Friday, May 28, 2010

I know you are but what am I?

Tonight I read a discussion about where to send your kids to school, or whether to homeschool them. Homeschool? Interesting. I'd never even considered it until now, I just assumed Butterfly would go to mainstream school.

I got to thinking about my own school experience, and whether it was good or bad. Of course there were elements of both. At first I remembered all the good times. Then I remembered... I was bullied so badly in primary that I changed schools. Its odd that didn't occur to me at first...

I don't really like admitting that, because I feel that people might think I am socially retarded or weak or something. Not so. It is probably my strength that put me in the firing line...

In grade five I was one of the most popular girls in my group. I used to make up rude lyrics to the hymns at assembly, so everyone wanted to sit next to me for a laugh. I had a great group of friends and even a little boyfriend (you know, by boyfriend I mean someone who chased me around when we played bullrush!)

Then grade six happened. My three best friends left the school, and our group became pretty small. We ended up merging with what would become the "cool" group. I had some good friends, but the most popular girls could be nasty. Never to me, but to others. One day they tried to put one girl's hands in bird poo, because that would be really funny and everything. I snapped. I yelled at them, told them they weren't funny, just mean. I walked off with the poor victim and into my nightmare!

From that point on, I was public enemy number one. I couldn't answer a question in class without them mocking me. If I walked past they'd all start laughing. At touch football, they wouldn't touch, they'd hit. My "boyfriend" decided he didn't like me anymore. You know, all very devastating to an 11 year old. I would come home crying every day. My Mum tried to get the school to do something but they didn't. Kids are crafty, and are smart enough not to do anything in front of teachers. My Dad was deathly ill with the flu and Mum couldn't cope, so she moved me. Only after I had enrolled at another school did the principal take action. There was traumatising meetings in her office, where I was forced to try to explain my situation in front of my tormenters. It turns out the worst offenders were suspended and very nearly expelled.

One of the worst offenders was one of my former best friends. When the same girls were nasty to her... I was her shoulder to cry on. When they turned on me... she joined in. Lovely. She is the only one of them who still harbours a grudge (as far as I know)... she went to highschool with my cousin and liked to tell him how much she hated me, and how I almost got her expelled. Say WHAT? Way to take responsibility. I have recurring dreams where I befriend her again, is annoying. Every time I have the dream, I think, "Finally this isn't a DREAM! I can put this behind me", then I wake up. LAME.

One of the other girls rang me years later to apologise. Another I ran into at a party and there were no hard feelings. I don't harbour negativity towards any of them. They were 11 at the time, I'm sure they've matured since then! I do, however, still dislike that principal immensely, she failed me big time.

So how do I feel about the experience? Not sure. It is part of my story, of who I am today. If it didn't happen I wouldn't have been to the other school, where I had some great times. However I would not like Butterfly to experience it. How do you protect your kids from bullys? I was a popular, confident child and it happened to me. Remember your parents saying, "Just ignore it" or "They're just jealous". Not that they aren't right, but I don't remember that helping much.
On a tangent... we had this guy come to our highschool to talk to us about bullying. He had no legs, he got around on a skateboard. He told horror stories about him having his toes cut off during an exam (when he had legs he couldn't feel them) and being stuffed in a rubbish bin that was then set alight. REALLY heavy stuff. At the end he asked the school captains to stand up, and asked our female leader if she saw much bullying at the school. She said no. Then he ripped into her!! Asked everyone who had ever been bullied to raise their hands (which most of us did), and asked what kind of school captain she was to be so out of touch. He was really mean to her!
I lost respect for him at that point. She was wrong, bullying happened daily, but after his shocking tales of woe, I'd have said no too! No one had physical abuse like what he described. So in the heat of the moment I wouldn't have counted name calling bullying either (in comparison). Most principals don't have a grasp on bullying so to target a 17 year old girl was just nasty. She nearly cried. In his quest to prove a point he ended up being the bully! Not cool...
What were your experiences of bullying at school? Is ANYONE lucky enough to come out completely unscathed?


  1. I think everyone has probably been bullied or bullied someone else at one time or another.
    I remember in year 5 changing schools when we moved to the gold coast and this one girl was so mean to me and wouldn't let anyone be my friend, I hated it and you know what I saw her like 2 years ago and I still hated her. So good on you being able to let it go. I think kids might have it worse now though with all the facebook bullying etc.
    But you know what I wont complain about being bullied as I did my far share of it as well.

    I wont go into it here as I don't want to start arguments but I am very anti home-schooling even after researching it etc I still don't think it is right. I also dont believe it will stop bullying as there are plenty of bullies within the workplace and uni or in team sports etc.

  2. I think you are right about the facebook bullying, I think we just missed that phase! Although I do remember some chick from the Maccas crew threatening to bash me over MSN... can't remember what I did to light the fuse on her tampon!

    I'd like to talk to you about your homeschool views, I don't have a strong opinion yet, but I know that when I changed schools I did get a bit bored because the standards weren't as high. It would be great to be able to teach your kids at their own pace, not held back by the others. Can you tell I've already decided Joss is a genuis?? LOL

  3. Its also alot to do with the school you choose to send your kid paretns changed my sister and me from a public school to a private school when i began year 3 and she began year 5, when she wz in yr 4 she was dragged through the bitchmuen quadrangle by her hair by sum bullies needless to say the teachers and principals let her down so my mum changed our schools and we rock up on the 1st day and suprise suprise the same lead bully at the other school just happened to transfer to the same school so my mum was dreading this BUT she never had to deal with that sort of bullying again, i mean yer there wz probly a lil bit (even i wz bullied slightly in highschool coz i wouldnt stand for the boys picking on the fat girls, but i wouldnt change that for the world) you most def need to look at thier bullying policys and meet the teachers
    another thought is not a mainstream school...
    my mum is the chairperson of the Leaning Tree Community school, of where we live which would probly b right up your alley because is also teaching the kids to live sustainably etc
    worth a look at neways :D

  4. i've always been quiet and kept to myself and my group of friends both in primary school and high school, and for that i got bullied. I never stood up for myself cuz I didn't have the guts. It hurt a bit, but I got over it and hold no resentment towards my bullies.. who have now apologised. My reason for not wanting my children to go to mainstream schools is their teaching methods. I think each child grows and develops at their own pace and we shouldn't rush them. I'm thinking of a steiner school. I love their method of teaching, and i think children would enjoy school more. The only thing that would stop me would be the price. Why does everything good have to cost lots!!

  5. I suffered greatly from bullies. I got bashed, emtionally mentally and physically. One girl still sees me as crap and Im 21 and have nothing to do with her. When i walk past her she giggles and ive heard her comment to her co workers.... I hated school. I turned to boys and skanky behaviour then self harm for attention. I had no friends and the friends who talked to me sometimes still saw me as an outcast. I wasnt stupid enough to ask to change schools. I think about it all now and i go back to that thought pattern. Wanting friends and doing anything to get them. But then i remember my kids and i stay strong. Im pretty lonely but i cope.
    I hope ro hpmeschool. But if the kids go mainstream i will keep a close eye.
    Sorry for that spill, ive never really spoken out about it like that and it just kept coming