Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bully Bully

I've always said that while I still think it was horribly wrong, I could understand where the Columbine shooters were coming from. I know how you can feel so helpless at the hands of bullies that all you want to do is do something extreme. Something to make them pay.

I was the weird kid growing up. I had the weird parents, I lived on a commune, I was smart and showed it off, and I was odd. I was a vegetarian when I was in elementary school, I wore second hand clothes, I had a hyphenated last name. My parents weren't married, and I was poor. There was next to nothing about me that fit in. I was bullied by my peers.

I was bullied by my teachers.

Yes, my teachers. I was teased about what I ate, my parents, my name, by the people who were paid to teach me and protect me. The responsible adult in the room was my worst enemy.

These were the teachers that people listed as favorites, that won the popularity contests. The teachers that if I had ever said anything about no one would have believed. Yet they did it. Some of them could still be doing it.

There is no punishment I can think of other than firing and revoking a teacher's license that would be appropriate for the two teachers who publicly bullied a teenager for their perceived sexual preference. The small money that the district paid out is not enough. It will never be enough until it stops.

I don't care if even a small part of it was true. I've been there, I've had a principal tell me that being bullied by jocks was acceptable. I wear the scars of that. It is the emotional baggage that I carry.

I hope that M never has to deal with that. I hope that she has the same great relationship with her teachers that she has now. I hope that she can always respect and look up to the people in charge. The people we trust to take care of her and teach her. I hope they don't teach her some of the lessons I learned.


The Fritz Facts said...

When I first heard this story after the settlement my heart ached for the young man. To be tortured in that fashion by teachers, the ones we are taught to go to in times of trouble. It made me ill as more details came out, that they assumed his preference, and were not only in-accurate but refused still to apologize.

There is no excuse for bullying, no matter who you are. It makes me ill that the school waited until last week to suspend these teachers. Firing is what is needed. Especially since the female teacher avoided her previous discipline, calling in sick for 4 of the 5 days.

This is one subject that gets my back up everytime.

confused homemaker said...

It's a major issue in school systems, the bullying that teachers & staff levy at students or allow to occur by other students. It's sad but really some adults are not mature enough to be in these positions.

Marketing Mama said...

Bullying from anyone sucks. Teachers? That's awful. I read about those teachers. Also, those nursing home aides that harass the residents? AWFUL.

How do you teach your kids to stand up for themselves without being wussy? I'm just now getting to that point...

She Likes Purple said...

God, this is ridiculous and disgusting. I wish adults were forced to act like adults. So many of them -- so many of them in positions of authority -- are still the same asshats they were when they were in high school. You're right, not acceptable.

Rebecca said...

Bullied by teachers? The only thing worse than that is a principal who accepts bullying by jocks as the norm and does not do anything to stop it.

How horrible. This makes me mad.

jen @ negative lane said...

As both someone who was bullied as a kid (small, nerdy) and who is now a teacher, I have to say that is messed up.

While I don't agree that bullying by teachers and staff is a "major issue in our school systems," it obviously does occur. It's shameful when someone entrusted to be an advocate for children, in loco parentis, violates that trust.

I don't know the details of this incident (the story didn't really go into much depth), but of all of the kinds of kids out there, homosexuals are the least respected and least protected group in public schools today. In fact, in the district I teach in, our school firewall blocks students from accessing any website labeled as gay, in the same manner as if it were weapons or pornography. Even if it is an informative or support site. If I were the parent of a student in my district (I do not live in the district I teach in and so have no standing), I'd sue the school for a civil rights violation, whether my kid was gay or not.

kristen said...

Being a child can be hard enough. Being mocked and teased by your peers can be agonizing. To feel like those who are supposed to protect and mentor you are mocking you is extremely sad and even more damaging.