Desire to stop bullying is a passion that comes from experienceBy John Longhurst Canadian Mennonite University
WINNIPEG, Man. — Studies show that one in five North American children is chronically bullied, a bit of news that makes Marsi Sommerhalder sad.
“It’s a very emotional subject for me,” said the recent Menno Simons College graduate. “It really touches my heart.”
Sommerhalder graduated in early June with a bachelor’s degree in conflict resolution studies from Menno Simons, Canadian Mennonite University’s campus at the University of Winnipeg. But she doesn’t feel this way just because of what she’s studied about bullying. It’s also because the 22-year-old was the target of bullies when she was in grades 8-10.
“I know what it feels like,” she said.
In her case, it wasn’t a matter of physical harm but of psychological and emotional pain.
“Other students would leave notes in my locker telling me I was worthless or to leave the school,” she said. “I was marginalized and isolated and felt alone.”
Why did they pick on her? She’s not sure, but thinks it might have had something to do with being chubby during those years or having braces. Or maybe it was because she was studious, intent on getting good grades and doing her work well.
“Others may have resented that,” she said.
Whatever the reason, the result today is a desire to use her training to help other children avoid what she went through.
“Wherever I end up, I want to do what I can to prevent bullying,” she said.
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