Public Insight Network

The Public Insight Network at witf allows you to share your experience directly with our newsroom. Whether it's your profession, your neighborhood, your hobbies, or that story you tell over and over again at dinner parties — you have knowledge we want. Become a Public Insight source and help keep the news real.

Your stories: Lancaster man recalls being bullied for being 'artsy kid'

Written by Colette Clarke, Interactive Producer | Feb 20, 2013 7:52 AM

Keith Wilson

As part of our Pushed Around project, a number of people in central Pennsylvania have been telling us about their personal experience with bullying. We've received a number of stories from victims of bullying, those who have witnessed bullying and parents of victims.

Over the length of the project, we'll be sharing some of the insight we receive through your stories, on our website and during our public forum. One of the first stories we shared is that of Ashley Martin of Lancaster County, who was bullied for her birth defect.

Another contributor, Keith Wilson, 37, of Lancaster County, tells his story below.

"I was a quiet shy kid, and was bullied consistently at an early age in grade-school in Massachusetts. Later, I attended Lancaster Mennonite High School in the early 90's and was part of the social group that included the 'artsy' kids. We were the ones who experimented with dying our hair, formed bands, talked about art, etc. There was a social group whose commonalities were that they were from rural, often farming families. They were hunters, and often drove trucks, etc. A handful of these guys, with a clear ringleader to whom they looked up, consistently and routinely shouted slurs at us, pushed us against lockers, intimidated us in numerous ways. The most frightening incident was when one of them was driving a large pickup with oversized tires on school property and shouted 'get out of the way you f*****g f****ts' and swerved toward a friend and I so that we had to dive onto a burm to avoid being hit.

The school administration was made aware of the systematic nature of the bullying numerous times and did little to stop it. There seemed to be a perception on their part that we had an ongoing 'misunderstanding' so a mediation was attempted. My friends and I were angry and did our best to explain that there isn't a two-sided conflict to mediate, but rather ongoing one-sided harassment. My reflection looking back on it, is that the administration had more cultural understanding for the rural farming culture and it's proclivities, than they did for artsy oddballs, and so their sympathies blinded them to the very obvious and destructive abuse. I should say too, that we were not the only group being bullied by these same individuals. The minority students - particularly african american and hispanic students were also harassed in a similar fashion."

One goal of the Pushed Around project is to give others a feel for the true impact bullying can have on someone's life. We can't share all of the stories we receive, as grateful as we are for each one, but we will continue to post more of your stories here throughout the project.

Do you have a story to tell about bullying? Whether you’ve been bullied, you’ve been a bully, you’ve been close to someone who has been bullied or you’ve witnessed bullying, we want to hear about it. Please help inform our project by sharing your personal insights.

Share your experiences with bullying now.

Learn more about witf's Public Insight Network here.

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