The Serpents Behind Bullying In School

Briana Erickson, Co-Editor In Chief

“Kids can be cruel…”
These are the words that usually escape the mouths of our parents and elders as a remark to the torturous teenage escapades that go on during high school.
Teenage brutality is expected in high school.
We, as students, know more than anybody that “cruel” can be an unjust understatement used to portray the malicious nature of our peers. Throughout my high school career, I have both witnessed and experienced this cruelty first hand.
I have had some fun poked at me from students, and even teachers, because of my unexplainably soft and youthful voice.
Because of my years of being made fun of, I would like to take a moment to admit my insecurity. This is painfully hard to admit for anyone. But, it needs to be said for all the other students out there who have experienced the same kind of ridicule for being who they are. For something they cannot change.
“Is that your real voice?” “Your voice is so soft, ha-ha.”
Please. Thank you for so blatantly pointing out the obvious. Would you like a cookie? These are my satirical thoughts now, after my defense has hardened from hearing these day after day. Because, these are just a few of the myriad of foolish and inane remarks made to me.
“Don’t you think I know?” I would say to people, as I struggled to conceal the hurting inside me. Tears used to well up each time someone mimicked me. Every word I would say, whether it was in class, where everyone laughed, or just talking to a few people, there would always be somebody. Somebody who would repeat what I said back to me in an offensive and exaggerated tone. Somebody who thought it was funny to impersonate me.
I used to be self-conscious and unwilling to read from the book in class. I hated talking in front of people. One year, my teacher said to the class “I need someone to read from page 15, someone with a big, strong voice.” Then, he looked at me and said my name. With a smile. He received an eruption of laughter from his audience. Quite the comedian.
So, with this anecdote, and many more involving teachers initiating the laughter at me, I would like to bring up the issue that, although students are expected to be bullies and tormentors, the real issue we have to address is hidden.
Like a snake under the bushes, away from suspicion, there are teachers. The irony is that the teachers, wearing “anti-bullying” shirts given to them by the principals, and openly preaching at assemblies for equality and “treating everyone how you would like to be treated,” have a twisted sense of humor.
They are the serpents behind the mask of an innocent, protective, and smiling face. These people are the ones we have to worry about. Out of all the hits to my self-esteem, my teachers were the ones who gave the most fatal blows.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There are some sweet as pie teachers out there that wouldn’t dare hurt the feelings of a student. I am merely bringing light to the real issue with bullying in high school that goes far beyond student bullying. Because I have encountered an abundance of teachers that try to boost their own self-esteem by making students the joke of the class. And, I have been the butt of that joke for many years.
I am writing this for a multitude of reasons. Mainly, to give inspiration and words of wisdom to those who have been tormented by both their peers and their teachers. It will be okay. Just laugh it off and focus on yourself. This is just high school, and you will go far beyond this. In ten years, none of this will matter. If someone starts up the teasing, just play along and make fun of yourself, and take everything lightly. That’s what I did.
And, lastly, this is for all the teachers who have mimicked me, and brought tears to my eyes. You made me self-conscious for years. Yet, in some twisted way, you have also taught me, whether or not that was any of your intentions at all.
I have acquired insecurity, yet tackled it at the same time. I have learned to laugh at myself, instead of sulking about something that I cannot change.
And, for that, I thank you.