Some victims of bullying in school do their best to be invisible.

Others take it … and take it … and take it … until one day they strike back at their tormentors. And then they’re suddenly the bad guy.

Still others, God forbid, take it out on themselves.

Then there’s Victoria “Tori” Pabst. On Thursday morning, she took to the airwaves.

“Anyone who I lose from this, I don’t really want in my life anyway,” Tori, a 16-year-old junior at Westbrook High School, told morning host Ray Richardson for all the world to hear on WLOB radio. “I just want to reach out to the other people who are hurt.”

Tori, we should note, does not present as your typical target for bullies. She’s strikingly pretty, is a member of the cheerleading squad and the wrestling team and, from a distance, looks like one of those lucky kids who have it all.

Now let’s take a closer look — starting with a letter she wrote last week to Howard Jack, Westbrook High School’s assistant principal. Written in the second person, it’s a window into the world Tori says she’s inhabited for most of her junior year:

“You wake up, sick to your stomach at the thought of coming to this place. You dread walking through the doors because you know it’ll be the same story, different day. Imagine faking illness and begging your parents to just let you stay home. You walk through the doors and your stomach drops — who knows who will be the first to say something? The last thing you want to do is go to your locker because all the people who terrorize you are standing around it … What about when you leave your headphones at home and have to actually listen to these girls yelling “Slut, bitch, whore, jesus freak, bible thumper” to you, and that’s just those three minutes between each class.”

Since Richardson posted Tori’s letter on his website earlier this week, it has received 19,000 views and counting. Which, for Tori, is mission accomplished.

“It’s not just about me,” she said in an interview after her live 10-minute radio appearance. “That letter was about everyone. I see this stuff every single day.”

It started last fall.

Tori was embroiled in what she calls a “law issue” with a former boyfriend — neither she nor her mother, Terri Pabst, want to go beyond that — when the boy began dating one of her friends.

Suddenly, recalled Tori, the other girl “just kind of turned everyone against me.”

Most of it has come from what was once Tori’s longtime circle of girlfriends, although a few boys on the sidelines have no problem egging them on.

Day after day, Tori said, they’ve pushed her into lockers, started lunch-table chants about beating her up, called her everything from a “Jesus freak” (in reference to her Christian faith) to “slut” and “whore” as she navigates the hallways from class to class.

Add to all that the endless text messages, tweets, Facebook posts and other cyber attacks — some threatening, some insulting, all painful.

Tori, like many kids who walk around with bull’s-eyes on their backs, spent months suffering in silence. Most of her antagonists have lockers near hers, making her too scared to change books or retrieve a completed homework assignment before class.

“So you just don’t go to your locker,” she said. “You suck up the zero on your homework.”

Then, late last week, it all changed. Sitting in the cafeteria, Tori watched in horror as another girl, also on the bullies’ hit list, finally snapped and attacked one of her persecutors.

“She’s the sweetest girl, and it just broke my heart to see it,” Tori said. “And then she got suspended.”

Enough was enough. Tori sat down and, in just 15 minutes, typed out her 1,045-word lament, with her name attached. She then attached 50 printed pages of insults and taunts she had received online — she saved every one — and deposited the whole messy package in Assistant Principal Jack’s mailbox.

It wasn’t the first time Jack had heard from Tori. When she complained in person to him previously, she said, “he threw a harassment form at me and said, ‘If you do it, it’s just going to get worse.’“

And this time?

The letter sat in Jack’s mailbox for a day or two, Tori said. And in the days since he did finally read it, “he’s seen me like six or seven times and hasn’t said a word.”

Which is unfathomable when you consider this excerpt:

“The worst part? Turning on the news and seeing the thousands of teens that had taken their life for these same issues. The sad thing is, you envy these people. You wish it was you.”

Tori insists it was not a suicide note. Still, she admitted, “it kind of is a cry for help. Not just for myself, but for everyone else too.”

Whatever it is, it raised nary an eyebrow at Westbrook High School until Tori showed a copy to a teacher, who took it to a guidance counselor, who then, at long last, sounded the alarm.

Contacted Thursday, high school Principal Thomas O’Malley said he’s read Tori’s letter, but confidentiality laws prevent him and his staff from discussing her complaints.

That said, O’Malley added, “whenever we can capitalize on something and turn it into a teaching and positive type of thing, that’s exactly what we’ll do.”

A “positive type of thing”? Sorry, Mr. Principal, but a letter from a student that even hints at suicide is an emergency in progress — not a teachable moment.

O’Malley also said that the high school has a “comprehensive” policy that prohibits bullying, with punishments ranging from “verbal warnings all the way up and including expulsion from school.”

Most of which is news to Tori, who’s never laid eyes on “Policy JICK — Bullying” buried deep inside the Westbrook School Department’s website.

“I know that they do (have a policy), but it’s kind of sad I don’t know it,” Tori said. “No one is aware of it. They don’t make it a big deal — it’s not an issue.”

That’s why, after talking it over with her mother, Tori contacted WLOB’s Richardson through a mutual family friend and asked for a few minutes on Thursday morning’s show.

Richardson, who alerted school officials before the broadcast that Tori was going public, said he was less than impressed with the responses.

“All they wanted to talk about was, ‘Why are you making this so public?’” Richardson said. “Instead of, ‘Why did this happen?’“

As for Tori, she left the station with her mother and younger sister and headed for school without so much as a butterfly in her stomach.

Meaning, now that she’s made all those waves, she’s not worried about the rough sailing that may lie ahead?

“I don’t expect everyone to be wicked nice after this. I don’t expect it’s going to end,” Tori replied. “But some people have already told me, ‘This made me re-evaluate my life. I really want to be a better person because of this.’ “

Fair enough. But what about those who inevitably will snicker that she’s just trying to get attention?

“I am trying to get attention,” she replied.

Which is why this is one kid who no longer can be called a victim.

The moment that “on air” light went on Thursday morning, Tori Pabst became a hero.

Columnist Bill Nemitz can be contacted at 791-6323 or at:

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