ON MENTAL ILLNESS: The Long Term Damage of Bullying in Schools

Jack Bragen
Friday March 09, 2018 - 02:38:00 PM

The bogus idea of arming teachers in high schools will add another layer of serious problems to the public schools, places that are already bad enough. 

Without using the above dumb idea, millions of students feel depressed in the public school systems, for many because they are the victims of bullying perpetrated by predatory classmates. 

The news media is shedding a bit more light on bullying because it appeared that the shooter in Florida might have wanted revenge for mistreatment. The Florida shooting was a heinous crime, and a history of being bullied doesn't at all justify the murders. 

However, many students, because they are bullied, carry severe emotional scars into adulthood. This can interfere with being successful and/or productive later in life. 

In high school, in the first half of my "sophomore" year, I had fabulous grades. My grades took a downturn at the point where the bullying toward me every day finally got to me. I was in a couple of altercations. In one instance, a bigger, more powerful student threw me down a flight of several stairs. In another instance, I intended to fight, because a particular student was making my life particularly miserable, and unworkable. 

And, in my gymnastics class, a particularly humiliating incident took place. 

And also, in my junior year, a carload of boys who were on the football team chased me (in their car, while I was in my car) across town. The situation could have easily caused a car wreck. 

To sum it up, there was a lot of bullying at Concord High, directed toward me and toward my older brother. When I had an opportunity to leave high school early, I did so, by taking a test. I tested out of school the summer before my junior year and got out the following January. 

After high school, I was crippled emotionally and was not aware of this fact. The history of negative incidents, verbal abuse, and even being physically threatened or attacked, did not go away--the effect on me was probably permanent. It was probably one of several factors that led to me later becoming mentally ill. 

In my scenario and probably that of the overwhelming majority of bullied students, thoughts of revenge did not enter the picture. I wanted to be done with high school, done with being bullied, and I wanted to move on with my life. 

When I was turning eighteen, I was trying to become someone else. I wanted to rewrite my self-image, and rewrite my social identity. However, the brain "defect" took hold, and I got ill with schizophrenia. 

Since then, I've been trying to have a successful life in spite of the emotional scars as well as the psychiatric illness. 

Being bullied on a constant basis during my teen years could not be proven as the cause of my condition. I was likely "pre-schizophrenic" as a teen, and, if this was apparent as a vulnerability, it may have led to predatory students singling me out for abuse and harassment. 

Mistreatment, by itself, is not enough to cause schizophrenic illness. If it were, there would be more psychiatric facilities than there are apartments and houses in the U.S. 

There ought to be a law. The public school system must be forced to address the mistreatment that occurs on an ongoing basis in our schools. We are raising successive generations of damaged individuals. When a student in a high school intentionally harms or harasses another student, there must be consequences. 

When a student is "not making it" among peers, this needs to be addressed. When I was in high school, the bullying directed toward me was "business as usual" and no one pointed out that it should not have been happening. It should not have happened. 

And, bullying behavior needs to be stopped. If we can't accomplish that, society will have a general breakdown, one worse than what we see today with the chaos in our government, as well as the ripple effect of the continuous crises in our government. It has begun to affect all parts of global and local conditions. 

Our government, if it is a moral government, which much of the time I believe it is, must act to stop the bullying. Doing that would do a lot to heal many of the problems that plague the American people. To start with, there would be less teen suicide. There would be less drug abuse. There would be fewer automobile accidents. Adults would be nicer kinder people because of not having scars left over from their pasts. You get it; stopping bullying would have a ripple effect, a good ripple effect, and millions of people would be better off in life.