Is there a statute of limitations for exposing your high school bullies?
When a published author chose to reveal the names of her former tormentors in an interview, she found herself at the center of a hometown controversy. Faced with community criticism for damaging her former school’s reputation, the author turned to the internet to ask for guidance.
“I’m an author of mild success,” the original poster (OP) explained in a Reddit post. “I’m not incredibly popular, but my books sell enough.” Due to her achievements in writing, her former high school reached out to request an interview for the school newspaper.
She Wanted to Talk About Her Writing Career
Despite OP not enjoying her time at school, she agreed to feature in the article—on the condition that they limit the conversation to topics related to her writing career. “We had a great chat,” OP recalled. “The student started asking questions about my time at the school, but I redirected.”
However, the interviewer soon realized that OP was pointedly avoiding the subject of her time at school. Per the author’s version of events, the student asked directly, “I’m sensing that you’re hesitant to talk about your time at [high school name]. Is that true?” When OP attempted to refocus the conversation on the subject of their books, the young student insisted, “Actually, this could be a better story.”
She Ended Up Talking About Her Former High School
“So, I said, ‘Y’know what, sure. Whatever,’” OP revealed. “I don’t owe the school anything, I’m not being paid, and even though it’s been a long time and I’ve grown from what happened, it’s still worth talking about.”
With that mentality, the woman launched into a retelling of how she was bullied by her fellow classmates, naming them explicitly. The worst offenders, however, were the teachers. “Teachers at my school very strongly favored the girls in sports teams and would often be buddy-buddy with them and their parents,” she explained. Whenever she requested help from her instructors, she found herself ignored by everyone.
Her Experiences Had Been Very Unpleasant
“I mentioned a teacher who openly mocked the way I dressed, my lack of athleticism, etc.,” OP wrote in her post. During the interview, she described an incident in which a group of girls followed her around, ‘mooing’ in her direction. “I broke down crying because they wouldn’t stop and tried to tell a teacher,” the author recalled. “The teacher called me ‘Moolly’ for the rest of the year.”
Tormented by both high school faculty and classmates as a young teenager, OP reached a breaking point: “When I yelled [at the teacher], ‘MY NAME IS MOLLY. MOLLY!’ She had me suspended for a week.”
Her Published Interview Shocked The Community
When the interview was published in its entirety, the contents made the rounds on social media. “Nothing exactly went ‘viral,’ but there were posts on Facebook with a ton of comments, and it caused some commotion in that community,” OP described.
However, the public outcry was enough to prompt a school official to contact OP, who allegedly chastised her “for bringing up old wounds” and sullying the reputation of veteran faculty.
Staff Members and Former Students Blamed Her For Speaking Out
As a consequence of the interview, the teacher behind the ‘Moolly’ episode was stripped of a local lifetime achievement award. “So, was it really worth it?” asked the school official, “And maybe did you remember things wrong?”
To add insult to injury, a few of OP’s former classmates (many of whom still reside in their hometown) sent a slew of critical messages through social media. They accused the author of “ruining the reputation of the school and of several prominent community members.” Since it was so many years ago, they asked why couldn’t OP “just get over it”?
OP Wants To Know If She Was Wrong
“It was a long time ago, yes,” OP acknowledged, but also contemplated: “I don’t know how I really feel about how this all went down, though. I know times are tough for teachers right now. I didn’t set out to hurt anyone, I was just telling my truth.”
Was OP wrong for digging up the past and saying it in a public interview?
Social Media Reacted to The Story
Despite the author’s internal moral conflict, the court of public opinion ruled almost unanimously in her defense. “The teacher was a cow, not OP. That teacher totally deserved to be publicly shamed and lose that award,” declared the top-voted comment.
“Abusers thrive on victims and witnesses keeping silent, ‘leaving it in the past,’ etc. It enables them to keep on doing the same things to more victims without consequences,” another user added, shedding light on bullying strategies. “I bet none of these people have ever reached out to you to own their behavior and apologize… You are absolutely entitled to share your own first-hand experiences, regardless of their reaction.”
The article Successful Author Exposed Former Bullies in an Interview And Was Blamed For Damaging Her School’s Reputation was syndicated and produced by TPR Teaching.
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I'm an Irish tutor and founder of TPR Teaching. I started teaching in 2016 and have since taught in the UK, Spain, and online.
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