November 29, 2012
A letter to the editor:
I’ve been on both sides of this equation. I’ve been a victim, a bully and again a victim. My first “bully” wasn’t a fellow student, but the nameless, faceless, religious and bureaucratic system known as Catholic education with its sheep for teachers that deemed themselves as being experts in education when they were anything, but. My intelligence and that of my classmates was assaulted, daily and for years. Most don’t know it.
According to their tests, based on their metrics, their artificial deadlines and from my low scores, I was considered “dumb”. I endured three years of summer schools, beginning in the third grade, to pass courses that I apparently failed during the school year. I attended learning disability classes during the week. At my teachers’ suggestion, my parents held me back in the fifth grade. That one event alone was demoralizing and very damaging. I had tutors from that point on through high school and into college.
Therefore, you wouldn’t expect a “C” student at Auburn University to have anything to say to distinguished faculty teaching at some of the world’s best universities (38), but that in fact is the case. Today, I literally “school” thousands of professors (over 12,000) on a host of subjects with expertise and they know it. I’m one of the lucky ones who survived the gauntlet called formal education. That’s no way to learn anything, it’s completely unnatural. Some troubled students find their way into jails and prisons defeated by life all due to their time spent in school. That’s appalling.
A system that’s designed to break your spirit and who appears bigger than you will definitely cause you to look elsewhere to extract revenge on someone who seems more your size, but weaker. I did just that with regret. Cal’s piece fails to look at the root cause of bullying — the education system — while failing to show some understanding or compassion for the true victim — “the bully”. Children aren’t born this way. They’re taught. It’s all those in high standing that are inflicting the harm — parents, preachers and teachers. They’re throwing the first punch while the kids are getting caught throwing the second.
Copyright © 2012. All Rights Reserved. “Lagniappe: A letter to the editor on bullying in school” by Ted Burnett.