When I read the story about the Arsenal Tech High School student, Darnell Young, who was expelled for carrying to school and firing into the air a Taser for self-defense, I wondered about what school officials knew before the incident in which he was surrounded and attacked. I also wondered how many of the students involved were jocks.
I ran track (slowly) my freshman year of high school. At the start of that track season, I weight 98 pounds—seriously; the 98-pound weakling, toothpick arms and legs and all. After track was over, I had gained 12 pounds (from mowing down after practice and meets). However, I also was on student council, was a member of Honor Society, and was pretty good in speech and debate (State finalist in both; only person in our high school ever to make State in speech and debate). I recite these parts of my high school resume, not solely because I am egotistical, but to explain that I had certain creds that acted to insulate me from bullying.
There were two categories of bullies with whom I had concerns. One was peopled by those considered "hoods." A lot of them ended up in Boys School and, later, the adult division of the Indiana Department of Correction. After high school I got to know a couple of them. I know they had hideous backgrounds and were bullied (usually by fathers and step-fathers) themselves. No such distinctions were made when we were in school. I avoided them. Once I was struck in the left side of my head, by one particularly clever and brave fellow, as I exited class. A teacher refused to intervene (what was the point? I was not going to hit back) or report the matter (hey—it was 3:25 and everyone was heading home). Eventually these bullies would drop out or get locked up.
The other category of bullies consisted of jocks. Not all jocks were bullies. A lot of guys on various teams were good friends of mine. A few were bullies. For whatever reason—to this day I do not know—two brothers took a dislike to me. They were on the wrestling team. I remember being slammed into lockers a couple of times. I knew better than to complain to the Dean of Boys—who also was the football coach, for whom one of the brothers played during football season—or to any of the teachers. Even the really good teachers wanted little to do with these matters. Instead, I spoke with a few of the jocks who were friends of mine. The bullying stopped.
Kids who are bullied today face increased suicide rates. They can lash out, too. It is a serious problem, and that is why we shall discuss it.
The folks at 10-01—located at 1001 Broad Ripple Avenue, at the southeast corner of Broad Ripple and Winthrop—have been kind enough to allow us to pod-cast "Civil Discourse Now" today, May 19, at 11 a.m. "Bullying" will be our topic. We stream "live." The public is invited to attend.