Words Out of Shadow: outsiders' own stories

And there, his back against the battered door,
His pile of books scattered about his feet,
Stood Shelley while two others held him fast,
And the clods beat upon him. "'Shelley! Shelley!'
The high shouts rang through all the corridors,
'Shelley! Mad Shelley! Come along and help!'
And all the crowd dug madly at the earth,
Scratching and clawing at the streaming mud,
And fouled each other and themselves. And still
Shelley stood up. His eyes were like a flame
Set in some white, still room; for all his face
Was white, a whiteness like no human color,
But white and dreadful as consuming fire.
His hands shook now and then, like slender cords
Which bear too heavy weights. He did not speak.
-- Stephen Vincent Benet

Stalag HS by Meredith Minter Dixon.
-- "[W]hen I went to middle school in 1974, it was the start of six years of horror...."
See also Ten Years Later, written in 2009 for Raven Days' tenth anniversary, and Thirteen Years, written in 2012.

This is a "Wordle" of "StalagHS":

Wordle: Stalag HS

Diva's Story by Diva
-- "From junior high up until graduation day, I got teased at school and at home...."

L's Story by L
-- "You learn a lot at school -- about fear and cruelty and hate and betrayal...."

Sherry's Story by Sherry
-- "I spoke only English and my peers did not. I spent the next four years being bullied and chased up and down hallways...."

Walt's Story by Walt
-- "Next came the violence, and this escalated to a frightening degree...."

Life Begins After High School by elfchick
-- "I wish I had realized that college would not be as hellish, that if I'd left home I could have finally had a life ;)...."

Vanessa's Story by Vanessa Green
-- "My high school torture was more psychological than anything else...."

Matt's Story by Matt Beland
-- "I watch news stories of children killing children because they couldn't take it anymore, and I think 'I understand'...."

Heather's Story by Heather
-- "I was bullied throughout my secondary school life, not just by a few people, but by the entire school community...."

Patrick's Story by Patrick Hunter-Kilmer
-- "Basically from third grade to seventh I could count on someone trying to beat me up every day...."

Sasha's Story by Sasha
-- "From the beginning, I was the number one victim in my school....During all of this, I was still desperate to be accepted...."

Buffy's Story by Buffy
-- "I couldn't figure out why people hated me so much...."

Debi's Story by Debi
-- "My mother told me they were all 'just jealous.' How can the ENTIRE 5th grade class be 'just jealous?'..."

My Experience in Hell by Aisa
-- "My parents had to literraly force me to go toschool. I was terrified...."

Crystal's Story by Crystal
-- "It was hard to face school because I knew they would make fun of me...."

Angry Children by Jonathan
-- "Finally at 15 I realized why I was getting clobbered: I simply had not gotten angry enough...."

Alyssa's Story by Alyssa
-- "I had nightmares about that damned bus-stop up until the end of high school!...."

Michelle's Story by Michelle M.
-- "Because of them i was miserable for 5 friggen years. I wanted to die. I wanted the world to end. I wanted to kill...."

Charlene's Story by Charlene.
-- "She would deliberately try and do things to make my life a living hell...."

Lilith's Story by Lilith Markwell
-- "I believe I enjoyed school for two years, kindergarten and 1st grade. After that thing started going down hill...."

J's Story by J
-- "Matt then said, "You stupid flat-faced ching chong," and walked away...."

Alanna's Story by Alanna Morland
-- "I made my first mistake -- I cried. That made me an easy target for the next six years of hell...."

Celina's Story by Celina
-- "I also threted to my whole class comiting sucide they said in a serious way go ahead like they didn't care and they didn't...."

S. Bright's Story by S. Bright
-- "I was afraid of my own shadow mainly because of the abuse I got from grade school and the hardships at home...."

Black Lightning: A Survivor's Tale by Sunfell
-- "My martial arts instructor helped me to...turn this black and overpowering rage into an awesome weapon that I can control...."

Lizbeth's Story by Lizbeth
-- "the boys would throw pens, spitballs and any other object they could get their hands on at me. It was kind of like being "stoned" with office products...."

A.K.'s Story by A.K.
-- "He would stab me with pencils and take the metal off one of those wooden rulers w/ a copper edge and say he would strangle me w/ it...."

A Shakespearean Tragedy by Mark
-- "In the eighth grade, I had chemicals poured on me in a science lab. I was usually bombarded by less toxic materials on a regular basis...."

Graduation Speech by Macon
-- "For a lot of you, high school was anything but the 'best four years of your life'...."

Megan's Story by Megan the Pagan
-- "I'm goth and happy. But I'm still an outcast...."

Rebecca's Story by Rebecca
-- " On any given day I would go through the halls to a chorus of "freak", "dyke", "gay", etc....."

Mike's Story by Mike
-- "Whenever they started in on me I just went blank. I figured at some point they would get bored and go away. It sort of worked and didn't at the same time...."

Amaryllis' Story by Amaryllis
-- "[A] core group of about 5 boys from my gifted program began to taunt me and harrass me. My name was 'shitface'...."

Roland's Story by Roland
-- "If there had been a Dylan to my Eric, or an Eric to my Dylan, I very well could have chosen their path...."

Kim's Story by Kim
-- "I was ready to confront an individual but there was no way to confront a sneering crowd...."

Andrea's Story by Andrea
-- "They would mention me by name and make sure everyone around knew that I was not invited...."

Pedersen's Story by Pedersen
"For almost all of my high school life, I had my suicide note written out, in my head. And my last request would be that it be read over school announcement system...."

Yolanda's Story by Yolanda
"I knew better than to try and approach groups of children to play, it was bound to result in hurled epithets or missiles...."

Linda's Story by Linda
"My "best friend" would be two-faced and make fun of me also, when she was good friends with the in-group...."

Tess' Story by Tess
"One of the most popular girls...pushed me off the swings while telling me that 'crippled kids weren't allowed on the swingset....'"

Mina's Story by Mina
"I spent the hours in the classrooms, sitting alone, silently, trying to do my work, but also having to hear the whispers of kids talking about me...."

Lisa's Story by Lisa
-- "i grew mean and angry and hated everyone who picked on me. i came back with a bad attitude, didn't take anyones shit...."

Chris' Story by Chris
-- "I begen to feel that I actually didn't care when people did these things to me. I accepted that they happened and that I just had to expect them and deal with it...."

Ron's Story by Ron
-- "You go into school with high hopes and an innocent view of relationships to some part. Then that gets beaten out of you mercilessly...."

Howard's Story by "> Howard
-- "Mostly I suffered from daily relentless verbal abuse by my classmates, as well as vandalism against my personal belongings,..."

Deb's Story by Deb
-- "In high school, kids with cars would run up over the curb as if they were going to hit me...."

Melita's Story by Melita
"The cries of 'boff', 'swot', 'little bitch' and 'loner' were a firey spark piercing my skin, but they didn't shred my soul or my spirit...."

Teachers: The Cruelest Bullies of All by Kristen
-- "'Some of us can literally live off our fat for seven days at least.' Then she pointed at me and said, 'Of course this girl can live off hers for a much longer time!...'"

Anne's Story by Anne.
"...I always went to school with the feeling that it was this unprotected, lawless society where anything could happen...."

A Tale from the Shadowlands by Roselle
-- "Reading became my source of strength (i used to hide in the library to escape the 'marauding horde')...."

Gem's Story by Gem
-- "I prayed to die each night in my sleep...."

Marie's Story by Marie
-- "[M]y family had already spoken with the teachers...but the teachers simply told them I should learn how to live in Finland...."

Stacy's Story by Stacy
-- "It mostly happened on the bus and I dreaded it daily. I had gum thrown in my hair, hit, kicked, etc...."

Jo's Story by Jo
-- "I don't want to dwell too much on all the crap that happened, so I'll just say that it's a crying shame when a girl has to use her fists against other girls to stop physical abuse...."

What I Learned at School by C.F..
-- "At one point, out of a sick curiosity, I kept a tally of all the mean things that were said to me throughout the day, and it climbed into the hundreds per week...."

Tomas' Story by Tomas
-- "I got put down mentally and punished physically. It was not staged fights; rather shere torture. They used to say I needed to be taught a lesson...."

Escape and Evasion by David N. Brown
-- "I think it was 'stranger bullying' that finally left me feeling paranoid and demoralized...."

Sarah's Story by Sarah Morris
-- " People hated being in groups with me, hated sitting at lunch tables with me, hated being near me period...."
N.B. Sarah's mother has also written about Sarah's experiences, in Raven Days' Lighting the Way article Harassment, From a Parent's View.

For stories from parents whose children and teens are or were bullied in school, see Raven Days' Lighting the Way.


Caution: the external links below have not been updated since April 2013. Some or all of them may no longer work..

Jon Katz' Hellmouth columns on Slashdot inspired me to create this website. Here are links to them:

Voices from the Hellmouth by Jon Katz.
More Stories from the Hellmouth by Jon Katz.
The Price of Being Different by Jon Katz.
Hope in the Hellmouth by Jon Katz.

Childhood Teasing, Taunting Too Often Overlooked by Al Stefanelli for the Zebulon Record, reprinted here with the Record's kind permission. "[A]dvice does no good when the bullies come after you. It's like trying to avoid a freight train while walking on the tracks." This article was written in response to the death of a 12-year-old middle school student who committed suicide after being repeatedly bullied in school.

School...the Nightmare, by Tom Brown. -- "I couldn't cry...I couldn't scream...I could do nothing but exist...and I didn't know how much longer I could even go on doing that...."

High School Outcasts, by Mark Steel. "It didn't take long for them to become sneaky and start slashing my tires or super-gluing my lockers shut or blindsiding me as I sat in home room doing last minute homework...."

That Which Doesn't Kill Us -- -- "The worst part was, if good always triumphed over evil then why did I lose? Unless I wasn't good." Blog post by Dan Heffley, on his blog Observations and Musings.

A Bullying Victim Speaks, web-published by the BBC. -- "I was desperately unhappy and can say that I had no friends whatsoever during that time...."

Bullying in Schools Can Destroy Young Lives -- "I went home scared and found myself throwing up every day for a week, for fear that they were going to beat me up...." Article by Danielle Urbina for Borderzine.

Mother Urges School, Parents to Stop Bullying -- "And they'll follow me to my class and they'll follow me -- to my locker wherever I'm going. And it's like you know they're behind you and -- they're there." Article web-published by CBC.

Teen Protests Bullying In Front Of Courthouse -- "'I got sent to the hospital because I blacked out and was in a lot of pain,' said Katrina. Article web-published by KERO.

Teen Beaten and Bullied at Local Middle School Shares Experience -- "'I was trying to tell them I couldn't breathe when they were choking me and hitting me, but they wouldn't stop,' she said." Article by Ariel Wesler for KSBY.

Playing With Others: Gaining Acceptance -- A former victim was accepted by his schoolmates after they learned he was good at videogames. Article web-published by Destructoid.

Bullying Remains a Threat -- Blog post by Sayana Neal, hosted by the Post-Standard.

Stabbed Schoolgirl Speaks for the First Time of Bullying Ordeal -- "Blood was pouring out of my eye and I thought I had lost it. All I could feel was pain." Article web-published by the Daily Mail.

Constant Bullying Takes Toll on Year 10 Victim -- "Exclusion, that's the big one. We'll be doing something in class that requires groups and I'll be left out of the groups...." Article by Daniel Breen on behalf of 15-year-old Braden McKay, web-published by the Geelong Advertiser.

"I Was Bullied by an Entire School" -- "I was having things thrown at me in the corridors at lunchtimes and break times...." Article by Jo Perry for the BBC.

Bully Puts This Teen Writer in the Hospital.... -- Column by teenage reporter Alyssa Stuart for the Milan News-Leader.

Anti-Bullying Advocate was School Punching Bag -- "You go to school and instead of focusing on learning you're trying to find ways of getting to the next class without getting shoved into lockers, or thrown into garbage cans or thrown down a fight of stairs...." Article by Jonathan Jenkins for the Toronto Sun.

We Can Counter Bullying by Making Classrooms More Accepting -- "Pretending I was Nancy Drew worked until an India rubber ball ricocheted off my daydreaming head...." Article by Brenda Adams-Henry for the Gazette.

Teased Kid, Strong Adult -- "I'd dart from one classroom to another between bells, hoping to avoid the hallway pummeling I'd been promised...." Article by Kristi Barlette for the Times-Union.

Despair and Hopelessness.... -- Article about a student who founded an anti-bullying club and then found that she was still bullied. Article by Karen Kiley for WDBJ.

Case Studies of School Bullying -- "[E]arlier this year I was bitten on the arm by another student at high school...." Web-published by the Advertiser.

Battling the Bullies -- "They were whistling to make me have a seizure...." Article by Saffron Howden for the Northern Star>.

Girl Shares Firsthand Account of Bullying -- "I get threats from people who I have never met saying that they are going to beat me up or worse...." Article by "Missy K." for the Record Searchlight.

Bullied Kent Girl Tempted by Suicide Becomes Mentor -- "I thought I wasn't worth anything and that my life wasn't worth anything" said Georgia...." Article web-published by the BBC.

Shunned by Her Classmates, Girl Escapes to New School -- "She was left standing alone -- in gym after team captains refused to pick her and at school dances when the girls excluded her...." Article by Barbara Williams for NorthJersey.

Growing Up Deaf -- "As I approached the bus stop, I never knew if I would be the bullied target of rocks, dirt, spitballs, or just teased with plain old-fashioned name-calling...." Article by Jamie Berke for About.com.

Students With Asperger's Can Find Themselves Targets -- "The bully would come down the aisle and slam the twins into the side of the bus...." Article by Vinti Singh for the Connecticut Post.

Bullying Through the Ages -- "I think I spent about six months running home from school as fast as I could. Sadly, I've never been in as good cardio form since...." Blog post by Kelly Rowell for the Philadelphia Magazine.

Surviving Bullying -- "My bullies knew that I was different and they reminded me of it every single day -- on my way to school, in the classroom, in the hallways and on my way home." Article by Stella Serpa for the Record.

School Bullying Has Always Been With Us.... -- "I can vividly recall, for example, being kicked in the back while sitting in my wheelchair at high school...." Blog post by Chris Ford on Voxy.

Remembering a Bully -- Column by Guillermo Torres for the San Angelo Standard Times.

Bully in the School Yard -- Column by Alvin Richardson for the Morgan County Citizen.

What Larks, Pip, by Alison Light for the Guardian. This is actually a book review, but the book (Dickens' Great Expectations) reminded the reviewer of having been bullied herself, and she describes a few occasions.

School Bullies Need a Lesson in Respect and Compassion -- Column by Katy Guest for the Independent.

Children Need to be Taught Not to Bully -- "Anyone who has never been the target of school bullies has absolutely no idea of the hurt, the scars - and the hate - that is carried well into adulthood...." Letter to the editor of the Citizen by Paul N. Luziani.

I Was Bullied in School.... -- "'They called me "Rat." They would yell it at me every time they saw me and made up songs about it....'" Article by Carly Weeks for the Globe and Mail.

School Shootings -- Why Now, Not Then?, by Elijah Gosier for the St. Petersburg Times.

"I Quit School" Because of Bullying, a letter to the editor of the Standard Times by Stephen Kaplan -- "It has been over 50 years since I left New Bedford High, and every time I think about how I was treated then, all those bad memories keep coming back over and over again...."

Bullying Is Not a New Issue -- "I was bullied in school, bullied to the point that I wanted to die." Article by Tommi Avicolli-Mecca for Beyond Chron.

Victim of Bullying Shares Emotional Scars -- "'Many nights I would cry myself to sleep,' he said." Article web-published by the LeMars Daily Sentinel.

Bullying at School and Beyond -- Article by Jessica Yee for Patch.

Confessions of a Bullied "Cubanito" -- "'There's the sissy who can't throw a ball,' they jeered. I would try to ignore them." Article by Chuck Gomez for the Huffington Post.

Bully Victim's Poem Prompts Healing After 25 Years -- Classmates of a bullying survivor are paying her way to their reunion by way of apology. Article web-published by Fox.

Bullying an Issue at Truro High School, Says Principal -- Article about a bullied 17-year-old, web-published by the Truro Daily News.

Teen Fears for her Life, Quits School because of Constant Bullying -- "[A]after a group of girls ganged up on her at Hahnville High, her life at school fell to pieces...." Article by Monica Hernandez for WWL.

A Boy the Bullies Love to Beat Up, Repeatedly -- 15-year-old Billy Wolfe is being routinely beaten up by schoolmates. Article by Dan Barry for the New York Times. See also Parents Sue Bully. School District Next? by Kyle Bachus and Darin Schanker for Legal Examiner.

New School, New Outlook -- 17-year-old Brandon Brokaw is thriving in his new school. Article by Tesla Rodriquez for the Winona Daily News.

Parents Want More Action Against Alleged Bullying -- A student with Asperger's was beaten up by schoolmates. Article by Gene Apodaca for KTRK.

The Sociology Student -- "As the bullying got worse, I felt more and more isolated...," by Janet Murray for Paul Slinn, web-published by the Guardian.

Boy Described Being Bullied at School -- "'The worst of it has been some of the name calling, and it hurts....'" Article by Jordan Sandler for WIS.

Did the ACLU Really Rescue Bullied Florida Teen Luke Herbert? -- Luke Herbert sued his school, which settled out of court. But he's still being bullied. Article web-published by Queerty.

The Truth About Bullying.... -- Audio of an interview with a bullied student. Article by Sarah Gonzalez for NPR.

Anti-Semitic Attack on Carrickfergus College Schoolboy -- A 14-year-old was bullied by schoolmates after he mentioned that his grandfather was Jewish. Article web-published by the BBC.

High School Bullying All Too Familiar.... -- "'I was flat-chested,' she said. 'They held me down so they could look at my T-shirt.'..." Article by Fred Contrada for the Republican.

"Bully Made Me Suicidal" -- A 14-year-old girl tried to kill herself after being relentlessly teased by other students. Article web-published by the BBC. See also How Taunts of a Racist Bully..., by Andrew Levy for the Daily Mail.

Mother, Daughter Share Unfortunate Bond of Being Bullied -- "Her payback was that her classmates put staples in her skirt and laughed at her." Column by John Fidler for the Reading Eagle.

El Rodeo Student Tells School Board About Being Bullied -- "He described one incident when a classmate dumped a bag of popcorn on his head...." Article by Marie Cunningham for Patch.com

The "Stop Bullying Now" Campaign -- "I was told that the parents didn't want the kids playing with me...." Article by Theresa Schmidt for KPLC-TV.

I Was Bullied and You Probably Were Too -- Article by 17-year-old Zach Veach for the Huffington Post.

Real Danger, or Cry For Help? -- A 14-year-old who kept a journal in which he fantasized about killing his bullies in his private journal may be expelled from school. Column by Phil Luciano for the Peoria Journal Star.

Abuse Drives Teen to Quit School -- Article by Giles Brown for Stuff.

Too Much for a Kid to Take -- ""I got my head smashed into lockers, on the school bus, I was tripped in the aisles, all kinds of stupid, stupid stuff like that...." Article by Virginia Shank for the Tribune Chronicle.

How Katy Butler ... was Bullied -- "Kids ended up walking down the hallway, calling me names, pushing me against walls and into lockers, knocking my books over...." Article by Katy Butler for the Daily Beast.

Boys in Fear from School Bullies -- "I had three people grab hold of me - two of them pinned me down and the other one started kicking me...." Article web-published by the BBC.

Family Says Kids Bullied -- Twins, a boy and a girl, have been physically bullied at their middle school. Article by Molly Blancett for KVAL.

Bullied Teen With Disability.... -- "'They're like vultures,' piped in Matthew, a Hobart High School freshman who turns 15 this month...." Column by Jerry Davich for the Post-Tribune.

Alleged High School Bully Arrested, CPS Investigates -- "'When I go to school, I feel like throwing up 'cause I don't want to go because I did nothing wrong,' Salama said." Article by Evelyn Holmes for WLS.

SL Sixth-Grader was Bullied Due To Her Race -- "[S]omeone took everything out of her backpack and destroyed its contents, breaking three bottles of perfume, her calculator and sunglasses, and ripping up her art project inside...." Article by Nathan Brown for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise. See also School Apologizes for Bullying at Petrova, by Kim Smith Dedam for the Press Republican.

Student Attacked on School Bus.... -- "'"The girl attacked her from behind. We ended up at the hospital. She had a huge knot on her head.'" Article by Valerie Chinn for WDRB.

Bullied Boy Speaks Up for Others -- "'One of them started hitting me with the belt, one videoed....'" Article by Todd South for the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

School Assigns Teacher to Watch Over Bullied Student -- Article web-published by KOAT.

Emotional Effects of Bullying Linger -- "When she turned from the sink, the girl hit her across the face with a heavy sneaker...." Article by Jana Hollingsworth for the Duluth News Tribune.

Man's Count Shows He Was Bullied 750 Times in School.... -- "He was stuffed into a gym bag that held basketballs, and about 20 guys pummeled him through the fabric...." Article by Kyle Munson for the Des Moines Register.

I Saw My Childhood Bully Again -- "[H]er smirking face is what I still see in my mind whenever I recall Grades 7 and 8...." Article by Tanya Kuzmanovic for the Globe and Mail.

Bullying and Harassment Has Come a Long Way - "So I told nobody and every day I tried to find a group of people to walk to the locker room with. Some days if I couldn't find a group, I wouldn't go down to the locker room...." Article by Robert Mayer for Patch.

Local Woman Discusses the Pain of Being Bullied.... -- "She went to bed early almost every night, crying herself to sleep and hoping that she wouldn't wake up...." Article by Anna G. Larson for InForum.

Since Being Bullied at School.... -- "Kristian will look at a group of teens gathered on the sidewalk, or on the street, and think he sees his tormentors' face in the shadows, his father said...." Article by John M. Annese for the Staten Island Advance.

Reliving the Pain Bullies Inflict -- Article about Eamonn Devlin, a bullied student who grew up to make an anti-bullying documentary. Article web-published by the BBC.

Warren High Student's Story.... -- Article about 14-year-old Natalie Danyus, who drew upon her experiences as a bullying survivor to write a short story which has been published in a magazine. Article by Beth Kramer for the Lake County News-Sun.

Wichita Woman Speaks Out.... -- "'Every time someone would try to hurt me, I would say a Hail Mary to myself,' she said. "I would pray for my enemies." Article by Ron Sylvester for the Wichita Eagle.

Starting the Fight Against Bullying -- "A soft-spoken student, Gabe kept his pain inside, until one day he blew up." Article by Bret Silverberg for Patch.

Bullied Boy Saved from Hurricane Raging Inside -- Article by Steve Hartman for CBS.

Bullying: One Girl's Story -- "Simmons said her former friends spread rumors about her around school, calling her a whore and saying she was pregnant...." Article by Carmen McCollum for the Northwest Indiana Times.

Bullying Victims Speak Out -- Article by Rachel Brown for the Dalton Daily Citizen.

Students Explain Frustrations with Bullies -- "'"She walked up to the front of the bus and punched me.'" Article web-published by WDRB.

Student Voices: Bullying Creates Deep Emotional Scars -- Article web-published by the Dallas Morning News.

Gilmer County High School Divided Over Bullying Issue -- Article by Stacy Jacobson for WBOY.

Kids Share Their Experiences with Bullying -- "He described his life as being in a maze, trapped by bullies at both ends...." Article by Lori Gilbert for the Record.

Deal with That Bully -- Article about bullying in boarding schools in Uganda. Article by Titus Kakembo for NewVision.

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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, © 1999-2012 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: [an error occurred while processing this directive]