August 26, 2011
>Bullying Shouldn’t Be ‘A Part of Growing Up’
This year I will begin my work as a GLSEN Student Ambassador and a proponent of a simple message, ‘safe schools for all.’
I’m from Los Angeles, California, a city known as a progressive Mecca to say the least, but even here I have faced constant bullying and harassment at the hands of my fellow pupils as well as, unfortunately, some teachers. Throughout my elementary years I learned to fear the environment at my school and would try to miss it as much as I could. Eventually it grew to the point where I would skip school at least once a week. This, inevitably, led to my grades dropping. I even lagged behind the classmates who tormented me, it was miserable. The worst part about it was that I thought that the administration couldn’t do anything about the situation, that I was on my own, completely. The truth was that they most likely didn’t know what to do about a student being called a ‘fag’, or ‘gay’ or ‘girl’ so much that it would bring him to the point of tears almost daily. Either way, I felt helpless. If the teachers weren’t going to protect me, who was?
I spent my elementary and junior high school years hating every day of having to put up with the teasing and harassment. I even began to believe that I deserved every bit of it, every shove, every punch in the stomach, every exclusion from anything that I was deemed to “feminine” to partake in, such as drinking from the “boys” water fountain, or playing kickball. I was not worthy of respect by anyone. I survived that ordeal, but barely. I attempted to take my own life on more than one occasion, but, luckily, every attempt failed. What really stuck with me was the administrations apathy. I felt that they believed that bullying was something “everybody had to go through” during school, like the flu.
Well, I beg to differ. This year, thanks to GLSEN, I can and will tell people that bullying is not and never was a natural part of childhood. That people aren’t born hating people that are different. Being bullied is certainly not a natural part of childhood. Everyone, no matter the age, should be protected from all forms of harassment and bullying.