Because Maybe We Don’t Care

I talked about bullying in the past but on seeing some recent news stories I thought I’d dive back in but in another part of that unfortunately large lake. 

I was bullied as a kid. 

Welcome to the world, right?

Everyone is bullied during their life, whether by schoolmates, friends, lovers, family, or strangers. 

There have always been bullies and always will be. 

There will always be those who are compelled towards nastiness because something within them is broken. 

They are sharks that smell blood in the water. 

Bullying is never good, is never right, and is never fair, but it is desperately damaging to kids who are still trying to figure out who they are and why they were born. 

School bullies are perhaps the worst because they can act out in the open, without hiding behind a boardroom door, or behind the bedroom door, and can do whatever they please and be cheered for their actions. These are the gladiatorial heroes of the hallways, cheered on to greater and greater feats of cruelty by the masses who only want to be entertained. The laughter ends, of course, when those students have the gaze of the bully turned towards them and they realize very quickly how cruel and uncaring the world is. And how quickly the tables turn. 

By cheering them on we empower them to do as they please. 

And I don’t doubt for a moment that these kids are damaged. 

These kids have been abused, or have other issues in their lives that made them who they are. 

I am not sure if I ever met a bully that wasn’t damaged, even if I didn’t see it. 

The bullies I knew did it for attention, to get that laughter from others. They did it out of meanness, to take out their own frustration with the world on someone else, someone they perceived as weaker. And they did it because they could. 

I met with all of those. 

With the advent of social media and immediacy I would wager that bullying has gotten both worse and crueler because now there is an audience outside of the immediate. 

Repercussions are never thought about, it’s the rush of adrenaline that you get when you’re in the moment and that jolt of attention afterwards. I don’t think there’s ever a thought that this will have life beyond that moment, perhaps long beyond it. 

Just as there is never a thought that the damage done to the bullied could lead them to self harm.
What does a bully care?

We have weaponized social media in a way that rewards bullies because we are desperate to watch drama and to watch people get beaten down, one way or another. It’s great viewing. 

It lets us feel our own wave of adrenaline without being there or being involved. 

We certainly don’t care that that person has PTSD because of that attack, or that they harmed themselves because of it. 

We were just watching, it’s not our fault it happened. 

But we still watched. 

We still tuned in. 

And some of us shared it. 

Because MAN, you have GOT to see this. 

There is plenty of blood to go ‘round. 

And plenty of it is on the schools and the communities. 

The schools look the other way. 

They have always looked the other way until they have no choice but to get involved. Until they have no choice but to act. 

Many times it’s someone with power or ‘juice’ in the school doing the bullying and so they have means and they have support because they have people who know them and like them. 

The school certainly doesn’t want to deal with the repercussions of holding these students accountable. 

Heck, how many times have we heard of the parents being as bad as or worse than the kids at sporting events or at PTA meetings? Parents have decided that their kids are the most important ones on the earth, that they can do no wrong, and that they deserve everything they want. 

Their children are extensions of themselves and thus should have everything they had and better. 

Repercussions to their poor behavior be damned. 

The kids who are bullied are often not getting the support they need either from the school or from their parents. Or they have learned that if they squeal, as it were, that things will only get worse. 

What an awful lesson to teach our kids. 

That they should shut up and take some punishment that someone decided they deserved for a made up reason and that if they fight back or speak up things will only get worse. 

Who would want that for their child?

It’s madness. 

But it’s reality. 

Because the schools don’t have resources to deal with this, don’t have parental support to deal with it, and don’t have the respect to deal with it. They will if they have no choice but often it’s too late. 

Again, it isn’t as if these students bully behind closed doors.
They do it out in the open. 

In view of everyone. 

Many schools have cameras. They have security. They have people in the halls. 

But no one is doing anything. 

And I get it. 

I hate it but I get it. 

Do you want to be a teacher that risks their health, safety, and perhaps life by intervening?

Do you want to risk your livelihood if you overstep bounds in trying to stop a fight?

Teachers are supported only as far as the school board sees a reason to support them, and that’s it. 

And with many kids that get into trouble for bullying their parents immediately raise as big of an issue as the bullied, claiming that their child is being targeted and that they didn’t do anything. 

Push all of this to the court of social media and whatever the facts are won’t matter because the ‘people’ will have decided what happened for themselves. 

So why does a school want to get involved until they have to?

We won’t even let them teach anymore since we have so many shifting rules on WHAT they can teach. 

Don’t teach about gender, don’t teach about race, don’t say anything that may upset someone of Christian faith, don’t upset White people. 

Good lord. 

You can only tell part of the story, to some of the kids, part of the time because their parents will become outraged if you don’t follow the views of whatever political party is in power. 

It’s all so much it’s no wonder bullying has gotten so bad. 

That our kids are so beaten down. 

That we are wondering what our future holds. 

Bullying is everywhere. 

But it doesn’t have to be. 

We are working to out it in the workplace, and to strengthen people not to accept it in dating, but in schools it is the same old story. 

Nothing has changed. 

And with the advent of social media and instant infamy, it’s gotten worse. The bully can become a ten minute legend and the bullied will live with their pain forever as it’s shared and re-shared over and over and over again. 

It’s for parents to advocate and fight for their kids and not stop fighting but to understand that their kids aren’t guilt free sometimes. 

And it’s for the community to stop letting political bullies decide what our kids will learn because it suits their momentary agenda. 

Politics was dragged into schools by the parties, not by the teachers and it’s a tremendous act of gas lighting to say otherwise. 

And finally…stop. 

Stop watching and sharing cruelty. 

Stop monetizing pain. 

You don’t have to become a child of love and joy but stop being so mean hearted as to take joy in watching someone’s worst day and worst moments. 

It’s only by watching and holding accountable those who bully and in standing up for the bullied that we can finally evolve culturally to being more than beasts. 

And for that to happen, we have to start caring again. 


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