In 3rd grade I started becoming the target of bullies. It got really bad when I started 6th grade. School officials, teachers, and everyone else that was supposed to help proved to be useless at best, but usually made the problem worse.
The issue that nobody seemed to understand was that for me, the bullies were not in one group,it was many, many groups. Some of whom were not even in my grade. Because of the bullying I became suicidal for the first time in 6th grade.
After expressing these thoughts I spent the summer in group therapy. The next year, in the middle of 7th grade I decided that nobody was going to help me, so I was on my own now. I stopped telling anyone what was happening. This continued through 8th grade. At some point I started talking to a girl from the swim team who was a year younger than me. We were both having very severe bullying issues. She was the first person in a very long time that I thought understood what I was going through. So we started having venting sessions, which led to a trusting friendship. During this time there were two girls in my 7th period class who were always kind.
There was one day that my classmates had me on the verge of tears when 7th period started. We had a group project that day, and everyone was relentlessly attacking me. Then one of the girls said “Leave her alone, she’s about to cry.” In all of my school years, someone actually standing up for me only happened a few times, so this was special. I almost did cry, not because of the attacks, but because of that simple sentence.
After class I didn’t know how to thank her, so I gave her a hug. I walked away thinking about her, and not the bullies. I ended up pulling out my 7th grade yearbook and showed it to my friend. While looking through the yearbook, we realized how many people in my grade were not involved in the bullying. I started crying, by being kind these girls had managed to make me realize that not everyone was attacking me. My message is simple. Be kind. That one little sentence that you may not think anything of, may be a very big deal.
Amanda Sage, Monroe, Connecticut
3rd Place Winner