Back in the day, when I was a wee lad in school, I caught a lot of shit from jocks because of my weight. While it only came to blows a few times (including an epic arm twist by yours truly), it was a constant problem. What jackass is going to pull my pants down today or try to beat me up so his buddies will think he’s cool? On and on and on. To this day, if I ever ran across one of my tormentors, I’d have to struggle with myself to not smash his smirking face in.
And therein lies the real danger with bullying. The physical injuries usually heal up pretty quickly, but the mental injuries stick around for a very long time. Forever in some cases.
My son’s school – and apparently most of the schools in the country – have taken a zero-tolerance approach to bullying. Bully someone and you’re done. Do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars. Get your things and get the hell out.
This is a good thing. Also, it’s a good thing that seems to be working. According to the Harvard Medical School, fewer teens (ages 12-18) are reporting being bullied. In fact, the number is down by a full third. So, either the bullies have become so successful that no one wants to rat them out or bullying has become so intolerable that fewer people are engaging in it. I guess it’s also possible that kids who were once bullied are fighting back.
The very last time I took a bully to task was after he jumped me from behind. I flipped him over my shoulder and told him in no uncertain terms that if he ever messed with me again I would kill him. Understand, this was a heat of the moment kind of thing when I was just a kid, so I wouldn’t have actually killed him, but bullies are dumb and weak and he believed me. For the rest of the year, every time that kid saw me, he took off in the opposite direction.
For those of you less inclined to resort to violence and threats, the world at least seems to be changing for the better. It shouldn’t hurt to be a kid and you definitely shouldn’t have to put up with dumbass jocks shaking your down for your lunch money.
Read Harvard Medical School’s post here and feel a little better.
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And now, your moment of Zen.