Download audio (MP3)
It Still Sticks Like Glue
By Ashley Hunter
It feels just like yesterday when I was walking down the halls of Garfield Elementary School. I braced myself for another day of pain and discomfort, from the feeling of being in a classroom with 25 students laughing or hiding giggles in my direction.
Looking back, it's unbelievable that all this misery I went through in elementary school came from my granny's choice of hairstyle for me.
I wore two ponytails and a long braid going down the back of my head, and, yep, that was a good enough reason for elementary school students to hate me.
Their stares made me rush to my seat, and hide behind a book. I hoped that if I made myself invisible, the giggles would soon drift away.
Many times I felt like getting up and running to the nearest bathroom, to cry on the floor in the corner, but I held my ground.
I remember being asked to go in front of the class and work out a problem on the board.
I was trembling, and my heart was beating fast as I heard my teacher say my name.
As I walked to the board, it felt like I couldn't breath and that I would faint at any minute.
The class was quiet, but just for a minute.
Then the boy who tormented me the most threw a pencil at the back of my head.
The class went crazy. Screaming, laughing and calling me a name that still haunts me today: "Dookie braids Ashley."
As the class continued to laugh, I turned around and quietly started to walk away. With little comfort in her voice my teacher told me, "Ashley you can go."
Once I got to the bathroom, I sat down and I let every thing go.
According to the National Education Association, 160,000 children miss school every day in fear of being bullied. Yet after my attack, I returned to school to face my classmates again. I never told anyone about my constant bullying. To be honest, I didn't even tell my granny until middle school.
I realize that I had to stand up for myself, have courage and be patient. If I had run out of the room crying, or stopped coming to school, I know I wouldn't be the powerful young woman I am today.
With a perspective, I'm Ashley Hunter.