Teaching Bully

By , milford, IN

As students we are told, if bullied, tell the teacher. If another student is bullying us, relentlessly attacking us verbally or physically, tell the teacher. And if the student’s behaviors persist, tell the teacher, talk to the councilor. But who do you tell when the bully isn’t a student, but the teacher? Who do you talk to when the behaviours persists, when the bully isn't a student, but the counselor?
    

AD-HD—my affliction—their excuse. At the age of eight I was diagnosed and drugged from the second grade to the fourth.  Teachers and staff bullied my parents into making said decision.
    

“Well do you think she needs to be medicated?” Passive aggressive—unjustified.
    

Because, if a teacher or staff member states that a child needs to be medicated, the school has to pay for it. So the staff likes to bully you into saying you need it, bully your parents into saying you need it. To save a few bucks.
    

Making parents the bad guy, and children beg for—pills.
    

It didn’t work for me. The story is long, boring, and I don’t actually remember most it. I spent most of the time I was taking pill after pill, just trying to wrap my head around what was wrong with me.
    

But I remember the pills—orange and white, blue and white, rubber capsules taken at the crack of dawn—they made me: sick, lethargic, the walking dead.
    

So the pills stopped. And then came the patches. Duct tape on my hip, like ripping of the world’s worst band-aid every evening. The patches didn’t fix me and I wasn’t really focused—I was fried.
    

Robbed of imagination, creativity, free will, so my parents took me off.  My parents made their choices, and the school should have respected it.
    

But while they were busy shoehorning in their anti-bullying-shtick. Constantly reminding us that they were our shoulder to cry on—our defenders and protectors. They were—deaf—to their own words.
    

“If you or another student is being bullied, make sure to tell your teacher or guidance counselor!”
    

The name of my guidance counselor will be omitted, simply because, she might take this as—a compliment. A documentation of her work; she was quite the character. From cornering me in the halls, copying room, and dragging me to her office near weekly, she always found time to talk.
    

I was happy to sleep in and not have tape on my hip—I never realized—how personally I must have offended her.
    

“You won't make it through high school.” Was her favorite tune. She sang it often, to fourth grade me. I, personally, wasn't a fan. But I needn't worry, when that tune turned stale, she always had more—quite a few more.
   

“You are a distraction!” or “You are going to make everyone around you suffer!” The two sound so similar I couldn’t tell them apart, even to this day.
    

Her and my fourth grade teacher—who's name will also be omitted for the exact same reason—were joined at the hip. Two people with the same warped approach to handling children. A baffling coincidence, I'm sure I helped them bond over.
     

The teacher and the counselor, you go to when you are bullied, were the bullies. My teacher was a parrot of the counselor, sang the same songs, sewed the same seeds of doubt, fear, and self loathing.
     

From, “Parent Teacher Conferences Used to Mock Me to Other Kids’ Parents”, “I Just Dumped Your Desk Because I Lost Your Paper, Don’t Worry I’ll Find It a Day Later in My Desk”, to “‘Making an Example’ of Me for Crimes I Never Committed”. So, maybe my teacher sang some different tunes just as catchy as the rest.
    

So maybe I wasn’t—perfect—they made sure I knew it. Again, and again, and again.
     

Bully, a verb. Defined as, “use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.” In my case, take medications that made me physically unwell and showed no conclusive evidence of curing my affliction. Synonyms include: persecute, tyrannize, harass, and torment.
    

Being bullied by a student, that's one thing—it hurts. A kid your age points out a flaw, it hurts. You recognize it as mean and wrong of them to say. You go to the teacher, they make the kid apologize that's it. The words hold less water, the hurt is there, the wound can heal.
    

But when a teacher, an adult, someone you are taught to look up to, points out a flaw. Berates you and bullies you for it—it hurts. You recognize it as mean and wrong of them to say. But teachers teach, and when a teacher says mean things, it isn’t bullying in the mind of a child. It’s a lesson. It’s the law. And those wounds, they heal into—jagged scars.
    

As students we are told, if bullied, tell the teacher. If another student is bullying us, relentlessly attacking us verbally or physically, tell the teacher. And if the student’s behaviors persist, tell the teacher, talk to the councilor. But who do you tell when the bully isn’t a student, but the teacher? Who do you talk to when the behaviours persists, when the bully isn't a student, but the counselor?
    

The answer? No one. We look back and see all the answers, but in that moment of adolescence and ignorance. We go to no one, we do—nothing. We put ourselves at the mercy of a school system, full of corrupt bully adults who like to feel big. And this has to change!
    

I think every teacher, every staff member, should pass a psych evaluation.
    

I don’t have a solution for the problem, but I think it needs a little bit of a spot light. Because I am not the only kid who got bullied. It happens everyday, it happens everywhere. Sometimes it makes the news, sometimes it happens and no one ever realizes it. And that needs to—stop.
     

No one should ever be afraid to go to school because they are afraid of fellow students. Let alone, fear of a teacher bully.
     

Both my ex-teacher and my ex-counselor have left the school. At the end of my fourth grade year, my teacher was given a very—strong suggestion—from the school board, to retire. I wasn’t the only kid she—harassed.
    

My counselor told me once, after a long broken record speech on how, “You will never make it through high school!” She told me, tales counselors in high school, both wicked and cruel—it can be assumed the irony was lost on her—who don’t care about the children or pay attention to the children. “If you have any trouble with a kid (i.e. bullying) you could probably just punch them.” Sound advice from a sound woman. Unsurprisingly, at the end of my sixth grade year, she too was asked politely to—never come back.






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