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The illusion of combating bullying

Posted on April 1, 2014 by Sunny South News

Bullies exist at every school in every town throughout the province and across the country — it is an inevitable reality but everybody everywhere talks about eliminating bullying in schools and on the playground.

So why does it still exist?

Hiding in the crevices of school hallways, while running rampant in classrooms and outside, sometimes undetected.

Schools in Alberta preach the anti-bullying gospel and attempt to instil proper values in students with the notion of not being a bully and/or a victim of bullying.

Teachers tell students if bullying occurs to report it to the proper authorities and it will be dealt with immediately. Principals talk to bullies about the zero tolerance policy at the school and tell parents about said bullying. Principals and teachers also talk to parents about the promise of making a student, who is being bullied, safe and secure within the school walls and on supposed supervised play areas outside of the inner walls.

Many times bullying goes unnoticed or is swept under the carpet, as to not stir up emotions and cause a disturbance. Often, bullies are known but there is very little a teacher or principal can do, in respect to discipline and/or consequences — natural or otherwise.

The old adage — it takes two to tango — still holds a bit of validity in 2014. If two or more students are involved in a kerfuffle — usually, someone starts it and someone finishes it or at least fuels the fire.

Sadly, it happens more often than not. It happens in the workplace too. Bullies are sometimes a never-ending story — with a severe unhappy conclusion. Bullying needs to be nipped in the bud before it becomes a behavioural issue.

Sometimes, the bully and the one being bullied transforms into a reversal of roles. If a person is bullied day in and day out, eventually he/she may resort to sticking up for his/her self or might even bully other kids without even realizing it. A vicious circle with casualties.

In today’s schools, policies exist to protect students from being bullied. Policies are also in schools so students can pretty much get away with murder without being reprimanded for their actions and/or schools don’t want the hassle of having to deal with disgruntled parents or messing with rights of a student.

There is a time when a bully needs to be unmasked to reveal his/her true identity. Behind the veil of anger and perhaps insecurity lies a person who may or may not know better and is in fact a victim too but a bully can also cause a whole list of ailments for the one being bullied.

A lifetime of resentment, mental health issues, insecurities, and so on and so. Probably the same issues the bully has. One and in the same.

No parent wants their child to be the villain in the story. No parent wants their child to be the victim either. There is no superhero to save the day. But… a bully can learn to act accordingly in a civilized world and a victim can persevere and learn how to deal with a bully in the right way. Violence is never an option.

There is no weapon stronger than well thought out written or spoken words. Talking about issues will shed light on problems both known and unknown. A bully needs the proper understanding that bullying is not tolerated and a person being bullied needs to know it is OK to talk about being bullied without judgement and repercussions.

Anti-bullying messages need to an ongoing awareness campaign, as it never goes away.

Parents need to be diligent and take a vested interest in a child’s life, to know when something is up. Students need to be proactive and report bullying when it occurs and bullies need to stop.

Teachers and school administration need to listen to a student’s plea for help if being bullied and not let it go unresolved. And the bully needs to know it’s not OK to keep on being inconsiderate with their words and actions.

Bullying is harmful to both the one being bullied and the bully. There are no winners.

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