School Talent Show & Warning to School Bullies

Kameron Badgers at Wallace Elementary School's WE'VE Got Talent Show May 3 2013This was my last year to perform at my elementary school’s talent show — next year I will be at an arts magnet junior high.  27 acts have signed up for the show, including me.

I almost didn’t sign up this year. After last year’s show, some kids started bullying me about the costume I wore onstage. The photo to the right was taken during last year’s talent show. The costume is the same one I wore in a local youth circus show — a black sequined jacket over a white T-shirt and black pants.

Personally, I don’t see what was wrong with my costume, and I don’t think anyone should be bullied over what they wear or how they look.

So far, I have managed not to get into a fight over the names I’ve been called even though one of the bullies pushed me down in the hall and I wound up with a concussion.

He got a one-day school suspension but hasn’t stopped calling me names. It has been hard to keep my hands (and my feet) to myself. But my karate teacher always said to keep the punches and kicks in the dojo or the competition ring, so I did. I admit that I’ve thought about showing the bullies that I may be short, but I’m stronger than I look thanks to all the hours I spend at the gym working on circus.

So I decided that I was going to show off a talent that might make the bullies think twice about calling me names: knife juggling. I started working on my routine in August of last year, as soon as I got a new set of juggling knives from Dubé.

Knife Juggler Kameron Badgers

From September until Christmas, the principal had this picture of me posted on the office door along with an article about my knife juggling in the Lake Highlands Advocate. Since the whole school knew about my knife juggling, I was surprised when the PTA volunteer in charge of the talent show sent an email to my grandmother that said, “Knives are prohibited weapons, and the school district has a zero-tolerance policy on bringing weapons to school.”

I thought about dropping out because I was mad, and only had only a few days to come up with a brand new act.  I decided to perform anyway, but I don’t think it’s fair. My knives look like machetes, but they’re juggling props from Dubé Juggling.

They’re 20 inches long, and weigh about a pound each. You can cut yourself on them if you catch the tip (here’s a video of me doing that the first day I tried it), but they’re not weapons. I guess you could use the handle to hit someone in the head — but you could do that with a book or a bottle of water, and school doesn’t ban those.

The good news is that there will be less than three weeks of school left after the talent show, so the bullies won’t have very long to pick on me after the talent show.

I don’t think it’s fair that the school counselor told me that if I didn’t want to be bullied, I should cut my hair, avoid wearing clothes that make me stand out, and not wear a necklace or the handmade friendship bracelets several girls gave me. Why don’t they tell the bullies that it’s wrong to call someone a fag, or say that they’re gay for no reason? (I can’t write down all of the names I’ve been called, because I’d get in trouble.)

The thing that made me the maddest (besides the knife-juggling thing) is that after one bully got suspended, he changed the story of what happened. Instead of just shoving me in the hallway, suddenly he started telling everyone he “punched me out” after I mouthed off to him.

A lot of people believed him, but I know what happened. He just ran by and shoved me. Someday, he’s going to hurt someone worse. All year long his story of what he did to me has been growing, and he never stops talking about how I was “too scared” to fight back.

I’m not scared. I just don’t want to get suspended.

For this year’s talent show, I wore another costume with sequins on it. My new act is called Antigravity: Juggling in the Dark. I’m sure the school bullies will have something to say about it anyway. I am tired of being bullied.  I hope they stick to name-calling.

I don’t think I will just stand there and do nothing if someone touches me again. The last guy I punched (in a karate belt test sparring match) wound up on the ground throwing up. The one before that was a black belt more than a foot taller than me, and he went home with some bruises in the shape of my foot on this chest. I really don’t want to get into a fight at school, and I won’t start anything. But I’ve had enough of the bullies at my school.

I hate going to a school where the teachers and staff protect bullies and treat victims as if we did something wrong by not “fitting in” with the cliques that run the school. If the middle school is no better, I am going to ask to be home schooled.

Banning my juggling knives in the name of “safety” after allowing me to be bullied and shoved and injured was just too much. Enough already!


10 thoughts on “School Talent Show & Warning to School Bullies

  1. Good for you! I’m glad you’re not dropping out of the show or trying to “blend in” just because there are some hateful kids at your school. You are absolutely right that it will not matter in a few weeks. As for the knives. . .well, I’ve heard stories of kids getting in trouble for bring a butter knife to school so I’m not surprised about your blades. However, if the school knew that’s what you wanted to do for the show, they should have mentioned it way sooner. I’ve enjoyed reading your grandmother’s posts about you and I hope all goes better than expected with the rest of your school year!

  2. It gets better. You’re right about what the counselor told you. That’s like a cop telling a rape victim that if she didn’t want to get raped she should stop wearing make-up.
    I had a lot of run-ins with school officials. Eventually, I realized most were petty bureaucrats who had risen one step further up the ladder than their competency would support and were stuck there. Show them respect, but don’t look to them for justice.
    There’s a pretty good chance that people bullied Bruce lee when he was a cha cha instructor:

  3. As the saying goes “It takes a man to walk away from a fight”. Good for you for not getting into a fight – some people do only seem to understand one language but it’s better to show them who is more mature.

  4. I’m in awe of how well you are handling your situation. It’s true, in a few weeks it will not matter. It will matter to you in a few years when you look back a see you were the better person in this situation. The bullies will still be stuck in the same scenarios, but with different people. They are the ones with the sad lives.

  5. Pingback: I’m Proud of My Child’s Warning to School Bullies | Marketing Where Technology Intersects Life

  6. In this country people like those bullies end up standing at trafic lights with a bucket and sponge and get tips for washing people’s windscreens. In a few years one of them will probably be washing your car windscreen – be generous with the tip when he recognizes you, it will make him feel worse for what he did. Some things take time to be resolved but are well worth it in the end.

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