Monday, April 13, 2015

Former Carl Junction student: How bullying almost led me to suicide

(I received the following comment today to a post that was originally published several months ago about the Nugent family lawsuit against the Carl Junction R-1 School District.)

I know this is an older situation but I have felt the need for quite some time to tell my story. I attended Carl Junction in grades 5-10. For the six years I was there I was depressed and wishing to commit suicide for six years. 

In 5th grade I lost my Grandfather and my only friend moved within the same two days. Like any ten year old I cried and people bullied me. They told me my pain was worthless. After that they never stopped. So I'm going to share a few "highlights" of my time there to just show how messed up this really is. Keep in mind I send in many bullying reports and nothing was fixed. The sight "Bully Free Zone" was a constant lie that made life even harder.

-5th Grade: Once a student took my pencil from me. I was trying to give it back and my teacher snapped at me saying. "Give her that pencil (my name) this is why no one likes you and you don't have friends" This was need I remind you a teacher saying this.

-6th: I was going to the counsellor's office on a daily basis telling her about everything that had been happing at this point. I had been harassed on the bus like no other. Now I can classify it as borderline sexual harassment. Nothing happened. I had rude comments about my weight tossed at me all the time. And the thing was I look back and I was never overweight. I was told I was hideous and other than that people ignored me. 

-7th: By this time I was in serious depression. I had been writing suicide letters and even if one or two people showed me kindness I always felt there was an ulterior motive. My highlight is the counselor asking girls to sit with me at lunch. I thought for a brief while I had made friends but they weere just faking it and that was the hardest to learn.

-8th: I was continuing to try to either die or run away. I retreated into books and was quiet, which is very worrisome for me because I am a loud and adventurous person. My highlight was being threatened with scissors to my throat and after reporting it being told boys will be boys.

-9th: I did lighten up a bit this year. I had a lot of issues with guys faking liking me for a joke. It made me feel worthless. I however discovered writing. Two things kept me alive at this point: My faith in God and Coffee Club (the writing club on campus). 

-10th: I had a few, by few U mean two friends this year. It was the best I had in a long long time. The bulling continued and I would come home in tears most days. I felt like an outsider and that there was something majorly wrong with me.

After that I moved to a new school for my last two years of high school. Something caught my attention. I was an extreme extrovert and I had never known because people kept pushing me down. I became an extremely outgoing person who in one year became a lead in a school musical, vice president of choir, very large group of friends, and not to mention graduated in the top percentage of my class.

 I look back and I am extremely thankful I hadn't died back then. but it got close. The way that Carl Junction manages issues of bullying is bad. It got to the point I thought the only way to escape was death. I hope no one feels that way because it is the worst feeling ever and it does come back. You can never truly shake it off... it comes back for me even. So to Carl Junction... please do something just please. And to kids at Carl Junction- treat each other with respect and remember it will eventually end one way or another.


Anonymous said...

Bullying is a Carl Junction tradition. I graduated from CJ over 20 years ago and it was an issue then. I'm thankful I wasn't a victim of bullying but I saw plenty of it. Carl Junction is a sick sick town and I'm so thankful that I'm not living there anymore.

Anonymous said...

My attending Cj 5th grade this year. The principle has made remarks to staff about me not realizing I was in the room. My son's teacher is a huge bully and nothing had been.done about her actions. SHE has lied, the things in his face. tapped him on the top of the head with a stack.of papers. My very bright talent son's now hates school and he loved it before. I wish that we could just stop it all. It doesn't help when the teachers there are the biggest bullies.

Anonymous said...

My children have attended Carl Junction for nine years now. They are delightfully awkward kids, and that seems to be unacceptable for the vast majority in Carl Junction. My children have been bullied, more than their fair share, over the years. All without any real consequence for the children who have inflicted this pain on my own children. I hope what this brave young person has shared, along with the Nugent family has had to endure, will bring about real change for our school district .

Anonymous said...

Remember, this is the same school district that gained international notoriety when a group of kids bludgeoned one of their own to death with a baseball bat, claiming they were a Satanic cult.

Anonymous said...

There is bullying that happens in the classroom and on busses. If it is not being handled quickly with consequences, then it will never improve! I know of personal situations where it has been reported, so if it is not communicated up through administration including Phil Cook, then policy needs to be changed. He is ultimately legally accountable for it, so why leave him in the dark?

Anonymous said...

Is bullying a new phenomenon? How the hell did we ever cope before?

Dusty Roads said...

The Hardy boy that beat that kid in the head with the baseball bat was senior class president if that tells you anything.

Anonymous said...

Not a new thing but in the age of social media it's virtually inescapable once they start.

Anonymous said...

Carl Junction has never changed. Both of my kids graduated from there. Several years ago a young man did commit suicide because of bullying at that school. I was active in everything my kids were involved in. And I had a big enough mouth and stood up for my kids if I knew something was wrong. Luckily my kids were involved in many things from sports, band and other activities. I saw it then and stood up to kids and their parents on my girls behalf and other kids as well. There should be some kind of legislation that holds the school districts accountable if they do nothing about the bullying. Finding should he cut off. Sporting events or those participating in them put on hold or kicked off of teams. Parents of the bullies should also be held accountable and made financially responsible for any mental, physical or emotional damage done to their children by bullies. Sadly nothing will be done and more young lives will be lost to suicide.what I saw while my children attended there is that the wealthy kids or privileged kids were the ones getting by with the bullying and also disrespect of the faculty. Make an example of the bullies. Make it where it will be harder for them to get the free ride scholarships, suspend them from sports, cheerleading, student council. The schools need to be more proactive where this is concerned.

Anonymous said...

I also graduated from CJ. I honestly don't feel this is a CJ problem. There are good teachers, and there are bad teachers...every where you go. I am not making light of this students experience in any way. I was picked on in school (who wasn't?) and I also loved school. I had friends, and I had classes where I felt everyone hated me and I didn't belong. Is there really anyone who was never bullied in school? I don't know of any. Not saying it is okay, just that it is what happens when a bunch of adolescents spend the day together. Thankfully I was not in school when social media was so big. My spouse and I have said to each other several times in the past 10 years....We would not have survived high school with Facebook. It is just another avenue to be "left-out" or picked on. I do not have the answer except for raise better children. My children know exactly what is expected of them in how they treat their friends and how they treat those they do not "like" or "get along with" including those that mistreat them. and they know the consequences if they don't behave respectfully.

Anonymous said...

Very well said.

Lindsey said...

I go to CJ now and I'm a sophomore. I know that they handle bullying bad. I was friends with a guy named Luke Nugent in 7th grade. He killed himself because people were bulling him all the time because he was bisexual and the class clown. And during band camp, I was told that the school knew what was going on and did nothing about it.

Anonymous said...

This was my comment I made on the last post. I appreciate you sharing my story. I agree harassment happens in most life situations. And we all have a group of peers we feel "awkward" around. And after having a past job working with children its pretty hard for them to do anything you want them to in regards to social interaction. Looking back at my experiences there are a few things I think would have been beneficial to myself and others.

1. Nip it in the bud. If you (as a staff member or a student) sees inappropriate behavior stop it there. I honestly felt like most of the situations I reported where just put into the recycling bin. And honestly its to easy to brush aside "small issues" such as bullying and focus on running an education institution. However to be quite honest if someone would have done something as simple as check up on me after I report something it would have made a world of difference. Like someone actually was concerned about what happened.

2. By the time I reached Junior high I could no longer determine the difference between sarcasm and friendly teasing to actual harassment. I had been conditioned to believe that social interaction was always negative. This meant I was creating a barrier without even realizing it. Its like if someone builds a wall to keep you out of some place and you ask if you can help build it. Bit Ironic.

3. Be honest with children. I can't tell you how many times I got the same talk about things will get better or bullying is bad. Kids "know" what happens but they don't understand the reality of it. I honestly believe its important to educate students on general skills for life along with core curriculum. And even if some parents believe the reality is to harsh its obvious that its a problem. I don't care if we have to have the ragina george talk to these kids if its anything like what I went threw still happening some children need this at CJ.

4. I feel like not only the system to handle unjust social interactions at CJ is obsolete but also how they brand "bullying". The school is completely detached from the word. And thats just something that happens when you make it a "small issue". Bullying is a form of harassment (that could be mental, physical, sexual, emotional,...), it is often linked with discrimination, and as it is far to apparent this act can lead to (mental and physical) illness and ultamently death.

So unless schools similar to CJ want to continue to put children's lives on the line they need to seriously rethink how they are branding this situation. And honestly I feel these issues escalate in small schools in rual areas and will never fully stop. However if these students, staff, and parents would put more effort into the situation It could save at least one life. That life could be your friend, student, child. That life might be worth it.

Anonymous said...

I went to high school in CJ from k-12 with plenty of people that i'm still friends with today. I'm not saying that bullying isn't an issue but the people i grew up with and went to school with and was friends with never once bullied anyone i know. The midwest where we grew up we were taught to stand up for ourselves if no one else does. You can't expect other people to do your dirty work. I loved Carl Junction, i never seen any with my own eyes. And if you think bullying is bad in CJ, maybe you should try out Joplin, or Webb City, or this those big schools and big SPORTS schools don't look down on people because they don't play sports. Bullying is an issue every school, every city and town, and ever state. And sometimes the reason you don't have friends is not because people don't like you, it's because you're not willing to stand out and try to make friends yourself. Maybe those people you say were faking it to be your friends were worried about you and wanted to be there for you but you wouldn't let them because you have trust issues. Again I understand that bullying is a huge issue in this whole country but sometimes it's not other people...sometimes its you beating yourself up for no reason. I loved CJ and i'm royally pissed that someone would talk so bad about that school. Our principal last year, Mr. Pyle was named principal of the year for Missouri. Does that seem like a school leader that just let's things like this happen in his school?