Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Fear of Bullying

When I was 12 years old, I went to Bess Rankin elementary school in Arlington Texas and was in the sixth grade. I was on the honor roll and played football, but I, along with all my classmates, was deathly afraid of one kid. He had had failed to pass several years and should have been going into high school, in all likelihood. Funny, I can't remember his name, but I can recall one incident, that I discussed with my middle son yesterday.

We were outside and running around the playground, when this imbecile approached me and asked why I had to embarrass him in class and why I was such a wimp (he actually used another word associated with a the female anatomy, but I choose not to repeat it). Apparently, in the class prior to recess, I had answered a question that the teacher asked me. He (and I did not remember this), was asked the same question prior to me and didn't know the correct response, as he never studied. So because I actually studied and responded to the teacher I was under attack.

He grabbed me by my coat collar and started literally pulling (dragging is probably a more appropriate term) me across the playground out of sight of the teachers, who were supposedly watching over the students. We were followed by many of my classmates and a few, Thank God,  ran to get the teachers. He berated me the whole way and was about 6 inches taller and outweighed me by 20 lbs to 30 lbs. I knew I was going to get killed or at least have my face re-arranged.

Then I remembered the axiom "Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones but Words Will Never Harm Me"! He released me and instructed me to stand up, fight him and get ready for my rear end to be killed. I told him that wasn't an acceptable choice and he could hit me all day long, but I was going to take a less resistant path and not hit back.

This infuriated him and made him call me more names and increase his volume in my scathing. In return I just looked at him. I knew any minute he would crush my skull. but I also knew I had no chance. He had made mincemeat out of a few others and I had seen the results. He called me "Chicken", many other dirty names that I shall not repeat and kept trying to egg me into a fight. I knew quite well that I would be defeated miserably by his attack if I allowed him to provoke me.

He was a bully and well aware of his dominance. He had ruled over the playground for some time. No one had taken this type of stance before though and he wasn't really sure how to handle it. I was able to stall and put off a fight long enough, to have the playground teachers run up and put a stop to it. The only issue was I had to live with this shroud for the rest of my life and the fact that he terrified me. I don't think I slept for a week.

The incident stayed with me through junior high and my shame was only matched by embarrassment, when someone would bring it up. Kids never let well enough alone. My salvation is, that my face was not restructured and in the end I have had a nice life. My son had a similar incident and wore glasses during Little League. His "Bully" was the son of another coach and had my son in the same situation. As he was intelligent, he took the same road and parents intervened before the bully could massacre him.

Bullying in today's society, has taken on new and dangerous proportions. Children are actually committing suicide, as a result of Social Media intimidation. It breaks my heart every time I hear of this (and to be honest it brings back my scenario). We as a society have to intervene. We have to bring the process to a screaming halt and quit sacrificing our kids. Please help in any fashion you feel compelled!

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