Take a quick stance vs. bul­ly­ing

Post-Tribune - - Iq - DR. ROBERT WAL­LACE Write to Dr. Wal­lace at rwal­lace@gales­burg.net

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.

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