By Nikole Harlan
I am writing this to you today, putting myself out on a limb. I’ve already shared my story in other ways but never so much as sending it to the local paper. Here it goes …
I just read the article in your Jan. 13 edition about the fight that happened at Gilroy High on Monday, Jan. 9. This incident is not just an assault but a form of bullying. I grew up in Gilroy and attended GUSD schools from 4th grade all the way to graduating from Gilroy High School. I have to say that, I am not surprised by the young man’s request for protection being unfulfilled. While growing up and attending elementary and junior high school in Gilroy, I was bullied.
I constantly asked for help from my teachers and school administrators in elementary and junior high and got none. In the 5th grade, I had students threatening to bring a shotgun to school and kill me because they said that I was, “too ugly to live” and would tell me this while sitting in class with the teacher two feet away from them. The teacher sat there and would just look at me over her glasses, roll her eyes and not say a word. When I would tell my parents, she denied that these things ever happened and that I was making it all up for attention. I got bullied a lot in 6th grade as well with no help from my teacher. However, as I got older the bullying got much worse.
Junior high was the absolute worst time for me. Kids that I didn’t even know called me names, tried to trip me while walking down the hallways or walking in class to my desk. Other students would say mean things to me in front of my teachers and would not get in trouble for it. Every day, I got called names by students I didn’t even know just so that they could look good in front of their friends.
My gym locker padlock had superglue put into it so that I had to break the lock to get my clothes out after class. I got pushed around and had water shot at me with a water gun (during P.E. class). There are a lot more things that I could list here but I don’t want to send you a letter with a “oh, poor me” story. I want to send you this letter and challenge the students, faculty and supervisors of GUSD.
My heart goes out to ALL the students everywhere who get bullied, teased, harassed and picked on. I know what it’s like and it’s not something that you forget over time. I want to do something to help these kids, tweens and teens and start an Anti-bully campaign for the students of all GUSD schools. It’s time to say enough to bullying. Not just in Gilroy but everywhere.
I’ve started an anti-bully blog/website for teens to go to. The web address is: http://SkoolYardRefuge.wordpress.com. An e-mail address for kids, tweens or teens to e-mail me at, [email protected] as well as a twitter feed @SkoolYardRefuge. I also have a You Tube account under the name ShuttrBugg that talks about what I went through and what I would like to do.
I remember feeling so low waking up to go to school everyday knowing what I was going to be stepping into. I want to help these students who get bullied and help lift up their self esteem, let them know that that no matter what your peers may tell you, you are not worthless. Sometimes, all kids who get bullied need is an ear to listen to them and for that person to understand what they have to deal with. I want to be that ear. I am that person.
If you are a student of GUSD and get picked on, bullied or harassed and need someone to talk to. I am here. Come, lets chat. You are not alone.
Anyone interested in writing a guest column may contact Editor Mark Derry at [email protected]