Tuesday, June 25, 2013

*Bullies in Our Schools? Were You a Victim?*

I will never forget my elementary school and early middle school years. They were the most difficult ones in my life. Perhaps, it was because I was different. In fact, I was wise beyond my years. I never cared what anyone thought about me. I didn't dress to impress and I didn't go out of my way to be "friends" with the cliques in my schools. You see, I'm from a very small town in New Jersey. In elementary, middle, and high school, "cliques" are the  "most important" groups in the school. All it took was one person to "push" forward a cruel joke. I was incapable of being an evil person. My morals were extremely diverse. I was always wise beyond my years. I allowed myself to look beyond the school "cliques," which consisted of the "popular" kids, the "nerds," and the kids that didn't seem to fit in. I was in the third group. In my early years, my parents worked hard to ensure that I lived in one of the nicest homes in Nutley, N.J., had the best clothes, the biggest playroom, and the coolest toys. It was the towns dream, which made a lot of children resent me. They would pretend to be my friends to come over and enjoy my toys, come to my birthday parties, and eat my mom's cooking. As I got older, no one wanted to hang out anymore. If the popular kids played with me, it was in my neighborhood. I wasn't allowed to tell anyone in school or they'd deny it. It was extremely stupid and disappointing. When I was at school my "popular friends" would team up with their "real friends" to torture me. The verbal and physical abuse was unbearable. It wasn't too bad in elementary school. Kids would talk, but they didn't act on any actions. In middle school, they talked, pushed me down some stairs, and called me hurtful names. I never retaliated against these people. Actually, some of them used to be my "friends." We went to the same pre-school, elementary school, and then middle school. You can imagine how mortified and disgusted I was with their behavior. Sixth and seventh grade in Nutley, were the worst years of my life. In sixth grade, I was accused of committing a crime that I would never dream of because of my social status. My teacher that I trusted interrogated me. I couldn't believe that I was accused of harassing an individual. I could barely defend myself. The Nutley Police Department called me in for questioning and I went with my mother. They "asked" me questions about the crime and then began to read me my Miranda rights. I was 11 years old for God's sake. Of course, I wasn't guilty and my mother freaked on the detective who questioned me. Someone else was convicted. All of this happened because I was quiet. I never defended myself. I chose to ignore these cruel kids with no morality. Looking back, it was the best decision of my life. In 7th grade, I faked sick every day and when I started to believe it, the nurse sent me home. There's so much a kid can take until they snap. This girl decided to call me a bunch of names in my math class when a substitute teacher was in. She continued on with her cruel intentions. I had enough of her crap, so I put her in her place. I told her to shut her trap and called her a bitch. No one in the room expected me to speak. I was in tears before I said anything. I couldn't help, but yell it out. The substitute saw that it wasn't my fault and sent the girl to the principal's office. She couldn't believe that she was being reprimanded and not me. I was humiliated. When my math teacher came back the next day, the issue was brought up. My teacher defended me and told the girl she deserved getting in trouble. I will never forget that. When my parents revealed that we were moving to another town, I was extremely excited. I couldn't wait. We left the summer before my 8th grade year. The only people I would miss were the few girls, who were as "odd" as me. They became my town sisters. At times, they defended and fought for me. We still keep in touch today. I don't hate any of my bullies. They apologized a million times throughout the years. Their apologies helped, but they didn't mean anything to me. They could never take back the names I was called, the pain if caused, the humiliation, or the terrible grades I got because I didn't care. I didn't try because of them. I knew I wasn't stupid because my grades got better when I moved away. Had I stayed in that town, I could've been tortured to the point of suicide. I know it's a terrible thing to say, but it's true. I am grateful for my latter years. I had the time of my life. My younger years taught me to be strong. I don't regret them because I made lifelong friends who I could never thank enough. I consider myself lucky. Why? Because many of those "popular" kids have a history of drug abuse. Thankfully, I've never had any of those issues. I can finally say that I don't feel sorry for myself, but for them. 

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