MaryAnn Richards teaches English & Writing to 8 homeless men who are working on completing their HiSET exam, the state-issued high school equivalency credential. The High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) exam is the new alternative to the GED. 

These men range in age from early 20’s to late 40’s, and have committed to a recovery-type program that typically lasts a year, and many of them do “get back on their feet.” 


Over the course of the writing class, one main focus was bullying.
MaryAnn provided sentence starters for the class. Here you can see their honest responses! 

Sentence Starters for their Essays:

  • “Do you think bullying is more common among kids or adults?”
  • “Schools could reduce bullying by…”


! Bullies Life or Death !

I feel like bullying is just as common among adults as it is in children. Here is my reason for believing this:

  1. If a person is a bully as a young child it is instilled in their character and takes time to either increase or decrease with age.
  2. Until there is a life-altering event that tells them what they are doing is wrong nothing will change left unchecked the bullying will only increase pushing the act of violence a little further each time they commit a violent act to make themselves feel more powerful than their victim and less weak than they feel about themself.
  3. If the person has not changed by adulthood or midlife then more often than not this means that they actually get off by hurting other people and need it to survive and has become who they are. Which will lead to more heinous acts of violence and imprisonment or death.

My conclusion is no matter what race, gender, county, or religious faith you are there will be bullies out there that you will encounter it is up to us which side you want to be. Do you want to tear people down and destroy? Or do you want to help people and build someone up?

Bullies think that what they have us power but the truth of it is a strong person is the person who helps others instead of themselves at great cost to them that is the definition of true strength.

Choose which one you want to be remembered for life or death.



I think schools could reduce bullying by having them wear uniforms because a lot of people get bullied because of the clothes they wear or are unable to wear, as in can’t afford. And it would reduce in sexual slander-type bullying.

Another way would be a wider range of electives. It would reduce free stagnant time that some bullies use to target. And it would allow kids with “social awkwardness” to focus an already racing mind with an environment of positivity instead of waiting and worrying if they will be attacked that day.

I also believe that giving children and young adults the choice of being independent or group let is important, it will allow them to focus more on the tasks they choose in day to day life, and or careers, and less on whether they are socially acceptable or not.

In conclusion, the societal hierarchy gets displayed on extreme levels in the school environment. I believe if schools were ran as an independent/academic system more and less as a social/academic-based system it would better prepare them for actual real life. The clothes you wear the time you spend on other activities are best displayed on the hours you are not at school.


Bullying in School

Bullying in school is far more common than it should ever be. Kids that bully could be noticed by school administration and teachers by doing some simple things.

The main idea I could suggest is a screening process. By just simply asking some thought-provoking questions and observe body language, you can get a feel for most any Childs character. How and when would be a challenge, however, I feel that it could be done when students register.

This is not going to be a foolproof all ending formula for success. It will add some challenges for school counselors and administration like time. It may also give cause for a pay raise in some public school positions.

In the end, bullying will always be here. With some extra energy, we can start to council those with higher emotional distress. The problem lies with children who face trauma and abuse at home or some other issue they have experienced. If we can detect a problem, we can solve it.


I think bullying is more common amongst kids than adults. As a kid going to school it’s like a vicious cycle that often repeats itself day after day. Adults may say mean things to each other, but usually, they can walk away from a conflict. Kids get stuck at school and are forced to let the conflict escalate until it leads to a fight.

Kids don’t need much to go off of to start bullying another student. Sometimes it’s what they’re wearing, who they hang out with, or how much money their parents make that sets a child up to be bullied at school. If a student tells a teacher it often makes things worse and adds fuel to the fire. Once bullying starts it continues behind the teacher’s back and can lead to daily fights. Usually a group of kids against a single child with a target on his back.

As an adult most bullying ends in a yelling match, or a one-on-one fight at the most. An educated person can avoid a physical conflict by walking away, and being the bigger person. As an adult, it’s usually an isolated incident that can lead to a fight if the person keeps it going. Although in some situations fighting is the only way out, but after the fight it’s over. An adult isn’t required to walk back into the situation. Like a student is forced to go to school and face the problem every day.

As a child, every day can become a punishment, and there is no way out of it. The conflict is there every day. Returning to school isn’t about learning anymore. It’s about avoiding the bullies or getting into a fight intentionally. Eventually, the Childs back is against the wall, and after fighting it might stop if you hit the right person. The words might stop after the student fights back, or there might be a fight for the next day and the day after that. It’s much easier for a child to fall into a bullies trap, and get stuck there. These are also the children other kids learn to stay away from, or even join in with the bullies. Some kids struggle every day they go to school, but adults simply walk away from bullies.