Boy described being bullied at school - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Boy described being bullied at school

By Jordan Sandler - bio | email

CHAPIN, SC (WIS) - School is supposed to be a place of learning and safety for children, but there is a problem that affects 30 percent of kids. The National Youth Prevention Resource Center says nearly six million kids are involved in bullying, either as a bully, a target or both.

"The worst of it has been some of the name calling, and it hurts," said 13-year-old Lane Broadwell. "Sometimes when I get really upset, it just tightens up on my throat."

Over and over at Chapin Middle School, Broadwell is called a word that starts with the letter F.

Lane says he's always been different. In the last year, putdowns from other students have become more hostile and much more personal.

"I've been called gay, queer," said Broadwell.

When he's called the F-word that ends with the letter G, "It can really affect someone in how you look at yourself in the mirror every morning," Broadwell continued.

"It is not okay to ridicule somebody because they're different," said Lane's mother Melanie.

Melanie has seen her son's heavy eyes struggle to hold back the tears.

"If he were gay, that would be totally okay with me," said Melanie. "I'm not mad about whether he is or isn't, that's not the issue. The issue is they are using those terms in a very hurtful way, and they're demeaning that group of people."

"Words are very powerful, and they could cut, they have an impact," said psychologist Dr. Marc Harari.

Dr. Harari says at the young age of 13, a boy's identity is still being developed. Slurs about sexual orientation can be damaging.

"Especially toward the middle school, high school age, sure, when those questions are being addressed and dealt with," said Dr. Harari.

"We've tried ignoring, that doesn't work," said Melanie. "It just doesn't work. He's tried quick comebacks, he's tried to be witty, that works to a degree."

"I don't want to minimize and say there's an easy solution, none really exists," said Dr. Harari.

He says the best thing Lane can to protect himself is to feel good internally about who he is. Lane and his mother hope the external factors can change as well.

"I just hope maybe it quells down a bit," said Lane.

"I think we just need to do a better job of letting our kids know they are responsible for what they say," said Melanie. "And what they say has lasting consequences on others. And you should be very careful about the labels you put on other people."

Principal Jane Crawford at Chapin Middle School says the school has a strict bullying program, and they deal with every incident that's brought to them.

Copyright 2009 WIS. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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