What is a bully? Can you ever imagine that you’re child could be a bully? Did you ever bully anyone? People with disabilities have a significant more higher rate at being bullied than those who do not have disabilities. Bullies are individuals who choose someone weaker or different to treat badly. A person with a disability is an unfortunate easy target because their differences is easily seen.
I remember clearly my experiences being bullied. Both happened during my school days, and it was a very complicated time. The topic of bullying wasn’t as prevalent as it is currently. Bullying was actually just an accepted part of growing up and school. It doesn’t make it right, but that was just how people lived then. I do know of friends who were bullied much worse than I was, and I hope that they have healed any emotional trauma that they experienced.
My first experience happened in seventh grade science class. I happened to be one of the only students who were included in mainstream classes. Mainstreaming began for me when I was in fifth grade. Even though students weren’t overly friendly to me, I cannot say that they bullied me. However, in seventh grade, all of that changed.
Often in classes I had to either sit in the first row or the last row. Because I use a motorized wheelchair, the teacher often put me in the most convenient position. In science, I sat in the front row. A male student would unfortunately throw paper at my head and wheelchair all through class. I hated it, but I was always shy so I never spoke up to any school professional. One night as my dad helped me with my homework, I decided to tell my dad what was occurring in science class.
My dad felt angry right away and discussed what happened with my teacher. Even though I wasn’t happy that my dad got involved, I felt relieved that help finally came. I never got an apology, but he never bullied me again.
During my high school days, bullying happened to me again! This time I had enough confidence to fix the problem on my own. In my high school, there was a ramp to go down to the second level. Boys stood by the ramp and each day would say mean things to me as I made my way down the ramp. The ramp was in a spiral shape and hidden away from the general eye. One morning, as I drove my wheelchair to class, a student followed me. He began pulling on my handle bars on my chair trying to tip my chair backwards. Luckily, he didn’t succeed, but it scared the heck out of me.
Since I did feel scared and unsafe, I decided to go directly to the school office. I told them directly who tried to pull my wheelchair backwards and how. The situation was handled very quickly, and once again I could feel safe again. Although, I admit that I never felt perfectly safe because the memories remained.
If you’re being bullied, help is available. You don’t need to live in fear and discomfort. Speak up and get help so it stops. Bullies are people who get their strength in putting down and hurting others. Shedding light on them is the only way to stop them. Bullies think they will continue getting away with it because no one will tell. But don’t live in fear and let the bully know that they can’t get away with it.