As a continuation of the bullying series and from last post, I promised to share how adults fail to address the problem. Some of the problems existed 20+ years ago, but there are some new problems to add to the old ones.
Recap: The reason why I am writing about bullying is that it was just ONE (probably the only negative) of the driving forces that drove me to become a novelist at such a young age and possibly why my MC is as strong as she is.
There are several actions that adults do that seem to let us, the victims, down. I think the core of the actions are centered around one idea: they don’t want to deal with the problem.
Everyone knows of the “tattletale kids”; the ones who tell on everybody for every little thing. Are they the ones who ruin it for the rest of us? Most of the bullied don’t want to be called a tattletale on top of the list of other things we get called.
There are times it gets too hot to handle on our own and we need intercession from a grown up so we can have peace. There is a need to tell someone since the problem is out of hand. Sometimes we get what we want or it gets worse, and it all depends on what the grownups do. Here are the scenarios that commonly arise that usually leads to worse circumstances for the victims.
The Brotherly Speech: This is when the teacher/principal gets up in front of the class and give a lecture about “why can’t we just all get along?” This is usually after a kid or two tells on the bully. In a way it reeks of “I don’t want to deal with the problem so just leave me alone!” We are not all getting along because Bubba and his posse is making it hard on everyone since they pick on everyone and cause dissension. I heard this a lot when I was in school. If I heard just one more time, I was gonna scream.
The Trial: This is when the teacher or principal will call upon the victim(s) and the bully(s) to testify against each other. Most of the time we (the victims) want to remain anonymous because we KNOW Bubba and his posse will hold a grudge against us and up the ante later. It happens almost every time. After the trial we have a target on our backs. As soon as Bubba and his posse get out of detention or ISS, it’s punishing time since they know who narked on them!
Punish them All: Another common item. The bully and the victims are all put into detention or ISS together like a jailbird family. We get punished by the grownups for trying to defend ourselves and we and Bubba all get caught, and then we’ll get punished by Bubba after we serve time with him because we got him in trouble. This is usually the case when the victim fights back or we have someone interceding or both. Almost as bad as public narking but worse in that the defense leads to trouble.
Bubba’s off the Hook: This didn’t happen so much to me, but for it to exist on TV programs, skits, and stories, it must happen. This is a schema for bullying in entertainment, and the victims are trying to expose Bubba for what he is so he can get busted by the teacher. This is when the vic fights back and they get caught. Bubba is not in trouble and is the sweet little angel that put his horns in his pocket or something. As soon as the teacher or principal leave, the halo’s back off and the horns are back in place. Bubba also seems to have this to a science. He quits just before the teacher or principal ’rounds the corner. He seems to also be able to lie and get out of trouble while the victim tells the truth and gets IN trouble.
Denial: This crime is mostly committed by Bubba’s parents sometimes a teacher if Bubba is this teacher’s pet. This is when Bubba can do no wrong. I know parents want to think the best of their kids, but let’s be objective here. If I had a kid (which I don’t) I would like to know if he/she was bullying another kid. It would NOT be tolerated at all and they would be punished. This existed 20+ years ago but nowadays it is more prevalent.
The Blame Game: Every crime ever committed under the sun has this schema. It’s the victim’s fault. Bubba can’t do no wrong, so Betty had to have done something to make Bubba do that. Yeah, like what–exist? Taking this a step further, quite a few parents of bullies seem to blame the teacher for giving Bubba ISS for stuffing Betty in a locker and locking her inside with a padlock (made up story). If Betty wasn’t so nerdy, then maybe Bubba wouldn’t have done it. Ticks me off and makes me sick…
Hopping on the Bandwagon: This is the #1 worst of the lot. This is when the grownups decide to bully the kid too. There are more instances of this now than there was when I was in school. I had been bullied by an adult; it wasn’t a teacher, but an adult nonetheless. This adult was my bus driver and a bully parent. The parents of bullies also bully (sometimes). Now the teachers are getting in on it. Teachers should be fired for bullying kids. Why this even happening is beyond my comprehension. Teachers and faculty who engage in this type of behavior should be ashamed of themselves. What a way to set examples for the next generation. Freaks me out… :O
There is a young girl that I know who liked her own style of clothing. Her mother had to change her style and buy new clothes because the teachers and the kids made fun of her. I was as hot as the tenth level of hell when I heard that story!
Do Nothing: This is the opposite end of the spectrum of “Hopping on the Bandwagon”, but it’s still bad. There is a lot of this going on so that is another reason why bullying is worse than ever. Parents, teachers, etc are not doing anything. It makes me want to bash my head against a wall. In some ways the government has made this happen when no one can do much to the kids or their parents. In my day in school (in elementary school) and before they used to paddle kids in school and they would get a whoopin’ when they got home. Sometimes bullying happens off of school grounds, so nothing is done unless the victim’s parent press charges.
On a local news station here in GA there was a story about a girl who was a victim of cyber bullying. The bullies put up a Facebook page about the victim. The girl’s parents contacted the school, Facebook, etc trying to get the page taken down. The school, Facebook, or the bully parents did nothing, and some of it was due to political correctness. Long story short, the page wasn’t taken down until the girl’s parents had to press charges and sue the bullies and their parents to remove the page and for the harm it caused. Is that what we have to do now? Sue people? Charge them with assault? Really?
Screw political correctness–people are dying and getting hurt! This is why the government shouldn’t be involved. It would just complicate things that much more. Look at the Trial issue above. How much worse could it get if we have to do the same thing in legal court? Would the victim need victim protection after Bubba gets out of the Big House? It’s a bigger issue than with testifying in the principal’s office and ISS and Saturday School is the sentence.
There’s more constructive means to handle this. That’s the next post.