Invisible Scars, Part 2 #HAWMC Day 13



Day 13 prompt:
 Perfect Comeback: Tell us about a time when you felt marginalized or stigmatized by someone because of your health condition. Maybe at the time you didn’t speak up, or maybe you did – what did you say or what would you have said to take back control and let them know they were out of line?

READ PART ONE HERE: https://thecagedbirdstillsings.wordpress.com/2015/04/29/invisible-scars-part-1-hawmc-day-13/

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It is hard to say what I would have done differently. I was 16 years old. What can a 16-year-old really do? When something bad is happening to you, you are taught to tell a teacher, a guidance counselor, your parents… basically an adult. But in my situation, it was the teachers, guidance counselors, and administration that were part of the problem, not just my peers. I actually think things would have been tolerable if it was just my peers who were the only ones doing the things I mentioned in Part One. Yes, my parents knew. They went in for a meeting one time and never again. And believe me, I feel like they let me down too; I had no one to turn to. There was NO one to fight for me. I think that if my parents would have paid attention to what was going on, and we would have really documented everything, I would have hoped that they would have gotten a lawyer. But I’m not sure that would have changed anything. Fighting back, might have made it worse for me… who knows? My junior and senior years were during the 1998-1999 and 1999-2000 school years. In some ways it is not that long ago, but when it comes to the progress made towards schools taking on a NO tolerance policy in regards to bullying, a lot has changed. Technology has changed as well. There are a lot more ways to get your high school diploma then there were when I was in school.

So, if I was in high school now, and these things were happening to me, the first thing I would do is tell my parents. If the school was not willing to work with me and my parents, and did not discipline the teachers and students who were responsible for what was happening to me, then I would have asked my parents to retain services from a lawyer. I think that if I would have had a lawyer, I would have been provided with a tutor, and all the work that I received would have been legible and would have matched the same assignments/tests given to the students in class. The teachers would have been more mindful of not trying to set me up for failure and would have treated me like the other students, just because they would have known that they were being watched and if they failed to treat me fairly or differently than their other students that my lawyer would step in, on my behalf. Despite what the lawyer, might accomplish through civil suits against specific teachers, peers or the school district as a whole, the atmosphere at school would be tense, and I would not have wanted to return for my senior year. I think I would have taken the opportunity to do online schooling, for my senior year. There are a variety of types of online educational services. Some even have classes to choose from that would never be offered at a real school. Some online educational services work with your district to allow you to participate in extracurricular activities, like sports and/or band, and even dances and proms. Some online programs will also coordinate with your district so that you can still get a diploma from your actual school and not just receive a generic GED.

If things had gone the way I described above, I would have less invisible scars. My self-esteem wouldn’t have been demolished and I wouldn’t have felt alone. I would have been proud that I advocated for myself and that others did too (i.e. parents). I would have solace in knowing that I got justice and that those who deserved them, received consequences for their actions. The only negative for online schooling, is lack of social interaction. For me, that would not have been a problem, because I had friends from activities outside of school. But even if I didn’t have friends outside of school, it would have been better to have no socialization, then to go through what I went through and the PTSD that I still carry with me from those experiences.

Schools take bullying very serious these days, due to the increase of suicide that has happened as a direct result of being bullied for who you are; for a part of you that you can’t change. So maybe if I was in high school now, none of this would have happened to me. I’ll never know. It is ashame that it takes the death of children, before people start paying attention to these problems.

If this is happening to you right now, stand up for yourself! Find someone who will listen. Maybe there are no adults at school for you to go to and maybe your parents will be of no help either, but there are advocate sites for bullying. If you are sick, talk to your doctor. Do not live in silence. You do not have to endure such treatment. Pull out your computer and look for help!

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Looking back, I might have been a kid, but that didn’t mean I was worth any less. You have a voice. There are online communities that can give you the strength and support needed for you to use your voice. They will help you as you advocate for yourself and will advocate for you. Sometimes all we have are ourselves. It might not seem fair, but we don’t all get dealt a good hand. But if we are to survive we have to use our voice. Those of us who have come before you and have suffered because there weren’t any support services and programs in place then, like there are now. Those who have suffered are the reason these new supports exist, so use them! Use them! Do not let anyone ever make you feel like you are less than!

The following is a general list of websites, hotlines, and telephone numbers that you can call for help, if you have no one in your life that you can turn to. Don’t give up! You never know when it will get better. (This list is not comprehensive. There are a lot of resources online. Also, sometimes one hotline can refer you to a program that is better suited for your situation.)

 Bullying and Cyberbullying

 

 

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