LOCAL VOICES: Bullies -- we're all guilty

By THOMAS BROWN Port Clinton native and maker of documentary films about problems faced by children Once again a national tragedy has turned the nation's attention to school bullying. Once again a life was sacrificed so hopefully we can learn from the final act of a bullying victim.
Commentary
Apr 8, 2010

By THOMAS BROWN

Port Clinton native and maker of documentary films about problems faced by children

 

Once again a national tragedy has turned the nation's attention to school bullying. Once again a life was sacrificed so hopefully we can learn from the final act of a bullying victim.

Considering that there have been so many bullied children that have taken their lives throughout the planet, and nearly all the school shootings had a bullying component, I wondered why this particular story in Massachusetts had so much significance.

And then it hit me; the "bullies" in this instance are facing charges; real adult criminal charges with very real and serious consequences waiting in the wind.

Now this is something new.

And I feel very uncomfortable about that.

If these students face charges, then what about those people who have ignored the bullying problem or referred to bullying as a "rite of passage" -- or the countless adults who have pushed children away when they came to them crying, because someone hit them or called them a cruel name?

It's not the fault of bullies that hundreds of thousands of children are positively terrified to go to school every day. It's "bullying" that is the problem, and for generations 'bullying' has been given very little significance by those that really should know better; those that have had the power and financial resources to create mass awareness on the harm that is caused by bullying others.

From numerous stories of sports-minded communities passing off deliberate cruel bullying or hazing acts on the part of a star player (s) as "boys being boys" ... to the Midwest school board that called a group of students trouble-makers because they tried to tell the community that the suicide death of a young peer was a direct result of being forced to yell "I'm A Fag" over and over again by the Varsity football squad ... to the thousands of teachers who have put down children right in front of their peers, practically guaranteeing more bullying for that child ... to the arrogant national writers who have used their talents and resources to dismiss the notion, despite what the C.I.A. stated after an extensive investigation, that bullying IS a direct tie to school shootings ... to the child-focused television and film studios that have made bullying a big joke.

We're all guilty; your generation and mine -- and those generations before us.

Just by accepting the simple notion that "school bullying is a normal part of growing up" we have allowed this monster to get larger and more powerful.

If the same bullying that we somehow accept as "normal" for children, was administered to us as adults by other adults, our security and sense of well-being would slowly melt away.

But bullying is OK for kids -- because it makes them tougher. It's a part of being a kid.

Yes, when it comes to bullying we as adults are all guilty -- and to quote Shakespeare, "We are all punished."