about 50 years ago, we moved west los angeles and i was enrolled in a 3rd grade public school. shortly after attending, a classmate began harassing me. everyday, he would come up to me and threaten to kill me. as a seven-year-old and new to the school, i didn’t know how to address the problem. with every threat, more emotion built within. my nemesis was thinly built and tall. i was the smallest in the class.
at the time, the 1970’s, no programs existed with respect to bullying; students were not provide rules of behavior. the rules of the asphalt jungle applied. i had no skill set to address the bullying as i had no problems in prior schooling.
at some point, my feelings became unbearable. one recess, i jumped my tormentor and took him to the ground. i pinned his arms down with my knees, looked him in the face, eye to eye, and told him to “leave me alone!” i promptly got off of him and walked away.
thank god, that encounter ended the conflict.
decades after the incident, i occasionally have run into my classmate in the neighborhood. the interactions have been friendly. the bullying has never been discussed. his appearance is noteworthy. each time i have seen him he has come across as someone who was drifting through life. he appeared to have never had a sail that caught wind. a lost soul.
a recent story was a painful reminder of how little the world has changed. ms. isabella “izzy” tichenor’s, an autistic african american girl, story is quite saddening. she was subjected to bullying and racism at the age of 10. she tragically committed suicide. foxnews.com her situation is made worse in that her mother sought school assistance and they were of no help. it is reported that her teacher was problematic as well.
coping and dealing with harassment at a young age is overwhelming. for young ms. tichenor, with her autism, the struggle to deal with the problem was simply too much.
it is time that each and every school to have a basic code of conduct that is provided to each student to read, understand and acknowledge on an annual basis? “thou shalt not bully” certainly would be a code-worthy commandment.
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