I dealt with and witnessed bullying myself all through my public school experience. Below is a letter to the editor of Star-News I had sent about 2 years ago. Apparently it still rings true:
I have just finished Friday's Nation section....once again my eyes were met by articles on teen violence in school, school shootings, teen arrests and the like. This has become a commonplace occurance in our public school system. It seems that the media is ecstatic to have something to report on other than Britney Spears' divorce or Presidential candidates empty promises of a newer, better U.S. With this in mind I am left to wondering the obvious ' why are our children so apt to violent acts in their school?' Aside from placing blame on inanimate objects that cannot, ultimately, be held responsible for the 'influence' it has on our youth, why not place some responsibility with the public school system and it's employees?
I am a product of the public school system. I went to public school all of my life and graduated with the class of 2003. I was not popular by any means until I switched schools after my freshman year to escape the torture of my classmates.For almost all of my years in a particular system I was subject to the physical and mental abuse of other students, sometimes seen by a teacher who would ,in turn, act like it was not happening and, more often, not seen by an authority figure leaving me to fend for myself and then deal with consequences of standing up for myself, while the person bothering me was punished for our recent actions and not for the barrage of abuse they had been subjecting me to. I will not go into excessive detail as to what I had to deal with, but it was enough to make me feel inadequate and consider dropping out at an early age. I have since learned that is not true and have recently finished an Associates degree with plans to continue my education.
My point is, I have seen and experienced the way that some of our teachers, viewed as the authority in our system, condone cruel, taunting behavior among students. Standing idly by as a student is verbally abused or, taking it a step further, as to laugh at the bullies' remarks. It makes me wonder...have our teachers become subject to the clique mentality? Afraid to so much as tell a student ' what you are doing is wrong and you should stop it', for fear of being rejected by the 'in' crowd. Students often look to school employee's for advice and some sort of approval, especially when they cannot find it at home. Perhaps the lack of intervention by a teacher is enough to push a student over the edge, a student who is left feeling inadequate in comparison to others their own age, whose feelings are then reiterated by a school employee's sometimes deliberate negligence of the situation, which is the same as bullying the student yourself. If employees are unaware of how to deal with these situations, then our system should offer bullying seminars to them so that they will be better educated on the signs of bullying and ways to deal with it. Simply telling a child to 'stop being so cruel' is enough to make the difference in some situations. Teachers are the 'authority' in this system, they should be leading the next generation by example.
Thank you for your time...
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