Confession: I Was a Bully in Elementary School

1000-Voices-SpeakAlthough I wrote this post a while ago, it’s suitable for this month’s topic of Building from Bullying for the link up #1000 Speak for Compassion.

I Was a Bully in Elementary School

Well, sort of.

In the fifth grade at McCulloch Elementary School in Detroit, Michigan, I was accused of targeting another student in my class and being mean to her.

Back then, I wasn’t the assertive (read mouthy) b-yatch that I am now.

When another student pointed the finger at me and said I was the one who was spreading rumors and excluding another girl and generally being a total “mean girl”, I was pretty clueless.

I usually kept to myself; went to school, came home, attended my beloved ballet class which was all I really cared about, and never joined any of the “cliques”, not in any grade, even all the way through high school with the Frats or Greasers.

I mean, I was always the one who was made fun of ‘cos I wore glasses and for doing ballet and for my last name that rhymes with Frankenstein (I’ve heard that plenty of times), and because I was quiet and small and easy to push around (then, not now, that’s for sure).

I remember being sent to the principal’s office where I was subjected to a speech about how smart I was and how I shouldn’t use my quick wit to pick on other kids who didn’t have the same level of verbal skills that I had.

I tried to explain that I didn’t know what she was talking about and I don’t think I had done that for which I was being accused, but she mostly wanted to hear herself go on and on and when it was time for me to insert an apology and an “I won’t do it again”, I did.

I did and I shouldn’t have. I caved. It was pretty easy in those days to bully ME. I hated confrontations of any sort.

Not only did I not know how to stick up for myself, but the real bullies were the girls who falsely accused me.

I still don’t know why the real victim never told the truth about who her tormenters were.

I guess it was easier all around to paint me as the villain.

But I learned a valuable lesson or two from that incident.

Those feelings stayed with me all these years, and if I even ever thought that I was going to be mean to someone (less smart, less agile, less whatever) I thought of what the principal said to me, and not only did I hold my tongue and not be mean, I became an advocate for the less fortunate, those victims of circumstances beyond their control.

I stood up for the kids who were being ridiculed. I spoke out. I still do.

That clueless principal was deffo right about one thing; I do have a very sarcastic, witty side but I try not to use it to hurt, only to be funny.

Another life lesson that stayed with me to this day was to teach my son to have compassion; for the elderly, for the disadvantaged, for anyone mentally or physically challenged.

I told him that all his brains and academic accomplishments pale in comparison to being kind to those less advantaged than he is, and of course, to always love animals…and to defend himself vigorously if he was ever accused of something he didn’t do.

Bullying is horrible and should not be tolerated. I’m glad that I didn’t actually do it, ‘cos I’d be terribly ashamed of myself.

Oh, and the most important lesson I learned was to stick up for MYSELF.

Nobody’s EVER falsely accused me again, you can be sure of that!


34 thoughts on “Confession: I Was a Bully in Elementary School

  1. I discovered I was an unintentional influence. I never imagined anyone listened to me, much less was influenced by me. I suspect I was much like you, for the same reasons. Substitute piano for ballet. Add miserable home life and braces. I learned that sometimes, you are more than you think you are … and I have been treading careful since. Especially blogging, we can influence people without intending to.


  2. I was nobody when I was six, but I feel bad for not being nicer to a bullied gurl. She was called names. I don’t think I called names, but I was not anything. I didnt try to stop anything. I didn’t stop talking to the bullies and I didn’t give the bullied a hug. It’s happend three times in my life, six, seven and eleven, i have not stuck up for these peopel, and I feel like a bully, I feel a terrible person. I hope to be better . I am thirty eight now.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Those are definitely important lessons. And this story just proves once again that bullying goes both ways – false accusations, letting someone else take the fall, and forcing an admission of guilt without all the facts all falls under bullying.
    Glad you’re part of 1000Speak!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Loved this! I was bullied as a kid but one of the gifts I came away with was compassion. Because of how I was mistreated in school, I have made it my number one lesson to my kids – “Be kind to others. Have compassion. Be a good person. We are all equal. We all hurt and bleed the same.” To me, that is far more valuable than grades.

    Liked by 1 person

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