Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Bullies: They're the Real Weirdos

I remember as a kid a derogatory slang word used to describe people who just didn't fit your idea of coolness was the word "weirdo." Do you remember that? Kids who dressed in styles different from the norm were weirdos. Kids who wore brush cuts while most their classmates wore their hair long were weirdos. Kids who chose not to conform to the social mores of school life were weirdos. Kids who perhaps were unfortunate enough to be blessed with some noticeable physical deformity were weirdos. What a horrible time it was if you were on the receiving end of the jokes of others.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Today we call such derogatory behaviour "bullying." Kids still suffer the same abuse at the hands of their peers, and while society is right in condemning bullying, I would like to suggest that it has not yet gone anywhere near far enough in dealing with bullies.

How many more victims of bullying will finally snap under the abuse and retaliate creating another Columbine? How many more of our children will suffer such intense internal turmoil that they see no option other than taking their own lives, all the while society continues to sit there and wonder how that could happen? Consider this:
"An analysis by officials at the US Secret Service of 37 premeditated school shootings found that bullying, which some of the shooters described 'in terms that approached torment,' played the major role in more than two-thirds of the attacks. A similar theory was expounded by Brooks Brown in his book on the massacre; he noted that teachers commonly looked the other way when confronted with bullying." (Wikipedia article on the Columbine Massacre)
I don't know what the answer is, but whatever it is, it is not what we're doing now. Despite all the education to bring awareness to the issue of bullying, almost any cursory glance through any major newspaper reveals that the problem persists.

Maybe it is time that lawmakers declared and punished bullying like the major crime it is. Maybe it is time that parents be held more accountable for the actions of their minor children. Maybe it is time school boards supported their teachers, unlike one teacher friend of mine who was actually chastised by his school board for standing up to schoolyard bullies. Maybe it is time to finally begin standing up for the rights of the victims, instead of always being so concerned about the perpetrator's rights and freedoms. Maybe laws need to be changed to say that, if you've been proven guilty of a crime, you have NO rights until you've paid your debt to society. Maybe it is time that we finally take a much tougher stand against bullies at all levels of society.

After all, they're the real weirdos.

Photo Source: Unknown (via Facebook)

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