TURLOCK, California, U.S.A. — I’d just counted the ballots for the science club officer elections, and I wasn’t supposed to tell anyone the results.
I walked into my orchestra classroom and was promptly attacked, er, greeted by one of my classmates who is also a member of the science club.
“Hey, so how’d the ballot counting go? What were the results?”
“Oh…heeeyyy. Well, actually, I’m not supposed to say. Sorry.”
Oh, great. I can tell what’s coming next.
“Aw, come on. I’ll know the results anyways. I just didn’t help to count the ballots.”
“No, sorry. I really can’t say.” I’m sticking to my guns.
“It’s okay. Tell me!”
“Nope. I’m sorry, but I’m not going to tell you. I wish you’d stop asking me.”
“Oh my gosh. You’re so dumb. Humph. Fine.”
She mutters under her breath as she stalks off. Great. Just what I need on a Friday.
I’m feeling pretty bad after orchestra. It’s not that I don’t have a spine, but I really don’t like people to be mad at me. Plus, she glares at me for half the class period. Just my luck that she sits right across the room from me. The other half, she’s ranting about me to her friend.
“Um, can I talk to you for a second?”
“I…I really handled that situation badly. I’m sorry. The reason was….” Ugh. I can’t believe I just told her the election results. I’m such a pushover.
In retrospect, I really shouldn’t have said anything. For one, I wasn’t supposed to. And secondly, I let her trap me again with that age-old ploy — bullying.
I’d always thought that once I’d gotten to high school, I wouldn’t be subject to mean remarks and teasing anymore. In a way, I’m not. Well, at least not in the elementary playground sense. In the high school sense? Definitely.
Bullying is altogether too common in our schools. It happens on a daily basis. Sometimes we’re the bullies without realizing it. Sometimes, the others are. Whatever the case, someone always gets hurt.
In my situation, my friend bullied a secret out of me by making me feel bad enough to want to ameliorate the situation.
So I told, blew my responsibilities, and probably lost my teacher’s trust.
So, as prey of the Bullying Machine, all I can say is, stay within reasonable limits when dealing with others’ comfort. Don’t push it. If you’re getting bullied, stand up for what you believe in. Sure, it’s as cliche as throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but it’s definitely true.
You just never know what the consequences might be, and I guarantee you that you’ll feel better about yourself. Next time that meanie comes around, you’ll handle the situation beautifully. Hopefully, the same holds true for me.
Michel Lee is a Reporter for Youth Journalism International.