I have always prided myself on being the optimistic sort, confident that there is no challenge that can't be met in some way. I've always felt that nothing is impossible. But I have to confess that it is hard -- damn hard -- to feel hopeful about the bullying epidemic in this nation, not when it continues to take kids lives.
In the fourth grade, I had the toughest teacher of my life: Ms. Daly. She wasn't physically imposing, or necessarily mean; she was smart, tough and didn't take any crap. She was going to teach us, and we were going to learn, come hell or high water. It's like she combined the roles of parent and teacher into one authority-figure superhero. That year, I had my first proper fist fight.