To all my Jersey Shore parents -- or all parents for that matter -- today is National Stop Bullying Day.

There is a National Day Calendar that explains what each National day, week and month is about.

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Here is what this calendar says for National Stop Bullying Day:

"National Stop Bullying Day brings together students, faculty, and parents to end bullying. This annual designation promotes standing up against and put an end to bullying. No child should be afraid to ride a bus or go to school because a classmate threatens them. Children who have been bullied should also feel they can report the incident without repercussions."

Reading this description may not resonate as much as hearing a story to understand how damaging bullying can be....unless you've lived through it.

So I am choosing today to tell my story to encourage parents to have the uncomfortable conversation with their kids: words and actions hurt and have a long lasting effect.

Internet troll sending mean comment to picture on an imaginary social media website with smartphone.
Tero Vesalainen

Like many others, I was a victim of bullying but it was extremely severe. Police even had to get involved.

I am not going to be using anyone's real name so for this story's sake, let's use Bob and Jacob.

The ride on the school bus to and from school was my worst time of the day.

Unfortunately, Bob and Jacob lived in my neighborhood and were on my bus. The craziest part is that at one time, we were all friends.

The ride to school wasn't always as bad because students usually rolled out of bed and were slugging themselves onto the bus.

Sad and worried entrepreneur with laptop

But the ride home was my worst nightmare.

Bob and Jacob were among a crew who usually rode in the back of the bus and there was more of them on the way home since half of them had to go into school early for wrestling.

They made my life a living hell.

Not one day went by without hearing an insult.

"Ew, you have soccer butt."

"Nicole, your teeth are huge."

"Your forehead is huge; how do you live like that?"

That was just the tip of the iceberg.

There was a day that Jacob stood up in front of the entire bus and declared: "All of us in the back of the bus have a bet that Nicole does not have more than 5 friends. Nicole....list them."

I ignored while tearing up.

One afternoon while riding my bike by Jacob's house with a friend, he threw basketballs, baseballs and tennis balls at both of us until we were out of his reach.

During lunch, a pile of slushy was strategically placed at the back of the chair I was sitting in and then one of the boys in this group walked over and pushed me into it in front of the entire cafeteria.

The straw that broke the camel's back happened in eighth grade on the way home from school and of course, it took place in the back of the bus.

Young woman victim suffering from abuse, harassment, depression or heartbreak

I had water thrown all over me. I arrived home soaking wet to which my mother said, "Grab your coat, this is enough."

We filed a police report and the officers already knew both of these student's names and said to call immediately if anything else occurs.

To you, this may just sound like typical child's play.

Or maybe you're thinking that this is what goes down with kids when adults aren't around.


The phrases, "kids are mean," or "kids will be kids," is not enough here.

It does not matter of these mean actions occur during someone's first two decades of life or if bullying is done in person, through text messages or online.

I'm 29 and I still remember these moments clear as day. What does that tell you?

The memories do not go away. It does not hurt any less.

Today is National Stop Bullying I encourage everyone to have the tough conversations so that kids know just because something can be said, doesn't mean it should be said.

If the shoe were on the other foot and it were your kid coming home soaking wet, would you feel any differently?

If you have been bullied, I am sorry you had to or are still going through it.

As always, I am here and you can email me:

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