Your Stories About Bullying
We asked you—our NCLD community—to tell us about your experiences with bullying. Your responses reflected the sadness, anxiety, anger and vulnerability that are part of the bullying experience. And the heartbreak is all the more poignant when it involves children who are isolated and victimized because of their learning disabilities. Remember that bullying is a choice, not an inescapable reality, and we can (and must!) work together to stop bullying.
First, it’s crucial that everyone understand the truth about bullying and LD. And on the home front, parents can work to make bullying stop before it starts.
Please read a few of the powerful stories below, and share your thoughts and experiences.
“I have a beautiful 13-year-old daughter, Marissa, who has a learning disability. She has struggled with trying to fit in and has been bullied repeatedly for many years. Marissa works extra hard to succeed in school, and she tries to please everyone. But our family struggles with the intolerance and disrespect of kids who are different. My heart breaks every day as I watch her try to understand why kids would tease her, call her names and not even give her a chance. As parents—and I mean all parents—we need to better educate our children about acceptance and stop this bullying.” –Alexandria D., Pennsylvania
“My son didn’t speak until he was almost four. Later when he began school—after much handwringing—he was diagnosed with auditory processing disorder, severe dyslexia and a speech delay. Our very bright child was placed in an ‘All-Day Special Education Class’ by our school district. This class unfortunately never taught him to read and write, but successfully stigmatized him. For years, he was taunted relentlessly, threatened, and beaten up by other children. Finally, one day in the fourth grade he asked me, ‘Why do I even exist?’ We had been to the principal countless times. We had written letters all the way up the chain of command in the district highlighting the issues our son was facing with bullying. We had been to numerous psychologists seeking help for our son’s agony. We finally found that the apathy regarding bullying in our school district was so profound, that we were forced to remove our son and now home school him. We feel that this decision likely saved his life, as he was profoundly depressed from years of abuse.” –Rachel B., California
“My son was physically and emotionally abused in middle school, and the school did nothing about it! Actually, they tried to punish him for it. His shirt was ripped when two girls shoved him through a doorway, and the school threatened him with a suspension over it. We took him out of school for one month to resolve this, and the school threatened to file a Child in Need of Services (CHINS) and have him taken away from us. The superintendent told people that our son ‘has nothing wrong—he’s just a victim of bad parenting.’ –Susan M., Massachusetts
“I am a 42-year-old woman who has been a victim of bullying since a child. I was born with various learning disabilities that affected my communication with others. I could not speak to where I was understood until I was 10 years old; this caused me to be bullied by children and called ‘stupid,’ ‘lazy,’ ‘mildly retarded,’ and ‘brain-damaged’ by my early childhood teachers. I guess these adults did not realize I overheard them.” –Kim G., Florida
“My middle-school-aged son is no longer permitted to ride the district school bus. He had been moved to the front of the bus due to his problems with inappropriate language in order to ride within earshot and view of the driver. His bus would stop at a parochial elementary school to pick up younger children each day. A group of very young children decided it was funny to tease my son, and so they tormented him each every day to and from school by chanting his name and making fun of him. He repeatedly asked them to stop, and they just laughed at him. He asked the bus driver to make them stop, and she said they were just little and that he needed to ignore them. He asked his teachers for help, and they said because the tormentors didn’t come from his school their hands were tied. We called the bus company, and they said the driver claimed my son was being ‘too sensitive.’ Finally, my son couldn’t take it anymore, and one day he blew up and swore at them. He was immediately called a bully and banned from the bus, and now we have to drive him to and from school each day. Bullies aren’t always big rough boys. Sometimes they are small and just as mean, and far too often the victims are the ones who are punished.” –Peg G., Wisconsin
Share Your Thoughts and Experiences
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