Kids can be cruel. Bullying is a major problem and often leaves scars no one can see. A Central New York student shares the effects bullies have had on her for over a decade.

I've been fun of because since kindergarten and I'm in the 10th grade. People would come up with different names to call me and if they knew it bothered me they would keep doing it. One time they wrote the same name over 50 times on a board because they said it was funny. They would yell it really loudly in the hallway and cafeteria all because they knew I didn't like it.

It's not just the name kids are making fun of either.

My weight was a big part of it too. I had people say they wouldn't play with me at recess because they were afraid I would sit on them and hurt them because I was too fat. I wore a shirt I liked a lot and a girl came up to me and said someone that was the size of me shouldn't be wearing a shirt like that, only skinny people were allowed to dress like that. It was engraved in my head that I was the fat girl that no one liked, that I could never be liked by other people and I wouldn't make friends. It was very degrading and didn't make me feel very good inside.

Bullying doesn't just affect the kids. It hurts the parents too.

As a parent it makes you feel horrible inside like you should be able to do something. I have gone to the school on numerous occasions and have been told they would take care of it. They didn’t. I just worry about kids nowadays because this world we live in is getting very ugly by the day.

More than 160,000 children miss school every day in the U.S. out of fear of being bullied, according to a WalletHub study. New York is 14 on a list of states for the worst bullies.

Stop Bullying Day

February 9, 2022, is Stop Bullying Day. A day we all need to start treating everyone with respect. Nobody should be mean to others. Not today. Not any day. If you've bullied someone in the past, maybe today is the day you apologize.

What to Do If You’re Bullied

If you're being bullied Stopbullying.gov offers a number of tips you can follow.

  • Tell the bully to stop in a calm, clear voice.
  • Try lauging it off. It could catch the bully you off guard.
  • If speaking up is too hard or not safe, walk away and stay away. Don’t fight back. Find an adult to stop the bullying.
  • Talk to an adult you trust. Don’t keep your feelings inside. Telling someone can help you feel less alone.

Cyberbullying

Bullying does not always happen in person. Online Cyberbullying has become a major problem with the increased popularity of social media.

  • Think about what you post. You never know what someone will forward.
  • Keep your password a secret.
  • Talk to an adult about any messages you get or things you see online that make you sad or scared.

Stand Up for Others

When you see bullying, there are things you can do to make it stop. Don't just ignore the situation.

  • Be kind to a kid being bullied. Show them you care by trying to include them. Sit with them at lunch or on the bus, talk to them at school, or invite them to do something. Just hanging out with them will help them know they aren’t alone.
  • Not saying anything could make it worse. The bully will think it is ok to keep treating others that way and it's not.

I know what it's like to be bullied. I was made fun of all through school. From being called 'Pete' because I looked like a boy to having my last name changed from Nash to Trash. I didn't even have a boyfriend until I went to college.

Looking back I realize the jokes on them. The bullying actually made me stronger. I'm not a loser. I'm a woman who is lucky enough to have a beautiful family and a great career. What more can anyone ask for?

So hang in there. It does get better. And as a wise man once said, "living well is the best revenge.

If you or your child has been bullied and want to share your experience please email Polly@BigFrog104.com. The more we start opening up and talking about the problem, the more chances we have to stop it.

It's time to end hate and start spreading the love.

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