Take a quick stance vs. bullying
DR. WALLACE: I had a really bad year at school last year because two boys called me names and hit me every day.
They made me give them my lunch money every day and threatened to beat me up every day after school if I told anyone. They said nobody would believe me if I told on them because they would say that I made it up. I hated going to school and I was happy when summer vacation was here. But now I am just dreading when summer ends and I’ll be going back to school again.
What can I do to get these guys to leave me alone? I read your column and I know you usually tell kids like me to fight back, but I can’t do that. Please tell me what to do when school starts. I’m even afraid to tell my parents about this.
Nameless, South Bend
NAMELESS: You don’t necessarily need to fight back, but you must stop being afraid. As a former high school principal, I fully understand the terrible position these bullies have placed you in — your situation is shockingly common. And it won’t stop until you take some action and get people on your side.
Start by telling your parents what is happening at school and insist that they meet with the principal when school starts in the fall. The principal has the authority to see that this form of brutality and extortion is eliminated immediately. Suspension followed by a parent conference is the least these two bullies should receive.
The problem should be effectively handled by the principal, but if for some reason it isn’t, have your parents discuss the situation with the district superintendent. Have one of your parents call for an appointment.
Believe me, the buck stops there. I can assure you that the problem will be dealt with promptly.
DR. WALLACE: I had family problems at home last year and dropped out of school in the middle of the year. I was 18 and a senior. I had good grades and wanted to start college in the fall, but my graduation class graduated without me and now I’ve since taken and passed the GED test and was given a high school diploma.
I don’t consider the GED diploma the same as a regular diploma and I’m wondering if it is accepted for college entrance. I still want to get a college degree so I can get a good job in the
Ricardo, Fullerton, California
RICARDO: Even a normal high school diploma is not a guarantee for college or university admission. But the General Equivalency Diploma is considered the equivalent of a high school diploma, and qualifies you for admission to a college or university if, after an interview and testing, you are found to have the academic ability to complete the school’s requirements.
There are several community colleges (Santa Ana College, Golden West College, Orange Coast College) near where you live. Make sure you talk to a counselor for at least one of them to see if a community college is best for you now.
Two years at a community college and two years at a four-year college or university will meet your goal.
Don’t be embarrassed because your high school diploma is a GED. You’re in good company. Dr. Joseph Fernandez, for instance, who became the chancellor of the New York City public school system — the largest in the United States — dropped out of high school at 17 to join the military. He earned his GED while in the military. When Joe was discharged, he entered a university and eventually earned a doctor’s degree in education.