It seems like every one we talked to wants to share his or her tale of bully misery, which almost always occurred sometime from the 6th grade to their senior year in high school. There were earlier and later time periods covered in the many experiences people told us about, but most fell into that classic pre-teen and later adolescent time slot.
It’s a true story that played out for Bud Ramey, a national advocate for at-risk youth, and we chose to share it not because it’s more interesting or valuable than anyone else’s, but because it’s a cautionary tale.
“Today, the kind of action I finally took,
Which gave me an undeniable sense of redemption and made my dad so
proud when I finally told him about it,
Could be a gateway to horror”
Just about everything your child shouldn’t do is contained in this story and it is also a straightforward and clearly understood example of why the 21st Century American Bully is not your father’s bully, or probably not yours either for that matter.
For some reason that will remain forever unknown to me, or perhaps for no reason at all, I was tormented by a football player who loomed over me in height and was probably close to twice my weight. He would slam me into lockers as we walked down the hall, push me against the wall when there were no lockers to offer that distinct metallic clatter and punch me in the arms, the stomach and the back whenever no one in authority was looking. His name was Wayne. I suppose it still is.
It had been going on for months and like many bully encounters, the stomach churning fear bothered me even more than the punches. What stays in my memory is how I would constantly look around to see if he was in the vicinity. And it seemed like he always was.
The lavatories at school. Walking home or sitting on the bus. In the neighborhood, even when I kept changing my normal routes. It didn’t matter. He was determined and flexible enough to turn any of my choices into a continuous back and forth movement along a fear continuum that ranged from mild anxiety to flop sweat.
(Part Two Tomorrow)
Bobby Kipper and Bud Ramey have co-authored two books and numerous articles on the crisis in youth violence plaguing our culture, addressing “best practices” for making a difference in the gang crisis and bullying epidemic that is impacting an entire generation. Over 4,400 young people committed suicide last year, largely due to the bullying epidemic. Their books, No BULLIES : Solutions for Saving Our Children from Today’s Bully and No COLORS : 100 Ways to Stop Gangs from Taking Away Our Communities, offer advocacy for at-risk youth.
Bobby Kipper, Director and Founder of the National Center for the Prevention of Community Violence, is a career law enforcement officer with extensive experience in the area of preventing youth and community violence nationwide. His background includes working on a number of key national initiatives with the White House, Congress, and the Department of Justice.
Bud Ramey is the 2010 Public Affairs Silver Anvil Award winner of the Public Relations Society of America—the highest public affairs recognition in the world. His grassroots public affairs and humanitarian successes and advocacy for at-risk youth stretch across three decades.