Over the past two decades, our nation has given serious attention to the bullying problem in our schools. All 50 states signed anti-bullying legislation, with the first being Georgia in 1999, making the anti-bullying movement a top priority on the national agenda.
2. Chadmichael Morrisette Is A Pretty Happy And Succesful Guy
Chadmichael Morrisette is a 36-year-old visual display artist in Los Angeles who has been referred to as “LA’s Mannequin Man.” He’s known for his creative and award-winning window displays in storefronts throughout the city, and having one of the largest collection of mannequins in the world. While Chadmichael is experiencing a lot of success in adulthood, his childhood was not a happy one. He was ruthlessly bullied as he was growing up in his hometown.
3. He Was Horribly Tormented As A Kid For Being Gay
But Chadmichael grew up in an era when bullying was not under as much public scrutiny. Cyber-bullying did not yet exist in its current capacity, so Chadmichael’s torment was mainly happening in the halls and the classrooms of the Ernest Gruening Middle School. Chadmichael was bullied so badly that he left Alaska at only 15-years old, vowing to never return. He and his three siblings moved to San Diego, where he began his career in display design.
But last year, he flew back to Alaska for the first time in 19 years to meet up with one of his former bullies.
Louie Amundson was just one of Chadmichael’s tormentors. “There were times I’d walk down the hallway and groups of guys would follow me, threaten me, humiliate me, push me," Chadmichael told Today. "[Louie] could have very well been one of them. He wasn’t necessarily one that sticks out in my head that I remember as the meanest, but there were too many to count.”
5. But Louie Was The Only One To Reach Out To Chadmichael
Louie now is also 36-years-old paper salesman and lives in Alaska with his wife and young daughter.
“I took the easy route, picking on the kid everyone else was picking on,” Louie told Inside Edition. In May of 2015, He ended up writing a message to Chadmichael over Facebook, apologizing for treating him so poorly.
6. Louie Was Moved To Apologize To Set An Example For His Daughter
Louie was motivated by his then 10-year-old daughter to reach out to Chadmichael. He was speaking to her about bullying and she asked him if he had every bullied someone and he responded honestly that he had.
“It just felt like I owed it to Chad to apologize,” Louie told Today. He also mentioned that he regretted not doing it sooner.
Chadmichael told Inside Edition that he was “really shocked” after he received Louie’s Facebook message. But, Chadmichael accepted Louie’s apology. “In 20 years you are the only person to apologize for being a bully to me,” Chadmichael wrote in response.
“Thank you. Your forgiveness means more than you know and I hope I am [not] the last to ask forgiveness for you. Cheers,” Louie wrote in response.
8. After Nearly 20 Years They Agree To Meet In Person
“It’s one of those moments in life where you’re like, ‘Wow, this feels great,’” Chadmichael said about reuniting with Louie. At the end, the two went out for a beer and toasted to friendship.
“I hope it shows that people can change, that life can change. Being bullied is not an excuse to bully someone else, and you can't change the past. You can only control your actions today,” Louie told Today. “I think people can learn a lot from the way Chad handled this,” he said. “He forgave me. To me, that says so much about his character.”
12. Chadmichael 's Recent Art Installations Speak Out Against Hate Crimes
Since Chadmichael’s meeting with Louie last year, he has been focusing on some art that protests against violence against the LGBT community. After the Pulse gay nightclub shooting, Chadmichael used 50 of his mannequins and made an art installation on his roof with a huge sign that read “50 Dead People #Guncontrol.” He named it “No One Is Safe.”
No type of bullying should be tolerated, but teens belonging to the LGBT community are two to three times more likely to commit suicide than other vulnerable groups. LGBT kids are also five times more likely to miss school because of bullying.