A high school student has united TikTok with how bravely she stood up to her bullies.
On May 25, 18-year-old RaeAnn (@_raerae26), a future nursing student at Michigan State University, shared two video recordings of a recent presentation she gave in one of her classes. What makes these TikToks especially compelling, however, is the fact that they showcase RaeAnn calling out her bullies as they sit before her.
“I have a high grade and I understand nearly everything that class has to offer; however, there are people in my class that make fun of me nearly every time I speak,” RaeAnn says at the podium facing the rest of her class. “I don’t know if they realize that I see them doing this, but it was really upsetting at first.”
RaeAnn reveals that in the seventh grade she was diagnosed with “pretty bad social anxiety” — and while she’d previously questioned why these bullies continually targeted her, she eventually resolved that their opinions don’t matter.
“But I do really want to know why they care so much about what some random person in the back of the class has to say,” she says, while side-eyeing one of her alleged bullies. “In the wise words of a wonderful nurse I know, ‘They will be the one serving you at the Dollar Tree.’ I got the highest score in my class on the certified nursing assistant exam, and that was truly the biggest ‘F You’ I could have ever given any of them.”
“I passed with a 92 and not a 76,” she added.
According to StopBullying.gov, victims of bullying can attempt to reason with the kid bullying them in a “calm, clear voice,” but “if speaking up seems too hard or not safe, walk away and stay away. Don’t fight back.”
StopBullying.gov also urges those getting bullied to talk to a trusted adult — someone who can make the circumstance feel less lonely. And another imperative suggestion, which appears to be one that RaeAnn heeded, is to not keep your feelings bottled up inside.
‘The biggest thing I’m taking away from my year in that class is rather cliché, but it is true. It’s just to ignore what other people think.’
In part two, which was posted on May 26 and is a continuation of her presentation, RaeAnn shares facts about her that people, including these bullies, may not know.
“The biggest thing I’m taking away from my year in that class is rather cliché, but it is true. It’s just to ignore what other people think,” she says. “I know I’m smart, I know my capabilities, and I know my worth. The people in that class never seem to get enough of me. They hardly know anything about me. They don’t know that I’ve been dancing since I was 5, and every Wednesday I dance with adults with developmental disabilities. I absolutely love football. I know a lot about it, and my favorite team is the Chiefs.”
While we can’t ascertain for sure, it seems, based on RaeAnn’s presentation and the facts she’s included about herself, that perhaps her interests don’t align with those who bullied her. It’s possible she was targeted due to the fact that she didn’t exactly “fit in” with what they deemed “cool” or that maybe they were simply doing it without any real reason.
“‘I press on, asking why he thinks he might have done it. ‘To be honest,’ he muses, ‘I was probably just jumping on what was going around. I didn’t really carry any bad feelings towards anyone,'” Carla Caruso wrote for Marie Claire Australia of her experience confronting her childhood bullies. “For me, it’s cold comfort. Turns out the name-calling that I’ve held on to wasn’t about me, just impressing the pack. I was an easy target because of my otherness.”
As for RaeAnn, she acknowledges that both her friends and her “foes” have contributed to the ways she’s changed over the course of her high school career.
“With the help of my friends and my foes, I am leaving the school as a completely different person than the young, naive girl that started here,” she says. “I am leaving the school with the same best friend I had in kindergarten, and I am leaving the school with a number of scholarships to help pay for my time in nursing at Montana State University.”
‘Wow go you! I don’t even know you but I am so proud!’
With nearly 1.3 million views on both videos combined, RaeAnn’s received kind words from TikTok users for the way she bravely stood up to the people who’d mistreated her. Fellow users note that they’re so proud of her, despite not knowing her personally.
“A lot of them end up being bullies in adulthood in some shape or form. It’s unhappiness. Good job!” @livelaughlounge wrote.
“Wow go you! I don’t even know you but I am so proud!” @lcream08 replied.
“Girl I admire you for that if only I stuck up to mine in grade school and middle school but my social anxiety could never,” @vampy_2022 commented. “Love this for you!”
While RaeAnn deserves all the praise for how fearlessly she spoke to her bullies, it’s also imperative that school faculties pay close attention to the treatment of their students. Creating a space that feels safe for young, impressionable youths should always be of uttmost importance.
“Schools that create a culture of inclusion, train staff about bullying and follow clear protocols rewarding efforts to create a community for all faculty and students have better outcomes against bullying and greater safety,” Joel Haber, a psychologist and author who specializes in bully prevention, told U.S. News. “Schools that ignore bullying in their student body and faculty and don’t take steps to protect the community allow those who bully a place to use their power to marginalize others. They create a culture where those toward the bottom of the social ladder are victimized.”
Standing up for yourself can be an incredibly traumatic, often difficult thing to do — but RaeAnn mustered the courage to speak her truth and address her bullies face-to-face.
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