You read it right. The religious schools are infested with lots of them since time immemorial.
How do I know? I experienced it firsthand. Do I have any supporting documents, researches, or links perhaps? For general school bullying statistics, I have some references (see related links below). Some noteworthy statistics are as follows:
- New bullying statistics for 2010 revealed about one in seven students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade is either a bully or has been a victim of bullying.
- …revenge for bullying is one of the strongest motivations for school shootings, according to recent bullying statistics.
- A reported 15 percent of all students who don’t show up for school report it to being out of fear of being bullied while at school.
- Some of the top years for bullying include 4th through 8th graders in which 90 percent were reported as victims of some kind of bullying.
- Among students of all ages, homicide perpetrators were found to be twice as likely as homicide victims to have been bullied previously by their peers.
For bullying in religious schools, I tried to find something in the internet, anything, that would validate my points of arguments other than my own personal account, but I found none – yet. Maybe nobody conducted such kind of research yet or, the authorities may be restricting the disclosure of the findings to the public.
But I would do everything in my might to find one and prove that one of the best of the worst bullies are thriving in religious schools (with a diabolical laugh and fiendlike grin).
I’m already a professional but I’m still trying to convince myself that it isn’t true. I wouldn’t be a structural engineer had I grown up on a different environment (who would have known?) There had to be a very good reason, and I thought there are some of them albeit still unknown to me.
I was a nerdy kid back then, who have grown aloof to talk to people for fear of ridicule and taunting. I was sickly, lean, a loner, tall and un-athletic – the perfect target for the half-human-half-demon bullies.
I studied in a private school, owned and operated by a protestant denomination. My parents were working hard, surviving but void of all the comforts and pride of every child of my age back then – no extravagant toys, no vehicle to take and get me from school and no fancy pencil cases or lunch boxes that I can brag my arrogant classmates. Not that I am disgraced because of my parents. I love them, and I am perpetually thankful that they gave life a fighting chance for me and my sibling.
Sad to say that I was not able to process my conditions correctly, which would have been to use such conditions as stepping-stones and not as stains on an otherwise perfect clothing. I felt weak and almost never made it out because of that thinking.
I have lots of classmates who have no qualms of pushing me aside as if I’m not significant at all. And because I don’t participate in running games (prisoners as they called it), they would label me as weak, much to my sorrow that I told my father once that I never wanted to go to school anymore.
Another bully I can never forget was one of my teachers. I can’t remember her name anymore, all I know is that she was already old that time, and that she’s a bully.
I am the quiet type in the classroom and would take hell on earth to speak up. My classmates were much more unruly than me when they make noise, or even interrupt her, that teacher would let it all go as if it was part of the cosmos. When it was my turn to ask her something during our class, she humiliated me in front of the class saying that I was very disrespectful butting in as if I destroyed and disturbed the order of things.
I bore the agony of my elementary years nonetheless despite my soul’s longings. I wish I could have whacked some of my attackers in the face (no, not my teacher). Maybe it would have halted them.
My mother was already abroad by then. In her desire to provide me with a good secondary education including the spiritual aspect, I went to Alicia, Isabela, an adjacent province to a school catering much of the protestant sect that we are in.
Freshman years were the worst. As the quiet, lean and un-athletic guy that I am, I was constantly subjected to ridicule by my classmates turning my natural temperament and my condition against me. I may have gained a few nods from my teachers but some of my classmates were just awful. Christopher (the following are real names and I’m in no way protecting their cruelties to me much more their privacies) would always make fun of me in every ridiculous ways his mind can think of. Rommel would get physical, kicking and hitting me with his fists like I’m some kind of filth. Tried as I may to talk it out with them, no words of anything can convince their stupid minds to leave me alone. And there is this fellow, a friend of my classmate who was ahead of me of 1 year. He would make gestures of hitting me, and trying to engage me to a brawl. Even after I allowed him in with my classmates in my boarding house to change for the JS Prom, he still cannot convince himself to be good to me.
Mind you, I was not the boastful kid and never the “cool guy”. I was the kind who just wished to be invisible inside and outside the classroom and to be left alone. I can act as someone who would laugh with any ridiculous jokes, try to join a group for conversation and who would always conform to avoid conflict. I don’t know what the hell is up with these types of people that they won’t leave me alone.
I was afraid. Afraid to disappoint my parents. Afraid that I’ll lose an honorable mention during graduation. Afraid that my attackers would retaliate. And afraid that the low-lives that they are would ruin my future. Fear, lots of it.
Needless to say that I acquired trauma, trusted only a few, all the more that I preferred to be alone, and occasionally seething on why I never had the courage to fight back.
I don’t know why I had been afraid that much. They only live once just as I do. They’re also made of corruptible bodies just as I do. I also have my chance and opportunity to live as much as they do. One of my biggest regrets was why I was so chickened to give these people the beatings of their lifetimes, enough to teach them not to mess with me. Their bloodied nose or broken teeth would have sufficed and comforted my bruised ego. It took everything for me to control myself from hating myself for not being able to defend myself and my rights as a human being.
And this all happened to an institution where I thought I would be treated well because we all share the same religious convictions: that it is not good picking on someone, whoever he might be. How can you attract young and old believers if you are no better, and even worse than the people you claim you are “saving” from the pangs of worldliness?!
The evil of bullying is rampant everywhere, I know that. And it just happened that I saw and experienced it all in a private religious school that I went through. And for ten long years, I had been a living witness.
I vowed vengeance – and I did it by improving myself scholastically, and showed them what it is like for a lowlife to rise above and prove them that they ARE the lowlife and the scum of septic vaults.
Tertiary Education (The Real Score)
I was on the brink of prolonging my agonies as my mother wants me to go to a religious college in Pangasinan when, thanks to my father and the circumstances, my father finally decided that I will earn my degree in engineering from a state university near my hometown.
Damn it was a breath of fresh air! The very people whom a fanatic religious zealot might call heathen, were one of the truest people that I met. I wondered why of all people, these are the ones who were stripped-off of pretense and self-acclaimed holiness, and who are never judging me or others, much more resort to bullying.
It is where I got accepted, admired, and longed to be a company of my few close friends. It is where I gained favor, instead of jealousy which was capable of hurting other people. It was where being quiet was not labeled as weakness nor a disease that needs to be treated, but rather a virtue of the intellectual kind such as engineering school.
My Then and Now
I paid a hefty price on not standing up for my cause and my own personal welfare and it is still haunting me. I’ve made good progress in healing but occasionally, I still find myself struggling with low self-esteem, guilt, anger, and depression.
Maybe if I told the authorities in my school back then, things would have been different but that is already immaterial. What I have to deal with is my here and now.
If you happen to have a copy of any research, published or unpublished regarding bullying in religious schools, kindly email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
We and our children don’t deserve to be bullied by such low-lives. I may have failed in confronting it, but now I’ll give myself and my family a fighting chance.