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Straight Talk TNT: Boy trying to handle murderous thoughts toward bully

By: Lauren Forcella
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Dear Straight Talk: I moved here as a freshman. I’m heading into junior year and never made it into the popular crowd. In fact, I’m completely shunned because last year, a completely random rumor was started that I’m gay — what? because I do band and not sports? I’m not gay, and even if I was, is that worth torturing someone over? No wonder gays keep it secret. There is a ringleader that started this rumor and I seriously want to kill him. I fantasize about it all the time. Now I understand what drives kids to do school shootings. Not that I’m going to do that, but how do I get over these feelings? Help! ~ Please, No Name, No Town Justin, 24, Redding: I too had feelings of violence for some kids in high school. I was never popular, athletic, artistic, or funny. I had one “friend” at lunch who basically kept me around to belittle me so he could feel better. I hated my life and thought of suicide on a regular basis. It was only after high school that I found out how wrong I had the whole picture! The kid who made fun of me thought I was super cool the whole time. The preppy girls, who I avoided out of fear, knew me by name several years later. And the biggest, manliest football star turned out to be gay! High school is a weird place where kids do stupid things. Don’t be one of them! Violence just makes problems worse. Christina, 19, Marysville: In sixth grade, a girl wrote on the bathroom stall that I was a lesbian. I was shocked. I brought white-out to school the next day and it was gone. Bullying isn’t right, but killing won’t make it better. It helps to realize that these people have been damaged and don’t know how to be nice. Make friends outside of school. Nate, 17, Toledo, Ohio: I have also felt alone at times, and sometimes I want to lash out. But violence just causes more separation and pain. Try getting to know the guy. Maybe a teacher or counselor can facilitate it. Whatever you do, don’t act out in violence, it never works. Geoff, 25, Redding: These bullies don’t end up very well off in life — or if they do, it’s because they change. There may be nothing you can do to make real change now. The secret is realizing that after high school, things get better. See www.itgetsbetter.org. Sarah, 19, Redding: If transferring schools isn’t an option, see your school counselor for help with the bullies — and your thoughts. You’ll meet horrible people in your lifetime, but it’s worth sticking it out for the good ones that will come along. Matt, 17, Villa Park: Believe me, these individuals are the most messed up people around. I sense that your emotions are in check. To make sure, confide in an adult. Also take a stand with the school and discourage the bullying legitimately. Silence is condoning. Dear No Name: Please talk to a professional counselor immediately. Almost everyone wronged or frustrated has entertained murderous thoughts at one time or another, but it is extremely unhealthy to dwell or act upon them. A licensed counselor will help you resolve these obsessive feelings without “stuffing” them. An additional way to end your brooding is to take legitimate steps to right this wrong. Inform parents, school, and police that you are being bullied. Let the ringleader take heat from them. Also, please encourage your school to start the Safe School Ambassador Program (http://community-matters.org) so others don’t suffer as you did. ~Lauren For more discussion, to ask a question, or inquire about being a youth panelist, visit http://straighttalkTNT.com/ or write POB 963 Fair Oaks, CA 95628. More from Lauren Forcella My heart goes out to young people who are bullied. It also goes out to the bullies who are obviously damaged emotionally and are supported in bullying by the sick and dysfunctional social system found in our public schools. Every public school is a candidate for the Safe School Ambassador Program (http://community-matters.org), which was inspired by the Colombine school shootings. In this program, the ringleader mentioned above would end up being selected for the ambassador training because he carries the kind of social capital that makes others follow his lead. The program works! Young people really do want functional, supportive social systems, and by getting popular kids enlightened and acknowledged as leaders, they start using their influence to help others instead of breaking them down. We did a column on this program (APR 27, 2011) and heard from some former bullies who turned themselves around after their school adopted the program. Anyone else have bullying stories? Send us your essays on this and other topics for the upcoming TNT book. The submission guidelines can be read on our website at http://straighttalkTNT.com/. You do not need to be a “good” writer to apply. Your stories are what is important. —Lauren