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Bullying This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

By , Austin, TX
One day, if you just happened to walk into a very rowdy fifth grade classroom on the second floor of a cloistered elementary school, you might have seen something along these lines: a chubby boy with a bloated, red face, standing on a chair, blabbering statistics about the raising of dogs for slaughter by the food industry in Asian countries from an article he managed to get his grubby hands and a short girl storming out of the classroom, tears dashed on her wiry glasses frame. You should have seen the self-satisfied, I-just-won-an-argument smirk on the boy’s face.

I believe that it was at this point that my very concerned mother began calling in at school complaining about how “her child, who was once very eager, has suddenly started refusing to go to school.” And refuse I did. I remember a particular day: after dinner, just after my sister left to drive back to her dorm, I finished up homework and prepared for my shower. In the shower, I sat on the slippery floor just crying my eyes out silently. If you ask me now why I was crying, I cannot accurately say. But it was after that night that I began to adamantly throw tantrums whenever my mom’s silver minivan pulled up to the bleary drop-off line in thick, dark morning.

It is not something teachers usually discuss in their oh-so-mysterious teachers’ lounge that some fifth graders must be worried about preparing defense statements for petty arguments in class. It truly is irritating to think that such a “prestigious blue ribbon school” that boasts of economic and racial diversity allows young children who hardly know how label a map of various countries to freely incriminate and mock the cultures of said countries.

I cannot even say I had it badly.

Since then, I have switched to a magnet school. It has gotten much better for me, but bullying is probably a bigger problem here. After years of tiptoeing around crying classmates in the hallways and jumping into fights to defend friends, I have deduced that bullying comes in two forms: physical and psychological. At my all-white, honor-roll school, I was ignored. Laughed at, mocked for not wearing the “in” clothes and for being excited about learning trigonometry or ranting about mythology in Latin class--these are all things that earned me the silent treatment. At my magnet school, tensions ran high between magnet students and normal-attending students. There were large economical and social status gaps between the two programs, not to mention the magnet students always seemed to be bragged about, given attention, and just, overall, luckier. Being pushed around in the hallways, hearing nasty insults thrown behind your back and insolent behavior are all things I snuck around in the hallways, trying to avoid. There were unlucky ones who were not adept at avoiding.

It is these unlucky ones that are the strongest: putting up a front in public, but nervously wiping away tears whenever we turn our backs.





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