I've been inundated with all the latest on the hottest topic of bullies, as of late in The TIMES, The Sun, The Province_ you name it.
I recently turned 53 years old and remember not so fondly when I was 11 years old in Edmonton, and this fellow - I can still remember his name - picking on me and picking on me.
Then it got really serious. He threatened to "beat the S*&%" out of me one cold winter's day, as soon as I was going to get off the school bus.
I fooled him, and didn't get off till the next stop, where I ran into a building and just broke down crying.
Two older men working there heard my dilemma and offered me a ride home. We drove right by my bully, who saw me in the back seat. He beat his fist in the air, like I would get it the next day.
Finally, I told my Dad that night.
My Dad, perhaps luckily for me, was at that time an inspector with the RCMP. He came home from work wearing his uniform, as always, and he paid a visit to the bully's parents.
Needless to say, the bully never spoke to me again.
But I also knew his sister; she told me in confidence that he had gotten the strap that night and was warned to never speak to me again or it would be even worse than that night.
I also had another rather large girl push and shove me repeatedly for a time when I was about 12. That stopped when I grew and she finally left me alone and just glared at me every time she crossed my path.
Another fellow also picked on me, till he hit me and pulled a big chunk of my hair out - I finally slammed my lunch kit across his head. He left me alone after that, too.
Weird, isn't it? All this talk and the recent death of a young girl, about what seems to me an age-old issue (for me anyway, from about 41 years ago).
I guess it is all about sticking together and standing up for others you see getting bullied. Maybe talking to the police, if you don't already have a Dad who is one. Reporting it - immediately - before it gets to a stage where an entire life is lost before it even began.
I have no children, but have worked at a school in the past, and boy, they sure nipped things like this in the bud, by talking to the children and by talking to the parents and by taking notice of what they observed and putting an end to mole hills before they became mountains.
What is the answer? Probably it's in early learning: learn to fight back, stand up for oneself, and tell everyone what has happened to you.
My Dad always said 98 per cent of the people out there are good, law-abiding citizens; it is the other two per cent who make it miserable for everyone else.
Patricia Tochkin, Pitt Meadows