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    Posted September 15, 2010 by
    San Diego, California
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Bullying in America's schools

    Happier Times


    Bullying is a devastating, cruel, and completely unnecessary evil that is not only tolerated but increasingly encouraged by adults who refuse to get involved and do anything when a kid asks for help. These same adults think that telling a child to stand up for themselves, is somehow "an answer that makes bullies run in the other direction."  You know what that answer does?  It gets the kids in trouble for fighting by the same adults who refused to do anything in the first place - and I bet that 60% of people who get picked on will somehow get blamed for causing the fight.


    When I was faced with that scenario, I took long ways home.  I didn't play outside because I was worried someone might find out where I lived. I hid.  I stayed in my room starting with the fifth grade and could not understand why anyone went out of their way to come bother me. Junior high was worse.  People would actually cross the street to confront me ( after I had crossed the street to avoid them). The worst was bullies "making an appointment" to get beat up after school.  You know that was all you could think about all day long - it was a form of terrorism.  Because most of it happened off school grounds, the officials in school said it didn't involve them.  When normal school day bullying and tormenting happen on school grounds, the teachers did not do anything about it - they said they did not "witness it".  It would be easier for a 14 yr old to pass an Act of Congress than prove that they had been bullied.  On the off chance that you did have witnesses or proof, you know what the school officials response was?  Nobody likes a tattle-tale, maybe thats why you get beat up.......


    Associations in high school were no better, no one talks to you once the bullies tell people who to talk to and who to ridicule.  All I ever wanted was to be left alone.  People would think nothing of ruining your clothes or breaking a pair of glasses or knocking books out of your hands or being threatened if you sat  in the "wrong seat" in the cafeteria, I could go on and on.


    If nothing in this sample of my life seems particularly much of a big deal as far as bullying goes, let me give you something to think about that I believe NO ONE talks about on this topic.  What happens to those that can't stick up for themselves, who don't know how and who won't take their "lumps" learning the hard way?


    I'll tell you.  They don't get the chance to learn how to build relationships, because guys wouldn't be seen hanging out with you and girls made you come up with reasons and references why they should even talk to you.  This effects your ability to interact with people at work because now your bosses have to like you in order to keep your job - never mind you do a better job than the person who keeps his job because he goes to the company Christmas parties and picnics.  It's all office politics which means interpersonal relations become more important than skills for doing the job.  It's effects relationships with women, who were the cruel girls in Junior High. Most of todays women still act like they never left junior High.  You see it every time a woman responds with a smarmy smart-aleck remark to an inquiry of ours when a No, thank-you would have been just fine.  We become loners.  We stay at home.  We don't interact with others because its never been worth the risk taking the chance to open up to others.  We don't develop our emotions. We don't trust or give trust.  We hide - in many ways.


    Why is my story important?  Because I went to Junior High and High school in the late 1960s.  I am today 57. 


    I took an off-ramp from the highway of life during my teens and for all intents and purposes never got back on that highway.


    I spend my days in my apartment - hiding.  It's safer that way. Made no difference that I'm adequately intelligent and had a college degree.


    If I were given the chance to go back and change things the only thing I would consider would be the same thing I have occasionally thought about every now and then during the last 40 years - how to accurately place the label of a Louisville Slugger right in the teeth of those who went out of their way for no reason to harass and bully me.


    That what I have left - the only two emotions bullies let me develop in the first place - anger and fear. 


    Is this what you want in your fathers, brothers, husbands, co-workers, friends and retirees?


    Don't think bullying is a big deal?  Keep doing nothing - dismiss us as usual.   I'll have plenty of company - minus, of course, the ones who can't stand it anymore and "blow up" when some small incident becomes the last straw, and some poor cop picks up the pieces. 

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