Tuesday, 23 November 2010

IF ONLY SOMEBODY CARED ABOUT BULLYING IN 1966.

November 14 to 20 was Bullying Awareness Week, an event started eight years ago by Bill Belsey of Cochrane, Alberta Canada. The theme for this year was, "Stand Up! (to bullying)" Click here to visit his home page.

I wish the authorities had dealt decisively with bullies back in the grim autumn of 1966. While at Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind in Vancouver, British Columbia, a certain boy, who I refer to as Charlie, began picking on me for reasons known only to him. When I complained to teachers, supervisors, and the principal, I was unanimously advised to ignore him so he'd lose interest and quit. That was exactly the wrong thing for me to do.

From Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School), here is how Charlie's mistreatment of me began.

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Living with Charlie became progressively worse for me. When I first came to Jericho, I could tolerate his company. He eventually became bossy and scornful. As I left the Dining Hall after breakfast one morning, Charlie followed me. Suddenly he twisted my left arm and held it behind my back.

"You want me to break this again?" he taunted as he held my arm. "I could do it easily you know." I quickly begged him not to, not wanting to have a cast on and suffering more pain. "You better do as I say or I'll break your arm," Charlie warned as he let me go. I felt miserable as I walked to class. When I went to public school, I could get away from bullies for the evening but not so in Jericho.

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Deliverance from Jericho contains many more vignettes of what life was like in that government-run institution. These range from poignant experiences of homesickness to hilarious incidents of mischief. Click here to read more about this book and to order it. You may also e-mail me directly if the comment form doesn't work.