The other day on one of my Facebook accounts, I shared a link that an author I know had posted on a group I belong to. The link was to a story about two football players who, at their coach's request, befriended a bullied freshman. They took him into their group, escorted him to classes, and basically made sure the bullying stopped.
A friend of mine commented on the link: "If we'd had something like that in school, our lives would have been a hell of a lot easier."
I agreed, and he and I went on to talk about the bullying we both experienced in school. He dealt with it by fighting back; I didn't deal with it at all, just tried to hide and spent my spare time debating whether it would be better to kill myself or run away from home.
Talking about it the other day, my friend and I were both right back there in high school, dealing with being insulted, shoved around, called names, and all the other things that bullying entails. We haven't forgotten what happened; we haven't forgotten how it felt.
I graduated from high school 24 years ago. He was two years behind me.
People often say, "Bullying is just kid stuff. You'll get over it."
But the person on the receiving end of the bullying often doesn't "just get over it". The effects, especially if no one puts a stop to it, can linger for decades.
That's why bullying needs to be stopped. Why it should be addressed in schools, beginning in kindergarten. Heck, beginning in daycare. That's why there needs to be education about what "bullying" is and what it means.
Because it doesn't go away.