The following op-ed is by Dan Lapidus, a junior at Jones College Prep High School in Chicago. Dan participated in Or Tzedek’s Activism and Community Organizing program in summer ’11, Advanced Activism in summer ’12, and the Winter Leadership Retreat in ’11 and ’12. Dan is a member of the Mikva Challenge Youth Commission. The following was originally posted on Dan’s Facebook page.
I was bullied for years, and it sucked. Kids would call me names. They would say things like, “Hey Dan, you’re a fag” or “Hey lapenis, go Jew around somewhere else, we don’t want you here.”
Most people thought they were so creative when they called me lapenis. But that wasn’t the worst part. The worst part was all the kids who were so scared of what might happen to them, they didn’t do anything.
They watched a classmate suffer; they stood on that damned Jones College Prep courtyard and watched people throw oranges at me and try to steal my house keys. There is nothing more confining than thinking that you are alone and no one has your back.
The consequences to the victim are awful. Self-esteem can be damaged and the person’s general well-being suffers. It is something no one should have to endure…and no one has to.
If those other kids on that courtyard had said, “Cut it out” or “Stop,” my freshmen year might have been as good as the years that have followed. It is our responsibility to not let things like bullying go unnoticed and uncorrected. We must say “No!” every time we see someone get bullied. Only then, one by one, it will end.