For many children, terrorism is a fact of daily life. Remember what it was like to have to go to school and to have to endure the thuggery of bullying, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year ...
To wake up each day knowing that you have to go to school, knowing thereís no way of avoiding it, knowing that the moment you set out for school the bullies are there, waiting for you to arrive, waiting to call you names, to tease you, torment you, humiliate and mock you, embarrass you in front of friends, push you, punch you, slap you, pinch you, spit on you, kick you, and ... you darenít think about the rest, or the possible consequences.
Donít the bullies behave like perfect darlings whenever a teacher approaches? Arenít they polite and deferential, until the teacher is out of sight, then the kicking, punching, spitting, tormenting starts over, school books are damaged (how am I going to explain that again?), homework defaced (ditto), projects sabotaged, food spoilt, possessions pilfered, personal items desecrated, clothes ripped, school uniform torn, dinner money stolen, pocket money extorted. Just another normal day. Like yesterday. And the day before. Like tomorrow. And the day after that.
Why have my friends deserted me? They used to support me, now they join in with the bullying. Canít they see the hurt they cause? Are they too frightened? Donít they realise that if we stood together we could defeat the bullies?
Not one teacher takes the slightest interest, preferring to believe the glib excuses and assurances of the bullies. Why are they taken in so easily? No point in telling teachers, they donít care, theyíre under enough stress as it is, anyway. Itíll just make the bullying worse and the bullies more covert then itíll be even harder to be taken seriously. How can the head teacher tell parents that "we have an effective anti-bullying policy" when the head is the biggest bully in the school? How do these people get to be in positions of power? I canít escape school for at least four years. I have to attend, otherwise Iíll be treated as a truant, the authorities will give me hell, my parents will give me hell, the head will give me hell, the teachers will give me hell. Who will believe me anyway when I say Iím being bullied? Thereís no escape. What I need is a permanent solution so that I donít have to endure this never-ending pain. Ever.
Excerpted from Bullycide: death at playtime, an expose of child suicide caused by bullying by Neil Marr and Tim Field
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