Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Bullying: Is Fighting Back Wrong?

Is fighting back after being bullied for years so wrong? Casey Heynes' reaction to a bully punching him became an internet hit. Here's an interview with the boy wonder.

Many people see this young boy as an idol, a great anti-bullying hero who simply wanted his tormentors to leave him alone. His reaction is shocking but also amazing. To me watching this video reminded me of my time at secondary school. I was bullied until one day a switch in my head just flipped.

The first time this happened was during PE. My doctor gave me a medical note that month so I was having to sit out for a while. Sadly one of the girls who constantly bullied me also got a note and sat next to me. She kept asking if I have a drink and I told her no, I of course did have a drink but it was for lunch time and I wasn't going to let someone who has made my time at school a living hell any of my drink. She got annoyed and started to call me names and then finally she grabbed my bag and started to search it. I don't remember what I did but I do remember her on the floor in pain and then I just ran to the front gate and walked up the hill back to the house and sat in our back garden for a while. I then walked back to school and never spoke about what happened.

You'd think she'd leave me alone, right? No she didn't and continued to make my life hell whenever we had a class together which was nearly all the time. In my Maths class she stole my pencil case, took out my compass and used the sharp point to poke my right arm. I ignored this and kept my eyes on the teacher who was staring at the two of us. I said nothing and just felt tears well up around my eyes. Again this is very much a blur to me but I just turned to her, grabbed her wrist and twisted her arm. The force I used was enough to make the chair she was sitting on to fall back onto the table behind her. The teacher gave me detention and for the rest of my time with that class I was made to work outside the classroom on my own.

The final blow was in Drama & Theatre. A group of bullies got together and the moment the teacher left the room to get the TV (we were going to watch a musical that day) and they took out some black permanent markers. They laughed as they wrote all over my face. It didn't take long before I reacted and the one nearest to me was also the strongest and tallest. This didn't phase me as I grabbed her wrist, turned her around and elbowed her in the back. She fell and I just kicked her and ran out. A bunch of sixth form students saw me and spoke to me. They took me back to my teacher and told them what I had said and how they found me trying to climb over the gate in tears.

These three moments in my life turned me. I was never considered a violent person with any problems. I wasn't intelligent and my English teacher did say to me that the only reason I'm not getting good grades was I'm a bit dumb (years later I found out I'm actually dyslexic) but I had a small handful of friends, I wasn't really considered the nerd of the school. The only differences were my teeth (I had so many problems with my teeth which I'll probably talk about another time) and my poor eye sight meaning I require glasses at all times.

When my parents found out how bad it got and how my Maths teacher just watched me get stabbed my mom refused to take me in until the school sorted something out. Before they said it wasn't possible to move me out of the classes I was in away from those who bullied me during lessons, but the moment my mother refused to bring me to school suddenly it was possible. I remember having a meeting with my mom and my head of year. He asked for the Maths teacher to come in and he said this never happened and made me out to be a liar. I honestly felt like school had failed me and the teachers couldn't care any less about any of the students there even if they were being stabbed infront of them.

The last few weeks were better as the students who caused me problems were removed from the school or the teacher simply refused to allow them into their classroom. The only one who got allowed back in was a boy in my Art class. He came in and apologised to me. I accepted it and told the teacher I don't mind him being in the same class as me. After that he was a different boy and even offered me advice and help.

It angers me so much when I hear about children who are bullied. I want to help every single child out there who is going through what I went through. Of course getting angry and reacting in a violent way isn't a great idea, but I did get counselling to help my anger problems and having someone to help me through this troublesome time really did help. Silence doesn't solve the problem, stand up for yourself. No one wants to mess with someone who is willing to fight back.


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