Jay’s alarm clock just rang… Awoken by the song “hit me baby one more time”, he could only think of the day to come, and the emotional beatings he would get hen entering his school. Jay gets in the shower, then barely is able to finish his piece of toast. He gets to the bus stop, and sees the bus coming around the corner. “Here we go,” he says to himself.
Walking into the school bus feels like walking on stage. Everyone is staring. “Hey, fatty” is the first comment thrown at him. Everyone laughs. And Jay sulks into his seat, hoping that for once, he could just disappear.
Jay gets to school. On his way out of the bus, the guy that called him fatty trips him and everyone starts laughing and pointing. Jay would love to be able to fight back. But he stands alone against a crowd of thirty people. He has no voice. No one is there to defend him. He grabs his books off of the ground and walks off.
Sitting in class later that day, whenever the teacher turns around, he gets hit by paper balls. The teacher sees nothing and goes about her business. One paper ball, two… five paper balls… “STOP IT” Jay screams. The teacher starts scolding him for interrupting class. Jay tries to protest, but the teacher sends him to the principal.
During lunch, Jay has nowhere to sit. He used to have a group of friends, but when he started getting bullied, his friends dropped him because they were so afraid of getting bullied themselves. Everyone is looking at him, but no one invites him to sit down. To avoid continuing to receive insults, and to avoid having his lunch stolen from him, there’s only one place Jay can eat his lunch in peace before heading to the library for some quiet time: the toilet stall.
At the end of the day, after incessant jabs and name-calling and tripping in the hallways, Jay gets home and turns on his computer. Blip the computer rings, he’s received a Facebook message with a link. He clicks on a link, and there’s his face, Photoshopped on the body of a pig rolling around in mud. And the pig has a Facebook page with Jay’s name on it, filled with activities, wall posts, check-ins… And this version of Jay has 200 friends. 200 people in his school have seen this page, and have written mean comment after mean comment. Jay used to feel safe at home. He used to feel like he could forget all of the comments once he closed the door to his room. Not anymore. Now, these kids are everywhere.
You might think that Jay is weak. That Jay can’t defend himself. Perhaps you didn’t know that Jay loves Judo class, is an awesome swimmer, but also loves science. Do you think Jay is weak because he’s not defending himself?
When you’re being bullied at school and on the Internet, you feel alone. It’s 200 against 1 and no one will come to your rescue. How do you fight back, with your fists or your words, when you know that things will only get worst? How can you tell teacher or your parents about it when you know that once the adults turn their backs, you only pay for it even more?
Jay is you. He is me, and he is every kid you might know. It’s not only the “short, geeky kids” that get bullied. As adults, we think we’re so much stronger than Jay and that we could handle it. But this bullying is enough to make anyone crack only after a just week of it. Imagine going through 5 years of this. Then have someone tell you that you should “suck it up” or “grow some balls”.
I’m starting a series on bullying. In this series, I’ll give solutions that both parents and children can use in order to fight the bullying while continuing to stay safe. If you have questions or situations you might need help with, feel free to write in.
Let’s start a discussion where we stop seeing bullying as kid’s stuff, harmless and unavoidable. This needs to stop.