Monday, March 29, 2010

Bleeding Heart

Though it was not literally true, I went through my youth being called, mass-ass. To this day, it irks to think about this. That particular nickname was just for starters, for there were many more. I spent my grade school years being bullied by two girls in particular. On a daily basis, there was always something they said or did to make me feel hated and worthless. During the sixth grade, these girls spread a rumor that I was pregnant. There was no way that was possible, but the rumor took off, and I spent that year having my belly stared at as though at any minute, I'd magically produce a baby. I hated school and I hated being ganged up on. Because of that, I have an overdeveloped sense of what defines injustice. I don't join others when they maliciously gossip and I think I've taught my kids to be the same.

When I heard the news about Phoebe Prince today, the Massachusetts teen who committed suicide because she was bullied by a group of students and just couldn't live like that anymore, I cried. I can only imagine her torment. How bad was this abuse, that she decided her life was not worth living? She was 15. Nine teenagers from her school are facing a variety of felony charges because their malicious behavior led to her suicide.


It's about damned time.

Now, it would do my heart good to see the school administrators (who were aware) and the parents of these kids pay a price as well. They all turned a blind eye to the systematic torture of Phoebe. I can only hope there's a special place in hell for them.


Miss 376 said...

We've had a few cases like that over here, and it's heartbreaking. Sad thing is, it's not just happening to children, it's happening to adults too.

jeannette said...

Such cruelty is hardly imaginable.
I do not understand these kind of teachers who turn a blind eye, not wanting to get involved -incomprehensible too:(
I'll say no more, because my blood is boiling..

Ruth said...

so many stories of poeple killing themselves because of bullies - they can be so cruel. It is so sad.
Rudee - please do not take this tragedy to heart you have enough to cope with - please let it go.

Michaela said...

At age 15 my nickname was The Omen. My other nickname was E.O.S.O which stood for Evil Omen Social Outcast. Look at my face. Do I look evil? I stopped smiling because there were a lotta family problems resting on my skinny shoulders. So the other kids turned on me and added to my burdens. Im with you, Rudee. Parents should teach tolerance and kindness.

Rose said...

I agree; too often, too little is done and then when the unthinkable happens, those in charge say they had no idea. Our school is very vigilant about this, but even so, you know that much falls between the cracks and/or happens out of our sphere of knowledge, even as parents. Trust me when I say I absolutely follow through whenever I see a case and as a middle school teacher, I see a few. I have ripped the No Bullying sign off of my wall more than once to wave it in a kid's face as I march him/her to the office. And still it happens. No answers, but prosecuting the bullies is a good step.

Anonymous said...

I read a comment somewhere, maybe in my local paper, that it makes no sense to treat bullying as something minor when workplaces have all kinds of regulations regarding harassment. How does bullying not qualify as harassment? Obviously it does, in the worst possible way.

Rudee said...

Miss, young Phoebe was from Ireland.

Jeanette, it is unimaginable, but it happens every single day here. I don't know why it's tolerated, but perhaps it's time to make examples of the bullies.

Ruth, it's hard not to be touched by this tragedy. It really is very sad.

Michaela, I don't think you look particularly evil. Either did I, nor did Phoebe. What is it with people?

Rose, from some news accounts, Phoebe's mother had been to the school to complain. If this is true, then it's shameful nothing was done.

Amy, you're exactly right! It is harassment and it's hardly minor. It's something that sticks with a person forever.

Rositta said...

I won't even tell you what I was called at school but believe me coming from Germany in the 50's it wasn't pretty. With me it was more than words though, I ran a gauntlet every day to avoid being beaten up. The parents must be held responsible, it is they that teach their children. Of course that will probably never happen will it...ciao

Brenda said...

I get so upset when I hear these things. I really think we need to figure out some way to try and prevent these things from happening. I hear story after story on the news of the horible things happening to our young people. I feel like blood boils just thinking about it.

Stephanie V said...

Yes, it IS harassment - no different than the workplace variety. And it does affect your sense of self-worth for many years and maybe the rest of your days.
I have a vivid memory of having rocks thrown at me each day I walked home for lunch. It was pretty scary.

Renie Burghardt said...

It's just too terrible to fathom, the cruelty of it all! And it has hapenned before. Those kids that did this, their parents and the school should all be held responsible!

debra said...

This is a tragedy and there are many victims. Those who watched and did nothing---folks in a position of authority---should be ashamed of themselves.
And I was also one who was picked on. I was too smart, too tall and too sensitive. Bullies just know---and are attracted like sharks to blood

Anonymous said...

I was very thing as a young girl and was teased all the time and called 'Skinny Minny'. Girls was very curvy and heaver than me those days. I would have been in high style these days. I remember being so afraid to some of those girls. I am like you I had a huge lump in my throat for this young girl. I get so cynical sometimes it is hard to get optimistic again. Old age does that to you. Blessings dear friend.

Ruth said...

This morning i read about this tragedy in my local paper - The West Australian - news of it has travelled far.It is so sad.

Catherine said...

I just heard of that Phoebe case yesterday when it was on the Irish Times - she had Irish roots and lived in Co. Clare for 13 of her all too few years. She was brought home for burial. Poor girl, what a life and hope those bullies get what they deserve, seems like the guys and their ex/girlfriends just led her on and made a dupe of her.
On a different theme - I was telling Stephanie of a nice Knitting blog I found via a Facebook group!/pages/The-Constant-Knitter/163541070167?ref=nf
here's the blog - It's an Irish based site and they have links to Garnstudio
Give them a look. Hope all is well with you. Catherine.