The Kid who WANTS to stay after school…

This is going to sound harsh, but when a kid wants to stay after school, volunteering to take trash for every teacher in the building, cleaning erasers (for those that still have blackboards), arranging books, etc…Let him or her do it–but make sure that if that kid is acting as if scared to go home–don’t drill the kid with a million and one questions.  Let your school counselor handle that or the principal because you do NOT want that monkey on your back.  You can make an anonymous phone call if you like, especially if the student seems to be afraid to go home, but whatever you do, let that kid have the sanctuary even if just for a half hour while you go to another room to do something else after you’ve locked down your computer or whatever.

If the kid starts hanging out with the maintenance people instead of going home, have the counselor or principal talk to the child.  Sometimes it is true that there is something going on at home that needs to be dealt with, and other times the kid has other stuff going on inside of his or her head that he or she may need help for, but is too afraid to tell Mom or Dad.

Why am I advising this?  I was such a child.  Back in the days I did that, my teachers were powerless except for two items:  Detention hall and tutoring.  If I couldn’t stay after of my volition; they KNEW I was acting up to get a  one hour detention hall.  I don’t know HOW they knew but they did.   My school was my sanctuary.  It was a refuge.  I would stay as late as 5 p.m. and a teacher always either gave me a ride to my grandmother’s house or followed to make sure I got there alright if I wanted to walk slowly. 

They always knew when I walked in with dark circles under my eyes that something wasn’t right at home.  If I fell asleep, they knew I had a very bad night, but I wouldn’t show the marks or even talk about the prison cell I called my home.  I never knew what to expect when I walked in.  Sometimes my stepmother, Judy, would be normal and lucid.  At other times, she would pick me up and throw me across the room.  One time she threw me into a wall, and another time into the kitchen counter for being late.  I never said a word about this–not even to my sister or my mother.

I would go into my room and stay there for the most part, being careful to try to avoid her.  One night a teacher called and told her I had to stay after school for extra tutoring because I was having trouble in math class.  Ten minutes later the science teacher called also.   They never knew it but I got a belt taken to me by her and told if my grades weren’t up to her standards in two weeks, I’d get worse.  My dad wasn’t home and she said if I told him or anyone else, she’d “take care of me real quick”.  Having been around her long enough to deal with her crap, I knew what she meant.  There were many times she pointed a gun at my head.  I never talked about it–even after she committed suicide  with that gun.

My response to her threat was to not bring my grades up.  I deliberately made sure of it.  That way I could be away from her for longer.  After that, she tried to say I was “retarded” and all kinds of crap to the point that she and my dad were fighting each other.  I’d go hide out on top of the garage roof until 1 or 2 in the morning to avoid the bull.  They day she shot herself was the day my dad kicked her out of the house.  I didn’t believe that she was dead when they pulled me out of class and broke the news to me either. 

There were many nights after the funeral I would have nightmares about her coming after me in zombie form–.22 in hand.  I woke up in cold sweats more than once.  I often slept with a butcher knife under my pillow and NOT a soul knew about that either. It was one thing to tolerate the bullies and the idiots I had to deal with day after day,  but when I had to go home to my own little piece of hell, that was another story.  I often would snap and just disengage from life.  My escape was through writing and through reading books.  I also watched old movies. If I really wanted to block out the world, I put on a set of headphones and rocked out full blast to whatever struck my fancy when–which could be anything from ABBA to ZZ TOP and all things in between depending on how old I was. 

One would think that after going through something like this that I would have ventured out and became more outgoing, but I didn’t.  I preferred to live in my cocoon that I built for myself.  I didn’t feel safe at school due to some bullying–but it got taken care of.  However, I still didn’t trust my peers. I rarely went out.  When I went to prom in my Junior year, some people were surprised.  When I showed up for the Senior prom, it shocked the school, I think.  I was even in my Senior play and did well in UIL journalism and such.  I made myself do all that–and take the class trip…I also made myself stay in Band my last 3 years of school.  It got me away from her.  Ironically,  I was still acting like this 18 months after she died.  I don’t know why to this day.  I did my occasional sneaking off to shop after I got paid or whatever–but I went alone.  I preferred it. 

The bottom line is I felt that maybe in her madness, she was correct when she said things like, “You can’t have friends” or “You aren’t pretty enough to be with anyone when you get older so you might as well join the Air Force”–and worse…I won’t repeat the horrible stuff she said.  Being that the bullies at school tended to get to me, I’m surprised I didn’t go off.  Then I got invited to a friend’s house for dinner one night about a year before her death.  My dad pissed her off and let me go.  This was different.  These people didn’t yell at each other or anything.  If someone dropped something, it was okay–they didn’t get hit.

About  six  years ago I totally freaked out because I accidentally broke an antique mixing bowl that belonged to my paternal grandmother when I dropped something on it–I didn’t drop the bowl itself.  My sister said, “It’s okay, Tina.  It’s just a bowl.”  “But it was Grannie‘s.” was what I said.  She just kept saying it was okay over and over.  She even came over and held me as I was crying at one point.  What she didn’t realize was that this triggered another memory I blocked out.  I got thrown across the kitchen and into a wall when I accidentally broke Judy’s favorite bowl while washing dishes. 

Anyway, years later I began to open up about it.  That was when I realized I wasn’t the “bad” kid or the “crazy nerd kid”.  Some of my favorite teachers told me point-blank that they knew something was wrong at home and they asked me how I was able to deal with it.  I shocked them.  I told them the first thing I had to do.  I had to forgive Judy.  I had come to the realization that she was mentally ill.  I finally understood the issues that were going on after talking at length with my sister about it.  The second thing I had to do was accept that I am not to blame for the actions she took.  I was a child. 

Now I want to give you some food for thought.  I was that kid that had caring teachers who took time for me when they didn’t have to.  I wanted to give back.  I still don’t think I can ever give back enough, but I can attest to this much–kids who were bullied back then often fantasized about making bullies “disappear” or wishing them “into the cornfield” and there isn’t a person alive that doesn’t know what that means.  Those of us who were bullied often wondered what it would have been like if we could be rid of the bullies for one day–or better yet–for life.  We actually talked about it.  Again I ask that same question from my bullying blogs, “What made it okay for a person to ever cross that line and actually act out on their fantasies?”

How many more Columbines will it take? Jonesboros? How many more suicides?  Can anyone answer that?  We’ve had more recent shootings also.  Even when you have caring teachers who do take time as mine did, why would the kids put them in the line of fire?  Has anyone ever asked these things?  I think we should.   Some of the ones who bullied me are totally different people today.  One would never know how cruel they were in high school, and they often choose not to remember the hurt they inflicted.  I have had classmates that I do not remember bullying me for the life of me contact me apologizing.  Maybe they were bystanders or something, but I honestly do not remember them bullying me and I told them so.  As far as I’m concerned, they’ve done nothing to me.

I will close with some questions:  Where does this bullying type of behavior begin?  Where do the kids learn it? At home? In the movies? WHAT?!  Have we really degraded our own society too much to the point that as parents we can’t fix this issue ourselves?  I would not mind getting the “right” answer for those questions, if they do exist. Is this going to be something we have to create penal codes for or should we just insert it into categories under the current penal code–such as assault, aggravated assault with a weapon, etc…?

Hailey Dunn…Another chat, an Eerie Feeling and Dueling Voices…

I guess Law Enforcement told people in the media to not talk to Billie Dunn or Shawn Adkins  until cleared of suspicion in the Hailey Dunn case.  Anyway here is a link to tonight’s chat because it left people with a bad taste in their mouths.  It left me thinking of the movie “Small Sacrifices” for some weird reason.  Chat link (recorded from earlier) is included here:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bringthemhomenow/2011/03/11/bring-them-home-now-exclusive-shawn-adkins-speaks-colonel-monaco-from-patriot-outreach?&utm_source=remail&utm_medium=listener

I would still like to know WHY she called in if she knew the nature of the program.  Shawn Adkins was supposed to be on it.  What keeps drawing those two to come back to the program given Adkins’ earlier statements?  They get grilled, and they hang up the phone every single time only to call back–and sometimes are heard muttering an expletive or two before hanging up…Are they gluttons for punishment or what?  Don’t they have a lawyer, and IF they do, why isn’t he or she telling them to keep their mouths shut?   I am willing to  bet that Diane Downs wishes that she did.

I suppose only they can answer those questions, but Mr. Peter Hyatt (who you will hear speaking) is analyzing her statements.  Maybe the fact that she keeps showing up, as does Adkins is what is making me think of the movie.  It is as if the more  the finger is pointing at them, the more Billie  puts herself out there.  If I were her, I would have already retained an attorney.

I think the focus needs to go back to finding the child and on what Clint Dunn has to say since he puts himself out there, at his own expense in search of this daughter.  He also has no problem confronting the tougher questions–the “whys” since he’s probably asking himself those same things.  To me, it doesn’t matter what happened yesterday as much as what I see now.  This man has gone through some inner changes.   He now has focus and a purpose–very much like John Walsh and Paul Klaas.  Hopefully, Hailey will be brought home safely.

There is no love greater than the love of a parent for a child–so I really hope people  are wrong about Billie Dunn, but it is getting harder and harder to keep an open mind now.  I can see why both sides feel as they do.  One voice is telling us not to pass judgment until we have all the facts and/or Hailey is home again.  Then there is that other, more ominous voice that within that loudly resonates from the shoulders of many people in this country like a horned red devil  that says, “She’s dead. Someone’s gotta pay.”  Face it–we all know it’s what most think.  However, Elizabeth Smart was brought home safely and so was Jaycee Dugard, so there is always hope. 

This particular chat with Billie Dunn was disturbing in other ways besides tone and demeanor.  Billie was accused of misleading one of the hosts, but where?  What did she say? I do not see that this was so clear.   Better yet, why was Hyatt making a big fuss about whether she ‘watched the ball drop’ on New Year’s Eve?  Yes, I can see the evasiveness of her answer:  “I was watching the news.”  So what?  They may have shown clips of it drop on New Year‘s Eve, so why couldn’t she have watched the news AND saw the pre-recording of the ball dropping while watching the news?  Without evidence, they cannot just go in and lock anyone up. Opinions do not = evidence.  One can listen to the chat from the link above and get a good sense of the division that rocks the community and the country, and that is reality–not conjecture.

Now this leads me to my last question…Who or WHAT  is making the real brownie points off of this story besides the media?  The people and community remain divided.  Armchair experts burn up keyboards all over the country telling people what they should think about this case.  God forbid you disagree with them or they want YOU to play detective to prove YOUR opinions as fact, when they are merely that–opinions (aka more conjecture).  If someone wants to do that, get them to do their own homework.  A writer doesn’t have to “prove” and opinion or theory.   Now if spewing something as fact, that is a different story. For all I know, if there ever IS a trial, there may have to be a change of venue all the way to Bulgaria because of the way the American press is butchering the facts of the case. 

What are the facts?  I can list those quickly: 

 ONE–Hailey Dunn is and has been missing since December. 

TWO–law enforcement should have went ahead with this as an abduction to be on the safe side.  4 days is too long.  It should be mandatory to treat ALL juvenile disappearances as possible foul play so that the chances are better of finding the child in question.

THREE–Porn is found on a computer that several people had access to including Adkins at HIS mother’s house.  The memory stick may have been in the Dunn household, but it could have been his and not hers.  Possession is 9/10 of the law and that is true, but proving actual ownership has to be done by tracking down credit card transactions and IP addresses and/or getting a warrant for a list of subscribers to the website.  

FOUR:  They are no closer to finding Hailey or the “why” of her disappearance than they were at the end of December because of all the rumors and conjecture flying about.  Until she is found, there can be no “how” or “why” explained in a logical way. 

Until Hailey is home–everything is conjecture and the media always scores.  The last thing we should be on is a witch-hunt.  Jaycee Dugard’s stepdad was suspected in her vanishing and he was totally innocent.  I remember a lot of people pointing at the father of Elizabeth Smart as well. People can always be wrong.  I struggle with which side to believe every time I listen to the playbacks.  I am not going to point fingers because it is not in my nature.  However, I will wait and see what transpires next.   At this point, it is all we can do is wait and watch as things unfold.  Hopefully, Hailey’s family members will not  have to wait as long as Jaycee Dugard’s family had to. 

Am I the only one having conflicting feelings on this case?   Listen to the chat and tell me what you think.  Am I seeing something that may not be there in the behaviors Dunn and Adkins show?  Better yet, why are these chats, the YouTube clips and the Nancy Grace clips triggering my thoughts of Diane Downs?  Am I missing something here?  Like everyone else, I will probably be able to answer those questions later in time.  However, I am not going to listen to either of those “inner voices” arguing too much.  To do so would serve little purpose until more facts are in. 

$15,500 Reward offered

 

 

A Tale of Sean and Shawn (RE: Hailey Dunn)

I am not one to rush to judgment.  I am not one to lean toward the ultra-right or the ultra-left.  I am currently listening to the chat archive on the link below which you can also listen to at your convenience…Shawn Adkins does speak on it for about 47 minutes and then hangs up.  I’ll explain why later.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bringthemhomenow/2011/03/04/bring-them-home-now-exclusive-shawn-adkins-speaks-out?sms_ss=facebook

As stated earlier, this is the chat archive that Shawn Adkins spoke on tonight.  I didn’t get to hear him because he had already hung up prior to my getting into the chat, but I did come across another young man who is the symbol of the divisive nature that has come to Texas since the day of Hailey Dunn’s disappearance.   I won’t put his last name in here, but his name is also Sean.  He is a 17-year-old young man who grew up around the suspect, Shawn Adkins.

You won’t hear him in chat, but he did the type in the visual chat.  During that time, I saw that people were being hard on him so I began to probe a bit.  As I probed, I realized that this young man is a 17-year-old high school student who felt that  it his “duty”  or obligation to defend Mr. Adkins.  This has truly and deeply affected this young man.  As he was relaying what he knew of the suspect in the disappearance, as far as the time they spent together, a few people started to ask him questions as if he had inside knowledge of the case. 

The atmosphere in that chatroom was very hostile at times–especially toward this young man.  It finally lightened up a bit when he revealed that he is only 17-years-old.  He is a very articulate and intelligent lad, I might add.  This is his perception of Mr. Adkins: 

1.  The man is like a brother to him and has known him since the 3rd grade. 

2.  To him, Mr. Adkins is totally innocent.

3.  This young man had no clue that Mr. Adkins would have anything like kiddie porn or bestiality on his computer because, in fact,   he did NOT spend much time with Mr. Adkins at the Dunn residence.  ***Note:  He never met Hailey Dunn either, but did attend classes with her brother.***

There is also an allegation that he Mr. Adkins an affair. It turned out that he only knew this woman for three days.  The woman (Andrea) had put messages on FB that they were going to get married and such.  What I would like to know is that if this happened close to the disappearance, why isn’t law enforcement  looking at this woman?  From what has been said, she did stalk the guy.  I’m not saying that he is not guilty, so don’t take it the wrong way–I am saying they need to drop HER as a possible suspect.  Rejection is a powerful motive for kidnapping and murder IF that is what went down here. 

I realize that the above is a theory, but so is anything else that has been put forth so far. I listened to the taped conversation with Mr. Adkins after the chat ended.  He stated that several people could have had access to the computer in question, and he could be right on that issue.  If the memory stick was left unattended at any time,  then anyone could have put the images on it.  I know it sounds as if I am playing devil’s advocate, so please bear with me.

Note:  The computer was not found at Billie Dunn’s residence, but the memory stick was.  This is important–especially to any prosecutor.

Judging by the demeanor of Mr. Adkins, he does come across as being straight forward–and I didn’t have visual so I couldn’t tell you about his facial expressions or body language.  I can see the quality in his voice that puts people at ease.  It is this type of demeanor that enables him to bond with others.  And for me, it would instantly make me feel as if he’s hiding something given my own insane upbringing, so I had to keep an open mind.

Now back to the other Sean.  As I said earlier, he was a straight forward kid trying to defend another friend like any other  teenager.   He said that Adkins was like a big brother to him.  The minute it came out that he is only 17-years-old, and given his family situation, it became obvious that this young man looked up to Mr. Adkins with respect and admiration–a vulnerable place for a teenager to be when someone close to them falls.  Just ask the families and friends of Ted Bundy and Dennis Rader.  I feel sympathy for the families and friends of all concerned in this case. IF it turns out Adkins does end up being accused of it, the souls of many will be severely wounded.

It is crimes like these that destroy all families–not just the victim’s but the families of the guilty who have done NOTHING wrong.  With that in mind,  the only thing I am hoping to point out here is that it doesn’t matter where you stand on the guilt or innocence of Billie Dunn or Shawn Adkins, but we must be careful of those–especially the youth that might get caught in the crossfire and chaos of a case like this.  It is sad that when one person thinks another is innocent that there is a tendency by SOME–NOT ALL people to spew their vitriol against those who having  a different  opinion from their own.  When they realized the boy’s age, they calmed down and there were only a few doing it, but it was sad nonetheless.

It is best on this case to agree to disagree.  Shawn Adkins did abruptly hang up and leave the program when confronted about statements he denies making about hiding a body.  Does it matter? Right now we are no closer to finding her and bringing her home–which is exactly where our focus should be.  

As far as that young man Sean, I told him that his focus at 17 should not be to take on a burden that isn’t his–let alone the world on his young shoulders.  This is a young man who should be getting ready for prom night, getting a rose for his favorite girl, getting a set of wheels (if he doesn’t have them already) and preparing to enjoy his upcoming summer.  Shawn Adkins is a big boy and can take care of himself.  Perhaps the school counselors should try talking to the students again–and instead of probing about the case, work to heal their wounded spirits at this point.  If this is how Sean feels about Adkins, I can see how horrible the students must feel about Hailey still being missing.

Sean even answered a couple of questions that reflected his maturity to those present.  I asked what he would do  if Mr. Adkins had come to him and said anything about being involved with Hailey’s disappearance.  He said, “I would convince him to do the right thing and go to the police, and help the family find her.”  For a 17-year-old,  with something like this burdening him, that is a remarkable thing to state.  Most teenagers do not think on those terms until older.  This speaks well of the parents who raised him, and of how his character will be when he is a grown man.

It is my hope that one day soon, Hailey will be brought back safely.  My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of all.  All are being harmed by this case.  If it turns out that someone else altogether did this, then the constant railing would have been for nothing, and several lives and relationships will have been tossed out of the window.   The only ones that will have gained anything will be those in the media, the commentators  and all the armchair experts–even if most of them were well-intended.

Correct Amount is $15,500 reward! Someone had better tell Nancy Grace!

 
Note that the reward amount is now corrected.  Thank you for providing the link with the updated story.

More on bullying…(Updated on 12/2/2011)

If you read my earlier blog on bullying, then what I am about to say may be of some surprise to you. Yes, I do feel that forgiving others enables us to move forward, but what about those that are broken and can take no more? I have my own ideas on this.

We have different types of bullying–but in all cases I feel that there is ONE common thread. Bullies go after anyone they perceive to be different and/or lesser than themselves. I think they feel empowered at someone else’s expense because either they have been bullied and now this is an outlet, or they simply feel that they are above anyone else. I also feel that all bullying can stem from resentment or hate.

Bullies are EVERYWHERE. They are in school and in the workplace. If you don’t believe me, look at all the lawsuits. Bullies all use different tactics. Some use physical violence (especially in schools) and others use either cyber bullying and/or they use a position of authority they have in the workplace to exert their will over those they perceive to be beneath their station. I also feel that bullies look at their victims as a step below the species of humanity on the evolutionary chain.

The abused tend to become abusers–but not always. Now substitute the words “The bullied” and “bullies” in that sentence. Bullying is a learned behavior–not an instinct or a mental disease. If you want to stop this in our society, then it has to be stopped at the schoolhouse first! To stop it in the schoolhouse, there are many ways–mediation, sensitivity training, etc…I think the best way is for school districts to hit the parents where it counts–their wallets. I’ll also bet, if a study were done, those conducting it would find out that the children who are bullies also had parents who were bullies when they were in school. Parents who were like that tend to dismiss their own children’s actions as “kids being kids”. This is simply false today. As I’ve said before, “kids being kids” will get people harmed physically and psychologically today–if not killed.

If districts could impose heavy fines (like $25 per offense) on parents whose children are out of control, the money could be used to do many things–fund classroom supplies so teachers won’t have to pay for it–etc…Face it–parents often don’t buy the kids what they need, so use the fines for “bullying” to provide things like pencils, paper, crayons, map colors, etc…Also parents love their pocketbooks enough that they will eventually control their children when they get tired of paying fines for their ridiculous behavior.

Kids who are bullies and get caught should also be suspended from extracurricular activities and sports for at least three weeks after each incident. For severe cases of physical bullying, charge the kids with assault because that is exactly what they are doing on school grounds! Some districts and state laws already allow for this, others do not.

Victims of severe and/or repeat bullying incidents should also be made to see a crisis counselor immediately after the incident is made known to school officials to make sure there are no suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming others developing. Also, in less severe cases, transfer the bullies–NOT the victims. In fact, find out if the bullies are running in a clique and split them all up into different schools. When the cliques see that their buddies can’t go to school with them anymore, then they will back off of everyone else now.  If there is one thing a group hates it is having their social lives monkeyed with for someone’s actions.

It just seems to me that unless the case is extreme, transferring the victim should be a last resort–up to the parents. Why should the bullied child be punished? It would be more of a punishment to the bullies to separate their groups into different schools. It would also send a strong message to other students that there would be no tolerance for THEIR behavior. To me, transferring the victim is almost like punishing the victim. However, in the case of severe assault, or sexual assault of any kind, then I say move the victim to a new district to lessen psychological trauma and lock up the assailants in a juvenile facility.

Being bullied does not justify the victims taking the situation into their own hands and they need to be taught this. That is why it is important to get the victims to a counselor. When a person cannot take any more, they can become irrational and they can do things the normal person would not normally do–like harm others and/or themselves. I believe that we have to be proactive and not reactive when it comes to this subject. There are lives at stake and the last thing I want to hear about is another school shooting or bombing by some kid(or kids) who were victims of bullies who were themselves out of control.

The handling of bullying cases should be treated with no difference as to the reason behind the bullying. A bully is a bully and whether the victim is gay, straight, pretty, not pretty, athletic or not is not important here. All are created equal and should be treated no differently–whatever the reasoning behind it. This is true for the victim and the victimizer. All bullying is equally horrifying and I do not want to see it continue. I worked for 4.5 years as a corrections officer and spent over a year of it as a sergeant. Anyone can draw a parallel between the bullies who beat up kids for stepping into “their corner” of the playground and the offenders who will beat up other offenders for sitting at “their” tables or simply playing handball on “their part” of a recreation yard.

I also am a certified teacher. The same behavior exhibited by bullies in the school yards is also exhibited in the prison systems. IF you don’t believe me, then do a study. I’ll bet my last $10 that if a study is done comparing this behavior in the school with the behavior of the offenders who do this in the prisons, they will find so many similarities that it will shock them–especially when they find out how many of the schoolyard bullies are in families where one or more of its members are behind bars for violent crimes.

Our public schools should be a safe haven in America for these children, but to me it seems that they are growing in similarity to correctional facilities. At some schools, there are armed guards, fences, gates, etc…Is it any wonder that such a comparison can be made? What has happened in our culture that has made this so? I won’t go deeply into this subject here, but part of the problem lies in the devaluation of Education in America. We now have a culture that doesn’t view education as being necessary and important. Until power is given back to parents and educators to stop the mess going on–including the bullying–schools will continue to evolve into something reminiscent of correctional institutions. After all, it is teachers who try to instill social values into these children and they when grow up and get to the prison system–it’s up to the officers to do that. Am I right or wrong? I really want somebody to prove me wrong on this. I challenge anyone to do a study on it.

America really needs to start thinking and re-thinking. The clock is ticking and our children’s futures are at stake because of what society has done to them. The school system has to be changed. I think we should seriously take a look at overseas educational systems and find out what makes theirs different. What makes them work? Something is working well for them because you don’t see nearly the problems there that you see in our country now–especially school shootings and such. What are they doing right and what are we missing as a nation?

I have also thought that with all the new “Occupy” protests, that maybe parents should “Occupy” their children’s schools.  I do not see why parents cannot volunteer to monitor the hallways and such.   For students who must walk to their home from the bus or from the school, set up parent patrols to walk the kids home and ensure their safety.

There is one more thing that one might look into in order to make comparisons and ensure accountability on the part of the school administrations.   Here is my proposal.  The Prison Rape Elimination Act (or PREA) was passed in 2003.  It was written specifically to deal with victims of sexual assault in correctional facilities but it has expanded over the years to include offenders who are victims of extortion, beatings and to provide protections for offenders who have become suicidal.  You can read a little about this act here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prison_Rape_Elimination_Act_of_2003  .

What does this have to do with school bullying?  Well, here is my perspective.  I feel that if a study were done on this, I would be proven right.  IF an offender commits suicide, there is always an  investigation into that.  If it comes out that officers or administrators ignored the signs of offenders being abused and/or made remarks to the offender like “Welcome to prison!” or “You shouldn’t have committed the crime you did to end up here!”, then the officer(s) and/or administrator(s) who failed to get help for the victim can be charged with deliberate indifference–and get jail time for it on top of losing their position.

I feel that if a study were done, many of the offenders who attack other offenders were probably either school bullies, victims of school bullies  and/or victims of abuse or neglect at home.  Now if the federal government were to expand the PREA to include public education facilities, it would open up the door for teachers and administrators who fail to protect victims criminally liable for their lack of action when it comes to protecting our young victims.

America has a growing population of gang related offenses and bullies in the public school system who have learned this behavior from family members, or have learned it by being exposed to family members who are incarcerated.  I feel that IF a study were done, there would be a strong connection here.  I really want someone to prove me wrong on this, but I do not think it will happen because the suicide rate among bullying victims is steadily climbing.  Cyber bullying and psychological terrorizing of children is becoming more common.

Since public school attendance is mandatory in this country, I have reached the conclusion that schools are no longer a safe haven for children to be educated in, but have become facilities for containment–much like the correctional facilities given the behaviors mimicked by bullies, teachers, administrators, offenders and officers–plus the upper administrations in both types of facilities.   When administrators tell parents, “Well bullying is part of school life and your child needs to learn to deal with it.”  This  is no different from telling an offender who is assaulted “Welcome to prison!”.  Do you see the connection I am making here?

We send our innocent children into public school facilities around the country with no protection given to them every single day because by law, we must do so. It is the only federally mandated institution forced upon our children, who have NEVER committed a crime or hurt anyone–yet they are getting hurt.  They are dying every day.   However, when the school systems fail to provide for the safety and well-being of those children in their care, it becomes a problem that can only be addressed by stronger regulation and litigation.  Schools that have not implemented a “Zero Tolerance” Policy for bullying, must be forced to do so and forced to enforce it.  It has to include stipulations about being caught for cyber-bullying as well.  If student’s cell phones and such have to be banned from schools, then so be it.  They aren’t allowed to have these things in a prison, so why would they be allowed here?

Dealing with the Past *about being bullied*

I often get asked how I deal with my past issues. I don’t often discuss these things with others, but people in my hometown know me well. They could not understand for the life of them how I managed to keep my marbles in tact…Seriously! I had a crazy childhood! I know many that had a hell of a lot worse, but mine was unique in that I lived in Bedlam, TX! Anyway, that’s what I called my house.

I won’t go into details. Those are unimportant since that is the past. The only thing the past can do is throw up pictures into your memory. Those things cannot hurt you. I had to let go of mine. I can tell you all personally that the hardest thing to do is the very first step I had to take, and that was to forgive people one by one.

You see, there was a big difference in being bullied then, as opposed to being bullied nowdays…When I was a kid, I got even. If they bullied me to do their term papers–I did them alright! I made sure they got nothing but “F’s” too. I took a few beatings for it, but it was worth it. They didn’t have me to another one because I told them I would do exactly the same thing. I was dismissed as being “crazy” by that bunch. I fought with brains more than anything else.

There was a boy in particular who was on the track team who used to make crude sexual remarks to several of us–one at a time of course. Sometimes he would push us down. Other times if we were wearing a skirt, he tried to lift it or pull it down in the hallway. We started talking one day. NONE of us knew the others were bullied by this idiot until one day in PE class one girl brought it up and we all began discussing the problem. Our solution: We decided to make sure he got a dose of what he dished out–together!

The coach wasn’t watching one day and we dragged him down into the theatrical prop room. In our school, costumes, make-up and every thing was kept in that place. Four of us held him down while the other three stripped him down to his boxers, put a dress and petticoat on him and colored his lips with red lip stick–the kind that is hard to wash off. I don’t know HOW the hell we got away with this, but we took his clothes and scattered them all over the front lawn of the school! He had to go out there all dressed up in his frock to get them too!

He never revealed who did it, and he never bothered any of us again either. We know his fellow team mates on the track team laughed at him for DAYS! NOW a bully is liable to get killed or injured severely. I don’t think anyone would dispute that even in our day we would wonder what life would be like if those bullies “died or disappeared”. The difference is, we knew it was wrong to actually kill someone and feared the consequences back then.

Now I fear that young people have no such fear and some have no conscience either judging by what is filling up our juvenile justice centers. I am not joking when I say I feel that most of our generation merely fantasized about killing the bullies or making them disappear…When did it become okay in our culture to allow these kids to cross that line between right and wrong? Even if one is a bully, kids should be taught at an early age that MURDER is wrong. Period! I get really tired of some type of “disorder” getting credit for everything wrong imaginable in society anymore.

Now were the actions the group I was with took “wrong”? Yes, they were. Were they abusive? Yes because of the humiliation he felt. Granted, at the time, we felt vindicated for how he made us feel, but we still felt an emptiness there…I think that emptiness came from the fact that getting “even” changes nothing about what has already happened. On top of that, we proved we were no better than he was–but my cousins would have literally beat him to a pulp if we’d told them about it and we would have felt even worse. Does that make it okay? No it does not. And people will say, “Awww you guys were just kids being kids.” Really? OH REALLY? Hmmm…Nowdays “Kids being kids” can lead to abuse, murders and suicides. If you don’t believe me watch the news and the talk shows that deal with the subject of bullying! It is out of control, people!

Having the ideals of right and wrong on THIS subject instilled in me in the seventh grade made it easier to forgive others. If one cannot forgive others, they cannot move forward because anything from the past for which we harbor a grudge will poison our present every time–we just don’t realize it until later. As I said earlier, forgiveness is that hardest first step that we have to take, but it can be done. Sometimes it takes a lot of time to let things go–especially if we are the ones who were abused, taken advantage of or whatever the case might be.

It can be done though–one day at a time–one issue at a time.