DR. WALLACE: I had a really bad year at school last year because two boys called me names and punched my arm almost every day.
They made me give them my lunch money and threatened to beat me up after school if I told anyone. They said nobody would believe me if I told on them because they would say I made it up. I hated going to school, and I was happy when summer vacation was here. But now I am dreading that the summer is ending here soon, and I'll be going back to school again.
What can I do to get these guys to leave me alone? I read your column, and I know you usually tell kids like me to fight back, but I can't do that. Please, tell me what to do when school starts. I'm even afraid to tell my parents about this. — Anonymous, Las Vegas
ANONYMOUS: You don't necessarily need to fight back, but you must stop being afraid. As a former high school principal, I fully understand the terrible position these bullies have placed you in: Your situation is shockingly common. And it won't stop until you take some action and get people on your side.
Start by telling your parents what is happening at school and insist they meet with the principal when school starts in the fall. The principal has the authority to see that this form of brutality and extortion is eliminated immediately. Suspensions should follow, and a good principal will insist on parent conferences with the adults who live with these unsavory bullies. All parents, on both sides, need and deserve to know who is being bullied and who is doing the bullying. A problem like this cannot be solved unless everyone understands the situation in detail.
I trust your school principal will handle this problem promptly, but if for some reason he or she doesn't, have your parents discuss the situation with the district superintendent. Have one of your parents call for an appointment with the superintendent the very moment they feel your school's principal is not doing enough. In this day and age especially, there is zero tolerance for bullying. Step up and say something now to your parents so they can make preparations to have a meeting set up, even before the first day of the new school year. You do not deserve to live in fear, and you don't have to carry the burden of stopping it alone.
Believe me, the buck stops with the school district. I can assure you that one level or another will deal with the problem promptly.
YOUNG LADY, YOU ARE STRONG
DR. WALLACE: My three best friends lost their virginities this summer. They are not what you would call sexually active teens, but all three are glad they are no longer virgins. All three told me they had sex to find out what it was all about. All three also said it wasn't as great as they thought it would be, but they were glad to have experienced it. My friend said that they would not have sex again with the guys who were their first partners. They are all 16 years old.
I'm not going out and having sex so I can join the crowd, but, somehow, I feel left out. I know I shouldn't feel this way, but I actually do. I know you will tell me that to remain a virgin is virtuous, which is why I'm writing to you. I think your answer may make me feel better. — Still Holding Out, via email
STILL HOLDING OUT: When it comes to tobacco use, drug use or premarital sex, being "left out" shows intelligence, integrity, maturity and, above all, morality.
Being tempted happens to us all. The weak often succumb; the strong find ways to overcome. Young lady, you are strong! Keep doing the right thing for you and your life. Your friends' decisions truly have no bearing on your life — unless you decide they do. I can tell from your letter that you really don't want to go down that road, and I agree with you. So do not!
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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