Hi, my name is Logan West, and I am Miss Teen USA 2012.
When I was in the 7th grade, I was bullied by a classmate for "not acting my skin color". For six months I was tortured by a girl only a few months older than I was. She constantly picked on me for the way I spoke, the way I dressed, everything about me. I didn’t know why she didn’t like me or what I could do to stop her.
I tried ignoring her…but that didn’t work. The names she called me really hurt – and it was getting to me every day – even though I tried not to show it. Sometimes, I would even smile or laugh along….but I sure wasn’t laughing on the inside. I started losing my ‘friends’ and and eventually myself.
At first I didn't want to tell my mother what was happening because I thought the whole thing would just blow over and I didn’t want to look like a snitch. One day I couldn’t keep it inside anymore and came home crying to tell my mom. She spoke to my school counselor that night. I wish I could tell you that was the end of it…but it didn’t end there.
A few weeks later things got WAY out of hand. During our lunch period my bully threw food from her table to mine. For a half an hour I sat with my friends and got chewed up carrot, pieces of rice, and chunks of quesadilla in my lap, hair, and on my own lunch tray. I was embarrassed and really angry. So as I walked to the trash can I threw a handful of rice at her….you can imagine the rest from there. BOTH of us got suspended.
So what did I learn? (1) Staying silent doesn’t help, (2) Get help when you need it, (3) and there are good ways and not so good ways of handling yourself and confronting the bully.
This experience helped me start Unite Against Bullies Today (formerly known as BullyProof) so that every kid has the tools to make a difference.