Today I attended an anti-bullying rally, walk, and party at my daughter’s school. I commend highly all the students, families, and school personnel that were present. Accolades especially to Channel 15, here in South Carolina, who realized it was an event worthy of some coverage. That being said, I must admit that I was shocked and disappointed by the attendance. All schools from primary through high school were involved. I expected there to be an enormous turn-out for such an important event. I expected families to realize how horrible bullying in this country has become and to welcome this opportunity as a teaching opportunity to instill values in their kids. No wonder there is such a problem when more families cannot take a few hours on a Saturday to come out and show their kids that they do not tolerate these or any other types of hate crimes. And yes, I said crimes.
Bullying is different in some crucial ways than it was when I was a kid. It is often no longer one-on-one, but a gang of childrenon one child. It is no longer name-calling and maybe a scuffle or fist-fight. It is daily torment. It is facing assault and battery every day. Can you imagine trying to work under such conditions? It is broken bones from toilet seats being slammed on your fingers, or being pushed so fiercely, you break your ankles. It is having your face pushed in a used toilet into someone elses’ feces. This is horrifying to me that children are committing these crimes on children, and you need to be aware that it is an epidemic in our society.
If you think your child has never been bullied, sadly, you are probably wrong. They were probably too humiliated to share the problem with you or don’t think you can do anything about it. Children are killing themselves every single day because they can no longer take the daily punishment they undergo at the hands of these bullies. Our kids are committing suicideand we sleep in on a Saturday morning instead of using the opportunity to take a stand and make a difference.
My kids didn’t want to go. I made them go. And we had a great time. But I will tell you something else. We listened to some other kids and parents describe unbelievable acts of hatred and violence and my kids realized where that bullying behavior can go if not stopped and stopped immediately. We all felt our hearts hurt and they know, more than ever before, exactly where I stand on the subject. My kids would never stand by and watch another child get bullied without intervening, even if they can only report it. They know it is wrong. Have you talked to your kids about bullying? Have you asked what they have witnessed at school? Because I guarantee you they have witnessed it. Have you had the guts to ask if they have ever been bullied or bullied someone else? I welcome your input on this topic and look forward to discussing this further on my blog. Being bullied is not a “character builder.” It is a crime. How do you think it should be dealt with? What can we do as families, as parents, as school personnel and as a community to end this violence? Check back as I explore the dynamics of helping our kids learn to accept themselves and others in a healthy way, how to overcome being bullied, and how to overcome being a bully!