It’s summer, and another miserable year has passed watching you bully people in and out of school. It’s not so much me any longer since I ignored you in elementary school and finally faced up to you in middle school. You mostly left me alone except for laughing at me occasionally and letting me know I am not in your circle of friends. But I watch you bully others. That bothers me just as much. Maybe even more. I need to tell you something.
You need to know how it feels to be bullied. Every single day is dreaded. I can’t say I’m ever happy knowing that you will eventually come along to say or do something cruel. The bullied feel lonely and many times unsafe. We see how your cruelty continues to be more severe, uglier each year. Sometimes at night in bed, I can’t sleep, replaying in my mind something you said or did that day. I often feel ill.
I consider you to be dangerous.
I would never harm you, but I must tell you that at times I wish you harm. If only you could feel for one moment how you make other people feel. Threatened. Singled out. Distracted. Lousy. Worthless. Angry that another person can have that kind of influence.
I would never harm myself. But I must tell you that I think about it. Sometimes I want to do something drastic to show you how much you have hurt me. But then I realize how many people love me deeply and how I would hurt them. That won’t ever happen. Yet there are days you have put me in that zone of despair. And I resent it.
Most of all, I wonder what made you this way? Deep down I question whether you are a happy person? Do you act this way to cover up something? Do your parents ever ask you if you are being bullied or if you are a bully to others? My parents do. They read the news. They worry about me when I am sad or simply just quiet. They know when something is wrong. If I were a bully like you, they would be right in the middle of finding out what is going on with me.
They also speak up quickly if I say anything offensive about another person. They have taught me to respect others. They encourage me to look for the person in the room who needs a friend and to be that friend. They have taught me to look for the good in others. And yes, I even see the good in you. You are good looking, you are funny and you are smart. But there is much more involved in building healthy relationships, my parents say.
I want you to know that I don’t need you as a friend or to be in your circle of friends. I have my own. It seems strange to me that your friends are much like you, although you are clearly the leader. What part of you enjoys that growing spiteful teasing of others in front of your friends? That seems sick to me. I wish you would seek some counseling. I wish your friends would stop supporting your behavior.
While I don’t need you as a friend, I wish we could be friendly. I have only a few deep friendships, and I am perfectly fine with those few, but I want to be friends with everyone. It’s not a popular thing. It’s a human thing. I don’t want to have any regrets in life, especially on the simple things like how to treat another person.
I want you to be thinking about something over the summer. The day school starts, and every day after that, I am going to call you out for bullying. I will be reporting you to the School Resource Officer or the Principal. I would normally try talking to you personally, but my attempts in the past have only led to more harassment from you. I will stand up to you, because I think you need a mirror held up to you.
I don’t want anybody you bully to seek revenge. I will risk outing your behavior and report you to the authorities before something happens, and then I regret not doing something. And before you, your friends and your family are overwhelmed with a deeper regret for being responsible.
Yet, I will make an equal effort just to be friendly to you and to persuade you to do the same with me and with everyone you see.
It will be your choice.