This will be a long blog post. I really like giving warnings. I’m covering 3 schools, and their incidents.
This title is perfect for this type of blog post. Bullying Does No Good. It doesn’t. I am the survivor of bullying for years in graded school, junior high, and high school. It started in graded school for me, and I think for most cases that’s when bullying starts for others too. I’m going to write about mine and how I look back on it years later.
It started in an elementary school. I loved my teachers until a certain point I thought my school was great until 4th grade. 4th grade was when I met this girl, we should call her Lena. Lena moved into our town and our school. She didn’t know anyone. Mind you even though I loved my school and loved my teachers I struggled with friendships and I was totally shy and uncomfortable. I liked being around kids I knew of, I never stepped out of my comfort zone. When I met Lena she was sitting next to me in English class. She was nice at first. We sat at lunch together. I introduced her to people I knew for years. After a while, she started making fun of me. She’d say really mean things. Honestly, I don’t remember those things but they were mean. She didn’t stop until one day I did something she told me to do that I will never forget. I was in the bathroom after lunch and I took the lanyard I had with me every day and I held it tight against my neck, very tight.
I was put into therapy because of Lena. I hate therapy even to this day. I’d sit down and say what this girl did to me. Then we’d play games, and eventually, the appointment would be over. I couldn’t wait to go home. My first therapist made me feel uncomfortable. She was strict and rude. I eventually told my mom that this lady was mean. She was. She told me to “buck up”, which meant to me don’t have feelings. I eventually went to a different therapist. I’ve always wondered if they wanted me to say something in particular because every visit was the same result. Walk-in, talk about the day, play a game, and then eventually go home. It was a waste of time. Eventually, I moved on from Lena and didn’t feel any certain why. 5th grade came and I didn’t have the friends I once thought I did. They all were interested in having girlfriends and boyfriends. A guy who I believed was my best friend throughout graded school only hung out with me because I was always by myself. That was the only reason. To this day, I remember his birthday and I choose to send him a “Happy Birthday” message. This year he turned 28 years old. He is 21 days younger than me. I try to have a conversation with him. It doesn’t happen. I’ll stop at 30 years old maybe. OR maybe this is the last year?
5th-grade was also the year when my daycare lady passed away. I had been going to her for years, my siblings too (they’re much older than me). She had cancer and she went under the knife and never came out. It was so sad. One of my teachers in 5th grade thought it was stupid that I was going to a funeral at such a young age. My classmate Hal wanted to go to the funeral but his mom wouldn’t allow him to. That 5th-grade teacher was a math teacher. I’ve struggled with math since forever. I can add, multiply, divide, anything above that is confusing especially in 5th-grade.
I got moved from her class upstairs to a new classroom downstairs. I only went upstairs to certain classes. I felt more comfortable in a small circle of kids. I was able to do the work in silence, ask for help, and actually, be successful in the school work and ultimately get my homework done the same day. When it was recess time, I’d go to the library and find some non-fiction. When it was lunchtime, I had the choice to sit with my “friends” or sit with my “new friends” in the classroom downstairs. I chose my “new friends”. They didn’t force me to talk or to do anything, sometimes we’d just laugh at stupid stuff. The main teacher I had in that room was amazing, to this day I think she’s amazing. I don’t know where she is or what happened to her but she was fantastic. She helped me through 6th grade as well. I had the highest grades I had ever had in that school when I was graduating for 6th grade. I did really well working through those difficult math problems, science even though I thought it was wicked cool I wasn’t good at retaining the information. I was so excited but nervous to leave school I had known since kindergarten. I had no actual friends going into junior high. Junior high was a form of school/childhood I never want to remember.
Junior high was a completely different school. It was farther away from home, about 15 mins depending on the route you took. I was late almost every day to school. I’m not proud of being late, but I mean if they gave me a reward or plaque, I’d graciously take it. HAHA. I did laugh. I can be funny… Junior high was where this thing called a 504 meeting came to place. I have a learning disability. Teachers don’t know how to deal with those types of words or numbers because they aren’t taught about it in school. If they were, I wouldn’t be talked down too, I wouldn’t have to sit in the front of the class because they’d stare at me and talk super loud. Basically I have a hearing disability. I am not deaf, I can hear anyone whispering, talking in a normal tone, and a loud tone. I can hear. What I couldn’t do, or what my ear to my brain did was lose information out of a sentence and make it hard for me to understand what I was supposed to be doing.
The diagnosis is Auditory Processing Disorder or also known as APD. This is confusing to write, and explain. So imagine a science teacher is telling the class to go to page 51 and read silently and once done, raise your hand until everyone is done reading. I would hear this ‘Go to 5 and read silently’. I would get to pay 5 and read the contents of the book. Then once everyone was done with their hands raised, I’d raise my hand at the end. This actually happened. The teacher called on me, the last person who raised their hand. He asked me what I learned. I said I learned the contents of the book. EVERYONE laughed, even the teacher. I was embarrassed. I thought I did what I was supposed to do. But no, I didn’t process all of the information because I didn’t hear it all. It’s confusing but this problem hurt me learning and still does. I will ask multiple questions to learn something and it might be the same question four different ways because I want to make sure I get the same answer. I don’t want to bring up that topic and the person who told me all about that topic is telling me I got it all wrong. It’s embarrassing.
I had two 504 meetings that I remember were significant for how teachers treat people like me. The first one, we will call it Group A. The meetings were in the beginning, halfway, and at the end of the year, all teachers knew about it, except not all teachers showed up. I had a teacher tell the group of teachers, nurses, guidance counselors, and my parents that I forgot to tell him that there was a meeting today. He was always cocky, always rude, so I had stated that ‘it wasn’t my job to tell teachers when a meeting is’. I’m supposed to show up and listen to everyone talks about how I am failing or I’m a bad student, or I’m not listening and I need a tutor. Except when I got home, I had no problem doing the homework. I wish I had Mrs. Green to help me through the school days. The one person who always had faith in me, who also went to college to become a teacher. She became a teacher to HELP people, not treat them because they had a disability. To this day, it makes me so upset that I was treated like I was an inconvenience.
Group B of teachers wasn’t any better. I had told my mom about an incident that another kid took their phone out and recorded what the teacher was saying about me in front of the entire class. That teacher- Mr. Ass – That seems appropriate. He was a math teacher. Every day I would give out my device to help me “hear” better. This device I was told I had to use and during Group A teachers meeting nobody ever used it. It would sit on their desk while they were up at the board teaching. Mr. Ass was mouthy when using it, he was put the mic up to his mouth and tell me I was stupid. I could hear it because I was using a hearing aid. That one day he was calling me an inconvenience and stupid was the day a girl I didn’t really know was recording it on her phone. I didn’t have a phone, or I’d had done this too. That was strike one for Mr. Ass according to the principal, the second strike was throwing my device on the floor and then asking me if I heard him say “You’re stupid”. I did hear him. You don’t ignore insults even as an 8th grader. I repeated “You’re stupid” and which he sent me to detention room or as they called it “Room Zero”.
I went to that room and sat there crying. The man that was in the room was super nice. He gave me water, some cookies, and tissues. He asked what happened and I told him. He was so upset. He went to Mr. Ass’ room and talked to him. Apparently I was a liar until Tyra went to the principal and played it. Mr. Ass was in trouble. The third strike was when he told everyone in the room to laugh at me when I walked in. They laughed like instructed. Again, Tyra was recording it. She pulled me aside and said we’d go to the principal’s office together. We did. We stood up in class and left. That was strike three for Mr. Ass. The last 504 meetings came and Mr. Ass was there. He hadn’t been in school for over a week. He sat there like he was the one being picked on, and in front of my mom he told me to “Shut Up”. My mom, being the person she is, the mom she is, stood up for me. He didn’t have a job after that meeting, he was seen filling up a box with his stuff and leaving. I still don’t understand why teachers I came across were so mean. Why couldn’t they accept me? I came across mean kids like Lena and teachers like Mr. Ass and I became a bit stronger, and a bit quieter.
High School was closer to home. High school meant staying for four years and then never going back. Thank goodness. It was another world of unknowns. I was hoping that I wouldn’t have to deal with anyone like who I had dealt with in two previous schools. I still had my device, it was a different kind, but I still had it. All my teachers were nice in the beginning, they had all agreed to wear the mic. That didn’t happen, and it wasn’t the lack of me trying. They didn’t want to change their ways of teaching for someone like me. Freshman year was alright. I don’t really remember most of it. Probably a good thing. Sophomore year I had incidents where boys would push me down the stairs and run away, girls would ignore me because- I actually don’t know why. I can’t ask now because high school was 10 years ago. People change. I was bullied online, in classes, walking down the hall, walking home from school. I was bullied by more of the kids my age than teachers. I did have a few teachers that were inconsiderate. A lot of my sophomore year was either at hospitals for my grandpa who was ill or in a tutor session to get help with classes. We will discuss my losses in a different blog. This teacher, we will call her Ms. Old. She found out that my grandpa had passed the day before and I was just too tired to do any work. She told me to get over it. At that moment I called her the B-word and I left. I went to my safe space in the entire school. The nurse’s office. I spent my lunches there. I hung out with one of the nurses. She was so nice to me, she helped me, she talked with me, she allowed me to take time for myself. I was comfortable. I went to the nurse’s office after Ms.Old was rude and I said I wanted to go home. The nurse called my parents and they told me to walk home. I did. I just wanted my mom. I didn’t care about school. The school doesn’t discuss grief. In my junior year of high school, I lost my grandma. We will also discuss this in another blog. I started to make friends. Or so I thought. A week later I was told by these “friends” that there was a Facebook page of a group that was my face. I didn’t have a Facebook page. I was curious. I found it. I was being bullied online. Those “friends” were part of it. I don’t remember what the group was called. These people who did this were the ones who pushed me down the stairs multiple times a day every day. There were over 20k people apart of this group. People from as far as California. People who did not know me, people who could have never been in Vermont or who went to high school did this to me. The kids I went to graded school with were part of the group. They were making fun of me. How does one get past that? I did, it took years. I didn’t tell my dad at first, but then I did. I then told my mom. I wasn’t allowed to have Facebook, but I did. Just to check that page. The principal got involved and eventually, Facebook took it down, those kids got in trouble. I’m not sure how or in what ways. But I kept on with life.
My senior year was my favorite year. I was able to pick my classes, and we finally had health careers to learn more about nursing and other careers to pick from. I loved nursing, designing in the yearbook, and having half the day to do nothing. I struggled with kids and some teachers. I had one last 504 meetings, and like the first one teachers stopped showing up. Those teachers didn’t care. I graduated the day after my 18th birthday.
This was my last year of school. I had no friends, I didn’t have a good time in school. When I struggled it was ignored or laughed at. I felt like my school life wasn’t normal. Not like in the movies. I know, I know, nothing is like the movies. Even when I put myself out there with new people I was ignored.
I know this was long if you made it this far. Thank you. Seriously, Thank you for staying. Thank you for reading. I started blogging because I needed to talk it out. I needed to explain my side. If you had a crummy grade K-12 experience, you are not alone. I’m sorry you went through the bullying. Nobody deserves it. The people who do start it, something is wrong with them. The people who stand by and watch it happen, they are just as bad as the bullies. I probably shouldn’t message that kid from the past. He was one of the people who stood by and watched me get bullied. I am the person I am today because of these experiences. I can’t change my past. I can and have had to change my future and perspective on people. I don’t trust people.
See you in the next blog! 🙂