“I am celebrating life. I respect others. I am not a bully.”

Because of the recent Viral Video that happened at ADMU (Ateneo de Manila University), that i’ve decided to finally write about it in my blog.

I was bullied in High School too. It was worst in my final year that’s why i decided not to attend my graduation. It wasn’t only my classmates who bullied and discriminated me, the sad part about it is that some of the teachers encouraged them to do it. Teachers who are suppose to protect and guide us became my worst nightmare.

How it started. My mother (now retired) used to teach in the same High School where I was enrolled. During those days, favoritism is a disease with Provincial teachers. Every year they pick students who either look good, rich or popular under their wing. Then they become their mentors and afford them every privilige they could give for these chosen few. Unfortunately for my mother she gave one of them  a grade that was unacceptable.  The student was constantly absent in her class and didn’t achieve good grades in quizzes and major exams. The teacher/mentors tried to talk to her in changing the grade but my mother won’t budge. So, they turned to me to retaliate. The teachers gave me failing grades and my classmates isolated discriminated, humiliated me as much as they can..

If bullying is not a big deal, I would’ve forgotten all about it by now. But no, it is not. I can still remember every person and every act of cruelty and every laugh, smirk and word uttered from their foul mouths. It will either change or harm you.

Meeting new friends and having a strong family support, I made a fresh start. I also, decided to take the right path. To campaign against Bullying. How? Personally, I have continued to share my experience to family and friends and even to strangers. I have used it as a tool that could help spread awareness especially those who are going through bullying.

Are we protected?

Under the Philippine Laws, REPUBLIC ACT NO. 10627 “AN ACT REQUIRING ALL ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS TO ADOPT POLICIES TO PREVENT AND ADDRESS THE ACTS OF BULLYING IN THEIR INSTITUTIONS” also known as the “Anti-Bullying Act of 2013”. Thankfully, students and their parents are protected, and can now avail of legal remedies provided under the law.
For more info. about the law, please click the link:  https://www.lawphil.net/statutes/repacts/ra2013/ra_10627_2013.html

How can parents identify if their kids are being bullied?

Website verywellfamily.com enumerated some tips to help parents see signs that kids might be the targets of bullies.

1. If they say a lot of “drama” at school or if they say that others are “messing” with them.

Take note of what happened and how they felt. Assure the kids that they did not cause the bullying, and give them tips on how to overcome the experience.

2. “Vanishing friends”

Know your kids’ circle of friends. If you notice that some of them are vanishing or the kids are no longer inviting them to your house, that can be a sign that the kid is being bullied.

3. Changes in mood

Verywellfamilydotcom stated that kids who are being bullied may appear anxious, clingy, or withdrawn. Some may also exhibit low self-esteem.

4. Minor injuries or health complaints

Parents should not only check if the kids have bruises or wounds. Take notice if the child complains of frequent headaches and other ailments.

5. Binge eating

Somebody might have destroyed their lunch, so they binge eat when they get home. Others might also skip meals to avoid being bullied.

6. Change in sleeping pattern

A change in their sleeping habits could be because they experience nightmares. Sleeping more than normal, crying until they fall asleep could also be indicators that the child is being bullied.

7. Failing grades

This is because bullied children may find it difficult to focus on schoolwork.

8. Lost possessions

Bullies could have damaged or stolen their belongings.

Now, I have seen my bullies having their own families and becoming part of the community as professionals. A few of them apologized to me, but some of them are still the same. I just hope and pray that their children won’t end up like them and become responsible individuals who value and respect others and are willing to spread kindness and love to all. We can’t teach old dogs new tricks but I have hope that those pups can change everything.

“I am celebrating life. I respect others. I am not a bully.” -Maria Renker

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