I detest bullies. There haven't been many that I've run across in my teaching career, but I do like to think of a few instances where the bullied kids got their revenge, planned or unplanned. I will share some from time to time in different posts.
Case #1: My first year of teaching, I had the wonderful opportunity to teach a tiny girl named Wei. Her story of escaping China with her father was remarkable. Their saga included hiding in a boat, having to swim for their lives past a border outpost, and hiking together through wilderness with very little food. Her mom had been killed in China and she was alone with her dad.
She weighed no more than 60 lbs. in middle school and probably stood about 4 1/2 feet tall. She was precious, and had a feisty spirit. She struggled with her English and my Chinese is non-existent, but we made progress.
There was a group of mean, overgrown boys who got pleasure out of teasing anyone smaller. Although Wei would never admit anyone was bothering her, I had a suspicion these boys had targeted her outside of class. One day during lunch, I rounded the corner of my hall and saw them gathered in a semi circle around Wei.
As I hustled to get to them, I couldn't hear what they were saying and I could only see Wei's back, but I could see the cruel expressions on the boys' faces. I started running towards them.
One boy at the edge of their semi circle quickly grabbed his stomach and went down. The next boy went down in almost exactly the same way. I focused to get a clearer look, and I saw Wei, hands up and perpendicular to her chest, and knees bent in a traditional martial arts stance. Her small foot darted out and made contact with the beefy midsection of the next boy. He also went down, grabbing his belly.
One boy was left standing above his crying classmates. Wei's powerfully deft foot punched its way through the many layers of fat on this boy's overhanging abdomen and hit pay dirt. He went down with a loud WHOOF.
By the time I reached them, tiny Wei stood alone in the midst of four blubbering bullies, all on the ground. The boys tried to stammer out their stories, about how they had been minding their own business, then she came after them and for no reason took them out. It was a ludicrous picture they painted.
By now, long strings of snot were coming from the biggest boy's nose. He also cried the hardest. I don't know if it was actual pain from the blow, or from the humiliation and surprise at being bested by such a petite girl. I suspect no one had ever stood up to them before.
I looked at Wei, and she meekly looked back, awaiting her fate.
"Come on, you saw what she did!" protested one of the bullies. "Punish her! She needs to be suspended!"
"I was so busy running, I didn't see anything. Wei, are you OK?"
I summoned one of the assistant principals, put my arm around Wei's shoulders, and made the symbol for eating, to see if she was hungry.
Her face brightened into a smile and she nodded. We headed off to the cafeteria.
Footnote: None of the boys suffered injuries beyond those to their pride. They never again bullied Wei, and in fact she achieved rock star status among the other kids. Score one for the revenge of the bullied!