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Reason #3: School

September 28, 2011

Just a few days ago, The Toronto Star newspaper wrote about an 11 year old disabled boy who took his own life in the suburbs of Pickering after he was mugged and bullied. The 12 year old boy who jumped him also attended his Pickering elementary school and his friends taunted the boy until his suicide.

Let’s not also forget Jamey Rodemeyer, 14, who committed suicide after being bullied for being gay in Buffalo, N.Y. How many cases of bullying do we know of personally that don’t even make the news?

I can recall in my own childhood being bullied for having a gap in my teethbefore I got braces, and having bow legs. I was even made fun of for my unusual name and given derogatory nicknames. It was like Lean On Me before the intervention! I remember being kicked and spit on by boys in a new school, and being ostracized as the only black kid in an all-white rural high school. The kids were ruthless in teasing children who had been raped or had gay tendencies, and that’s in my day.  If there is one thing I know, school sucks. I wouldn’t want a child to relive the horror.

Besides the fact I hate schools, I also understand the commitment of having a child in school. The school plays, expensive field trips and extra-curricular gear as well as getting up every morning to take your child to school and bring them home by a set time around 3ish or 4ish. How is this even possible when the work day is 8-4? You would have to be two places at once. Kids come home with a ton of homework and activities that include frequent trips to stores to buy supplies. You have to attend PTA meetings, and follow a host of school guidelines. And this is for a well-adjusted kid who isn’t getting bullied or having any problems whatsoever.

The truth is, kids can be assholes. Even as a childfree woman, I witness this every day. I live beside an elementary school and witness bullying and peer pressure. I also live close to an affluent high school where I see the struggles and hear the arguments of teens and parents. The teen wants to buy the expensive brand name clothing and watch Jersey Shore, and the parent is screaming and saying “no”. I see the angst in the boys on their skateboards, misunderstood, perhaps. I understand because I’ve been there. They have to go through all this bullshit for the 13 years of elementary and high school. It’s hell in so many ways.

I could go on and on about the cliques, the “jock” boys and the geeks. I could go on about gangs in lower-class neighbourhood schools, or the shootings in the news recently that occurred to 15 and 16 year old boys. But we all know about that. Everybody has seen Mean Girls. When parents have a newborn baby, they don’t foresee the struggles in the school. They cannot comprehend the semantics of schoolyard politics. While something may seem diminutive to a parent, it can be detrimental to a child.

Opting out of parenthood means I don’t need to revisit the school drama and the politics and the stupid teachers who don’t really give a shit about your kid unless he’s showing up black and blue and malnourished. It means I don’t need to lug a cardboard Pluto project to their science class and finish their math homework, and beg them to tell me why they’re failing gym. I don’t need to be baffled when I hear a term that is obviously a cool kid word, but of which I have no idea the meaning. I don’t have to worry about cool clothes, smoking, teenage pregnancy, my child being a bully or the bullied, or walking up and confronting other parents for having unruly, bastardly children. I don’t have to explain about 9/11 and war and terror, and racism, and homophobia and religion.

I applaud the parents who do make it out alive and who go through that. I’ve been through it and it SUCKS. Even if it doesn’t happen to me directly, EVERY child witnesses another child suffering from bullying, abuse and a whole plethora of issues (child obesity, for instance) that are a far cry from the idea of the perfect childhood. It’s so serious it causes children to become tortured and commit suicide. I don’t have to be responsible for my own child causing someone else’s demise.

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One Comment
  1. Victim permalink

    Great post, was bullied as well — I dropped out, then. Which is quite a problem, actually, because for ‘getting on’ in life, certifications/diplomas are often a requirement. I also can’t attend a university in my country because of this, which, I suppose, would be more interesting and intellectually fulfilling than school.

    So yeah, school is reason alone for me not to bring someone into this world — it can ruin lives pretty easily, leaving one (mentally) crippled. And it is not even illegal! (Could homeschooling be an alternative? But then again, what remains is the problem of meaninglessness I would not want anyone else to experience.)

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