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Don’t Be a Bully!

Bully film icon

Thanks to The Bully Project for sponsoring my writing. Visit their website to join the movement and learn more.


This year, over 13 million American kids will be bullied, making it the most common form of violence young people in the U.S. experience. Bully, a film directed by Lee Hirsch is a beautifully cinematic, character-driven documentary—at its heart are those with the most at stake and whose stories each represent a different facet of this bullying crisis.

It’s rare that talk about causes that are dear to me but with this film, it highlights something that really hits home.

Because I was bullied.

In 4th grade, I was your typical, nerdy overachiever…I was the teacher’s pet, getting good grades, and being chatty in class. I had a group of close friends and we did everything together from causing mischief to chasing boys. One day, one of my friends decided that I was no longer worthy. I was too smart, too loud…too…everything?

It started with copying my homework. Then, I wasn’t allowed to get higher marks than her on assignments. Within one semester, I became sullen and silent and I started wearing long sleeves, sweaters, and tights all the time even though it was blistering hot outside. My glasses were often twisted, stepped on, smashed, and broken. I was hiding Indian burns and bruises from her kicks and punches when I didn’t do what she said.

My teacher noticed the drastic change in my behavior and on several occasions tried to get me to confess what was going on, but I refused for fear of retaliation. Unless I said something, nothing could be done to change my situation.

One day, I couldn’t take it anymore. I was hurting, my glasses were missing, my homework was torn apart, and I broke down…right in the middle of class. The teacher came over and through fits of sobbing, I whispered that my glasses were taken by the bully. The teacher swiftly demanded the location of my glasses and the girl plucked my glasses from her locker saying that she was only playing a joke. After class, my parents and the girl’s parents were called to the principal’s office. I don’t remember the exact details but the girl never returned to school after that day.

Though I never saw her again, it made me distrustful of everyone. I was always on alert…afraid of something approaching me from behind and afraid of being betrayed. It took a long time to learn to trust and build lasting friendships. It took me even longer to forgive but eventually I did. So when I hear of people being teased or bullied, I step in because I don’t want anyone to go through what I did.

I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. Find showings in your area for The Bully Project and buy tickets here.



{ 6 comments… add one }

  • Katherine April 10, 2012, 5:39 pm

    Good for you Jess for helping out in the organisation! I was bullied too~ but not to your extent and it does cause harm to kids self esteem!

  • Diana April 10, 2012, 6:50 pm

    Good for you girl!

  • Laurel Ann April 11, 2012, 6:51 am

    I’m glad that you finally found the courage to speak up as a child. I, too, know the effects of bullying, though I was slightly older when I was going through the large part of my experience. I loved participating in this campaign and reading everyone’s stories and posts. Looking back helps us know where we came from and recognize the strength that we have that’s gotten us this far.

    Sending love from afar.

  • KK @BSMMH April 13, 2012, 10:05 am

    Aw, thanks for sharing your story, Jess…I’m sure it was very personal and hard to talk about, but it really moved me to read it! So sorry you went through that…gosh, that girl STINKS…but I know that’s part of what has made you the strong, independent and amazing woman you are today. Hope your efforts will help stop the bullying that goes on everyday…I’m sure your story will give them some courage to stand up and say something!

  • Kathleen Lisson April 25, 2012, 9:06 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your story!

  • Michelle April 26, 2012, 10:36 pm

    Hey Jess! I was just catching up on some blogs and thought of you…have not seen as many new posts. I miss seeing your outfit pics!

    I am so glad that your teacher stepped in! Thanks for sharing!

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