First off, to the poster who said “don’t listen” I would like to agree with other posters that this is not worthwhile advice. Dignan, you have obviously been picked on at some time in your life, like just about everybody. But probably only sporadically. Therefore, don’t listen becomes normal. You clearly have not been a designated nerd.
A designated nerd has no choice but to listen every day. They probably are of small build, meek personailty, and are brighter than average. They are universially considered freaks by the entire school. You could probably think of a few off the top of your head without even trying. For these people, there is no escape from the torment. Teachers are no help, because punishment of the tormentors only brings worse reprisals from the bullies. Besides, it is not usually one or two bullies, its everybody. It becomes percieved that everyone hates you on sight. It’s probably not completely inaccurate because new students learn quickly that being friends with you is a sure way to loserdom. In my case, my own younger brother refused to associate with me, as he wanted friends, through the majority of grade, middle and high school.
Now, I didn’t take a gun and shoot everybody, maybe I’m a stronger personality or don’t balance precariously on the edge of mental illness. But I can tell you the feeling of helplessness that could result in somebody bringing a gun to school. The fact is little can be done. You can’t tell, because of the reprisals mentioned before. Ever hear the advice to just “laugh.” Sure, then they point at you and continue to ridicule. Laughing means it’s true, don’t you know. Walking away doesn’t work, as a swift kick in the back usually takes care of that. Besides, it is not uncommon to be surrounded by purpatrators. You know what would work? A good ass-kicking for the perpatrator. There are two problems with this. One is of course that all bullies are cowards. Now McGruff might say that this just means that you can stand up to them, and they will back down. However this isn’t entirely accurate. You see, like all cowards only pick on you in two situations. Superiority in numbers, or superiority in size. I’ve stood up to more than one bully in my time, and had my butt kicked for the trouble. Furthermore god forbid I ever won a fight. I would have had school administration suspending me. Of course I was suspended several times for defending myself, even when the other guy started it. Remember, fighting is always wrong, years of humiliation and torture are much better. Not only that, but the parents of the kid who likely has been torturing me for years would be demanding significant repraisals from my parents. Only recently a superior of my fiancee was complaining that some parent “condoned his son’s violence.” The child who’s father condoned his behavior had hit the superior’s child. There were six kids with the child that was hit, all tormenting the one child, who finally swung at one of the kids. In my opinion that kid had every right. Perhaps he should have just “not listened,” but tell me, is that really an option.
It’s all a load of crap, built on the lie that violence never solves anything. When the day comes that schools and parents realize that occasionally a fistfight is needed for the sake of the self-esteem of the tormented, we will be better off. Should the tormented actually win, I believe the bully has learned a valuable lesson, and will probably be a better person for it. The truth is, maybe the reason that I didn’t bring a machine gun into school was that I got those ass-kickings. I kept fighting back, despite the fact that I was usually left on the ground crying. What I do know, is that if a person is picked on long enough, he starts to believe his tormentors. That kind of self-esteem loss, and constant picking on can lead to the mind snapping. It is likely the student who did this is crimnally insane, and will end up in a sanitarium. Maybe this instance couldn’t have been avoided. Maybe he was just doomed, but I hate to think that we couldn’t have saved his life and several others taken in a school shooting by taking care of the problem that may have driven him to insanity. (DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT BLAME THE STUDENTS OR THE STAFF OF THE HIGH-SCHOOL. NOR DO I BLAME THE PARENTS. THIS GOES DOUBLE IF THE STUDENT IS ACTUALLY SANE, IN WHICH CASE HE SHOULD BE SENT UP THE RIVER, RATHER THAN INSTITUTIONALIZED. The blame lies first and foremost with the student. For all the flaws in the education system, most people turn out fine, and most nerds turn out quite good.)
It has been long been my opinion that we need to re-look at the way we handle bullies in school. Too often we look at this as a part of life, and that is garbage. The bullies need to be reformed, or they become adult bullies. And while the majority of the picked on become well-adjusted adults, there is no reason they should have to endure what they endured while children. While I am safe and happy now, with a marriage coming, I still can see the tormentors (sorry for the repetitve use of that word) when I close my eyes. At 23 the pain has not gone away, and I doubt it ever will. There is no way I will let my child have my childhood. He will be taught there is a line you have to draw, and if violence (physical, fistfight) is the only solution then so be it. He will also be taught that nothing calls for lethal violence. Sadly, he may still one day end up in a school shooting, on either end. If so, all I can say is that I helped him handle stress and bullies to the best of my ability. Should he become a bully, he will be punished, and I will bear no ill will to anyone who should take a swing at him.
Sorry this was real long, its a sore spot with me obviously.