i don't think we're ever going to totally banish bullying in schools; whether it's any form of hazing or teasing, maybe part of the problem lies in the person itself. the child could be troubled at home and hoping to get away from it at school and then they're met with more challenges that can just push them over the edge. it's really hard to say where you can draw the line with what is acceptable and what is pushing the child to such extremes.
i was bullied. i was bullied so bad that i left the private school my parents had me enrolled in; in a time in my life when things at home were at their worst and their hope was to have me in a loving environment during this painful time. but, my experience in the catholic school system was anything but. i went from an elementary school where i knew most everyone in my grade (likely over 100 kids, i'd guess, maybe more?) to a grade of about 30. i always had lots of friends, then going to this school where i was the new kid and didn't know anyone. and for whatever reason, or maybe just that reason, this one girl (we'll call her mallory) decided that no one should like me. no one should be my friend. and, that i should be made fun of because i wasn't catholic. because i was skinny. because i had no boobs. i still remember our teacher saying before heading outside for a lab, ok, grab something flat to write on and someone piped up with like annie's chest?! how awful. during gym class, all the girls would bark at me when it was my turn to do a lay up during basketball, just trying to mess me up. these are just two examples that stand out to me now, but i dealt with being bullied all of sixth grade and half of seventh when i finally left for public school, back with all my friends from elementary, plus new ones.
when ben and i were having this talk, i explained a few of the things to him, and i totally broke into tears. you know, i never had closure on any of this. i never saw mallory again. a few of the girls went onto the same high school, but i never received a recognition that they had done anything wrong. i'm sure it's one of those things where they're likely too embarrassed for their own actions, but i think recalling all those awful memories, memories that i've likely just suppressed for so long, all came to a boil and just bubbled over.
i think back to my excuses for not wanting to go to school; i didn't feel good, i was tired, just let me stay home... it took me a while to finally admit to my mother why i didn't want to go. and then of course after i did, i would step off the bus into my driveway and totally break down, almost every day. i would hold it together during the day - i wasn't going to let them see that they were getting to me. and toward the end of my time at the catholic school, i remember just feeling so low about myself. they had picked apart all the obvious qualities about me eventually convincing me that these were awful things. they constantly called me skinny and ugly, so i had a hard time believing that it was ok to be thin, that thin didn't equal gross, ugly. i was well into high school when i finally was ok with my body. (but oh my gosh, what teenager doesn't deal with body image trouble?! that is an entire separate issue in itself!)
being a mother now, it hurts me to think of how awful my own mother must have felt during that time. with your own babies, you just want to love them, protect them, and never let them hurt! i would be devastated if jack or dylan came home upset because they were being bullied. it's my hope that i always have an open relationship with them, and i pray that if they have anything troubling them, they'll always feel like they can tell me anything.