The Turning Point
A letter from Bruce M.
March 24, 2004


I've been reading this site and felt the need to share my story.

About 28 years ago my family moved to northern Wisconsin and I started at a new school. It's always hard to be the new kid, but what happened to me stays with me always.

Within a few weeks of moving to the area, our school had an assembly, and a local musician put on a show. After the assembly let out and we (me and my classmates) were heading back to class, I was grabbed from behind by the hair and dragged through the students into the nurse's office. At that point the teacher who dragged me in continued to slap me around until I quit trying to protect myself. He was grumbling about how I had been talking too much during the assembly and how he would teach me to keep my mouth shut. At that point he and the school nurse proceeded to wrap my head with toilet paper and medical bandages. Afterwards the teacher dragged me into study hall to sit the rest of the day.

To this day, I wonder if anyone felt this vicious assault was unusual or just par for the course. Quite a few teachers saw it and did nothing. Even as I was paraded past the principal's office, no one did a thing to stop it.

A funny thing happens when a child is brutalized and victimized in this way. The bullies feel you're fair game because they see what a teacher did to you. The kids who were nice to you before now treat you like a scapegoat, and you feel helpless because you aren't able to do anything but allow it to happen. As time goes on, you try to blow it off but in your thoughts and dreams you scream in rage. You spend nights fantasizing about degrading, humiliating, torturing, and even killing your tormentors. But being taught to be passive, these feelings turn inward and you keep your anger and suicidal thoughts to yourself.

As I got older I started lifting weights and the bullies backed off, but the inner victim doesn't heal. You just end up as a cocky underachiever trying to act like nothing bothers you. Eventually I dropped out of school because I felt so out of place there.

After a dismal attempt in the Air Force, I went back to another high school and then to college for a couple years. But the underachiever was showing through, and I was put on academic probation after 2 semesters.

Before all this happen, I was a happy child. While I was never the most popular, I wasn't a scapegoat. My grades were above average and, all in all, I was considered a bright, outgoing child.

While I realize everyone has been hurt in their lives in one way or another, this incident was a turning point in my life. It took me from being a good to promising student to a D student. Not only did this leave me with years of rage but it cost me a life of drifting from low-paying job to low-paying job, and afraid to stand up for myself and achieve my full potential.

You may wonder if I told my mother what had happened to me at school that day, and if so, why she didn't do anything about it. Well I did. But she was afraid of making waves in the small community we just moved into. I do forgive her, but to this day I have a hard time forgetting the incident.

I do appreciate getting a chance to share my story and hope things like this do not happen again to anybody.



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