I believe that bullying is the biggest reason for all the recent violence in America. Note that all the shootings were carried out by troubled youngsters who felt the need to take out their anger on their peers for having been brutally mistreated and put down for years. In no way am I justifying their acts, but they did what they did for a reason; a reason deeply rooted in the way public schools in America are run.

Bullying has been shown by studies to cause immense psychological damage lasting for entire lifetimes. I was the target of a lot of bullying growing up and attending Niles West high school in Skokie.

I remember how my dean, Mr. Erickson, a vulgar, violent man, who’d been placed in a role not fitting his personality and character values, bullied me so much that I often felt compelled to cry even though I’d been brought up in a home where crying wasn’t really accepted.

I don’t think I will ever forget the people who bullied me there, and I often had thoughts of taking out my revenge on these people, but I was never the type to act up on any of these fantasies. The very fact that a normally balanced person like me had these kinds of thoughts speaks volumes though. Due to the immense violence carried out against me in high school, I have “sparks of anger” in which I’m likely to strike out against those whom I perceive as my “enemies.”

I remember getting into a “fight” in which I pleaded with another guy who’d been known throughout school for his violence to not do anything, cracked my lower lip open with blood oozing from my mouth. He hit me so hard I actually went “black” for a few seconds. I won’t ever forget his name. He was suspended for 10 days and wasn’t even arrested.

He probably doesn’t remember me, but I’ll always remember him. The years of my life that were supposed to be the most colorful, the most productive, were spent suffering and in detention thanks to the efforts of individuals like Mr. Erickson.

Educators, especially deans in high schools in the US must…I repeat MUST find a way to communicate to students instead of coming down hard on them. They must find a “common language” with American youth lest more American towns are left mourning for 6 year-old kids murdered in cold blood by violence-crazed maniacs out for revenge.

As a side note, I also believe T.V. and the Internet has a long-lasting effect on the psyche of our youth. Parents must prevent their kids from watching T.V. shows and Internet channels with violence and sex. I wish people would listen to my advice: if not my other posts, at least this one…