Everybody has a bullying story. And I’m telling mine, after learning the problem is just as bad now as when I was a kid.
Our Channel 2 Action News investigation shows a big discrepancy between what schools are reporting and what kids are saying. Ten percent of students say they were bullied at least three times in a month.
I know how they feel. I was bullied too.
I’m half Korean and half Norwegian. People like me often feel like they don’t belong anywhere. I lived in Korea until I was 8 years old. The Korean kids teased me for looking American. When I moved to the U.S., the kids teased me for looking Korean.
But the worst bullying I’ve ever felt was in high school. I went to a school in Memphis, Tennessee, that was born out of desegregation. Briarcrest Baptist, as it was known back then was formed as private school for whites. I was the very first minority allowed in.
And the kids let me know from day one, I was different and not welcome.
Popular cheerleaders who stood in front of the assembly to pray would later point to me in the halls and yell obscenities. Football players would repeatedly taunt me with racial slurs.
I never told my mom. I felt it would hurt her feelings knowing I was picked on because I looked like her. I went to the principal instead.
To this day, the sting of those words from the bullies stays with me. But my message to kids is this.
You will move past this period in your life. It may feel like school is forever, but in reality it’s such a short time. I used my experience to build confidence and compassion for others.
I hope Georgia kids can find comfort in knowing, they’re not alone.
A lot of people felt the pain from bullies and gone on to have happy, fulfilled lives like me.
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