Originally Posted: February 16, 2008 @ 05:38
After being asked about the link on my home page a few times i'd like to make a statement. I am very much against school bullying or as some call it "Peer Abuse". I believe that it is my job as a parent and a human being in general to do my part in a law abiding manner to eradicate the school yard of brats who've not been taught basic human decency. ( that means fighting for laws against bullying and counseling for bullies and teaching awareness in schools. I'm not suggesting killing the brats lol )
I'm not so much talking about the kid who on occasion acts in an agressive manner. I'm more concerned with the ones who constantly on a day to day basis mentally and in some cases physically torture classmates. Now you might say to yourself " I was bullied and so were people I know and we lived through it, no big deal". To that *I* say " Wonderful, but there are some who are not so lucky".
Bullying is not a part of childhood that we should just tell our kids to live with and that it will get better when they are older. It scars some children to the point that they do not become functioning adults. It in fact scars some children to the point that they do not make it to adulthood at all. For those children it's finally too much and they take their own lives. There are still others who never face the bullies who tormented them and take out their final frustration on people who weren't involved at all in their torment.
In almost every school shooting there has been evidence that the shooter(s) were severely tormented by classmates. Why? Because parents failed to be parents. Yes it's incredibly wrong to take a life for any reason, I am not defending the actions of the shooters in any way. I do however submit that if harder stances were taken against bullying, if parents were more involved, other children would be safer in school.
It all starts at home. I hear so many say " the school should have done more". I have a problem with that. It is NOT the schools responsibility to teach your children to behave themselves. If your little Susie finds it necessary to tease and torment other kids, keep the little witch at home. If your Little Johnny can't keep his hands to himself, don't send him to school to torment other children. Keep the little jerk with you. Don't make him/ her another kids' problem. Yes the school should be aware of problem children. Yes they should protect the innocent children. In my opinion the problem children should be removed from the school if counseling and other punishments do not work. From what i have witnessed it's more often than not that the victimized child is removed from the situation and the bully is given a pat on the hand and given free reign again. Not exactly sure how that's supposed to work but it's proven many times over that it doesn't. So that practice should be stopped!
So that's that. Parents, I believe need to start with their children when they are young. Teach your children that it's okay to be different. Teach them acceptance. Teach them to value themselves for who they are and not for the designer brands they wear. Then, teach them to value others the same way. Teach them that they have no right to make another child feel bad about themselves.
As stated previously, in most school shootings the shooters were mentally and sometimes physically tortured at school for many years. Now of course this doesn't mean that the parents who buried their children were bad parents. They're children could have been completely innocent, and they could have been wonderful parents. The sad fact is that by the time the shooters got to that point, they didn't care who was innocent or not. That's possibly the greatest tragedy other than the fact that it could have been avoided altogether by better laws and better parenting.
Take Cho.......the Shooter in the Virginia Tech tragedy. I listened to the endless reports on CNN. I saw the tapes that he made. I listened to morons claim that he'd lost touch with reality with his " you have blood on your hands that will never wach off" statements. I saw all of it and i was heartbroken that something so horrible happened. But while I saw Cho as a very angry individual and a killer, i also saw him as the FIRST victim of the VT tragedy. I believe with all my heart that when he said "you", he had a collective group of people in mind. It was widely reported by former classmates that Cho was very different and was teased daily. He was from another country, had learning disabilities, barely spoke English, wore glasses and came from a low income family.......how much more did his classmates need in order to make fun of him?
Where you and I as adults would see the child Cho and feel sorry for him, the little darlings he went to school with used him as a target of mental torture on a daily basis. So when he grew up,,,,,,,,,,,,he used others as a target of his own frustration. Innocent people who probably never said anything to him were killed. Innocent parents were forced to bury they're child. Yes, Cho had their blood on his hands, but it wasn't just on his. He was sending a message.
Who knows why he chose that day. I'm not convinced that his roommates were as ummmmmmm" friendly" to Cho as they want to be perceived. I could be wrong though and i admit that. But something set him off and someone somewhere knows what it was. The kids who picked on him so badly............they know too. They know if they contributed to his mental state and i truly hope that they live with it daily and learn from it. That they teach they're children to be better than they were.
Then, there are children who turn inward. They know their family loves them, but they can't handle the abuse heaped on them everyday and they don't take it out on others, they take they're own life. How sad that child must be. How defeated they must feel, all because another child was never taught better. Because another child took it upon themselves to torment them to the point that they just wanted to escape. I thankfully cannot imagine being the parent to the bullying child. While my deepest sympathies lie with the parents who must bury they're child, i can't imagine what it must be like to parent such a horrid child that would actually drive another to kill themselves. Again that may seem harsh and perhaps the bully just doesn't know any better or has emotional issues of their own, but the fact remains.They're still alive and another is not. It makes me feel so sorry for that child, knowing that they have to live with it, and terrified that they'll never accept their own responsibility or that some well meaning adult will say " it wasn't your fault". I beg to differ, it IS and the bullies parents are almost as responsible.
Granted our kids behave in ways we may not know of when they are away from us. I get that. We can't always guess and probably don't even want to know the things they say and do when they think they'll get away with it. Regardless of that though, *I* know *I* can say that I have taught my kids to accept others. That doesn't mean they have to be friends with weird, fat, ugly, poor, etc kids..........it means that they MUST treat them as people and with respect.
Now understand, in saying all this, I do realize that bullying kids do not always understand that their actions can have tragic consequences. They are children. That's why I say parents are the first line of defense and in some cases ultimately to blame. If we teach children to be respectful of others feelings, if we teach them to value others, at least we have tried. We've given them tools to get through life with more valuable self esteem and we've done our part to protect other kids.
I also realize that other kids who are teased go through life just fine with no problem. That's great, kudo's to you and your survival instincts or whatever got you through. Please don't minimize the feelings of others though who haven't/didn't make it through.
Find out what your lawmakers can and will do about bullying. Find out what your state laws are. If you are the parent of a victimized child there are places to help you. If you are the parent of a bully there are places to help you too. Make use of them.
One of the best and most informed i've found is Bully Police USA. They have branches in most every state and they are willing to help parents who need it. They are truly there to listen if you need a shoulder. ( www.bullypolice.org )
PLease.............above all things, if you disagree with everything else I say, please leave this page knowing that bullying/Peer abuse is NOT an acceptable rite of childhood. Remember your bullies. Remember how you felt? Do you honestly want your child to face that? If you were a bully.........teach your child better. Don't allow them to harm another simply because they can............protect them from themselves if needed.
I know my stances on this issue are harsh and in some ways unyielding. I do not apologize for them. They are after all my beliefs and while I can't say I was bullied as a child really, I can say that when my own child was faced with this behavior, it wasn't so much the kids who hurt her feelings that I wanted to smack around lol, it was the parents.
Do your part no matter what side of the fence you live on.