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Sounding Funny

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Essay title: Sounding Funny

Sounding Funny

Bullying is a problem in America that gets very little attention, and that needs to change. It turns friendly, outgoing children into shy, socially inept shells of what appears to be a child. Kathleen Vail, in her essay “Words That Wound,” gives several extreme examples of what can happen when children are sent to school each day having to put up with being bullied. For example, one boy killed himself in front of the class that had taunted him for years. Another boy was hit in the head and kicked in the stomach by the boy who bullied him and died two days later of his injuries (328). These are very severe examples of what can happen, but I grew up being bullied and I know that it makes a huge impact on a person’s social and communicative abilities.

There are bullies and there are victims, and I was a victim. When I was younger, I had a speech impediment and could not pronounce words with the letters r, w, or l in them. I went to speech therapy classes to help me learn to speak correctly, and though they benefited me greatly in the end, I hated them. The teacher was very nice and helpful, and the classes were fun, but when I was on my way back to my real class I knew that I was going to sit among the people who mocked me incessantly because I “talked funny” and they would call me names, like “retard,” or they would mimic my way of speaking. If I was asked a question in class, even though I answered correctly, my words sounded awkward, my cheeks turned pink and I would notice other kids snickering with each other. When I was called upon to read aloud in class, I would be painstakingly careful with every word because I was so afraid of “sounding funny.” It would take me five minutes to read a short paragraph out loud and I would stumble over the words as if they were a foreign language, making it seem like I could not read even though I could read lightning fast when I read silently. Again, the kids laughed at me, “The wetawd can’t wead!” Eventually I learned that if I did not answer questions or read aloud, the mean kids had nothing to laugh at, so I stopped talking in fourth grade. After a while, teachers stopped calling on me because they knew I would not answer.

I became a shy, lonely teenager. I had very few friends and spent most of my time reading books meant for people much older than me, but unlike those silly textbook passages, I read them silently. Kathleen Vail refers to the effects of bullying. “Victims’ grades suffer, and fear can lead to chronic absenteeism, truancy, or dropping out” (329). Personally, I always got good grades, but if I could come up with any reason not to go to school, I would milk it for all it was worth. I did not like those kids, they had ridiculed me and I did not want to go to where they were, namely, school.

Through middle and high school, I was just as backward and just as absent because I was so afraid of slipping up and being teased. I could not handle social situations. I slipped up a few times, mostly when I was tired, excited, or angry. I can recall one particular time, which I call my most embarrassing moment of high school. I was so thrilled to have my tiny part as a radio meteorologist in the Senior Show. I practiced and practiced, every day for two months and I was sure there would be no

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