A Letter To The Teacher Who Bullied Me. I Forgive you.
I’m writing this in hopes that other adults will listen to the children who count on them when they say that an authority figure is treating them poorly. So often we associate bullying as something that takes place between children, and we’ve been taught that abuse from an adult to a child is sexual in nature. That’s not always true and any type of bullying or abuse is incredibly detrimental, especially to a child or teenager because they’re extremely impressionable.
To the Teacher who made my life Hell through bullying,
When I was growing up you made me despise school every day. When people think of bullying at school, they often think of one child pushing another into a locker before stealing his lunch money or something else cliche like that. Kids are told that bullying is something that everyone has to deal with, and at some point in everyone’s life, it will be a problem.
The thing that I’m so mad about is that you’re an adult and you should not be doing or saying hurtful and faultless things to children who are emotionally and mentally suffering already.
I know that if you’re reading this, your eyes are getting wide and you know that I am speaking to you. If a colleague happens to be reading this, you’re trying to backpedal. You might be calling me a liar or might be saying I’m too sensitive. That’s okay because I question the judgement of the people who hired a potential psychopath who can bully a child. You know that as a special-needs teacher, kids come to you already struggling in academic or social settings.
A child should never feel unsafe at school, they should never feel unsafe at church, and they should never feel unsafe with their family.
As I write this, I wonder if you got some sort of twisted thrill out of feeling superior to special-needs children. My mother went on to become a special-needs teacher and she loves each of the kids whom she teaches. She will often tell family and friends about the wonderful projects they have made or the funny things they do that make her job special. She returns to work daily because she truly loves it.
I am sorry to the children that cannot have a relationship with their teacher like my mother has with her students.
I am sorry for your students because they’re told they can’t do anything right, even when they’re trying their best. And even when they’re having a terrible day and could really benefit from someone listening to them and understanding their frustrations, I know for a fact that you find a way to make that worse.
I know if you’re reading this right now you’re probably wondering what I’m going to say next. You might be trying to think back and rationalize your very strange, erratic and troubling behavior as that warm uncomfortable feeling creeps up your spine.
I was unable to go to a wedding because of your shenanigans. You took away my ability to go because you were claiming that I didn’t do a project. But you know damn well I worked on it for some time because you helped me cut the pieces out from magazines. I was very into music at the time and you helped me put together a project about the mechanics of a very cliche 2000’s CD player. You helped me use scissors which is something that’s hard for me. You did that and then put them in an envelope and said “all we have to do is glue them on tomorrow”. It was as if all of the hard work I had done magically disappeared when you called my mother and told her that I didn’t bother to do my project.
I was angry that you made my mother yell at me and got me in trouble. As punishment, I was not allowed to take the trip with my family. You were never punished for lying or losing my work, if that’s what actually happened. You hurt me and made me miss out on a huge life event.
In high school, we moved cross-country, and I met the beautiful people whose wedding I was forced to miss. They are beautiful, kind and thoughtful people, and I have been blessed to know their daughter, who is intelligent and funny. Knowing how wonderful my family is happens to be something you can’t take away from me. Because it’s part of what has made my soul thrive.
The truth is, I partially blame you for one of the most, heart-wrenching times of my life. I was on medication that I should have never been on. This medication made me spend many hours banging my head into walls. I also battled binge and purge cycles which I often hoped would cause my heart to give out.
I Blame You, for convincing the school and my parents that I was somehow doing this for attention or being a bad kid. You made this go on for a lot longer than it had to. I believe my parents would have stepped in sooner if they realized I really needed mental help. The anxiety and heartache that I felt were only added to my hurt when you go out of your way to embarrass me in class. You would make fun of my walking slowly and call me out on my spelling mistakes in front of other kids. You went so far as to have my individual education plan changed so that I would not have a Scribe (a person to physically write for me) to help me when it was needed, even though writing by hand can be very painful for me.
The thing that upsets me the most is that I still carry with me the physical and emotional effects of your abuse to this day. I fear there are others who you may have done this to as well. As part of my physical disability, physically releasing urine from my body can be difficult. Instead of letting things occur naturally, you would stand around and pound on the bathroom door and yell at me until I would be forced to come out with a full bladder.
When I was in your class, I actually developed swollen kidneys and a string of Urinary Tract Infections. A decade later, I can still have a panic attack going into a public toilet. I’m not going to lie, I am still really angry with you for that. You could have damaged my body permanently. In addition to swollen kidneys, not using the bathroom enough can actually impact someone’s ability to have children and can impact their overall sexual health.
You have been blessed with a daughter and I hope she is doing very well. I hope that you are a good role model to her and taught her how to treat people well.
I know from experience that lashing out means you’re hurting, emotionally or mentally. Maybe your spirit has suffered a tremendous blow, but all those things happened to me because of you. I can forgive you because I know from my own suffering, that mental illness is very much like a cancer.
Sometimes I wonder if you feel bad for this. I know you see me out sometimes when my family is having dinner or when I’m shopping at the mall. I wonder if your constant need to avoid me makes you understand that you have done something terrible. Even though I don’t want you to feel the pain you caused me, I hope in a way you do. If you learn from the harm that you caused me, you won’t do that to another kid.
Your presence in my life causes me physical health issues as well as anxiety attacks that I still deal with. You cause me to constantly wonder if I’m good enough or if other people secretly despise me or some unknown reason. It’s been a long time but I am finally learning to take criticism from people in positions of authority. You took away some good times with my family and my community because of the abuse that I suffered from you. I would go home to my family and take it out on them and I would go to church and take it out on the people there. A child should never feel unsafe at school, they should never feel unsafe at church, and they should never feel unsafe with their family. But because of you, I did. I’m on my way to undoing the damage that you did, and being healthy and independent.
Throughout our time together, you would often remind me and other students that you felt faith was “for idiots”, and so the following might fall on deaf ears… But, I will pray for you that you fix whatever is wrong in your life and get stronger and better as a person, for not only your sake but for the sake of the children in your life.
I also want you to know that as God is my witness, I will never subject a child to your harmful presence.
If I am ever blessed with the privilege of being a parent, I will make sure that I live nowhere near your school district as I question how much I trust the staff there. I do not want my child to be subjected to your disgusting behavior, or the behavior of those like you.
But, in that regard, I do thank you because if I ever become a parent or an aunt, I will watch that child like a hawk and I will listen to them if they say that an adult in their life is causing them problems. I will be the first to go to the school on a child’s behalf and stick up for them instead of not believing them, like my parents blindly did for so long.
I really don’t know what it is that’s making you behave this way and I would love to believe that everyone is capable of change and love; I know that I changed for the better. The only way you can change is if you want to change. Please, read this letter and change your mind about yourself and others around you so that you can be happy. Only when you understand the power of kindness and honesty, can you lead a good life.
In closing, please know that I forgive you.
I want the best for you and I hope you’ve learned from your mistakes.
Keely Christine Messino