The local press has been full of the subject of school bullying. The children who are bullied are separated out from the crowd (put in a room on their own etc) while the bullies are allowed to go on as normal. Nothing changes, and the bullied children feel no happier – in fact they start to despair as nothing is being achieved.
Mum has been reading all this and is livid.
Someone wrote in to the paper and said they didn’t even bother trying to deal with the school – they went straight to the police, who had no qualms about dealing directly with the bullies. Problem sorted.
We were discussing this, and Mum said emphatically, “You had no problems with bullies. If anybody tried anything, you turned on them.”
It was one of those comments that leave you feeling a little bemused. It’s true I don’t remember having much trouble with bullies but I was the quiet sort who occasionally attracted unwelcome attention – I wasn’t immune. I don’t remember getting particularly upset, but in those days they didn’t wield knives (well, one did!), nor did they do any happy slapping. They just taunted you or took your tuck shop money. Then I made friends with them so they couldn’t hound me any more.
If I got upset about anything at school, it wasn’t the other kids – I remember hating Wednesday because it finished with Volleyball and Miss Roaralot. Thursdays were dreaded because of the Home Economics teacher. She gave me a real telling off in front of the class for bringing granulated sugar instead of caster sugar.
I remember shouting at a friend who had been showing me some unpleasantness for several days – the look on her face was interesting! I don’t think she thought me capable of it, but we didn’t fall out as a result. It was her boyfriend who was responsible for that, ultimately – he was so possessive he didn’t want her to spend any time with me, and she just accepted it.
I never felt people my own age could do me much damage; there were no fears about what would happen after school or during it. Perhaps I just lived in a different time and place, if not a different planet…