3
   

A Story of Bullies Punished

 
 
wmwcjr
 
Reply Thu 20 Sep, 2012 11:17 am
http://bully-stories.com/a-story-of-bullies-punished/
Quote:
A Story of Bullies Punished
submitted by Michael D & filed under Bullied In The Past
posted on Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

This is a true story with only the names changed to protect my identity. I entered 8th grade in the fall of 1969. Eighth graders were thrown in with grades 9 through 12 in my high school. I lived in a Southern town outside of Atlanta where Friday night football reigned supreme.

Everyone was required to take Physical Education (P.E.) in 8th and 9th grades. Jocks and the academically less inclined frequently opted to take P.E. past the two required years as an easy elective. Grades 8 through 12 were mixed together in P.E. classes. There would be approximately 60 boys in one P.E. class, which would be divided into two sections, each with a football coach as teacher. We would change in a large locker room and then wait for the coaches to show up. They would show up occasionally, take roll, and maybe make us run laps. The coaches normally came very late to class, if they came at all. The older students would spend the period bullying the younger ones.

My 5th period P.E. class met every day after lunch. It had a group of juniors who played varsity football. They would come into the locker room, select a non-athletic 8th grader at random, and drag him down to the varsity football locker room at the end of the hall. I do not know for sure what went on down there, but there were be screaming and sometimes crying followed by the naked victim running down the hall to the showers. His belly would be bright red, a so called “cherry belly” or “slap belly” caused by slapping. His buttocks would bear the bright red marks of a belt. His testicles would be covered in a heating gel used by athletes to treat sore muscles. The victim would be running to the shower or sink to wash off the gel which burned intensely on sensitive skin.

The bullies love those who resisted, and they delighted most in the ones who cried. I remember one boy I will call “Billy.” He was mentally and physically disabled. Today I think he would probably be excused from a P.E. class, but this was a less enlightened era in a very backwards, rural part of the USA. Billy was short, weak, and skinny. He was in remedial courses and struggled academically. His family was poor, and he wore outdated, threadbare, ill-fitting clothes. He would begin crying when the bullies showed up to select their victim. He was bullied throughout the school day, but he suffered the most in that P.E. class.

Even though I was not an athlete, I was protected because the quarterback (QB) of the football team lived in my neighborhood, and his parents knew mine. When the bullies came for me a couple of times, the QB said, “Not him.” Even though the QB was not involved in the hazing, he had veto power over the selection of victims.

Despite my protected status, I dreaded P.E. I was bullied some, but I was spared the worst treatment. No one dared tell. The coaches did not care. I suspect they even knew about it. The football coaches and players were demigods in the town. I knew that no one would do anything, and terrible retribution would fall upon anyone who dared to tell. My older brother told me that this group of junior football players had been doing this form of hazing since their freshman year.

One day in English class, a student said something very negative about the Vice Principal (VP) who was in charge of discipline. The teacher spoke up in the VP’s defense and said something about how fair and honorable a man the VP was. I did not know the VP, but I greatly respected this teacher. I went home that afternoon and called the school office. I asked to speak to the VP. I told him what was happening in the P.E. class. He told me he would look into it the first thing in the morning. He then said, “I will need to know your name. I promise you that I will never reveal your identity to anyone, not even the coaches. I will just say that there have been several complaints.” I told him my name.

After I hung up, it occurred to me that I should give him names. I called him back, and named the eight students who had done the bullying and about seventeen students who had been bullied. He was writing down the names of the students. He would ask me to repeat or spell names. He had been very calm, professional, and matter-of-fact over the phone. His demeanor inspired my confidence in him. When I mentioned the name of Billy, he gasped. I then paused to describe in vivid detail Billy’s weeping and the bullies’ mockery of his pain and suffering. As I gave the rest of the list, there was a stunned silence on the other end of the line. When I finished, he said, “I will discuss this with the principal at once, and I will call in the coaches this afternoon after practice.” He then reassured me once again that he would never reveal my identity.

When I went to P.E. the next day, the bullies were running around frantically telling those who had been bullied that they were not to reveal what had happened to them. They said, “If you think what happened before was bad, what will happen to you for talking will be far worse.” The bullies were trying to concoct a story about how they were only playing around and no one had been hurt. One of them suggested that they say they had only tickled the underclassmen.

I think the bullies had been alerted to the investigation because two of the bullies – the first two on my list – had been called out at the end of lunch period. One by one, the bullies were called out of the P.E. locker room. An office aid would come to the door of the boys’ locker hall and call out a name. Five minutes later the process would be repeated. Once a bully left, he did not return. They were called out in the exact order I had listed them. I do not know who was questioning them, what they were being asked, or what they were saying. I do not know if any of those on my listed of bullied had been questioned. I tried to keep a low profile. Because I had not been bullied, I was not suspected as the source.

The next day, the coaches came to P.E. class on time. I suspect that the coaches had gotten into big trouble. The class was divided into teams to play flag football, except for the bullies. The bullies were forced to do pushups, sit-ups, wind sprints, and banks (sprinting up a very steep hill) over and over for the entire P.E. period. Then they had to report to football practice after school. I heard they had to do additional exercises after football practice. This went on for a week. They were miserable. I could tell they were very unhappy.

Each day as the bullies were being punished, the VP stood on the top of the hill overlooking the athletic field. I vividly remember him in his tie and dress shirt, wearing sunglasses, his arms crossed across his chest or resting on his hips, stains under his arms from the September heat in the Deep South. To me, he personified justice. Someone in my P.E. class asked, “Why is the VP there?” Someone else answered, “To make sure the coaches don’t go easy.”

The bullies swore that they would find out who had reported them. They said that they would take him to a remote cabin and torture him to death over the course of days. The body would never be found, or if was found, it would be too mutilated to be identified. For these reasons, I waited twenty years before I told my story to anyone. The hazing that had gone on for over two years ended the day that I made those phone calls. Bullying continued, but not on the same organized and extreme scale.

The VP died a few years later. Many came forward to say what a brave and honorable man he was. I wish I had been able to tell my story then.

Today I do not fear or hate those particular bullies. I do despise all bullies I meet in my life, and I hope I will always have the courage of the VP. Bullies do not have the power over my life they way the did at one time.

I will, however, always be haunted by the memory of Billy. I clearly remember his weeping and pleas for mercy being met with mockery and derision. If a society is judged by the treatment of its weakest members, then that was one sick society.

I tried to track down Billy years later. He had fallen off the grid if he was ever on it. I pray that, wherever he may be, his blessings in his later years were great enough to compensate somewhat for the terrible suffering he endured in high school. If he no longer walks the face of the earth – and I suspect this is so because he was so very weak and sickly – may he find in the next life the mercy that was denied to him in this one.

  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 3 • Views: 8,174 • Replies: 12
No top replies

 
wmwcjr
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Sep, 2012 03:42 pm
@wmwcjr,
The sad fact is that were it not for the Internet, this story would never be heard. The Internet has given a public forum to individuals and causes that the media historically have been inclined to ignore. Specifically the issue of bullying in traditional mandatory physical education classes (which, incidentally, do nothing to promote physical fitness for nonathletic students) has been ignored for generations by adults who continue to utter such phony platitudes as "Bullying is part of life," "Bullying builds character," "Bullying is a rite of passage," and "The victims bring it upon themselves."
Helios
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Sep, 2012 03:56 pm
@wmwcjr,
100% agree with that. What makes any form of bullying worse is that people around you just stay and watch, just doing nothing about it. It's just not cool, and is as much or if not much worse than what the bully is doing.
wmwcjr
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Sep, 2012 04:44 pm
@Helios,
Thank you.

Parents of bullied kids have a great responsibility to help their children deal with this problem. But the lines of communication may not be open, or the bullied kid may have absolutely no support at home. Even if he (or she) has loving parents, he may be too ashamed of being bullied to tell them. That's where mentors should step in and help.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Sep, 2012 04:58 pm
@wmwcjr,
That's a beautiful story.
Helios
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Sep, 2012 05:51 pm
@wmwcjr,
Not just the adults. I was implying peers. I've had first hand experience in this. kids in the hallway either look away, or keep on staring until it's over, and they don't do anything about it. Gives a whole new twist to the bystander effect.
Jet Fire
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Sep, 2012 06:07 pm
@Helios,
You're right about that. But it's just not kids, it's people itself. Every time there is wall street scandal, it's because the people just didn't speak out and just self deceived themselves. What people need to do is face the realities, and tell themselves that they can make a change in other persons life, and be different from the bystanders. I consciously think about it, and make myself aware that this effect exists, and when situation arises, I remember this, and try to do something about it.
0 Replies
 
wmwcjr
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Sep, 2012 12:28 am
Quote:
My 5th period P.E. class met every day after lunch. It had a group of juniors who played varsity football. They would come into the locker room, select a non-athletic 8th grader at random, and drag him down to the varsity football locker room at the end of the hall. I do not know for sure what went on down there, but there were be screaming and sometimes crying followed by the naked victim running down the hall to the showers. His belly would be bright red, a so called “cherry belly” or “slap belly” caused by slapping. His buttocks would bear the bright red marks of a belt. His testicles would be covered in a heating gel used by athletes to treat sore muscles. The victim would be running to the shower or sink to wash off the gel which burned intensely on sensitive skin.

The bullies love those who resisted, and they delighted most in the ones who cried. I remember one boy I will call “Billy.” He was mentally and physically disabled. Today I think he would probably be excused from a P.E. class, but this was a less enlightened era in a very backwards, rural part of the USA. Billy was short, weak, and skinny. He was in remedial courses and struggled academically. His family was poor, and he wore outdated, threadbare, ill-fitting clothes. He would begin crying when the bullies showed up to select their victim. He was bullied throughout the school day, but he suffered the most in that P.E. class.


So, football builds character? Confused
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Sep, 2012 12:36 am
@wmwcjr,
Quote:
by adults who continue to utter such phony platitudes as "Bullying is part of life," "Bullying builds character," "Bullying is a rite of passage," and "The victims bring it upon themselves."

you talk like you have proof that they are wrong, but do you? Maybe this nothing more than your distaste for the age old practice of testing what others are made of.
wmwcjr
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Sep, 2012 12:37 am
@chai2,
chai2 wrote:
Re: wmwcjr (Post 5113920)
That's a beautiful story.


Well, at least that's true of the ending. I could hardly read it when I first came across it. I don't handle injustice very well. Bullying of this kind is utterly contemptible. I'm amazed at how vicious bullies can be. You'd think no kid would lower himself by bullying someone who was mentally impaired. I cringe if I even accidentally step on one of my wife's feet.

By the way, how many sportswriters or sports columnists would be willing to write about it? The answer is obvious ... Rolling Eyes
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  2  
Reply Sat 22 Sep, 2012 12:43 am
@wmwcjr,
Quote:

Parents of bullied kids have a great responsibility to help their children deal with this problem

the parents great responsibility is to raise healthy and happy adults, this may or may not include butting in when the kid is bullied. Often the best approach is to let the kid figure it out for themselves.

Quote:
Even if he (or she) has loving parents, he may

you're assuming that stepping in is the loving act, which may or may not be true.
wmwcjr
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Sep, 2012 01:15 am
@hawkeye10,
Does that include the bullying of mentally retarded kids?

With all due respect, Hawkeye, you and I are never going to agree on this issue. That's because you and I believe in two different ideological systems; and, as such, we're going to come to different conclusions and make different value judgments. Even our views of bullying itself differ. To me as a Christian, bullying is a sin. Obviously, you don't share this view. You seem inclined towards social Darwinism, not an enviable position. Of course, you have the right to believe whatever you want. I appreciate your civility and will not engage in the sort of name-calling and personal attacks to which you are routinely subjected by other members. But neither will I take on the role of a firefly and engage you in a prolonged exchange lasting days, weeks, and months. I admire her persistence, but I just don't have the time. Unlike her, I have a short fuse that frequently burns in a hurry. Besides, nothing much is accomplished in this or any other Internet forum. In fact, I'd say hardly anything (except ego boost, of course). (Hear that, JTT?) Neither of us has any real power. I may care deeply about an issue, but I won't accomplish anything except perhaps letting off steam. I'm just expressing my views, and you're entitled to express yours. Actually, in the scheme of things, we're both powerless, as neither of us are policymakers or opinion shapers. I hope you won't be disappointed if I don't pull a "firefly" on you. I just don't have the time.

You speak of bullying as being a means of testing what others are made of. That's a rather inadequate test. Whose values are we talking about here? Exactly what is being tested? We all have different strengths and weaknesses. Consider the moral courage of those, for example, who risked their lives to save Jews from the Holocaust, those in this country who actively opposed Jim Crow when to do so involved rather negative consequences and considerable risk in more ways than one, and dissidents in Communist countries? Does bullying kids in any way determine whether or not they'll have that sort of moral courage?

These are questions that I address to you, hawkeye, as well as anyone else who reads this post. They're supposed to make people think. You can post your own answers to these questions, but I most likely won't engage you. That is not a rejection of you. Like I said, I don't have a lot of time to spend online these days. I have personal concerns that lead me away from the PC sitting in our living room.

Besides, I gotta go to bed now. (I mean after I check one more item in this topic.) So, good night. Smile
0 Replies
 
wmwcjr
 
  2  
Reply Sat 22 Sep, 2012 01:24 am
@hawkeye10,
Well, I said I was going to bed; but I will respond to this post.

I don't think we have much disagreement here. But I will say this: Sometimes the kid is not able to figure it out for himself. Some kids are quite ignorant for whatever reason, as I was when I was one. In fact, I think most kids are ignorant about one thing or another. Kids may need guidance from an adult who has insight into the problem of bullying. I'm not talking about "helicopter" parenting. Oftentimes, though, as I'm convinced, kids (especially boys) don't even tell their parents that they're being bullied at school. They're ashamed about it. That's the "boy code."

Now I really gotta go. Bye.
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

Kid wouldn't fight, died of injuries - Discussion by gungasnake
Weed Out Individualism at an Early Age - Discussion by gungasnake
Public school zero tolerance policies. - Question by boomerang
Dismantling the DC voucher program - Discussion by gungasnake
Adventures in Special Education - Discussion by littlek
home schooling - Discussion by dancerdoll
Can I get into an Ivy League? - Question by the-lazy-snail
Let's start an education forum - Discussion by cicerone imposter
 
  1. Forums
  2. » A Story of Bullies Punished
Copyright © 2019 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 04/21/2019 at 04:14:21