MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – One Myrtle Beach man shares his experience as a former school bully in a new children’s book to help others realize bullying isn’t cool.
“I wanted to share the story so that children didn’t make the same mistake that I did, and so they could be better than me,” said Michael Zed Johnson, author of the children’s book, “Bully on the Bus”.
Johnson still hears the chants that he would join in on from the back of the bus about two twin girls he went to school with.
“They would sit in the front, the boys would sit in the back, and me and three or four of my friends, we would chant gruesome twosome, and gruesome twosome needs to lose some, and then the next one would do it, and the next one,” he said. “The bus would get just eerily silent.”
Today, he’s written the book to share his story with others so kids don’t make the same mistakes he did.
Johnson wasn’t the only mastermind behind the book; however, he says he had a team with Salinda Luker and Anne Connor-Schroten, who helped to write and illustrate its pages.
“The girls would go home crying and the bullies went about their day, not realizing how hurtful their games were to the girls,” he reads from the book.
Johnson wrote the book last year after his daughter suggested he speak about his experience in one of his motivational speeches at her school, Lakewood Elementary in Myrtle Beach.
“I’ve donated 3,000,” he said.
He’s donated books and spoken at schools around South Carolina, and says he hasn’t left one school where one person wasn’t touched because of how common bullying is.
“Every one, I have some child come up to me afterward and give me a hug,” said Johnson. “I have parents reaching out to me saying that I was bullied, or my child had to leave this school because they were being bullied.”
Johnson says his most memorable moment is with one fifth-grader in particular.
“He said, I’ve been bullied since I’ve been in Pre-K, and that hit me because that’s half of this man’s life,” he said. “This young man has been bullied from the moment he got out of his mother’s care.”
He plans to deliver books and speak to Forestbrook Elementary, Riverside Elementary, South Conway Elementary and Pee Dee Elementary schools along the Grand Strand.
“There’s plenty of non-profits about bullying, people are talking about it, people are just fed up,” he said.
To get a copy of Bully on the Bus, you can donate here.