New Castle News

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August 27, 2013

Kali Davies-Anderson: If I were bullied today, I would have much more to say

NEW CASTLE — Yesterday marked the first day of classes for the New Castle Area School District.

In light of this, I would like to bring some awareness to a subject that is close to my heart.

As the school buses fill, the bells ring and classes begin, an unfortunate event is also occurring. Kids are getting teased and bullied.

Due to some horrific circumstances made public in the last couple of years, many anti-bullying awareness campaigns have begun to thrive in this country.

From fourth grade through the ninth grade, I was bullied, too.

I would actually like to list, by name, all of students that teased me and made my life a nightmare for more than five years, but I will be more respectful of them than they were of me.

I reveal this part of my life to you not for any kind of sympathy or pity, but as the example that nearly any student can be victimized by their peers and even by their teachers.

We need to teach our children not only to treat others with kindness, but also to speak up for themselves in situations in which they are wronged by another person. This is not to say that my parents did not teach this to me, I was just unwilling to admit that it was happening.

It truly doesn’t matter how much you can give your child, how extroverted they may seem or how many friends they seem to have, adolescence is the prime age for self-doubt and a time riddled with a lack of interpersonal effectiveness for most children. Embarrassment and shame weigh heavily on their hearts — too heavily to even speak up about it.

No one wants to believe that their child may be the target of unkind words or actions, but most of the time what we don’t know WILL hurt us, contrary to the popular saying.

So, at night when your child is doing their homework, watching TV or playing a game on the computer, try and talk to them about their day. Many children do not tell their parents they are being bullied, because, just as with any form of abuse, they feel shame for being victimized.

I understand that all kids make remarks and even tease each other, but I am not referring to benign childishness. I am referring to repeated attacks on an individual with the intent to hurt them physically, emotionally or both.

Sometimes I wish that for a day I could go back to those years in my past, but as the person that I am now and if I could, I would say these things, among many others I am sure, to my former self:

 •It’s not OK to be called “fat” by anyone, even if you think you are overweight. The people saying this are only trying to hurt you.

•When someone pours a can of soda on you for no reason during lunch, don’t think less of yourself, they are a troubled individual and have way bigger problems than your sticky hair.

•If someone tells you that another person only wants to take you on a date because they were dared to do so, it is safe to assume that the person telling you this is, in fact, jealous and insecure and probably wants to go on a date with the person who asked you out.

•And, most important, I would tell my former and younger self that I might be getting teased and berated and ridiculed but one day I will experience my dream of performing in New York City. I will get married and have babies and live a happy and fulfilled life.

•And I will always lay my head on my pillow and know that I would much rather be the person getting bullied than the one committing the act.


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