This week, a campaign was launched, I am sure you saw it: #AntiBullyingWeek. The numbers of bullied people increased drastically over the years, and we can thank social networks for that. Before, bullied people were harassed at school, but were done back home. Now, it’s everywhere, all the time. I am not saying that because I wanna be trendy. I am saying that because I have been bullied for years.
I was too tall, too nerdy, I had glasses, and I was the scapegoat just because I was there. Nobody tried to save me, nobody lift a finger. They (teachers, principals, adults in general) didn’t say a word to stop my abusers. Until I punched them back, when I was fifteen. Don’t worry, I didn’t get in trouble after all, because other students stepped in and testified on my behalf.
Do you think that story changed something in my high school? The answer is no. Bullies continued their dirty work, and nothing changed. But in November 2006, it was too much for a friend of mine. He couldn’t stop the constant insults, the anonymous scathing letters he was receiving on his bag, and it was the beginning of AIM. Back home, he was getting insulted on the Internet. He told people about it, his friends, his teachers. Nobody, including me, did a thing. We all thought it was just a rough patch.
He hanged himself before turning 18.
It’s been twelve years now but I still feel the rage I felt that day. I remember everything: the person who told me, the way people looked at us, his friends, on the hallway. Everybody talked about the incident for months. Teachers admitted later that they knew, but they didn’t take the time to talk with him.
I am far from perfect, but when a student of mine isn’t okay, I talk with him or her, even if it’s just for five minutes, after a class. I just don’t assume it’s a rough patch. Because bullying can kill, and I will always recall the face of his bullies when they had to carry his coffin, back in November 2006.
Bullying is not a joke, and bullies must be punished.