an end to the bully's run

the house of representatives has approved on third reading HB 5496 which requires all elementary and secondary schools "to adopt policies that will prevent and address the acts of bullying in their institutions", according to this press release from the HOR website. the bill defines bullying as
as any severe or repeated use of written, verbal, or electronic expression, or a physical act or gesture, or any combination by one or more students directed at another student that has the effect of actually causing or placing the latter in a reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm or damage to the property, creating a hostile environment at school and Infringing on the rights of the other students at school.

being smarter can be a burden as well

if passed into law, it will require schools to formulate anti-bullying policies within six months after publication. i have not read the rest of the house bill, particularly whether it prescribes a minimum standard of behavior or penalties for bullies, but this law is long overdue, i'm curious to find out if the senate has crafted its own version. i'm particularly interested in it because like many kids who were strange, or different, or peculiar, or advanced, or uncool, or weird, or poor, or smarter, or dumber, or not very good looking, or physically weak, or disabled, i suffered -- mostly in silence -- in the hands and tongues of bullies who ridiculed me and made light threats of physical violence on my person for everything, from my accent, to my old tattered shoes, to my refusal to let them copy my homework, to my different view on things.

in the last episode of season 5 of the big bang theory, leonard confronted one of the guys who bullied him in high school, which ended with him and sheldon running away from their very own apartment. leonard reminded jimmy speckerman with a list of all the awful things he did, which included calling leonard nancy. i haven't kept a list of the bad things that have happened to me, or who had done them. i choose to forget those things that are not worth remembering, although they often haunt me in one way or another.

bullies change, apparently

lately, i've been seeing more and more of my high school classmates: clearly a sign of our approaching a certain age, when pangs for nostalgia and memories of a time when we were young and thin become very common longings. it would have been a perfect opportunity to pounce on the unsuspecting bullies and serve a soup of vile memories. unlike leonard, however, i no longer begrudge those who bullied me, and i never hesitated meeting them in our homecomings. i was even magnanimous enough to shake their hands when we met, as an expression of the fact that i do not hold their immaturity nor their misbehavior against them. it could honestly have been indicative of some inner struggle: bad parenting perhaps, or even a ruse to cover for some form of incompetence. i have no longing to remind them of just how evil they were, and how they tried but failed to destroy me. i've grown to become a comparatively more accomplished man, and that in itself is revenge, if ever i wanted to exact it. but i don't.

when the evening began i didn't know half of the people here

during the last gathering, i introduced myself to people i knew by face but whose names i had no knowledge of because they were never my classmates. all of them knew me, and for humility's sake i will deny the obvious reason, but some of them volunteered to bring back tidbits from high school, and of course, no one else had a more precise and detailed memory as i, which surprised them. one classmate, in fact, even asked if i was still angry at him for what happened during our senior year. now he had every reason to ask: i never spoke to him again after that incident, and until almost 18 years later. in fact, i even said hello to the guy who stole a few comic books from me. so i'm not angry at anyone. at least not anymore. i'm pretty sure i hoped they'd die a miserable death at some point but i am way past that. i'm just glad that i did not become the vengeful wacko plotting their downfall. so this bill is on the right track. bullying -- in whatever form -- should not be tolerated. i'm a little guilty of it myself, having drawn a comic about a schoolmate whose hygiene was less than acceptable, but then again, i was just having fun (as all bullies probably think they are).