways at my high school. Keep in mind this was 30 years ago, and the anti-bullying policies didn't exist back then.
Even at the lunch table, on one occasion, with at least 250 witnesses present, food was thrown at me by my tormentors, striking the back of my head, sending my face into a hot slice of pizza and burning my upper lip. On another occasion my locker was padlocked, keeping me from getting my books and belongings out. I had to summon a custodian to cut the lock off with a pair of bolt cutters. At one point I had to get another locker, on a different floor, due to my combination being compromised. Obscene phone calls came into my home all hours of the day and night, including in the summer.
While I did go to school officials, they seemed to be apathetic to what was going on, or would just advise me to ignore the bullying. Many of those bullying me used their friends to distract the official(s) in order for this bullying to take place.
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I was even afraid to attend my own graduation ceremony, fearing one last prank being committed against me. It turned out in that I needed to attend summer school just to graduate, and was even harassed there. Again, those in charge were too apathetic and did nothing.
After high school, my depression later caused me to become an angry alcoholic for 15 years, and, thankfully have been (as of December 31), sober for 12 years.
Never think that bullying, including cyber bullying is harmless. It's not. Alcoholism and depression can be treated with professional help. If you're being bullied, please tell a parent, adult or school official. The more of us who stand up against bullying, the more they will be outnumbered, and it will stop.
It's been 30 years since high school, and I'm just now beginning to realize that what occurred wasn't my fault.
As for those who think it's funny, or the in thing to bully someone, it's not. If you witness someone being bullied, or know it's going on and do nothing, it makes you just as responsible as those who caused it. This is the reason I have not attended any class of 1985 reunions, nor will I. Remember, when you bully someone, it may create fun for the bully, but the effects the victim suffers can last a lifetime.
Neil T. Ege