- Yujeong Choi
Impact of School Bullying Trivialization
When I was 14, I was betrayed and bullied by my friends. I asked for help from my teachers, but they disregarded me. One of the teachers told me that he wanted to be fair because he equally cared for all of his students. Then, he and other teachers asked me to sit right beside the school bullying perpetrators during classes and exchange a letter with all of the nine perpetrators. I was scared because the teachers treated this matter as a trivial individual matter that can be easily solved by having a conversation, even though I had told them that waking up every day thinking of going to school was traumatizing.
Eventually, I reported all of the school bullying perpetrators to the police. Due to the leniency of the law towards underaged individuals, they did not receive any punishment. Afterwards, feeling constantly depressed and suffocated around people, I had to drop out of high school. I could not leave home for 3 years due to social anxiety disorder. Every day was a nightmare, realizing that my life is a failure. However, one day I came to question what the teacher meant by “being fair”. Is treating everyone, inconsiderate of their specific situation, fair? Then it led me to another question, if keeping the voice of a victim unheard and forcing them to follow the common order of the school system is a way of enforcing fairness. Then I came to the conclusion that the system must be restructured, and order should be replaced.
In 2010-11, a lot of news media started to talk about school bullying issues, shortly after a female school bullying victim killed herself after she got rejected for help by her teacher. But still, many adults would laugh at younger people’s concerns and dismiss them. With the constant search for the reason for my fear of rejection and fear of failure during my teenage years, I realized with time that it was the feeling of disempowerment, mostly caused by the constant invalidation of my emotions and the dismissal of my concerns.
I wanted to reverse time to tell the teacher that he was not fair at all. I decided to study Criminology and study the social/justice system to empower others who are going through hardships by hearing their voices and giving the support they need.