The Broad Reach of Bullying: How Communities—Not Just Kids—Suffer

The Broad Reach of Bullying: How Communities—Not Just Kids—Suffer

During the fall of second grade, Bobby Burk routinely surprised my younger brother, Danny, with a sucker punch to the stomach as he was getting off the school bus. Bobby must have seen the quick sock to the gut, delivered just seconds before the bus’s automatic doors shut and shielded him from retaliation, as an effective way to torment the new kid. Just as clearly as I remember my brother’s choking sobs, I remember how the cruel behavior affected other people, too—mostly my mother, who was angry and frustrated with the bus driver, who undoubtedly felt that disciplining someone else’s child wasn’t her job; and uneasy about calling Bobby’s mother to address the problem. I also remember striking Bobby’s older sister from my list of possible new friends. She was guilty by association to her brother, who had tainted our transition to a new neighborhood in Olmsted Falls, Ohio. 

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