The word that has jarred people the past few years, the one that creates a stir in any conversation about the way people are treated, is bullying.
But what does anyone actually do when it comes to handling the issue?
I would encourage you to take a look at stopbullying.gov to find the laws and statutes that exist in your state, but note what the repercussions of bullying are.
Because the examples that I have both come from North Carolina, that is the state I looked at.
According to Stop Bullying, in North Carolina bullying has both laws and policies to protect victims of bullying, but when you look for the consequences of bullying, everything falls to the responsibility of the institution where the bullying occurs.
Essentially, the whole process is muddled with words so that you can feel “safer” about going to school, or sending your child to school, but there is no legitimate process for handling the issue.
Since I told you I had two examples, I’ll start with a personal one.
Interestingly enough, North Carolina believes that cyberbullying doesn’t occur between adults,
because nobody has ever been stalked or harassed online after they turned 18, and so the law only applies to minors.
The exchange above happened between a person that would go on to represent our school on a national level, despite a number of issues with other students. Since she carried that kind of report, when we found ourselves in her path, we reported it to student affairs and the national organization that the student belonged to.
The response from the university…
That we should leave her alone and avoid any campus activity that she would likely attend.
Again, she virtually ran the university’s student government, so basically we were being told not to participate in anything.
Because we were the problem.
Demoralized that the university would slap us in the face, it’s hard to believe that anyone actually takes bullying seriously unless it’s happening to them. But what should a victim do when the powers-at-be choose to do nothing?
That brings me to my second example.
Paige and I were in North Carolina after our honeymoon and I was told a story about an employee whose son was being bullied, and she has had to miss work because of it.
Essentially, her son was being harassed in class by some other punk that wouldn’t leave him alone. The student complained to the teacher, who did nothing, until his mom had to complain to the school. The teacher separated the two boys for a few weeks, and because the issue had calmed down, move the two students so that the bully was sitting directly behind the victim.
After a few days of being harassed again, the victim took justice into his own hands and hauled off and punched the kid.
Of course, the victim was reprimanded for getting violent, but what was he supposed to do?
Now, after hitting the guy that was bullying him, his mom has had to go back into school to discuss her son’s behavior. Oh, and the teacher put the bully in the seat behind the victim so that he can go right back to harassing the kid because he knows if the victim hits him again the victim will be suspended.
Tell me how any of that makes sense.
What type of society are we trying to build where we fake emotion,
thanks Facebook, and tell someone they are protected until they’re an actual victim?
What is it that we’re going for when the victim is always wrong?
I don’t have answers to either of those questions, but as a kid that got beat up in sixth and seventh grade, I’m curious to know what your suggestions are.
My bullies stopped after I hit them back, but what do you do when that doesn’t end it?