Teachers’ Lessons from Childhood Bullying

Teachers are able to pass along the lessons they learned growing up on how to deal with bullies.

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Teachers are able to pass along the lessons they learned growing up on how to deal with bullies.

The month of October is known for the season of fall, Halloween, and pumpkin-based food being sold in various restaurants and stores. But being wrapped up in it all, people tend to forget that October is the official National Bullying Prevention Month. 

Bullying can range from a wide variety of actions such as name-calling to a shove in the hallways. Although bullying, whether in-person or online, may not be noticed by others at school or at home, a Romper article published in October 2018 states one out of five kids reportedly has been or is bullied in school. English teacher, Cody Arnold knows first hand these statistics to be true. Growing up Arnold sought out help for being picked on, but felt let down with the results.

“Whenever I was in middle school, elementary school and intermediate, there weren’t adults that I trusted enough or felt safe enough to share what was going on. I felt like no matter who you talk to, the issue was brought up to administrators and the administrators didn’t do anything. The issue was brought up to the teachers and the teachers didn’t do anything. So it taught me, ‘Okay, well, then I just need to stay to myself, stay in my own lane, hide my differences, the best I can and do my best to survive it that way’, ” Arnold said. 

Although some students are more reserved and introverted like Arnold, others such as Marisa Bonner, Family and Consumer Science teacher, chose to stand up and confront the bullies as one of the defining moments in her life. 

“It was because I was kind of like, ‘I can have a voice and stand up for things’ because I was always taught, to be kind and not mean to others. I think my mom had just gotten so tired of me coming home upset that it was like, ‘Oh my gosh, just say something back.’ Then the moment that I did say something back, it kind of stopped because they’re like, ‘Okay, she’s gonna say something she’s not gonna just sit and take it,’ and that was kind of the shift in power,” Bonner stated. 

As Arnold and Bonner both had faced and interacted with their bullies, Dondrinea Scretchings, History teacher, learned to not pay any mind to them, despite what they may or may not have thought of her. 

“I learned to not care what people who I don’t respect think about me. It just made me have more resolve. I started to say, ‘I don’t respect these people, they don’t raise me, they don’t clothe me, they don’t feed me. They don’t benefit my life in anyway at all on a daily basis. So why should I care what they think about me?’ I just find life is much easier to live when you’re not worried about other people’s opinions,” Scretchings said. 

Although the issue of bullying has been prevalent and the signs of bullying may not always be seen, Arnold believes that the experience he had a child has made him more understanding and open to talking with students about the issue. 

“I share it with my students every single year and I tell them that if they deal with things like that, I am an open door and you can bring it to me and then I’ll handle it in whatever way I possibly can. I’ve shut down bullying inside my classroom, in the hallways. The experience that I had growing up is what enabled me to get to where I’m at now, to where I’m going to try and shut it down wherever I see it so other kids don’t have to deal with it,” Arnold stated. 

With bullying being prevalent and sometimes unnoticed, students should know that guidance counselors at Lake Ridge, such as Lori Cook, and teachers like Arnold, Bonner, and Scretchings are open to discuss such issues in the hopes of preventing future bullying.