JH Spends an Afternoon with Malcolm Smith, Anti-Bullying Hero

Written by Ben Healey, 7th grade

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In today’s world, we all know that bullying is a sad fact of life.  Malcolm Smith’s lifelong mission is to figure out why and how to stop it.  Growing out of his own childhood history as a bullying victim, he has developed a passion and expertise for this difficult topic.  PCA was privileged to have him talk with the Junior High about bullying.

 Dr. Smith lived as a traditional farm-boy in Kansas and went to a one-room school.  There, everyone was kind and treated fairly.  The 25 students, ranging from first through twelfth grade, were like family to each other.  It was in that school that he met his future life-long best friend, a sweet natured city girl with braces.  He and his friend made a bond in that school and were forever “blood brother and sister.”

 However, his life took a turn for the worse in the 1960s when the U.S. government required all small schools like his to consolidate into one larger one in his area.  Dr. Smith didn’t know at first what to expect of his new, 2,500 person high school 68 miles away from his house.  However, it was worse than he could have ever imagined, as inner city seniors started to pick on him the first day he got there.

You could call Dr. Smith’s years in high school the worst of his life.  Bullies tormented him daily while the teachers stood by and watched.  Dr. Smith started to become scared of his school and get depressed.  Socially, he withdrew and began to skip school because of his fear.

Eventually, Dr. Smith was so traumatized that he couldn’t focus at all on his work.  He was failing all of his classes and was skipping school constantly.  When he was in his second year of high school, the teachers decided that there was something wrong with his brain, even though there wasn’t.  He was relegated to the Special Education trailer out back and was humiliated day after day.  His life was going downhill and he had no thoughts of going to college.

After two more miserable years of high school in the Special Education trailer, Dr. Smith was overjoyed to graduate and leave behind all of the torture he had gone through in high school.  However, his “blood sister” knew he was capable of more and encouraged him to pursue a college degree.  She had stuck with him all the way through high school and was determined to get him to college.  She had seen a contest at the University of Kansas that promised to award a full scholarship to one lucky winner!  The contest required entrants to write an essay about why they wanted to attend the school.  She helped him prepare the essay, and remarkable he won the contest!  This was a life-changing event because it allowed him to achieve a college degree and pursue his passions in life.

Sadly, his success story took a tragic twist in the years following his college graduation.  Dr. Smith’s “blood sister” became a teacher, fulfilling her childhood dream.  Horribly, however, on her first day of work, she was murdered by an angry, bullied student who mistook her for someone else.  Dr. Smith knew from that point on that he had to stop the type of kids who had bullied him and the one who had murdered his friend.  From then on, he devoted his live to that cause.

 Malcolm Smith’s life story was filled with adversity and tragedy, but with perseverance and the help of his blood sister, he overcame those challenges.  His story was an inspiration to me as well as the entire PCA Junior High.

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“We should treat others equally, no matter what they do or how they look. It really matters.” –Noah

“I learned that the things people say and do can affect the other person for a lifetime, but if someone is there for you, or ‘has your back,’ it can make a huge, positive difference.” –Piper

For more information, you can find Dr. Smith here.