"You're a purple dinosaur!" The year was 1991, and the person behind the voice was a first-grade classmate of mine with a real mean streak named Eric. Youngsters can be really sweet, but sometimes also truly cruel. You see, I have a port wine stain birthmark on my nose. I actually was born with that same type of birthmark on my cheek as well, but thanks to modern medicine, loving parents, and a fancy laser, I was able to have it removed. That birthmark on my nose was not as easy to get rid of, so more laser surgery was needed. At the time, the surgery left me with a gigantic purple scab on my face, which wasnâ��t exactly attractive. Unfortunately, I wasnâ��t allowed to miss a week of school just to avoid ridicule. So, the name "purple dinosaur" was hurled at me. That was almost 20 years ago, and I still remember it.
Bullying has hit an all-new high, and it’s just disgusting. What’s the cause of all this malicious, evil, and horrible behavior toward one another? Is it social media? I mean, it’s easier to hurl an insult at a computer screen rather than staring someone in the eye and saying all sorts of awful things. As a teacher, I see one too many students get into fights via Facebook and Twitter.
My mother and I were watching the news just the other day when Karen Klein appeared on the screen. Sheâ��s the 68-year-old bus monitor bullied by children just outside Rochester, New York. Yes, I said bullied. Four 13-year-old boys apparently had nothing better to do than terrorize the grandmother of eight on the bus.
It’s just sick. The four call her fat, and say she’s disgusting. When she starts crying, the boys ask her if she’s sweating. It’s absolutely vile. For 10 minutes and nine seconds, four middle school students do their best to torture this poor woman. The boys even suggest her kids should commit suicide.
And the four filmed it. I don’t believe that the students “didn’t have a clue that it would go this far.” I don’t believe that the boys didn’t know it was wrong. It's a real problem that people want to post such atrocities on YouTube, and then not face the consequences. There are so many children uploading videos in some vain attempt to gain fame. These kids did get 15 minutes of fame, but for all the wrong reasons. So now the bullies are being bullied, which only adds to the vicious cycle.
When did children stop being children? When did bullying become something to broadcast? The only thing that does warm my heart is the outpouring of support and love that people have showed Karen. In fact, all sorts of people from across the world have come together to raise money to give her a well-deserved vacation. Perhaps that's an indication there is still some good left in this world.
Images courtesy of Ramapo.edu, Communities.washingtontimes.com
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