Tag Archives: bullies

The Wrong Crowd [1991]

  • The Wrong Crowd –  Bunty:  #1731 (16 March 1991) –  #1738 (04 May 1991)
  • Reprinted – Bunty: #2227 (16 September 2000) – #2234 (4 November 2000)
  • Art: Bert Hill

Plot

When Tracey Brown started at a new school, she was immediately befriended by Jane Niven and her friends, Katy and Lorna. At first Tracey thinks they are the only friendly people in her class, but she soon finds out the opposite is true! Jane & Co. are nasty bullies and nobody wants to be friendly with Tracey, as they think she is just one of the gang. When she realizes what kind of people they are, she tries to get away from them but they threaten her and her cat, so she has to do what they say. Not only do they bully and threaten her, they also get her to do some nasty stuff to other people like trip a boy up and poor ink on a girl’s jacket . Tracy tries to get help from some classmates but Jane’s gang attacks them and the girls think Tracey set them up.

Even at home she does not get a reprieve, as Jane barges in when her parent’s are out. Tracey is going to confide in her parents about what is happening, but then sees her cat, Daisy, is hurt, and thinking Jane has carried out with her threats she keeps quiet. She does tell Jane off for doing something so low. Unknown to her, Daisy just got in a fight with another cat, it has nothing to do with Jane, but Jane lets Tracey keep her false assumptions, as it’s to her advantage. A small bit of hope for Tracey when she makes a friend with a girl, Lynne who goes to another school, but when the girls attack her, Tracey loses her only friend as she doesn’t want to hear any explanations afterwards.

Tracey is miserable and participating more in bullying acts because she is scared. Other pupils and even teachers think she is just a bully. Tracey takes a sick day and then tries playing truant, but Jane spots her and her peaceful day away turns into a disaster. When some family visit, she has fun babysitting her little cousin but the bullies then have more leverage to get Tracey to do what they want if she doesn’t want her cousin hurt. Tracey is miserable and trapped, she steals a girl’s notes for a test, when the girl and her friend confront Tracey, the gang “save” her, from a situation they placed her in, in the first place!. During a sport’s match, a visiting team gives Tracey the idea to go to boarding school, and her parents agree to a close one if she can get a scholarship, which she does. Tracey gets great joy in dropping the bomb to Jane and Co. that she won’t be returning to school next term. When she arrives at her new school, there are three friendly girls, but she gets nervous that the same thing is going to happen again. She is reassured when other classmates seem to give approval and she knows she’s in with the right crowd.

Thoughts

This story replaced another Bert Hill story Living a Lie which was also about a girl dealing with bullies, obviously a popular theme! I’m impressed by Tracey standing up to the bullies as soon as she found out their true nature, even if she didn’t get very far! In the beginning she is more proactive about trying to get away from Jane & Co. confiding in classmates and considering talking to her parents, though unfortunately it doesn’t work out. The longer she’s in with the “Wrong Crowd” the harder it is for her to escape and the more isolated she becomes. The reader sees how she gets deeper into co-operating with their schemes. Although she may not be happy with what they are making her do, I wonder if she hadn’t moved school, would she eventually just completely turned into a bully herself.

Surprisingly the bullies don’t get their comeuppance in the end. Clearly they’ve been getting on fine in the school previously and I wonder if the next new girl that comes along will fall into the same trap as Tracey. As for Tracey it is good to see her satisfaction at pulling one over on the bullies, though clearly her experience has made her nervous of new friends. Luckily her new school seems like it will be a lot happier of a place or her.

The Truth About Ruth

Plot

Ruth Brown had saved the new scholarship girl at King Keep private school from bullying. Ruth knew she would have no influence over other girls if they knew her mother was only housekeeper at Cresthill Manor and didn’t own it.

Notes

  • Photo story

Appeared

  • The Truth About Ruth – Suzy: #140 (11 May 1985) – #145 (15 June 1985)

Tina’s Temper

  • Tina’s Temper –  Bunty: #1801 (18 July 1992) – #1809 (12 September 1992)
  • Artist:  Julio Bosch (Martin Puigagut?)

Plot

Tina Marsh has a quick temper, which her classmates think is great fun to watch. Tina ends up getting suspended because of it, but it turns out she will be moving schools when her father gets a new job. Before she leaves, her former Head encourages her to use this fresh start to get her temper under control. While she takes this in, she only really decides to change when her father has a heart attack, after she was fighting with her sister. She is determined to stay out of trouble for the sake of her father’s health.

tinas temper_02

Things aren’t made easy for her when some girls play a trick on her on the first day and she is bothered by some noisy neighbours. But she finds that good things happen when she keeps her temper, like she actually makes friends with the young neighbours son, Andy. Although not getting angry doesn’t always work out. When she tries to stay out of trouble, by not getting involved when she sees some girls bullying younger student, she ends up losing her new friend Lynn.

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Despite her good intentions she still does ends up losing her temper at times. She starts  to keep a diary to keep track of when she loses her temper, in the hopes of encouraging good habits. When the girls at school find the diary they start to play similar tricks as the girls in the previous school, trying to watch Tina blow up for fun.  Tina does lose her cool when they lock her in a closet and her little sister ends up walking home from school on her own. The Head overhears, but when Tina explains everything she doesn’t get in trouble. When the girls find out about Mr Marsh’s illness they feel bad about the tricks and they promise not to play any more and tell her that she had actually been doing really well.

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Thoughts

I like Tina as a character, while the girls teasing her is a problem,  the story’s main driving plot is Tina trying to improve her own character flaw. It is shown that previously she could lose her temper without any pause for thought of how else to approach a situation.  She starts to learn that there are better ways to deal with that. For example when the neighbours are being loud, instead of going over and starting a fight, she gets talking to the son, who invites her in to see his band. She realises they aren’t that bad and also they stop rehearsing when his parents come home.

Of course there is a balance for these things, she could have helped the young first years with the bullies more, although she does at least tell them to talk to a teacher. In another situation when she is on a date with Andy, a friend of his, Mel,  is obviously making a move on him. Tina doesn’t speak up at first, but that means that later the situation gets worse and by keeping all the issues to herself she ends up blowing up at Mel later and Andy breaks up with her.

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With Tina losing her friends, she begins to question what’s the point of even trying. But she reminds herself that she started this for her Dad’s sake. It is interesting to see Tina feels a bit of resentment that her efforts seems to go unnoticed. While she was good for a while she got no praise or encouragement from her family, but the minute something goes wrong they are quick to chastise her. In her parents defence they may have been a bit busy, and dealing with health issues to notice Tina’s  efforts. Even if they did notice they may also fall back into bad habits of assuming Tina lost her temper for no reason and feel they have to reprimand her. Tina doesn’t talk about these feelings to her parents so they are hardly mind readers.  Again its seems to come downs to learning how to express her feelings better rather than bottling them up or just having outbursts.

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I’ve looked at some bully stories recently, and this story also has an element of this.  Unlike the other stories, there isn’t maliciousness behind the girls teasing. At the same time while the girls weren’t meaning any harm, it can still be quite damaging for Tina. They are not aware that what was a bit of fun for them has real repercussions at home for Tina, so while they are sorry afterwards, its still not nice to gang up and tease a new girl.

The Heads at both schools seem understanding, but I think the new Head handled the incident better by actually talking to the girls. The old Head encouraged Tina to start a fresh but didn’t really step up and say anything to the other students about their teasing.

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I liked the story over all, sometimes it seems plot points are dropped to move onto the next incident. Still the development of Tina is done well. I also like the design of the character, it’s not often you saw main characters with glasses, unless they were meant to be really smart and nerdy. Her expressions are really well drawn too, you can see when she’s her frustration at the situation. I like the little details put into the background too, like the old bikes in the picture below.

 tinas temper_07

No Teachers at our School!

Plot

When the teachers went on strike at her school, Amanda Roberts persuaded her father, who was a professor, to install computers in each class so that the girls could run the school by themselves. The Education Department agreed to give the girls a month’s trial, but were unaware that the seniors were bullying the juniors. Amanda was determined to show the younger girls that they could outwit the seniors, but she didn’t know that there was a spy in their midst, who told tales to Rachel West, the Head Girl.

Notes

Appeared

  • No Teachers at our School! – Mandy: circa #178 (13 June 1970) – (?)