I have often wondered why I was never bullied in school.
Conventional wisdom would suggest that I should have been picked on mercilessly. I was very short and weak. I looked weird. I wore glasses. I was brainy and nerdy. I went to high school in a semi-rural, semi-suburban community in the early 1980s … decades before diversity and tolerance became prominent concerns in public schools.
Yet, I can’t recall a single incident of bullying, based on my disabilities or anything else. Not everyone liked me, but that’s normal. To my knowledge, I was never picked on because of my differences, and my relations with classmates never caused more than occasional anxiety or stress. It’s possible that people talked about me in bullying ways behind my back. But if I never became aware of it, then who cares?
If I escaped bullying because of things that I did right, I have no idea what they were.
If it was because of things my school did right, I don’t know what they were or whether their practices would be applicable today.
Was it because my disabilities were only physical, not mental or cognitive?
Were kids in the ‘80s nicer than they are today?
Was I just lucky to attend an especially harmonious, well-adjusted high school?
I know that to people who have directly or indirectly experienced bullying, this is an enviable mystery. But it feels like a mystery well worth trying to solve, since stopping or curtailing bullying seems to be such a puzzle. Most articles on the subject focus on simply recognizing bullying and deciding to fight it. Few offer any hints about how to do it … for schools, parents, or even disabled students themselves. P.S.: This is the 1,000th post at Disability Thinking.
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