Bullying is not a new phenomenon. It has been around for decades, but schools across South Florida are reporting that the frequency and severity of the incidents are getting worse. In the past year alone, a West Palm Beach student was attacked in math class and a Deerfield Beach middle school student slipped into a comma after being kicked in the head.
At age 21, Jeff has legs like broomsticks under his nylon basketball shorts and his cheeks are hollow. Sitting at a table outside the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine with two friends of about the same age, he looks young and fragile.
Jeff doesn't like telling people what's wrong. He doesn't like what they say when they learn he was born HIV-positive.
"They say, 'Oh boy, you gonna die,' " says Jeff, who doesn't want his last name used. "They call it 'die-slow,' you got that 'die-slow.' "
After January’s massive earthquake, thousands of Haitians fled to the United States. More than 2,500 of them were school-aged kids who were quickly placed in classrooms across South Florida.
The new students were suddenly immersed in a foreign language, culture, and school system. It could have been a bewildering experience. But at Boyd Anderson High School in Lauderdale Lakes, the Haitian students who lived in South Florida before the quake took the recent arrivals under their wings.