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Poison-Tipped Arrows

Why doesn’t she stop them? Why doesn’t she STOP them?

It’s all I can think of as I bow my head to hide my burning cheeks, cruel laugher ringing in my ears. I feel hot tears prickling at the corners of my eyes; I try to hold them back, but fail. To cover it up, I pull my hair in front of my face and pretend that I’m writing something in my notebook, anything to make it look like I don’t care…

But I do care. Just because they act like I’m deaf doesn’t mean that I am. I can hear them hurling their hurtful words at me, can hear the whoosh as their poison-tipped verbal arrows fly through the air before piercing my skin. No matter how much I try to drown it out, their laughs, their gossip and lies, remain deafeningly loud.

Someone needs to introduce her to a bottle of shampoo. And some soap.
You won’t believe what I heard she did with some random dude in the boys’ bathroom!
Is she so poor she can’t get her teeth fixed?
Do you see that belly fat? She’s almost as huge as her mother.
OMG, I saw her test grade, she got a 23! What a retard!

At first I think that the teachers don’t know. That somehow the hurtful comments fly past their ears, and only I can hear them. After a while, I begin to admit to myself that certain teachers know; after all, it’s not like my tormentors even try to keep the oral assaults outside of the classroom. Eventually, it becomes painfully obvious that almost every educator at my school has witnessed the hell I’m going through.

And yet none of them do anything. They ignore the bullying, teach over it, don’t even make the slightest attempt to show my harassers that what they’re doing is unacceptable.

I don’t live in a fantasy world. I know that my classmates would keep on doing what they’re doing no matter how much my teachers intervened. But the fact that none of the educational professionals in my school try to step in and stop the madness? In many ways, that makes them even worse than my pre-pubescent bullies.

I feel a not-so-subtle attempt at taping a sign to my back, the most recent of many such incidents. I gently remove it. Before I can crumple it up and throw it out, I see what they wrote on it.

LOSER.



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