I coped by staying out of people's way, as much as possible. I kept to myself, rarely spoke up, and dressed as drably as possible, anything not to attract attention. It never occurred to me that I could strike back. I also never thought about getting help, from a teacher or sympathetic classmate. Getting a gun and looking for revenge? Who, me? I couldn't do it, even if I'd thought of it.
Of course, I also didn't see school violence every day, on the news and in movies and TV shows. There was no Internet, where I could lose myself in a different, more powerful and confident identity. Teachers weren't afraid of students yet, so no one defied them (or in any event, the ones who did were shunned). As unhappy as I was at the time, I wouldn't trade places with a teenager of today.
Kids deserve to be safe in school. Metal detectors and locker searches are necessary only because we've made it too easy to get a gun. But these measures don't solve the root problem. Guidance from parents and teachers, and an atmosphere of civility in society in general, would go far toward giving young people a chance to become responsible adults, instead of headlines and statistics.
It wasn't always this way. It doesn't have to be this way.