Through My Eyes This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

May 24, 2012
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Imagine being tormented in a safe place every day. Those in charge sing the song of tolerance, acceptance, and justice, but their song is composed of lies. You’ve been left to fend for yourself in this deceptive place. You have no choice but to stay here 5 days a week, 7 hours a day. This dreadful building is actually your high school, and this is my reality.

I’m a senior in high school. I have Type 1 Diabetes, automatically making me a target. Not to mention I have brown skin while most kids here are white, putting another target on my back. The last and worst target is my service dog.

I was already bullied out of school last year with my first service dog, Shyla. I couldn’t keep her because of what happened. Students tried to call her away from me. They barked and growled at her, or jumped at her to get her to bark back. They intentionally pushed and shoved us around in the hallway. They got to the point of hitting her and calling it an accident, or going straight for me.

Teachers? They didn’t care. They watched my agony like it was entertainment. The principal? He told me to “ignore it and it will go away.”

I had to leave that school for a semester, but this year I came back with a new service dog, Clank. I still deal with student bullies occasionally, but I take more from the teachers now. The principal and vice principal don’t seem happy about my return. At the beginning of the year, a few friends talked to the vice principal, Mr. Purdy, about me and asked why I wasn’t being protected. In retaliation, he tracked me down and told me if any more kids came to him about me, he would “come after me again.” The words sent chills through me, but I didn’t let it show. Once you spend so much time fighting, you learn how to hide any and all emotion.

It’s a strange thing, being bullied by those that are supposed to protect you. Because of this, and the teachers ignoring my pain last year, I find it hard to trust any teacher. I’m finally to the point where I think I can talk freely with my science teacher, Ms. Adams, because she protected me when no one else would. However, with every other teacher I think very carefully before speaking. I have to be sure what I’m about to say can’t be used against me later.

My situation could have easily been fixed. It was a matter of Principal Earnest stepping up and doing his job. Instead, he made an announcement that whoever turned in the kid that vandalized the gym would get $100. Same thing when someone was stealing from the girls’ locker room. Why not offer money to turn in my bullies? After all, it is illegal to harass a service dog. In the state of Georgia, it’s punishable by fines and jail time.

Bottom line: I needed the teachers to protect me, and they didn’t.

Step up, teachers. Protect your kids.

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