Thursday, March 10, 2011

Down With Bullies!

By Ellery Adams (This blog appeared on Lorna's Pet Peeves blog last week, so I apologize to those who aren't getting new material from me today!)

My father went to high school in a rough area of New Jersey. He was a skinny nerd and quickly became the target of a bully and his gang of followers.

In class, this bully would prick the back of my dad’s neck with a thumbtack, warning him that if he ever “squealed,” he’d get the beating of his life.

My dad believed him.

As the days passed, he just couldn’t take it anymore and he decided, even if it meant getting the bea

ting of his life, to confront this bully. He went after him in a hallway where there would be lots of witnesses, deliberately acting as crazy as he could, and paid for his recklessness with more bruises than he could count. But after that, the bully left him alone, in search of easier prey.

When I was in the 3rd grade, a girl named Ingrid used to steal our lunch money in the Girls’ bathroom. One day, my best friend refused to give it to her and this girl, who’d been left back two times and was therefore much bigger than your average third grader, slammed my friend’s face into a wall of lockers, giving her a bloody nose. I jumped on Ingrid to stop her from hurting my friend further and that’s when the teacher came in. We all got suspended and Ingrid continued to steal lunch money for the rest of that year. She went on to be a terror in middle school.

I know that bullies are usually insecure, self-loathing individuals. Once upon a time, they were simply the biggest and meanest, but in today’s schools they are harder to spot. They use text messages and emails to wound their peers, deliberately trying to ruin another student’s life. Even in the adult world, we face bullies. We’ve seen them at work, at sporting events, and on the highways.

In my recent release, A Deadly Cliché, I write about how bullying can mutate the darkness inside a person, drawing forth ugly responses and a desire for revenge. Wouldn’t it be something if our every day bullies had been put in their place from those first days at elementary school and not allowed to grow into monsters?

Do you have any experience with bullying?

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