Taylor Saxon dropped out of Two Harbors High School at the age of 16. She was bored with her classes. So is it her teachers fault for not reaching her? She wasn’t involved with school activities. So is it her parents’ fault for not signing her up for sports? Saxon says the person who had the most impact on her education was not a parent or a teacher. It was her bully.
“Pretty much there was this one kid who made fun of me every day when I went to school,” Saxon said. “It was either drop out or kill him.”
The bullying started when Saxon started the seventh grade. It was the same year her bully moved to Two Harbors. He called her fat, or the more creatively cruel “Taylor Ball-sack-skin.” Soon other kids started harassing her on a daily basis. Some even threw things at her.
“It was probably because I was an easy target,” Saxon said. “I didn’t say much back to him.”
Saxon suffered through the next three years of high school. Even though her friends tried to stick up for her, the bullying continued. Saxon felt like high school was no longer an option for her, and started making plans to take the GED.
A GED is considered a high school equivalent to many schools and employers, but according to the Minnesota Department of Education it’s not actually meant to be taken by high school-aged-kids. The minimum age to take the GED in Minnesota is 19, but someone as young as 16 can take the test with an “Approval for Waiver of Minimum Age.” To get this approval Saxon had to prove she was no longer enrolled in high school and had a good reason to take the test. She also needed parental consent.
“My step-dad was pretty mad about that,” Saxon said. “But my mom understood because I had a really hard time in school. I would just come home from school super depressed. I had been talking to her about it for a while.”
Saxon’s mother knew that her daughter was having a hard time, and gave her permission to drop out on the condition that she get her GED. Saxon went to a few adult education classes, took some pretests, and passed the test.
“I was really excited that I never had to go back there and I never had to see those people again,” Saxon said.
Saxon currently lives in St. Cloud, Minn., with her older sister, but plans to move back to Two Harbors, Minn., this November. Saxon says that she’s happy with who she is and has “so much self-confidence now it’s ridiculous.” It’s been nearly three years since she made the choice to drop out, and this year would have been her graduation year.
“I do look back and sometimes I regret not going to school because I could have met more people,” Saxon said.
Although high school may be in the past for this 19 year old, she has plans of going on to culinary school. She dreams of becoming a chef and owning her own restaurant by the time she’s 38.
Saxon believes that what she has gone through has helped her become a more compassionate person. Now, when her younger sister comes home after being teased at school, Saxon knows what to say to let her know it will be all right.
“I feel like if I hadn’t gone through all the pain and torment I wouldn’t be the same person today,” Saxon said. “I’m pretty sure if I hadn’t dropped out I would have turned out completely different.”
The way we treat the people around us has impact. Actions have consequences that we sometimes don’t see or feel ourselves, and bullying can leave emotional scars. Visit stopbullying.gov for more information on what is being done to prevent bullying in schools and how you can help.
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