Thursday, September 02, 2010

School for Scandal

It is not quite a doctored image. The stack of Mom, They're Teasing Me books was in the display, I just propped up the book for my own blog post. It is all about me, ya know.

I'm assuming school has started for most kids, so, I thought I'd finally use the image and build an entire post around it. Yeah, that's not the way it is supposed to go, but sue me. My blog, my rules.

I love that there's a book about being teased. Tattletaling for Dummies.

Of course, everyone gets teased. It is a mechanism to deflect your own insecurities and hopefully target a weaker being so the ridicule spotlight isn't shone back on you. It's a fine line of being the first out of the gate to do the teasing, but not so much so that you just become the bully or have it come back on you ten fold.

I'm sure I got teased. I remember distinctly coming in from recess in 6th grade (and I have to have written about this before - right?) and FAG was scrawled across my desk. I looked up and half the class was looking at me, waiting for my reaction. I didn't give them one - at least I would like to think.

I don't think many middle-schoolers were that intuitive back in that day of FM transistor radios to pick out a homo and hell, even I didn't know I was a homo back then.

But I also didn't tell my mom. What kid wants to tell that teasing story to anyone? It's more the reason why you see kids commit suicide more often these days. Or maybe it's not more often, maybe it is just report more than in the past.

And don't give me this bullshit about the school's 'zero tolerance policies' post-Columbine. I remember when my niece was in 4th grade - 4th!!!! - and two girls went at it, right in the cafeteria, until one girl broke the other's nose. Fourth-fucking-grade.

Neither was suspended, let alone expelled. Zero tolerance, my ass.

So, no - I did not even leaf through the book. I'm sure worried mom's will pick it up and even use the advice of which it is littered with. And I'm 90% sure that the kids who do the teasing, and their parents will dismiss all allegations - as will the school administrators.

I'm not saying not to be aware of the teasing. I'm not saying not to 'tattle', but really, a thicker skin does wonders. I know everyone is not made up that way, but while I never forgot the word FAG on my desk, I never let any of those kids, whomever did it, get the best of me either.

Song by: Deborah Harry


BentonQuest said...

This is a tough one. I was a kid who was teased mercilessly. I see how it formed me into the person I am today. I HATED IT! But I would not be the person I am now without it.

I did have a moment of revenge, though. I was at a Pizza Hut with my father and one of my tormenters was the waiter. He was asking what was happening in my life. I said, "I am a psychologist with the state of Illinois! And I see you are a waiter!"

Birdie said...

My son was systematically bullied in middle school and never told us. We learned later from a counselor that he was accused of being gay, things were written on his locker, and he was tripped and punched by strangers in the hall. How did the school express their "zero tolerance?" They gave him one day's suspension for wearing a rubberband on his wrist. He was beaten up in that suspension room.

It was that three years' experience that led him to drugs and violence. He is much better now, but I would give anything for him not to have had the pain. We have to teach the children to speak up when they see it happen and hope the adults have the sense to stop it.

Cubby said...

"...even I didn't know I was a homo back then." I didn't either, but everyone else sure did. I didn't figure it out for myself until 8th grade.

@Birdie - I'm so sorry for the pain your son went through. I never told my parents either. How could I? If I did, they would be disappointed in me, and I couldn't risk that. Perhaps your son had the same fear.

rebecca said...

So sad, and so systemic. We need to encourage a culture where being gay is not something you'd need to keep from your parents.

Birdie said...

For what it's worth, my son is not gay (so far; I know the jury's out until mid-20s or so, but no signs to the contrary). I think it was simply an excuse to bully a kid who was small, thin and wouldn't fight back. It's a terrible, inexcusable reason, and I think that the "gay" tag was why it was not stopped. It doesn't matter that it wasn't true. There is no excuse for allowing the attacks or even the atmosphere in which they could happen.

tornwordo said...

Yeah, I was taunted before I really knew I was too.