I wasn’t always 6 ft, 280 lbs.  I didn’t always look like an aggressive Black man.  There was a time when I was only 5 ft 7  and MAYBE 150 lbs.  MAYBE!  I dressed like I was going on a job interview.  And I was smart, not just regular smart.  I mean, AP classes in Wilson Magnet back in the day smart.  Oh, and my lips and head were bigger than my body.  

So needless to say I got picked on in high school for a good year.  I came back here from Kentucky.  I didn’t go to middle school with any of these kids; I didn’t know any of them from the neighborhood.  I was a little fish in a pool of sharks.  And I got picked on about everything.  I heard so many big lip jokes that it got boring.

I say this because I understand how these kids feel.  I know what it’s like to feel like you have no friends in a time when the most important thing in the world to you is having a friend or two.  I know what it feels like to believe the whole world is against you.  That God must have been playing some type of cosmic joke on you.  I know what it’s like to feel completely and utterly alone.  When I hear a child has killed him/herself because of bullying, I understand.  I understand when this child feels like “what’s the point?” or “no one is going to miss me”.  I understand.

Back in the day bullying was strictly low tech.  I got shoved into the lockers; my swimming trunks were pulled down during gym class in front of ALL the girls!  I got my tray knocked over, my books knocked off of my desk and just straight out violated.  Today, kids send mass texts about you and post pictures with all the stuff they did to you on Facebook.  The WORLD get’s to see you get bullied.  And yet, no one seems to want to do anything about it. It’s always “kids will be kids” or “it’ll build character”.  It won’t build a thing if that child believes this is all life has to offer him/her.  Then, they just shoot themselves in the hallway of the middle school they attend.

Last Wednesday, a 13 year old boy shot himself in the hallway of his school while dressed as Two-Face from Batman.  It was super hero day at school.  Everyone thought it was some type of joke.  And then it wasn’t.   There is this kid that decides to come to school and kill himself right in the hallways where he was picked on.  Did the teachers know what he was going through?  Did the principle?  Did his parents?  Who was there to talk to this boy and show him they had his back?  Did he feel hopeless?  With his whole life ahead of him, he felt this was his only option.

This weekend a teen girl attended her homecoming as a part of her homecoming court.  No big deal right?  The problem is, she was voted into the homecoming court as a joke.  Somebody thought it would be funny to not only nominate this girl but to also get a bunch of people together and vote for her so she could be clowned in front of the whole school.  She who laughs last…not only did she attend homecoming, she had a blast.  Once people found out about the cruel joke being played on her, they turned up the support.  She got a brand new dress, shoes, hair and makeup donated by local stores so she would look the part.  Her message to everyone that’s being bullied,  is to never lose hope.

Two different situations, two totally different outcomes.  What gives one the strength to continue on and the other loses all hope?  I know for myself, I make sure my children and god-children know and understand that I will be there for them at a moment’s notice if they have any problems with anyone in school.  Children need that; they need to know that regardless of the situation, you have their back.  We, as parents and guardians, are their first line of defense against a cruel world.  Talk to these kids; find out what they are feeling.  Read diaries, text messages, Facebook pages, any and everything that will give you the information you need to make sure your child is safe and secure.  Let the children know, it’s not the end of the world.  Let them know that you will do whatever is in your power to make it right.  Don’t let them feel alone.  Because if you don’t…

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