April 2003
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OPINION

I will survive
By: Lola Sutton, St. Albans, NL

Can you imagine waking up every day wishing you were ill so you didnít have to face another day at school. A place where you stand alone, face constant taunting, the bad looks you receive as you walk down the hall and the emotional bruises that are embedded deep into your memories. Did you know that according to Statistics Canada, 19,000 children attempt suicide annually? Thatís once every half and hour, because they canít deal with being bullied and are desperately looking for a way out. They feel that the only way bullying will ever stop is if they are dead.

They are known as the nerds, the loners of society, and the rejects. These people do not choose these names; rather they are forced on them by the bullies who plague them. He or she is the person who doesnít follow the ďIn CrowdĒ, and the ones who canít afford the Tommy Jeans. They are picked on merely because they dare to be different, to be themselves. These are the victims of school bullying and no bullying is trivial. How can we possibly get an education while bullying is allowed to go on?

This act of bullying is happening worldwide and is not getting the attention that is should. Take for example in the case of Nathan Faris of Missouri. After being teased repeatedly about his chubbiness for months on end, on March 2nd, 1987 he went to school with a gun, shot the classmate that had teased him for so long and then turned the gun on himself. Another more recent incident, which we will never forget, is the case of Eric Haris and Dylan Kelbold at Columbine High. They were being bullied during their high school years and on April 6th, 1999 they decided it would all end. They came to school with bombs and guns, killed 12 students, injured another 23 and killed one teacher before turning the gun on themselves.

I know first hand what happens when a victim feels they have no way out because I have been the victim of bullying. Simply because I dare to be different and not run with the crowd. I have my beliefs and I live by them. I donít go along with trends, and have glasses which are considered to be somewhat nerdy. For a long time I dealt with the constant ridicule and was afraid to speak out. I even started believing that maybe I was a lowlife like they called me. Maybe they were just right about my nerdy ways. It even came to the point where I didnít want to attend school and my grades were showing it. Then I realized I was doing exactly what the bullies wanted, living my life in fear of them and hurting myself at the same time. I realized I was worth something and that the bullying had to stop. I made up my mind that I would live my life the way I wanted, to ignore their taunting, their harsh words, for that was all they were - just mere words. I decided I would survive.

We should be able to make the bullies realize that this is wrong and will not be accepted in our schools. To stop this act from happening, we have to let children know right from the start that bullying is not acceptable in any way, shape or form. It we teach this at a young age then when they get older they might stand a better chance of not being subjected to school bullies or becoming one themselves.

We are not seeing what goes on behind the closed doors and the students who are put through this are afraid to speak out. Then itís just too late when the damage is done or lives are lost. I feel that a way to combat bullying in the school is by a stiffer punishment by the administration. Parents of the bully need to be called in. The bully needs to be suspended for a period of time and cut from extracurricular activities for a period of time. If the bullying were to persist then the bully would be suspended indefinitely or expelled for the year.

It is very unfortunate that students should have to deal with this while trying to get and education. We should feel that school is a positive environment where we can feel safe and learn valuable skills for life. It should not be one where fear, hurt and rejection are seen.

The answer starts small. I say this to the bully. I am asking you to look deep inside yourself and wonder how you would feel if a group of people were constantly making fun of you because you were different from the so called norm? You cannot deny that you would feel pain and be hurt by their taunting, so why do this to someone else? Whatever happened to the Old Golden Rule, which states: do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.

For those students who are being bullied, I give you this advice: Do not keep you feelings bottled up inside or suffer alone. Speak out, tell someone that you are being bullied such as a trusted friend, a teacher, your parents or the guidance councillor. They are all there to help you. Hang in there.

I think more people need to open up their eyes to see the amount of bullying that does go on in our schools and try to somehow stop this. Hopefully that day is sooner rather than latter because remember people's lives are depending on it.


     



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