By: Stephanie Taylor-Baptiste
The adage sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me is a not only cliché, it’s out of date. Unfortunately, names aren’t the only things that kids have to worry about in today’s society.
When I was in elementary and high school, bullying was done in the school yard and to a lesser extent, the classroom. Notes were passed, names were called and there was the odd shove at recess. But when the school day was done, you could go home and escape the taunts and torments of your bully.
I was bullied in elementary school. It was slight, but it was there. I went to a school that had a lot of well-off families. My family was by no means poor but my parents had six children so they were frugal to ensure they could support us. My classmates were wearing designer clothes at the time, Club Monaco, Le Chateau and Gap. My parents wouldn’t shop there because the clothes were more expensive, no matter how much I kicked up a fuss and cried.
I remember one Christmas I got a bubble vest from my aunt (don’t judge, this was when they were cool). I was so excited. I wore it to school when we got back from Christmas break I felt confident and sure of myself. As I was walking down the hall a girl, who was in a younger grade, came up to me and said, “Oh Stephanie, glad to see you finally have some style and aren’t wearing s**tty clothing.”
I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. Not only was it known that I didn’t wear “nice” clothes, but it was even more noticeable when I did. I didn’t want to wear the vest again because I knew people would judge and notice. My parents didn’t understand why I wouldn’t wear it. So in typical early teen fashion, I yelled at them, told them they didn’t understand, and the always famous, leave me alone.
It’s not something still affecting me but it was enough for me to remember 14 years later. It was extremely upsetting. Now that I’m older and mature I understand that this isn’t something to dwell on, and I know that it does, in the words of the prominent campaign, “get better.”
People like Stephen Colbert and Neil Patrick Harris have had a role in helping troubled teens and kids understand that high school is not the be all and end all of life through the It Gets Better Campaign. In my opinion, the best time of my life was my experience in university. Not only was it a time of self discovery but it made me into the confident individual I am today.
Amanda Todd’s suicide has showcased the nasty world of bullying and the life it has taken on. After she tried to commit suicide by drinking bleach, people posted pictures of bleach bottles on her Facebook page. Most people would think if someone had tried to take their own life, others wouldn’t taunt them for it. Apparently not. Even when her succeeding in killing herself, people are still posting things on her memorial page about bleach or a noose. It’s unfathomable how anyone could and even would do this.
Bullying has gone to an extreme that many people didn’t anticipate. Now your picture, face and life are broadcasted worldwide instead of the school yard.
Parents bear some responsibility for their children’s actions. I find a lot of parents automatically come to their children’s defense more than when I was young. Just because your child is doing something wrong, it doesn’t make you a bad parent.
“Sticks and stones” should be replaced with “It gets better”, because it does get better. It is just impossible to see that when you’re young and in the situation.