The Diary of a Bullied Catholic School Kid

I noted here previously that I had written and had published on an internet zine a short story entitled “Pride’s Prison.” The story is about a boy (age 12) who is horribly bullied in parochial school in the mid-sixties. Realizing that many people have limited time to read (the story takes approximately an hour to read in its entirety), I have started a fictional diary on an experimental basis. The intention is to make relatively short entries on a daily basis (in his time, I update it in real time as often as possible).

The name of my juvenile character in the story is “Bobby Schultz.” Thus, I call the fictional diary “Bobby’s Blog.” (The anachronism is intentional.) I am now up to a little past the first week, beginning Labor Day, 1966. If anyone is interested in reading all or part of it, I shall link to its first and latest entries below. I try to reflect the flavor of the times which, although a mere relative eye blink ago in the eternal scheme of things, now seems like a thousand years ago; so* very much has changed* within society and social mores since then; and the changes within the Church have been equally profound.

I also mention period television shows and happenings, such as the premier of a "new show about spaceships” that Bobby’s brother loves called Star Trek, as well as then ongoing significant changes within the Church in the wake of Vatican II.

Most of all, as time goes by I hope to allow any interested in reading on a daily basis how severely bullied kids feel: the feeling of helplessness, shame and despair that such engenders.

Here are the URLs for the first and latest entries respectively:

wwwdnschneidercom.xbuild.com/#/bobbys-blog/4535769816

wwwdnschneidercom.xbuild.com/#/bobbys-blog-12/4535926962

Should anyone here have any interest in reading one or more of the daily entries thus far, I would greatly appreciate it if you would honestly let me know if the writing sounds like that of a bright eleven-year-old kid (who loves to read) of that period. (I am not referring to the spelling and punctuation. I am the fictional editor of the diary as noted. Any editorial mistakes on his part I would have corrected, though I leave alone occasional lapses in proper grammar.) It’s been a long time since I was eleven, which is my character’s age in the first few months of the blog. If not, any suggestions as to how to make him sound more authentic would be greatly appreciated. The incidents related all come from real life (names changed), only personal events and dates won’t, of course, match exactly.

Thanks to all.

Having lived and gone to parochial school in that era I find it hard to swallow what you say.Bullying is way more prominent now then im my era especially at school.I’m not saying it didn’t occur but if anyone was caught bullying on or off campus there was hell to pay.you’d be dragged .by your ear , to the principal’s office were you would have been yelled at , punished and the coupe de grace and the one thing you feared the most, having to take a not home to your parents!
take the principal from “Doubt” and push it up a notch! the nuns noticed everything and were on top of everything .They seemed to have radar or eyes in the back of their heads-or God gave them special powers! Who knows!
Bullying has always been around but in my old elementary school(St. Joseph’s Astoria queens,NY.I) saw little of it in school-it was not tolerated and certainly not as rampant as it is now where noone seems to want to do anything about it. Both my kids who went to public school were victims of it and noone in the Public school system gave a damn about it.My daughter ,at one time, had her ownbody guard at one time because she dumped some guy.They said they couldn’t throw the kid out, it wasn’t their policy! What a joke.So he had full reign of the school and my daughter was the"prisoner".Ah, American school system-ain’t it great!

y

Dear Julia,

Thanks for the reply.

I’m at a loss why you would find what I relate to be of dubious accuracy. This is mild compared with the reports on the seemingly hellish Irish (Catholic administered) industrial schools of that era. I by no means mean to claim that what this kid experienced then was the worst any youngster has ever experienced in regard to bullying in school. But the person with, for example, arthritis, doesn’t stop to consider that the person with cancer might envy him or her.

Kids like these seem to carry the weight of the world upon their shoulders, and desperately seek to do so privately because they are too ashamed to confide in anyone. Indeed, their worst fear is that what they are experiencing in school will come out and they will die of shame in front of their friends and family. Some youngsters have taken their own lives before having been willing to confide in their own parents. “We never saw it coming” has all too often been the parents’ response to such tragedies. It’s not their fault, which is what I try to show with my work on bullying; trying to warn parents why their kids all too often keep quiet if seriously bullied. (Fifty-three percent according to the state of Nevada’s anti-bullying program.)

This kid just stands for all of them. Some had (have!) it worse, others not as bad. But to each of them, the effect was the same from their individual perspectives.

The diary has barely begun, and I’m afraid the worst is yet to come. (If I decide to continue it and it generates sufficient readership.)

I’m sorry your youngsters have been victims as well. I’m just so very glad you knew about it. I know you did all you could for them in response, as would any decent parent. My work just seeks to give parents that opportunity before it is too late.

Thanks again.

I was a bullied Catholic school kid, and let me say: It’s extremely rude and uncharitable to be so blatantly disrespectful (and in a word, “bullying”) towards someone who has something to say. I have zero tolerance for bullying - including, of all places, on a Catholic message board. Whether you did or did not witness “other people” being picked on, or whether you believe him, is immaterial. It happened. Period, end of story. He doesn’t need to justify what happened or how he feels about it. If you don’t care what he has to say, then kindly keep it to yourself.

Thank you, Don, and God bless you. Your words heal more than you probably realize. :blessyou:

Dear Havana,

Well, thank you for the kind words. I don’t think Julia meant to be rude, and I’m just glad that when she had been a kid her school had been so fortunate as to have had such diligent and caring nuns. Unfortunately, such had not been my experiences. However, it is indeed unfair to paint with a broad brush. On my website, I acknowledge that there were some nuns who were totally admirable. Some were tough but fair and didn’t have picks on certain kids, usually weaker and more vulnerable ones they thought they could abuse with impunity. Many nuns of that period had been pushed into the convent by their families as a result of the Great Depression. Thus, many were miserable in their lives and, as people so often do, took out their frustrations and bitterness on those they could.

Here is a link I have posted before. I think you might appreciate it. Please especially read the father’s introduction to his son’s tragic story. This kid, though Catholic, attended public school. By no means did I mean to imply that Catholic schools are or were worse than other schools in regard to bullying:

ryanpatrickhalligan.org/

Ryan’s father was affected so deeply by the loss of his son, and so desires to help others understand and avert future potential tragedies, that he actually gave up his executive position with IBM in order to travel North America lecturing in schools in an attempt to get kids to understand as well. He knows that nothing will ever compensate him for his most profound loss, but at least what he does will give some meaning to it.

Thanks again!

Best regards,

Don Schneider

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