Watch the man who was bullied at his school receiving his high school diploma
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A 56-year-old man was bullied at his school by his schoolmates and left the school once he felt he couldn’t bear the bullying anymore.
56 years later, the man has received his high school diploma.
In 1979, Brian Petersen decided to leave his school after being bullied by his schoolmates who would rip up his homework, throw his books on the floor, push him in the halls, shove him into lockers, and would call him ‘shrimp’.
Brian recently graduated and received his high school diploma.
Brian talked about the bullying he experienced at his school: “I was always a small kid and I was an easy target I guess. I like to raise my hand in class, which the other kids didn’t like. That got me the nickname ‘brainiac’. The bullying developed into kids pushing me into the hallways and throwing my books on the floor.”
“One day in gym class we were playing basketball and someone had poured water on the floor so that I would slip doing a layup. I was never called Brian. They would call me ‘shrimp’ and ‘runt’. I couldn’t even walk home without hassle.”
“I studied home economics and this gave the bullies even more fuel. They would call me ‘sissy’ and rip up my homework.”
He decided to leave the school after the bullies shoved him into the locker. He screamed and called for help. A janitor finally heard him after an hour.
He left the school after the incident and got a courier job.
But in 2015, he lost his courier job and became homeless after his failed marriage.
He said: “I was admitted to a psychiatric facility for four months in 2015. I had literally given up. I was forced to really look at myself in the mirror for the first time.”
Brian recovered but he couldn’t apply for other jobs because he didn’t have a high school diploma.
His mental health support worker encouraged him to go back to school and he ended up registering at the Winnipeg Adult Education Center.
In September 2016, he joined his school again and took science, maths and English classes.
On June 28, Brian received his high school diploma three years later in front of his son Ricky.
Brian said: “When I think about my graduation, I get so emotional because it’s been a long journey. I wish my mom and dad were alive to see it. But luckily my kid Ricky is here to see me get my diploma.”
“I hope to go on to university. I was thinking about studying drama and theater at the University of Winnipeg, but I’ve been thinking also about becoming a teacher. Getting my diploma has changed my life completely. I have learned so much, and not just academically. When they gave me my diploma, I completely lost it. It was a really special day.”