Raven Days

Surviving Middle School,

Junior High, and High School

as a Hunted Outsider

Oh, raven days, dark raven days of sorrow!
Bring to us, in your whetted ivory beaks,
Some sign out of the far land of tomorrow,
Some strip of sea-green dawn, some orange streaks!
-- Sidney Lanier

Launched May 3, 1999 -- Retired Apr. 22, 2013

I'm no longer actively updating Raven Days. See Thirteen Years if you're wondering why.

Why this site exists

In the past few years, there's been much talk about "safer schools". In the name of "safer schools", some students have been required to start carrying see-through backpacks. Others have had to put up with having their lockers searched, or with being searched themselves. Now, in the wake of the recent school shootings, kids are being encouraged to inform teachers and parents about any classmates they have suspicions about, anyone who doesn't "fit in".

The irony here is that, for a few students in every school, school is as unsafe as it can be. These students are regularly attacked by their classmates, physically as well as psychologically. Many are hit or kicked every day of the school year. Not only do the much-publicized "safer schools" programs do nothing to help such students; they can actually harm them, by adding a veneer of legitimacy to their classmates' attacks. When outsiders are seen (wrongly, in almost all cases) as threats to the average student, there is even more motivation for classmates, teachers and administrators to harass them.

And the situation is already bad enough. Outsiders have been hunted through our schools for at least a quarter-century now. The problem isn't limited to inner-city schools, or to large schools, or even to public schools. Because they are so greatly outnumbered at their own schools, the victims of constant bullying often feel that their situation is unique. Because society tends to blame the victims of school bullying, those victims are reluctant to speak out. The result is a conspiracy of silence.

Current victims believe themselves to be alone, and may come to buy into the myth that they deserve what's happening to them. Survivors may believe the same thing; buy into the same myth. Most survivors of constant attacks by classmates are quiet about that fact as adults. Yet such survival exacts a price; four to six years in Hell cannot easily be forgotten. Some survivors are left with physical scars. All are scarred psychologically.

Schools should truly be safe for all their students. Someday perhaps they will be. But as long as they are not, there need to be places where current and former outsiders can gather, for support in dealing with the status quo, and for help in changing it. That is why Raven Days was created.

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All original material on the Raven Days website, except the material appearing in the sections Words Out of Shadow and Lighting the Way, © 1999-2013 by its creator and maintainer, Meredith Minter Dixon.. Copyright to the articles in the sectionsWords Out of Shadow and Lighting the Way is retained by their authors. Counter: 4435