Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Panda Bear on Elementary School Bullying, Part One

The Panda Bear remembers being bullied alot from the ages of 8-11.   This would have been around 1970.   The Panda Bear mentions the year because she things times have changed and people have gotten much more open about talking about certain problems.   For example, She heard on NPR radio that if people had cancer in the early in the early seventies, it was not discussed..   Other people have verified for the Panda Bear  that it was not acceptable to talk about cancer during this time period.  

The Panda Bear has recently begin to rethink her period of being bullied in elementary school.  In Massachusetts there have been problems with high school bullying in the news and now there are laws in Massachusetts stating schools must have anti-bullying policies(Sadly it appears that elementary school bullying was tolerated when the Panda Bear was a child).  Therefore, there has been alot of discussion of bullying.   The Panda Bear is surprised how common a problem it is.   The Panda Bear was in her forties when she realized that in every classroom in the world there is probably a bully and a bully victim.

Through Facebook  and chance meetings, Panda Bear has reconnected with a lot of people that she went to elementary school with(this would have included the period that the Panda Bear experienced intense bullying).   The Panda Bear has been touched with how many people have tried to reconnect to her from this difficult period..   Looking back she thinks it was a few "popular" children who caused her problems with most other children being  of neutral when the bullying occurred. However, when she was ten, the Panda Bear thought she was the most unpopular girl in the school

However, what surprised the Panda Bear the most was during the past couple of years she discovered that two of her classmates transferred out of her elementary school because of the intense bullying.   Both these women said their mothers tried to talk to the teachers about the bullying and the teachers did nothing nothing about it.   One woman told me that me that she thought the principal of the school condoned bullying.   She had a brother who was sick and had to be on crutches.   One day the kids took away his crutches in the bathroom and he had to crawl to get them back.   The principal instead of disciplining the kids who took away her brother's crutches the Principal said these kids showed some spunk.   Nowadays the schools could get sued for not accommodating special needs.

One reason the Panda Bear suspects the bullying was being tolerated in the school is that the parents of some of the bullies were quite wealthy.  While the Panda and her friends who were bullied came from families who where comfortable, some of the bullies came from families that were very wealthy.  The Panda Bear thinks the teachers were afraid of confronting the parents.  One of the worst bullies lived in a mansion and his father was a judge who abused his child.  This child later was arrested for mugging a blind person in the subway.   The Panda Bear thinks the school did not try to discipline this child because his father was a rich judge.

The Panda Bear remembers seeing a television show called Cold Case.  In one episode the detective is investigating a case of a twelve year old girl who is killed.  What had happened is that a "popular" girl invited the girl who was killed(and was also unpopular) and another unpopular girl to her house.   The girl who is killed finds out that the "popular" girl's parents are abusing her.   The girl who is killed tells the "popular" girl that she should get help.   The "popular" girl does not want anyone to know that her parents are abusing her.   The girl who is killed says she is going to tell the authorities anyway because what her parents are doing is wrong.   The "popular" girl orders both girls to leave the house and says she will never have them over again.  As the two girls are walking back home, the girl who is killed tells the other girl they can at least become friends with each other.  However, the other unpopular girl does want to be friends with the other unpopular girl she wants to be friends with the "popular" girl.  This girl ends up killing the other unpopular because she felt the other girl by threatening to tell the authorities about abuse was ruining her chance to be friends with the "popular" girl.

Obviously the story is extreme but it did bring to the Panda Bear's mind that for children(and some adults) that it was not just having nice friends that was important but having friends of the right social status.   However, it the two adult women who have reconnected with the Panda Bear who bullied are very good, smart people and the Panda Bear is proud to be their friend.   It's is just too bad as children they could not huddle together and band against the bullies when they were children.

The Panda Bear will continue her discussion of bullying next Thursday.

No comments:

Post a Comment