I decided it was time to take action. I started seeing a counselour and began the difficult task of dealing with the beliefs and feelings I had built up as a result of the bullying. My counselour helped me identify links between the trauma I had endured and the choices I had made as an adult. Learning about these patterns blew my mind.
A rule that has an unclear or ridiculous purpose is, on its face, unfair. A rule that cannot possibly achieve its purpose is pointless. A rule that has more negative than positive effects is unfair and undemocratic. Discipline or punishment that does not address the behaviour it purports to correct is tyrannical.
Her eyes say it all: "You disgusting little piece of garbage -- who cares what you have to say, anyway?" He crumbles into a mess of tears and sobs, seemingly brokenhearted that he has just been publicly rejected. This was the fourth instance of bullying that I was privy to today. What stood out to me in each of the four incidents was who was doing the bullying: girls.
I don't know if your face fell. I don't know if inside you crumbled into tiny little pieces. I don't know how many times you've heard those words before. I don't know if you even believed them. But I got the feeling that this might not have been the first time. And in the instant it took to process what just had happened, a million memories flashed through my mind.
One of the bullies caught up to me, and grabbed at my bag. Taking hold of the strap of my green school bag that fit snuggly against my pink snowsuit, he swung me around. The other boy came next, taunting and screaming at me: "Dirty Paki." These words have haunted me for years, and I fear they will haunt my daughter as well.
Unlike most emotional injuries, the core and source of the pain never changes at all -- I can go right back to December 5, 2006 literally in a heartbeat. I try not to do that, and therein lies one of the fundamental truths of the matter. Even I thought that by now I'd be free of the worst effects of my experience, I've come to realize that that sort of wishful thinking doesn't ring true.
Weight bias is one area of bullying that is not only condoned but also seemingly tolerated. Even though most school systems include some type of bullying awareness program in their curriculum, more times than not, overweight children are left out of these programs. Weight bias remains the one area of bullying that receives little or no attention and is not even listed as a factor in many definitions of bullying.
"My daughter is 11 years old.The boys and the girls at school call her names that shouldn't even exist. They tell her she's ugly, that her face is like a pancake smothered in poop. They have created a 'We hate Brittany' club. I tell myself all the time -- 'this has to stop. And it has to stop now. Today.' But it never does."
In 2011, I was introduced to an amazing young man named Jamie Hubley after reading a headline about his death, "Ottawa teen takes his own life because of severe bullying." When I was done reading, I was frozen in my bed and thought about the connections between my story and Jamie's. I decided to create my own project called "Bullying Ends Here." I had no clue how big this initiative would become.
When my son was six, he began to wear ties to school. He wears either a dress shirt and tie or full suit and tie every single day. I don't even see it any more. But others do. For the most part, all of the attention he has received has been positive. But once, in Grade 2, he received a different kind of attention.
She was a typical girl of her age. She took pictures with her friends out on various adventures. She had a Facebook Account, A Twitter account, and membership with some web-cam chat sites. It turns out she had joined the cam sites to try and meet new folks, something we've all done in one way or another. In many ways, she wasn't much different from me when I was 15.
Craig and Marc Kielburger are founders of Free The Children and Me to We, a social enterprise. They are authors of "The World Needs Your Kid: Raising ...