Bullying: A Rant and Some Tips
It seems like all year that I’ve been hearing things about bullying on the news and elsewhere. The headline usually involves a youth suicide, a youth beating, or an attempt to raise awareness about bullying. The latter is the most vexing to me, because it seems to focus on either GBLTQ youth (i.e. gay, bi-sexual, lesbian, transgender, queer/questioning) or asinine suggestions on how to prevent bullying. Most people think this is just a discrimination or education issue.
Until late 2010, it didn’t seem like we needed to put much effort into bullying prevention, because youth suicides and bullying casualties didn’t seem to happen much. One bullied kid kills themselves, and we just pass an anti-bullying policy in schools. Then, in September, five young people kill themselves because they were either gay or perceived to be gay. This event causes many musicians, authors, celebrities, politicians, activists, and other people to either raise awareness about bullying or come up with solutions.
These are just a few of many young people who have committed suicide before the September’s Children’s Tragedy, not necessarily because they were gay, but because they were different.
It is for this reason, as well as intolerance, that caused the September’s Children to take their own lives. It is for this reason that more youth will continue to do this unless something is done.
Some adults say, “Kids will be kids.” Some teens do nothing or participate in the bullying for fear of being bullied themselves or to fit in.
The whole point of being a teenager is figuring out who you want to be, not what somebody else tells you to be.
How are teachers supposed to care about their students when all they’ve been told to do is prepare them for college and get good test scores to make the school look good?
How are parents supposed to raise their kids well if they either refuse to listen to their child’s views or assume they already know what is best for them?
How are students supposed to find who they are when they have to worry about being normal?
Parents, teachers, and students must be involved with one another for non-educational reasons as well as educational ones. Just because a student is making good grades, doesn’t mean that they are doing well. Adults around a student’s life need to be willing to ask, “How are you?” or “What’s wrong?” if they are troubled. Parents and teachers need to listen to students without judging them and try to see things from their point of view.
Students need to keep an open mind when dealing with their peers as well as adults. When it comes to peers, they shouldn’t make assumptions based on how a person looks or what clique they are from. They need to get to know a peer’s head and heart before they judge. In addition, they need to be willing to talk to a parent or another adult if they are having issues. Even though adults may not understand what it is like to be a teen today, if they are good people, then they should be willing to at least listen.
Ultimately, the key to ending bullying, or at least reducing it, is acceptance and tolerance of people’s differences and the willingness to find out what we have in common with each other.
According to the book, The Geeks Will Inherit The Earth, teens who are ostracized in high school because they are different will be admired for who they are in college and beyond. However, some teens can’t afford to wait that long.
Now is the time to unite and end bullying the right way; MAKE IT STOP!!
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