I’ve been bullied and harassed for most of my school career, from about third grade onward. I encountered mean girls and guys who obviously needed some kind of help, whether counseling or a different outlet for their anger. I’ve been threatened with loss of friends, the destruction of my reputation, and retaliation.
The worst part of it started in sixth grade and briefly ended for a year in the eighth. That was until it picked up with a harsher intensity freshman year of high school. It was a battle I fought through blood, sweat, and tears, which I would eventually lose.
Though I’m not writing this for you to hear some sob story.
The purpose of this is to not be silenced. I refuse to be silenced by anyone, including myself, anymore. There is still a problem with how high schools handle incidents of bullying or harassment in any capacity, whether it’s outside of school or not.
The law signed in 2012 by Governor LePage, is meant to give schools more implementable punishments for the perpetrator, allows schools to punish actions that happen off campus as well as on, and it gives a universal definition for bullying, which can also work for harassment.
The document defines bullying as any “written, oral or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture or any combination thereof directed at a student or students.” The law goes on to specify that it’s bullying and or harassment of any kind if it physically harms the student(s), puts them in fear of physical harm or retaliation, disrupts any and all ability to participate in their academics, or is based on discrimination of a certain characteristic.