NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Bullying is so devastating that some students will do almost anything just to get away from it. CBS 11 News talked to one young North Texas woman who made her college choice because of her middle and high school experiences.
Jennifer Long is packing it up.
“I can’t wait to go back but it will be nice to see friends that weren’t in the same area this summer,” she said.
Jennifer is headed back to college and running away from a hometown horror that haunts her to this day.
The 20-year old Oklahoma State University student has a story.
“I wanted to go to school and start over,” she said. “I was a victim of bullying.”
The story is one only Jennifer can tell.
“My definition of bullying is someone tearing someone else down for their amusement… and knowingly tearing them down. That absolutely happened to me.”
The attacks were mean and malicious.
Jennifer’s experience in middle and high school left such an impact that she selected a college, hoping the choice would keep her clear of those who bullied her at home.
“I didn’t want the chance to run into someone I attended high school with,” she said of her higher education decision. “I couldn’t be in the same zip code as them. Just in the oft chance we were to run into each other. I just didn’t want to be close to them.”
Thinking back on her time as a youngster and young teen Jennifer remembered the past and planned for the future saying, “People just went out of their way to make me miserable. Tear me down for their enjoyment, so I don’t want to be anywhere near those people who did that.”
The ridicule, teasing and hateful treatment are all things that still impact Jennifer to this day.
“It wears on you. It makes you feel terrible about yourself,” she said. “If someone tells you you’re weird or strange, you don’t fit in, and you’ll never fit in, and they keep excluding you, you get in the mindset, ‘I don’t belong.’”
Jennifer Long still lives with the lingering effects of bullying and she knows she’s not by herself.
“There are other generations going through it, grades below me, I’m sure.”
Realizing bullying may be an even bigger problem than the numbers show; she offered some advice to adults.
“Parents need to notice. I was severely depressed, from getting treated this way.”
Bullying is often under-reported because of fear of retaliation and the feeling of shame – and in some instances it could even be a crime.
There are many options if you’re a victim or you see bullying happen. You can talk to any trusted adult, or make an anonymous call to 1-800-273-TALK.