Mar 092011
Can you guess who this seventh-grader is??

Can you guess who this seventh-grader is??

This article is dedicated to the 150 eighth and tenth grade Boston Public Schools students I have the pleasure of teaching this year.

I figure the odds are pretty good that some of my sweet students sometimes experience the stress that comes with the middle and high school social scene… and so it’s time at last to start unearthing the photos and stories of my OWN skinny self in 8th grade, to kick-start a deep discussion.

Bottom line: I’ve been thinking a ton about the concept of “bullying” recently, and I need your help, readers of all ages from around the world, to analyze it through your own input and stories. Without further ado, here are your discussion questions:

1. What does “bullying” even consist of? Can a tiny cruelty make a giant impact?

In the middle, singing in my 8th grade play!

In the middle, singing in my 8th grade play!

Some bullying is obvious: slamming a kid against the wall and stealing his lunch money, or scrawling cruel graffiti with someone’s name on desks and bathroom walls, or taunting utterances like, “You’re ugly!” day in and day out… But so much of bullying is a gray area. From my experience, so much of what hurts is almost invisible.

Recently, I mentioned to my current 8th graders that I encountered some vicious girl bullies when I was back in 8th grade, who made me feel awful, constantly.

“What did those girl bullies do to you?” asked my 8th graders.

“Um, well…” I stuttered, struggling to explain the horror I remembered, “It wasn’t exactly that they said things straight out to me, it was the way they looked at me? And the things I heard them whisper but didn’t really hear?” I fumbled. “It was tiny things to an outsider, but to me, really, it was torture!”

And as lame as it sounds, those tiny things can really make an impact on a person! So, readers, what are YOUR experiences of how you’ve defined bullying in your life?

2. How does bullying vary between countries, socioeconomic classes, and time periods?

Sixth grade, hand-me-down clothes and all!

Sixth grade, hand-me-down clothes and all!

There’s a temptation to say, “Bullying is so much worse now than it used to be, now that Facebook and texting create more opportunity for cruel words.” But really, adult readers, can’t you tell some stories about terrible middle and high school tormentors in the pre-Facebook era?

I’ve also heard implied: “Well, bullying isn’t something that happens in poor countries– they have bigger things to worry about.” Come on international readers: there’s no way that’s true. Weigh in.

And check out a statement thrown around frequently: “Rich suburbs in Massachusetts have much meaner girls than Boston Public Schools kids. They are psychological savages in the suburbs.” Hmm… I’m starting to think that bullying may look totally different in different places and times, so we may not recognize it at first, but odds are, it’s there… unless an effort has been made by those in charge to address it!

3. What about bullying among adults?

So where does it end? We could kid ourselves and say that at a certain point, things the “cool kids” say won’t bother us (even if these “kids” are 35 years old!), but that ain’t always true. If a coworker makes a non-appreciative comment about your clothes, it’s still awkward and uncomfortable. Readers, do you see adult bullying around you? How do people you know address it?

4. And now for the most important question: Students, how can we best help you keeping safe, loved, and un-bullied?

I may not have had hair or clothes like everyone else, but that grin is truly happy and authentic!

I may not have had hair or clothes like everyone else, but that grin is truly happy and authentic!

If bullying is hidden and subtle, how do we spot it? What kind of actions can a teacher, parent, or fellow student take to make the situation better?

We care about you and want you to be honored, no matter how quirky or unique you are!

Speaking of quirky and unique… let’s chat for a moment about these photos of my young and awkward self displayed here. I really had a revelation while looking through these: all my life I’ve thought that when I was in middle school, I was weird and goofy and didn’t fit in. In short, I didn’t have so much love for the memory of my young self.

But let me tell you: looking at these photos now, I truly see a kid I respect.

Why? Because, behind all those braces, that gal in those photos has a huge, happy grin. She’s out there, she’s dressed a little differently and her hair isn’t in the coolest style for the times, but… I like her! And whoever you are, however many people are sending bullying vibes your way, I want us all to support YOU in loving YOUR marvelous self, too!

Time to start commenting, readers. Remember you can comment anonymously, but if you do, please leave your age, gender, and geographical location in the name box, and please know that I moderate all comments before publishing them. (Oh, that would be ironic to have rude bullying comments on an article against bullying! Keep it positive and helpful, folks!)


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  117 Responses to “Join This Discussion to Uncover the Heart of Bullying!”

  1. In my point of view, you look really different from before and now. At first, I didn’t even recognize you.

  2. Ms. Marshall,
    All of the articles I have read of yours are very touching. This one stood out to me most. I agree with everything you mentioned. As soon as I read the section where you mentioned most bullying is invisible, I totally agree. I know there are so many people out there that bully, and I have even witnessed. Still, I feel the kind of bullying that hurts the most is the kind others don’t even notice as they’re doing it. They don’t realize until it happens to them. Then, they regret every bit of it. Soon these bullies will grow up, or maybe they never will, but no doubt, they will regret it and want to beg for your forgiveness. The mature way to deal with bullying is to ignore it, they may think your scared, but you and i’m sure many other will know you’re just being mature.
    Sorry for the long comment, but bullying really gets on my nerves and people just need to understand. 🙂

  3. I showed my grandmother your pictures. I could tell it was you even without reading it. It looks like you but different from now. And I sometimes see how others bully others. It scares me how people can be so cruel. An old friend of mine used to be bullied and me and my best friend told a teacher because she would say such negative things about HERSELF. She said horrible things but she thanks me now. I would hate if someone saw me as a bad person. But now look at how successful you are!

  4. My name is Emma and I am the researcher of a 60- minute documentary for MTV International about bullying called Bullied. The film will explore the universal experiences of young people across the globe who have fallen victim to bullying. The plan is for the documentary to be filmed by the contributors themselves and will highlight their personal stories; this is very much the victim’s story in the victim’s own words.

    We are looking for people roughly between the age of 14 and 24 to take part in the documentary and if anyone is interested please do send me an email at

    We will of course ensure the welfare of all who appear in the programme as we realise the potentially sensitive nature of the subject. We will obtain parental consent where necessary and will be on hand to offer support throughout the project. If needed a psychologist will be available to help determine whether it is suitable for certain individuals to take part in the project.

    Many thanks


    • Emma, thanks for making contact! What an important topic for a documentary. I invite anyone who read and responded to this article to contact Emma!

    • Hi Lillie,

      Thanks so much for commenting on our message. I wondered whether you could help us spread the word in other countries apart from the US. We are contacting charities and agencies, as well as schools and individuals who may have posted something on the Internet, but if you have any contacts in places such as Africa and would be willing to put my contact details forward, then I would be greatly appreciative.

      Do email me at if you would like some more information.

      Many thanks


    • I will spread the word, as well as put up a short post on my other site, which connects teachers around the world.

  5. That was really deep. Most people are afraid to admit that stuff even when they are adults. I’s something most people don’t even talk about. For you to have to go through all of that and still see yourself for you and a great person is incredible. Even myself I don’t like to talk about certain things. You’re a true inspiration Ms. Marshall!!

  6. I like the way your article relates to real life experiences for all people. I believe that everyone has experienced bullying in one way or another. Wether their the one being bullied or the one bullying others. Some people might not even know their being a bully and that their words are hurting others. I think this article can help people become more aware of the things they say and do.

  7. Ms. Marshall, it must be very hard for you to face those bullies. I think the bullies usually bully the smart people who are smart but afraid to tell anyone. If I saw someone being bullied, I don’t think I will have the braveness to tell the bullies to stop, but I will definitely going to get someone to stop it. I really feel bad for the ones being bullied.


  8. Oh my gosh, these pictures are adorable!

    It’s true that over time, bullying has become a HUGE issue not only for
    kids, but adults too. I guess it either has to do with family factors, individual factors,
    or school factors. No matter what the case is, I don’t think anyone should ever be
    bullied or put down.

  9. LAUGHING OUT LOUD! Those pictures of you are adorable 🙂 but on a serious note bullying now-a-days is getting extreme. Facebook, Twitter and any other social networking doesn’t make it easier. I think its so sad when people abuse people, physically and mentally, that’s what bullying is. It’s abuse. The thing that I find most interesting is those that are bullying others always have some skeletons in their closet as well. I hate that. I hate how we, as a society, can be quick to judge others on their flaws but don’t think twice about ours. Its ignorant and naïve. That’s why me personally, I try not to judge others. I am not saying I am a saint or anything, obviously I might have a negative opinion about someone but I keep it to myself, because the way I see it my opinion shouldn’t matter to others and other peoples opinion shouldn’t matter to me.

  10. The difference between when bullying now and before is that now everyone seems to bully. The people who get bullied end up bullying people under them to increase their own self-esteem. It’s really sad. I mean, I can’t say I haven’t done or said anything to someone that might hurt them, but it happens to me also. I just have a way of not letting it phase me.
    “Courage is fire, and bullying is smoke.”
    -Benjamin Disraeli

  11. Bullying is a major dilemma when it comes to today’s society. I’ve noticed that when teens encounter any type of bullying, they begin to feel impotent, which causes them to have a low self-esteem. I have struggled with bullying myself, which eventually evolved into me being the bully. I stopped being “Ms.Tough-girl” when I realized who I was hurting and how affected them. Sometimes a revelation is all someone needs to change.
    – Great article Ms. Marshall and great job spreading the word!

  12. Bullying should never be tolerated. It can really hurt a person. I love this article because it sends a great message that bullying is no good.
    P.S. You were an adorable eighth grader Ms.Marshall!

    • This article can really relate to anybody in the world.This is a huge topic that anybody could discuss about because it is seen everywhere.It can happen to you or to anyone or you could just watch it happen.This article is a perfect example of bullying.Thank you Ms.Marshall for providing an article that informs the people of the world how bullying can affect anyone.

  13. This is definitely a HUGE topic today and even before them. I just feel as though, like you said that it’s much worse now because there’s bullying on so many different websites it hard to keep up…I think it’s terrible and I have to say that I can relate to your experiences because of course I was called tall an skinny. It bothers me sometimes, but then I realize, that I should be happy with myself and not care what other people say, because sometimes their just insecure about themselves so they want to make you feel bad. So for all the kids and even adults reading this I just have to say although it may be hard to ignore try, and remember never to judge a book by it’s cover because you don’t know what it’s like walking in their shoes! : )

  14. Bullying is a huge topic. It can range from harshly insulting someone to punching them. But I’ve noticed it’s really changed with our time period. It’s because of the Internet. There are websites that offer chances to be a bully behind the screen. Especially like Facebook and Formspring. Bullying will be everywhere. There’s no way to eliminate all the hate in this world. But to start off small, dealing with bullying at school can help. Kids don’t like to tell counselors because they don’t want to look like a snitch. When someone tells a counselor and all the kids find out, the bullying might worsen. It would be good if the school could provide us with a comfort that no one will figure out we told a councelor.

  15. Most of the time a student gets bullied by another student, the victim is afraid to tell a teacher or counselor about it. This is because the bully might offend the student if he/she finds out about the complaint or the student might become an outcast because many people do not want to befriend a snitch for stupid reasons. I believe the students should come together guided by a counselor and discuss their problems with each other to find a way to get along. I can’t imagine you, Ms.Marshall being bullied by another girl. Why did you cut your hair like a boy?

  16. I think that in the second picture when you are singing in that dress, you were really tall back then too.

  17. This is amazing Ms. Marshall. I love how you had the courage to open up to your students and share personal experiences no matter how much it kills on the inside. This is my favorite article. I hope that when I’m older I can look back at my middle school days and think the same that you do. 🙂

  18. Aw, Mrs. Marshall you were so adorable! Looking at those photos you looked really happy and had a huge smile on your face! No child should get bullies and most of it does happen through via Facebook and texting and it’s not right.

  19. Oh my gosh , your pictures are the cutest thing ! Haha . And I totally agree on what you have to say about bullying stepping it up another level with Facebook and texting . Or even worse anonymous comments. But not to be negative about it , face it , in reality , all that hate and bullying will never truly stop. Sure, we could prevent it as much as we can. But all the nasty looks, whispers, comments, judgments; we will never be able to put them to an end.

  20. You look the same as when you were younger. I think is my favorite article because you opened up talking more about who you are and were as a person.

  21. […] between students around the world, especially as a debate rages in the United States about how to best help students who experience bullying and […]

  22. What you say is completely and utterly true. Maybe the reason people don’t think bullying is a big deal because more or less when people think about bullying they imagine people getting tossed into lockers and so forth. People dont realize that bullying can be small things that they do. Teens tend to be very sensitive about the things others say about them or to them. At any rate… Ms.Marshall, I believe you looked nice in 8th grade.

  23. It’s great to know that even teachers had once been bullied and now thinks back to it. I really think some teacher don’t know how it feels like to get bullied. But after reading this passage I start to think the everyone gets bullied too, even if it’s teachers. Maybe this can stop people from bullying each other. At first I thought it was your brother.

  24. Ms. Marshall! You were so cute in the 8th grade! People say that bullying doesn’t matter, and why do we make a big deal out of it? Those people were never victims of bullying, they dont know what if feels like. Bullying can be discrete, and I think its the worst kind. Thanks for sharing a private passage of your life! You are an astounding teacher!

  25. Whenever bullying topics come up everyone just says “tell someone” or something like that. The thing is that telling someone never works. Then your looked at as being “snitch” and that does not help anything. I hate to say it but the only real answer to stop bullying is fighting. I have seen many kids that have gotten bullied and I am happy to say I have stopped a lot of bullying but not all of it. The only time I have ever seen bullying stop overnight is when the victim stands up for themself which normally ends in a fight. I am not tell you to go punch someone who gives you a slighty dirty look but I am speaking for what I have seen in Boston. If you are not the one getting bullied then you should step in. Nobody ever does though because then they think they would get picked on just like the victim. NOT TRUE! Everyone there wants to step in and say something but they to scared to! Not only will you help the person who is getting bullied but you also do the right thing and you WILL get respect from everyone there I promise.

  26. My favorite picture was the last one! You look so different. I like it how you shared your story. Your courageous for sharing it. If I get bullied I probably keep quiet. One time this dude shoved me against my locker and I didn’t really care. I do not know why though.

  27. I have to say I don’t think there is much that a teacher, or anyone, can do when it comes to bullying between students. I think that either way, people will still find ways to discriminate or exclude people who are different.
    By the way, the pictures aren’t that bad (:

  28. Your story is true. Many people don’t stand up for their friends because they are afraid of getting bullied for themselves. I think that girls bullying each other (mostly nasty comments…) and guys bullying each other (physical violence) it can be really different. Hopefully people can realize everyone is different and they need to accept each other. Sometimes the person didn’t even do anything to the most of their knowledge yet they are the one “bullying” another person. Life is harsh!

  29. I’ve witnessed many forms of bullying in middle school, especially the one you’re talking about, but I’ve never seen the aftermath.

  30. I got to say Ms. Marshall you would always have the biggest smile on your face (:
    I find bullying to be a really big problem these days. You don’t really see people getting bullied, but the power of social networking makes it easier to bully. Even if that means writing “Your Ugly,” or “I can’t stand you,” on their wall. We all need to work together to stop bullying.

  31. I truly don’t think there is much the teachers can do in a topic like bullying. At the end it comes down to the individual person, however sometimes the stress is to much for some and they brake down. Others however sometimes become stronger through the hate and become a better person.

  32. “Speaking of quirky and unique… let’s chat for a moment about these photos of my young and awkward self displayed here.” Ha-ha so funny! It’s very convenient to see you in 7th grade. Superb article on bullying!

  33. Ms. Marshall there is a picture of you that looks like a boy. Too funny. I disagree with the theory that bullying does not occur in poorer countries. I can speak from experience of seeing such bullying take place in my own country. Bullying is ugly. It is all about control, and control knows no ethnicity, no race, no international boundaries, no specific economic status. People are discriminated agains for being different. When we think about it, Martin Luther King Jr. was different. Tyra Banks was different, Oprah for crying out loud was different. Nelson Mandela, Ghandi, Muhamed Ali, they were all different. If being different is wrong than please bullies, feel free to bully me! People who have left their footprints on this generation were different. Bullying is disrespectful. To all the victiims out there I say to you ” YOU ARE AMAZING.” It is the price you pay for being different and diversity is beautiful. One day those bullies are going to have to wake up, take a good look in the mirror at the monsters they have created.

  34. Great Article! I really like that you brought up the fact about bullying because it really can destroy so many people’s lives. I also agree that now a days bullying is getting worse because of all the cyber bullying and emailing and everything that we do these days. I’ve been bullied alot in many schools too. Even here at Boston Latin Academy mostly because I’m shy and I don’t take the wrong paths like some girls here do. I don’t let them go through with it though, and I tell an adult (Guidance Counselor) or fight for myself and later on they back off. If all those kids out there are planning suicide because their afraid of the bullies they should always tell an adult and you’re definetley not being a tattle tale for it, your only preventing things from getting worse.

    P.S. I love your pictures! You look so adorable as an eighth grader, and you were really tall too!!:D

  35. Wow! the you back then looks exactly like you right know other than he fact that you used to have braces and short hair. Also you were really tall back then to!

  36. Most people do not think that bullying is a common issue between kids, but truth is, it kind of is. My best friend was verbally bullied in the sixth grade and it was hard not only for her but especially for me as her best friend. I think bullying can help be prevented if awareness is raised about how bad it really is and how bad it will get over the years if nothing is done.

  37. Hi Ms. Marshall,

    I thought that it was very meaningful for you to write this article. Many commit suicide because they are bullied since they do not fit in and do not say anything. It’s great that you were yourself and didn’t try to be another person. You looked very pretty when you were in middle school. You were so tall too. 🙂

  38. Bullying has been a problem for many years now, and it will continue to grow unless changes are mad to very popular programs like, Facebook, Myspace, Emailing, and of course in schools.

  39. Today bullying has become out of hand in some ways. Many people see a person being bullied, and even though they might feel bad for that person, they themselves will do nothing to help.They just stand there and watch.

    I have been on both ends when it comes to bullying. I have been bully and the victim of bullying. Many people do not realize that they themselves have probably been the bully at one point or another. They think that because they make one rude cmment aout a person behind their back to friend does not count BUT IT DOES!!! Because eventually that comment will be heard by that person, and kids, adults, and teens, in most cases will do nothing about they bullying. They would keep whats happening to themselves and tell no one.

    So if you yourself see bullying you must tell someone, otherwise the bully will continue hurting people nd keep getting away with it.

  40. I’m very saddened over the suicide deaths of the gay teens this past year, though I am grateful that the events are being used to raise awareness and create change. Bullying definitely continues into adulthood, though it doesn’t have to. It can manifest in some of the same ways as in school (cliquishness, for ex.), but also morphs in to various phobias, such as homophobia and xenophobia, and labeling particular religions evil. Perhaps the “It Gets Better” campaign and others will help diffuse some of this.

    I remember when I was working at a bank to put myself through college. Some of my coworkers said the nastiest, most hurtful, not to mention untrue, things about a gay coworker. I complained to the manager who, to his credit, addressed the issue immediately. However, they all knew it was me who’d reported them. The level of hostility toward me was amazing. One coworker would mutter, “Ima bammer!” [I’m going to ‘bam’/punch her] every time I was within earshot. It was disturbing, to say the least. Prejudice and hate followed up with a good dose of passive aggression. Sickening!

    Honestly, though, I believe the world is getting better. Each generation has more awareness and compassion than the last. I am very optimistic about our future!

  41. In the world, people think they can stop bullying, but in reality they can’t. I’m not trying to be negative, but NO ONE can stop the whispers, the dirty looks, or the gossip. Last year when I was a sixie, I didn’t know how girls and guys would react to me. Going to a Catholic school my whole life in a town that slightly lacked variety, I didn’t know people would make fun of my weight or my hair color. If someone thinks about something bad someone might say about them, it doesn’t hurt until you see it: on Facebook, Formspring, or just a note in class. No matter what any one says, there will always be haters.

  42. Wow Ms. Marshall!! When I look at you now I would have NEVER known that you were a victim of bullying or felt that way as a little girl. [You look exactly the same too, hehe] You just always have a HUGE smile on your face and seem so happy and enlighten everyone who comes around you. (everyone including me =])

    I guess I can say that at some points in my life I was bullied, in middle school and when I first started high school. I was very insecure and when someone said something about me or about my appearance I would break down, like literally. Everyone in high school ( at my first high school that I attended ) thought I was so ugly and would say on a scale from 1-10 I was a 4 or 5. and it would really hurt my feelings and I would cry all the time and then I stopped going to school and skipping school. I wore big coats and tied my hair up in scarfs to hide myself, the ‘self’ that i thought was SO ugly. *sigh* Gosh, when I think about all of it, I think about how far I have come. And you know what’s funny? All the guys and girls who thought I was SO ugly in the beginning of my high school years tried to befriend me or date me years later when they bumped into me and called me names when I rejected them. 😉 I brushed them all off and continued on with my life and learned how beautiful I was in the inside and on the out!

    ……All in all, I think Bullies are deep down unhappy with themselves so they put other people down to make themselves feel better……

  43. Hi Ms. Marshall! I agree with you completely that, bullying nowadays have gotten worse because of facebook and texting. Now we have cyber bullying too! ): I think that school is a place to learn (if you remember my facebook status) and that students that make fun of other students are really immature. The students getting bullied to me should just stand up and kill them with kindness (: !

    P.S I love your pictures! They’re really cute, and past the braces I see a big smile and an outgoing person! (:

  44. I think your pictures are cute, Ms. Marshall! They’re sweet in an awkward but likeable way. 🙂
    It’s admirable that you stayed true to your personality and didn’t try to be different just so you could “fit in”.
    Bullying is a very serious subject, and it needs to be prevented. Of course everyone says to tell someone about it, but you have to understand and look at it through the kid’s point of view. If they tell someone, behind that adults back, the bullies are going to taunt and tease that kid even more, saying they’re a tattle tale or whatever. It truly comes down to respectively sticking up for yourself and trying to make a better situation out of everything. 🙂

  45. Boston, Age 13
    Bully is a really interesting topic I’m glad you have an article about it. I think that it’s important that people know this stuff goes on all the time and to the people who are being bullied please just stand up straight and act like your the coolest person in the world because you’re bully will want to curl up in a ball when they see they’re having no affect on you. I know from personal experience! 🙂

  46. We could talk about all the ways of preventing bullying, but when comes down to it in the end it is up to the parties involved. Some people don’t like to admit it but the main reason why bullies get away with some many things is because the person being bullied lets them and part of them believes what is being said or done to them is something they deserve so they put up with it.

    My whole life I have been insulted constantly about my weight. For a long time I let it get to me I wanted to be smaller so no one would brother me. A few comments had lead to many fights, it didn’t take much to get me upset. When I would look in the mirror I saw me but when people looked at me they saw a statistical fat girl and it hurt me a lot. By the time I got to high school I was sick of it. On my first day of school I was hit by so many blows, it was sad how small minded people can be repeating things they hear on tv just to hurt me. (0 on originality points!!!) I had a personal sitcom in every class.

    After a few weeks I was done feeling sorry for myself and sick of them. It took time but now when someone says something about me I just laugh. There is no point it “indulging” into there words and fantasies. If a person is taking time out of there day to make me feel an inch of sadness it feels better to get a yard of self respect. If you haven’t fully accepted yourself how can you expect anyone else to?

    Humanity has become a rear virtue these days, but it has to start with you. You are only a victim if your let yourself be one!

  47. This is a very good topic because many people try to ignore bullying but only hurt themselves. The pictures were a little bit surprising and hilarious.

  48. I wasn’t THAT surprised by the pictures haha. I thought you were going to be fat or something haha.

  49. Hi Lillie: I believe you when you say that you don’t see bullying, so you’re unsure how to address it. It sounds to me that you’re very conscious of bullying, which means it probably happens much less often in your classes. This is a very good thing. However, as a former female victim of bullying in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma back in the 1980s, I have to say that not all teachers care that students are being bullied, and some even use bullying to their advantages. I cannot count the number of times I saw teachers notice overt bullying and do nothing. A few even laughed and/or only stepped in when the victim began to defend herself, and then the discipline was directed at the victim. Helping the popular kids bully their victim is a way to get in “good” with the class. Think about prison wardens who ignore inmate violence– when you have your prisoners busy abusing each other, you don’t have to worry about them rising up against the system.

    • Very good point, Jillian: bullying isn’t just kid to kid– it can also, unfortunately, be adult to kid (and in some cases, kid to adult). And, indeed, it can be a form of controlling a group: divide and conquer. The extreme example of this would be Rwanda with the Hutus and Tutsis, where the colonists pitted them against each other to maintain power… and when the country gained independence, a bloody genocide resulted.

  50. Great to see this topic being brought up! I feel like bullying has gotten a lot of attention lately, primarily with respect to students being targeted because of their sexuality. And while that is certainly horrible, bullying goes far beyond that. It’s been an issue for decades really and it’s something that can really have long-lasting effects on a kid’s self-esteem.

    I was “bullied” regularly when I was in elementary school and junior high (growing up in a middle class suburb) – never anything physical, but plenty of emotional bullying. Little things like the popular girl in my class making a point to tell me in front of everyone that I was the only one not invited to her birthday sleepover. Or prank calls after school. Or being laughed at and called names every day at recess. I remember absolutely dreading recess for that reason. And it takes a long time to get over. It probably wasn’t until when I was in graduate school that I finally found my confidence and self-esteem after years of being put down and picked on.

    Unfortunately, I think there’s only so much teachers and other adults can do to help – it really comes down to parents teaching their children the right way to treat people. When I look back at who picked on me, most of them were from well-to-do families and they were pretty spoiled – they had the view that they were better than anyone who didn’t dress like them or live in a big house like them.

    • Thanks so much for your fascinating and poignant insights, Katie! Isn’t it crazy… I mean, who really cares, in the greater scheme of the world, who is invited to a girl’s 13-year-old birthday party? And yet– ouch! Thanks again for sharing.

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