Bullying at school is real. It is more present than ever in the lives of teenagers. According to the latest UNESCO reports, nearly 270 million young people in the world are affected by this terrible problem. In order to break this taboo and help the girls and boys who are affected, Theo agreed to share his experiences with the readers of Toombow Kids.
Toombow Kids: Hello Theo, how are you? Thank you for sharing your story with us. It can’t be easy for you. Can you introduce yourself?
Theo: Hello. I’m fine, thank you. It’s complicated, it’s true, but I think it’s important. My name is Theo, I’m 21 years old and I’m a junior high school and high school supervisor.
Toombow Kids: When was the first time you were harassed?
Theo: It was at the very beginning of eighth grade. I had moved and I just arrived at a new school.
Toombow Kids: That’s young. What did your bullies do to you?
Theo: They would insult me by making fun of my looks and my pimples, they would tell me I was too skinny. Afterwards, it became more and more violent. They would push me around in the hallways, kick me in the ankles, they even sent me messages on Facebook telling me to kill myself.
Toombow Kids: That’s terrible, so sorry you had to experience that. How did you react in those moments?
Theo: I didn’t react, I didn’t say anything. I looked away and hoped it would pass quickly. I didn’t tell anyone because I was afraid of reprisals and that it would get worse!
Toombow Kids: At the time, were you aware that you were being bullied?
Theo: Not at all. For me, it was normal, I thought they were just teasing me.
Toombow Kids: How did you escape the bullying?
Theo: In the middle of my third year, an individual from the School office came to see me because a someone had informed them of what was happening to me. I was summoned with the bullies to the Principal’s office. They defended themselves by saying that it was a joke. I was stunned, I didn’t dare say anything. When the Principal told them to leave, I cried a lot. I told him the whole story. They got expelled for a week, had to write a letter of apology and I changed classes.
Toombow Kids: A small punishment compared to what they did to you! What advice would you give to children who are victims of harassment?
Theo: The most important thing is to talk to a trusted adult so that it doesn’t get worse. A lot of teachers at school don’t care, but some of them are good and can help you. Don’t keep it to yourself. It’s not your fault!
Toombow Kids: Well done, you’re very brave to tell us about your experience. Thank you. Toombow Kids hopes this will help children who are bullied around the world!