Will Bus-Monitor Karen Klein's Bullies Regret Their Actions?
The world watched in horror this week as 68-year-old bus monitor Karen Klein sat for more than ten minutes on bus #784 in Greece, New York, and suffered mercilessly as multiple middle-schoolers relentlessly taunted her while videotaping the entire episode. Why would these kids do this? How could they do this? What were they thinking? Didn't they realize how disgusting their words and behavior were? Will they look back with profound regret on what they did? Those are the questions that so many of us are asking.
Surprisingly, many of those questions have been answered by other bullies, who have anonymously confessed their regrets about bullying on my www.SecretRegrets.com online confessional, or whose stories are included in my best-selling book, Secret Regrets: What if you had a Second Chance? Below, I've included seven regrets from former bullies who became brutally honest with themselves by facing the severity of their actions, and in some cases are now trying to do whatever they can to try to make up for their destructive behavior. My hope is that the teens involved in the incident on bus #784 -- along with all bullies who encounter this story -- will learn from this experience, and move forward in their lives vowing never to let their own personal history repeat itself.
SECRET REGRET #1: I was pretty consistently bullied from nursery school on. When I was in 7th grade, (trying, I suppose to be one of the crowd) I threw a note at a pudgy, dirty, smelly girl who was avoided by everyone. The note read, "You stink." As it rolled across the lunch table, I was appalled at what I'd done. She read it with no change of expression. I never got up the courage to apologize. Several years later, she committed suicide, and it came out that she had been kept in awful conditions and been regularly beaten and sexually abused. I'll be 62 pretty soon, and I still think of her and how I added to her misery. Before that day, I'd always been one to stick up for the under dog, and I've been trying to make up for that one evil act ever since.
SECRET REGRET #2: I regret not helping a girl who was being bullied, which I guess makes me a bully myself. Last year during school, I witnessed her get bullied to the point of sobbing, screaming and throwing things at the tormentors outside. The teachers had to have heard or seen it happening, but they did nothing, and neither did anyone else. They just watched it go down. I had wanted to be her friend for a while, and I knew she had been bullied a lot before. I will always regret not trying to stop them, or for not trying to comfort her. I can't imagine having something like that happening to me with so many people watching, only to have them do nothing. I'm so sorry.
SECRET REGRET #3: I'm sorry for joining the bullies who called you gay everyday. I truly regret all I haven't done for you.
SECRET REGRET #4: I regret having joined in with the crowd in tormenting you and bullying you in 7th grade. I was nice to you the first day and mercilessly mocked for it. It stopped me from being nice to you anymore. It is only now that I realize that you were being terribly abused at home, beaten by your father and witness to only God knows what. I regret not recognizing the signs that you were in trouble. I regret that you will never know how sorry I am. Female, Age 49
SECRET REGRET #5: I regret bullying you because I was afraid I'd lose my best friend to you. I regret that I got suspended for it, that my parents were horrified, that you never forgave me. You didn't deserve what I did to you. I am so sorry. Female, Age 21
SECRET REGRET #6: I regret telling my classmates that a mentally disabled girl should go jump in the dumpster because she was a piece of garbage. I wanted people to like me, and I've regretted saying that ever since. It hurts me every day. I hope she is doing well now because it breaks my heart just thinking of that moment. That was 8 years ago.
SECRET REGRET #7: I regret making fun of a classmate that was mentally challenged in junior high. He confronted me about it, and he ended up nearly beating the sh*t out of me in front of my friends. I deserved everything I had coming to me, and I regret to this day being so mean and shallow. I'm sorry.
If you are a victim of bullying, or a former bully yourself, anonymously post your bullying-related regret at www.SecretRegrets.com, and read more bullying related regrets in Secret Regrets: What if you had a Second Chance?
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