A Story by Justin, Age: 28

I’m Justin, in my late twenties, doing a psychology course at Langara College, BC. I found your website while searching for some articles on school violence for my paper. I looked through the stories others had written, and it refreshed some bitter memories of my own school days, which I’d like to share with you.

I was in grade nine when that nightmare happened. As a skinny, shy pupil, I used to be bullied by a gang of nasty boys. They were always jealous of my good grades, which made them poke fun at me every day. They laughed at the way I looked, dressed, stammered, and even answered the teachers’ questions. My whole being was filled with disgust as I saw them make a fool out of me everywhere. Sadly, I was too reserved to open my heart to anyone on that. I just bottled up my emotions, and it all affected my school performance and, finally, my self-esteem.

I was coping with the torture with no hope of freedom when that unforgettable incident plunged me into a severe mental crisis. We were all doing a geography exam in the school hall. The teacher was sitting at his desk, immersed in his broadsheets. He seemed not to care about what was going on. Those three shitheads behind me kept asking me to help them with the answers. I didn’t care and felt over the moon to find a great chance for revenge. But a few minutes later, I saw them cheating shamelessly and babbling on about the answers. The ringleader had opened the coursebook under the desktop and was reading the answers to his, let’s say, disciples. I felt outraged and decided to reveal the whole story to the teacher once the exam was over.

I waited for everyone to leave and then went to the teacher. Mr. Peterson was surprised that I had stayed up to the last minute. I usually left exam sessions much earlier than others. I expected him to get shocked by hearing the story, but he didn’t express much emotion. He just told me: “It was clear they were going to cheat; they don’t care about their future. They have no goals and won’t pass the exams anyway. You’d better forget about them and focus on your progress as you are one of my best students.” He thanked me for the news and wished me the best I deserved. But the sad story didn’t end. I tried to forget the guys, but it was painfully obvious they wouldn’t let me get away with this.

The next afternoon, the three boys cornered me in the toilet and started swearing at me. I began screaming, asking for help, but nobody was nearby, and they kept threatening me until I burst into tears. I can never forget those horrible moments of misery and helplessness. One of them snatched my backpack and threw everything inside out. They smashed my eyeglasses and soaked my books in the washbasin while laughing at me and yelling: “How are you mama’s boy? How dare you snitched on us, milksop?” I was so terrified, my nose was running, and I could do nothing to escape. They kicked me repeatedly while cursing and spitting and finally left me shattered in the toilet.

I felt very weak and insecure, unable to stand on my feet. I couldn’t see well with my broken glasses and didn’t know how to return home and tell anyone about that. I didn’t want to seem cowardly. So, I stayed tongue-tied and didn’t say anything to my parents and school officials. I just faked I had fallen while crossing the street in the downpour. I thought that telling the truth would make everything worse.

Anyway, it was a complete nightmare for months. I couldn’t get sleep at night. I’d lost my concentration and couldn’t focus on my studies. My life was totally out of hand as I was seized with many negative emotions, and worst of all, I couldn’t say a word to anyone.

I’m so happy that kids today don’t have to go through all that hardship we did years ago.