Friday, April 9, 2010

The Bully Pulpit

It has been a long time since I made a comprehensive post on this blog, over a year as a matter of fact. I think that the analysis we had been doing was a little too clinical and dry. The time has come to rededicate this site to a subject that still has the resolution of conflict at its heart but is much more emotionally charged, for me at least. That subject is bullying. There are two recent events that have caused me to take up this gauntlet.

The first is the story of Phoebe Prince in Hadley, Massachusetts. According to the reports, this 15 year old girl was subjected to such bullying and harassment that she felt the only way to end the torture was to end her life. She was found by her younger sister hanging in the stairwell of their apartment.
I have seen many of the comments that have been posted to her story and some of them sicken me. Here is an example;

"That's so stupied.If that girl could not handle some bullying at school,then she can not handle life.She didn't kill herself cause of bullying.Something was proabalby going on at home as well.And how could she of been raped?What is a young girl like that doing dating anyway?Where were her parents?Her parents are that one to blame for this not bullying students."

And so eloquent too. Thankfully, these do not represent the vast majority of the posts. But the fact that they exist at all is troubling. The ones that vilify the bullies are nearly as bad because they don’t take into account what led them to make such bad choices in the first place and why they thought they were justified to take the actions they did with little regard or forethought to the consequences to themselves or their target.

The second event concerned a student in a martial arts class that I help instruct. He was being bullied at his school and he didn’t want to use his training because he didn’t want to hurt the bully, he was afraid he’d get in trouble and he was just dumbfounded that anyone could act that way. Similar situations have happened to my own son.

From now on, this blog will be dedicated to erasing bullies from our landscape. We will explore the options available to us and examine the motivations and causes for this behavior on the part of the bully, the target and the bystander. We will begin stand up, organize and mobilize ourselves into a group that will peacefully confront this growing problem for everyone.

Let me say this now, I have been bullied, I have stood up to bullies, I have stood by quietly and done nothing and I have been called a bully. I haven’t taken any of these roles to a great extent and bullying has not been a major trauma in my life. But, the story of Phoebe Prince, my student and so many others I have read about since I started researching this have affected me so deeply that I must do something. This blog is only the beginning.

1 comment:

The Hadder Family said...

I love that you have taken your blog in a new and exciting direction. I look forward to hearing from you on this very important and oft overlooked social cancer.