(This Op-Ed appears in the December 16, 2017 issue of Florida Today newspaper.)
Bullying is a nightmare for many kids, a problem which schools, government officials, and yes, some parents, do not take seriously enough. It can impact a person’s future forever. In some instances, it can cause death and destruction within families.
I know something about bullies. I remember a slightly built boy in seventh grade nicknamed Squidgie who didn’t realize that other kids thought he was a “fairy.” A bigger boy named Stanley and his followers began taunting Squidgie daily in hallways, bathrooms and school yards, belittling, screaming, laughing, pointing and humiliating the child to the point that he began to withdraw into his own world. His mother (widowed) was perplexed, unable to crack through the shell that Squidgie withdrew into.
One day, a gaggle of boys and girls played dodge ball after school with Squidgie as the target in the circle center until he fell. From there, came the pushing, hitting and kicking. The kids took his violin from the case and threw it in the bushes, all laughing and screaming, “Squidgie is a fairy” over and over. The world became a lonely place for that child.…