Friday, 4 June 2010

Missing a means of avoiding bullying?

Looking through my email today, I saw that homeschooling - known in the past chiefly as a means for right-wingers to educate their children in such controversial topics as intelligent design - has become a refuge for children who suffer from the very thing I recall with violent antagonism from my childhood - bullying.

A few days ago when my mother asked me to write a draft of a list of rules for her school, I told her that rules forbidding bullying and teasing had not proved effective when I was in school. Repeatedly, people said to me
“Julien’s sex is a female”
or, earlier than that
“you’re a girl”
“you’re gay” (which I did not know meant homosexual and I assumed meant “happy”)

to which I replied
“my sex is a male, my sex is a male”
At times, this teasing in Middle School turned into physical fighting. One Rodney said to me that he had real sulfuric acid on his fingers and that he would spray it on my skin. I feared so much as to what he wanted to do, but by the time I met him I despaired of either ignoring people who teased me or of getting the school to really punish them hard with long detentions so they would never think of teasing me again. The result was that when I was teased I saw no alternative but to fight back physically, but most kids were more muscular and too fast for me, so I could not hit them.

What the article, based on experience in Queensland, is suggesting is that for people like me who suffer from social problems, specialised forms of education is a serious alternative. I know very well that, over the long haul:
  1. lack of availability, and
  2. a desire to socialise me into normal behaviour
meant that my parent preferred me to go to a school with which they were familiar with. The trouble is that in my adult life socialising me into “normal” behaviour has proved quite impossible no matter how much effort I make. No matter how hard I try (and I do try hard) I simply cannot control urges to tap books.

Because of the way in which I learn, I can imagine that for people like me homeschooling may be useful since my parents - whom I know for sure to be the most effective people for encouraging me toward correct behaviour. Maybe if I had been educated at home I might have had more of a chance at learning how to communicate socially long before I was thrust into this role by myself on buses and in libraries as an adult with no idea of what to do! Indeed, before I first studied the extremely ineffective suburban bus services of Melbourne in detail, I had travelled nowhere except the State Library and occasionally before 1993 to footy matches. That is hardly preparation to try to get by in public without parental aid!

No comments: