In Bullying Stories, Expert Interviews

Peter Bradbury With a Story About Bullying

Peter C. Bradbury was born and raised in Shaw, near to Oldham and Manchester, United Kingdom. For most of his working life he has been a butler, working for very wealthy people in England and in the United States. Married to his wife Debbie, Peter currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has family remaining in England and others residing in Florida and Northern California. So he travels the nation and abroad a decent amount of time. Mr. Bradbury began writing when folks continuously asked him what life was like as a butler. His first novel “Stonebridge Manor” is about the life of a butler and has received positive reviews since then. His second novel, “Prospects,” concerns another form of lovelorn dilemma – the serial rapist/murderer and his title receives excellent reviews from readership. He talks to NoBullying.com’s Founder, Ciaran Connolly with a Story About Bullying.

The interview with a Story About Bullying can also be found here and here.

Below is a transcript of the interview on a Story About Bullying:

Peter Bradbury: My name is Peter Bradbury. I write under the name Peter C. Bradbury. I was born north east of Manchester in a town called Oldham and I was raised in a smaller town called Shaw. I lived most of my first 18 years there and then I started moving away from home for summer periods. During that time, I was working in like hotels and restaurants around UK and even then I went to Jersey one time, but when I was 30 I was kind of skipping because I never really knew what I wanted to do, but when I was 30 with a bit of background in hotels and restaurants, I decided to become a butler and I went to London and did a course and things and then I started work as an actual butler working in big farms in the UK mainly in England and I was very good at it. I was single.

My family referred to me as a confirmed bachelor, but in 1994 I travelled to The States here in San Francisco to watch some of the ‘94 world cup and on my last night here, I met my future wife just in a little bar just a couple of blocks away of the motel that me and my friend who is a butler, who is the actual guy who taught me. He came over with me. This was our second visit to the US. Anyway, like I said, I met my wife in that bar and a few month later, she came over to England and we got married. As I said after, it was back in ‘94 that I moved back with her to US here to San Francisco. Now, just I live north of San Francisco in a little place called Rio Vista which is kind of in between San Francisco and Sacramento. I spent 10 years in Dallas working for a family but in the recent years I had a couple of bad experiences with jobs.

My mother in law go very sick and we had to put her in a nursing home  and with the health insurance being as it is here it kind of ruined my credit and before I noticed, everything was going out of the window. So, now I can’t get a job because I got lousy credit which is ridiculous. So, I have been writing for the last few years. The recent book which has just been published called ‘Consequences’. Here’s what it tells I have a grandson in Florida. This grandson is autistic but because of where he lives, he has to go to a regular high school. There are no special high schools and he is just being bullied perpetually and his parents have complained, his siblings had complained but nobody does anything to help him and it just carries on and carries on.

So, I got talking to several people and it is pretty normal. Only 4% is the percent of bullying that ever gets reported by the teachers. So, it inspired the book and I made it into a novel because people don’t really like true stories. They do read them but they will read a novel if you making it entertaining. So, I write about this young guy who went through school and even into work just being bullied and he asks for help but nobody does. So, when he is able, he seek revenge from those who have done him wrong and they refuses to apologize to. He doesn’t do it legally but he didn’t really care about that which I think happens a lot with bullied kids and adults. They get to a point where they have just had enough. They can’t take it anymore and that’s what happened to him. He can’t take it anymore and he wants to get back at them because they didn’t apologize. So, along the way, he started toning down his revenge and he started to help other people legally and he finds a life for himself he never thought he would and that’s basically the book. I just wanted to get people’s attention to notice how we treat people and I called it Consequences because if you treat people wrongly, there may be consequences and that’s how I came up with the title and I think that’s true and that is the book.

Ciaran Connolly: Sounds very interesting and can be very true. I am sure I have read reports and stories that showed that people who are bullied in younger life over see effects through their lives and they, themselves, may become bullies later in their lives because of what has happened to them. So, it makes sense that your character would seek revenge. It is probably a normal human trait. So, actually it was bullying and schools that inspired you to write the book?

Peter Bradbury: The grandson is still in high school and still gets bullied. Even his younger sister was as well. She was 13 or 14. She then created a Facebook page for him because she sees what is happening to him. She just created this Facebook page called Stop Bullying and asked people to like and things and maybe just think about what they’re are doing. It says something when his youngest sister is trying to come up with some help for him.

Ciaran Connolly: Yes and she is a strong young lady when she is doing that. Actually, it sounds quite bad. If there is no support mechanism or help to try to solve this problem further, I guess it is a challenge. Some schools are really good at their policies and some aren’t as progressive and sometimes things can get pushed under the carpet or ignored or lack the ones who know and if things are like that, sounds like what is happening here. Seems very tough in America. I guess your accents was from this side of the water when we started talking. So, I am glad you clarified that I am not going crazy but our perception is that the laws and the federal state law in America is very tough compared to what we have here and there is a lot of protection for bullying in the US but maybe that’s not the reality. That is the perception but it is not the case, is it?

Peter Bradbury: No, it isn’t. There is a lot of talk about it but nothing really gets done. Some schools adopt this no tolerance policy but when it comes to pushing shots, it kind of goes outside the window. Sometimes, depending on who is doing the bullying, because of the advances and the exploits going on in the high school and in the middle school really but generally high school. The bullies come usually from the football team knowing it’s a big part of the community then chances are nothing will happen. It really depends on who is doing it.

Ciaran Connolly: Actually, we all saw the scandal that happened last year or early this year involving the football team and the local training committee in the US for sure. We started to see a glimpse of how important the local team are to a town or community but I guess we are hoping that lessons will be learned from that but it sounds like it’s an epidemic in lots of schools then.

Peter Bradbury : Very much. Like I said, it really depends on which part of the country but in some parts of the country, like in Texas, so much depends on the local football team, the high school local football team, so they make stars of them literally and if they do anything wrong, nothing is really done because they want to protect the football team. The whole time revolves around Friday night football. So, if the school was to come around and say “Well. We’re expelling the quarter back because he is a bully” but they overrule it until he finally gets arrested.

Ciaran Connolly: I understand but again it is not instating the right model and setting a good example for everyone in the team or in the school or even in the community so it’s very tough. Do you think that bullying is as bad, or worse, today than it was 10-20-30 years ago?

Peter Bradbury: I think it is worse now because of the cyber bullying. It used to be that if you got bullied at school, at least when you went home you could get away from it, but now you can’t.

Ciaran Connolly: I know that feeing myself; looking forward to get off the school bus but now you are right. Today with the social media and technology, smart phones and IPods and all these devices, people are online 24/7 so there is very little escape these days.

Peter Bradbury: The bullied kid does not know where to hide now anymore.

Ciaran Connolly: Do you think that the media coverage, as we are now seeing cases from America – I would say every two or three months we’re seeing a massive case in America blow up and it always makes worldwide news normally related to the internet or cyber bullying, but you don’t feel that this media coverage of cyber bullying and bullying in general is helping solve the issue? Or it’s a lot of people talking and it’s a media story for the day or the week?

Peter Bradbury: No, I see there are more stories but they are just stories. I mean nobody actually seems to do anything about it. Until the schools and the adults get their heads together and say “We are going to stop this. We have a no tolerance policy or we don’t care no matter who is doing it”. I understand if some kid goes to the principal and says “I’ve been bullied”, there has to be some kind of proof. I think with all the technology around nowadays, I think the kids can protect themselves and they can quietly do it. If you know the kid and you don’t want to intervene, it will be great but a lot of them are too scared to but with the wake of smart devices and recorders. They can see what is going on, they know who is being bullied but they are just retarding. If there is retard, there is no question about what is going. They can talk to the bully and say “This is unacceptable. Now you are either out or the next time you are out” or whatever but they can’t keep flocking around and sending them away with just saying “Don’t do this again” because they will do.

Ciaran Connolly: How do you think that parents and society and even teachers should ensure that the children know that bullying is wrong? Do you think the zero tolerance policy is a good way to go if it was enforced?

Peter Bradbury: No, I think it’s better education. I think it is something that needs to be put from the parents and so on like setting a good example. There is so much hate around now it is. Now you sit online on a social media site, since the president got reelected, there is so much more racism around which is ridiculous but we see it because he is black. People actually understand that this hate we take it home with us and the children hear this hate. When the parent hates something whether it is a different race or somebody who is weaker than them or poorer than them or whatever, they are going to have the same kind of attitude and they’re going to take it to school. Now, if there is a poorer kid there, someone who is may be overweight, someone who is very thin or whatever, got red hair, who is more clever or less clever, they are going to start bullying them. They are going to start picking on them. I think the parents have to start setting a better example for their kids. When they say that to the kids, they encourage them to be strong enough to intervene and help other people sort of to get to know other people like the crippled. It’s not their fault that they have got something wrong with them like they are autistic. If they can know those people, they are not going to pick on them.

Ciaran Connolly: You mentioned a very valid point; the bystanders. If people had actually seen what was going around them and got involved and helped other people then we possibly won’t have an issue. Giving these children and people the bravery to do it because I do agree; not many people around us do step in when they see something wrong.

Peter Bradbury: No, they don’t which is really sad. The kids know what is going on around. They see it. They see the kids getting their books thrown on the floor and fractured on the head and what have you but they don’t do anything. They are scared of getting picked on like this kid. It is easily done these days as every kid has got a smart phone.

Ciaran Connolly: Do you think that parents and teachers are dealing with bullied victims and even the bullies in the right way? Do you think that we as adults are educated enough to do the right thing with the victims and with the bullies themselves?

Peter Bradbury : I don’t think enough is being done about it. They have to set the example somewhere. They have somebody like a stereo bully. Get him out! Name them and shame them. If you walk down in the street and somebody hits you, you can charge them with assault. Why can’t you do that in school?

Ciaran Connolly: If people see the real consequences of what was involved or the results of their action as what you say, we will go back to the name of the book if they see the consequences or realize what was the end result of they’re doing for themselves, because they can get in trouble but also  for the victims themselves ,for sure it is going to be a better thing. Definitely I think the name ‘Consequences’; you have picked a very apt name for the book.

Peter Bradbury: Thank you. I think most of the bullies don’t realize what they are doing and how hurtful they are. They kind of just do it on the side. I don’t know whether it is in the nature or I think they know that they are doing something wrong but I don’t think they truly realize how hurtful it is. By calling somebody a name, I guess most people will claim that words don’t hurt but well, yes they do. They can hurt. If your mother is being criticized or called names or your brothers and sisters, it gets to you and it gets very hurtful.

Ciaran Connolly: What do you think that is missing? What do we need to do? Do you think it is through education with children? Is that where we start to try and break this cycle?

Peter Bradbury: Well, I think it has to start further on with the adults. Make them realize what is going on. For the kids to change, they’ve got to change as well but with the kids themselves, I think with better education, now like being taken to a different school and institution and whatever, even to a hospital where kids were very ill and just seeing that it is a different side of life and just because they are different, doesn’t mean you have to pick on them. I think it comes on to education. I don’t think there is enough emphasis on it. There are no kids who are freaks or whatever but it is the mean that bullies are going to use to pick on the other ones, aren’t they? Now I mean the brainy ones, the geeks, they don’t pick on the sporting guys. They just try to stay out of it. You never hear of a geek bullying somebody. There is always this kid who thinks he is tough and strong, the popular girl side-picking on the least popular girls and the girls can be worse because they do it in gangs. I think that has to stop with intervention and better education I think.

Ciaran Connolly: You are totally right. Life is a challenge enough and if our young people realize what is ahead of them for the rest of their lives, maybe they would behave in a different way and look after each other in a different way and look after each other a little bit more and realize there are consequences in every action they take through their entire life. If someone then wanted to read your book, to find out how the hero of the book dealt with his situation, and I am sure it is a story that a lot of people would like to act out, but may be can’t or won’t, but if someone wanted to read and see what happened, where can they find your book or where they can reach out to you to learn more about you and your story?

Peter Bradbury: They can find the book which is called like I said ‘Consequences’ which can be found at this link. They can find me at https://petercbradbury.com/, on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/authorfanpage

Ciaran Connolly: We will put live links at the bottom of this interview and the notes so everybody can click through and have a read. Will there be ‘Consequences 2’? Or do you think the first book is enough without spoiling the ending?

Peter Bradbury: I am not sure somebody has been pushing me to do a more of an adult version. I have touched on the adult side of it in the in the book. Not only with the main character in the book who is called James but he goes on to help others. He helps another guy who is being bullied at work and at home. This guy was having a double dose, which people might think it is farfetched but it is far from farfetched. More bullied are being bullied by their spouse or their partner than by anybody else and if they have children, the children see it and they will become bullies as well and this is the problem. As I said, somebody has been trying to tell me to do more of an adult thing with what goes on in work because it is really getting bad at work.

Ciaran Connolly: This is it and the young generation today are just past with the influence of social media and the cyber bullying. It will be interesting to see what lies ahead for them in 10 or 15 or 20 years and how they’ll deal with it. As you say, people our age were able to escape home and on weekends if it was at school or escape from the street or wherever problems may have been but people today don’t have that luxury. So, it will interesting to see the consequences of bullying with them in years to come.

Peter Bradbury: There is one thing I’d like to add. I think the media have a bigger role to play because they are putting on shows like ‘Survivor’ and things, I don’t know if you have seen that but there are version of it in the UK and ‘Big Brother’, the nice people never win. There is an awful message that is going out. If you are a nice person, what is wrong with being nice? Well, you don’t win and I think that is awful and I refuse to watch those kind of shows but the kids like those kind of shows and they are being taught that you have to be rude, you have got to be devious, you’ve got to lie! They’ve got to step over people, which is bullying, to win!

Ciaran Connolly: These shows are probably the most viewed shows on TV at the moment and you are right. It is not just in the schools or at home but just society and the mass media have to have a hard look at themselves and see what they are broadcasting but the sad thing is that they are getting the viewer numbers. So, they will continue to produce it until they stop getting the viewer numbers. So I think there is definitely something wrong with society that we need to fix as a collective.

Peter Bradbury: Back in my day, there was always the nice guy who came out on top. There were good guys and there were bad guys. The bad guys never won. They never won anything. Now, it’s all kind of swapped around and it’s only the bad guys who are winning and I think the kids kind of change it around and don’t rely on the adults because the adults are serving as nothing in the moment. So, if we can make a kid better, maybe they can make society better because they are the future adults. It will be their world.

Ciaran Connolly: A very good point. So, start with the young people and if they can fix it, then hopefully they will inherit a better world than we have at the moment which we will have that we hope for. It was very good to hear about James’ story and I look forward to hearing about ‘Consequences 2’ now that you’re thinking about it again.

Peter Bradbury : Well, thank you. I guess people will enjoy the story. It is entertaining but it is telling the story at the same time about how you’ve got to be careful when treating people. You don’t have to be nasty to people. Just be nice or at least apologize. I wasn’t a perfect kid. I used to pick on others. I am totally ashamed about it and I just wish I could come across them and say “Sorry. I never meant to hurt you in anyway and if I did that, I humbly apologize”. I did it with a couple of kids because they were different which is why I am ashamed of it and I am trying to make a little bit of a difference now.

Peter Bradbury: I just want to add one more thing. This is not really a problem in the UK or Ireland. The school shootings we’ve had here, you’ve probably read about them or heard about them and seen them, and there has been this huge debate afterwards about gun control. This is a totally different subject which I shouldn’t get into in the moment. What they didn’t understand is the root problem there. I mean 75% of the school shootings are done by the bullied kids. Columbine, the first big one where a kid killed 26 kids or something, everybody knew those kids were bullied all through school. They were gifted kids but when they got into the class, they came with all this kind of crazy and gothic. They became this way because they were bullied. The recent one was near Boston with another bullied kid. He had been bullied all through school and he picked up the gun one day and started shooting. So, stop worrying about the gun control, think about what can happen when a bullied kid cracks up and they are going to, eventually.

Ciaran Connolly: The pressure that the children are under now compared to what we had to face, I do feel for any child. At the moment, they have no life. They are living a life 24/7 on the internet. If they do anything, it can be pictured and the video uploaded online in a matter of seconds through a phone. We didn’t have to go through that which is something to be thankful for.

Peter Bradbury: And if it goes viral, the whole world will know.

Ciaran Connolly: Thank you very much.

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