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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Who Is Responsible for Bullying?

As an old person would say "ain't nothing new under the sun," and the same can be said about bullying. Bullying has been going on since the beginning of time. However, in recent history, as school aged children begin committing suicide as a result of bullying, it has gained national attention. National activist groups as well as celebrity figures like Lady Gaga have gotten involved in the anti-bullying campaign, there has been talk of getting a sort of anti-bullying law passed, and schools are getting fingers pointed at them regularly for failure to enforce punishment on bullies...but who is responsible for bullying?

The Role of the Victims Parents:

As I watched the sad faces of Jamey Rodemeyer's family on Anderson Cooper 360 relive the torment he went through when he came out as being bisexual at age 14 and later comitting suicide, I had to stop and think, what role did his parents and the parents of some of these bullies have in this? Let me be clear, I am in NO WAY shape or form saying Jamey's parents are responsible for his decision to take his life, but I wish I could be a fly on the wall at the dinner conversations that took place in which Jamey may have told them about his awful day at school. What was their advice to him? Turn the other cheek or go to war? Did they instill a fighters instinct in him? Do parents of bullied children do that?

The only person who should readily turn the other cheek is Jesus Christ (because he is the only person to have the Godly strength to take on everyone's burdens). While I have never raised any children I can only go off my own upbringing. I was raised with a fight instinct which meant the following:

1. Anyone who picked on me better be able to eat what they serve.
2. I was never to be the victim.

While my parents did not encourage bad behavior they also did not allow me to sulk and dwell in misery of anything anyone had done or said to me. They never told me to "ignore" being mistreated. They also told me that 50% of the people I was worried about at such a young age would mean nothing to me once I switched schools, graduated, or became an adult.

The Role of the Bully's Parents:

Do parents of bullies know their kid is a bully? I think they should be able to pick up on some sort of context clues that their child. Where is this random extra money and where are these extra items coming from? Why doesn't my kid get invited over to play often with other kids? Does my kid have a lot of disciplinary problems at school? Questions like this indicate your kid could be a bully and the answers to those questions are the writing on the wall. If a parent suspects their child is a bully, that too should be rectify at home as well.

The Role of the School:

Schools also need to step in and provide strict punishment on bullies as well as take reports of bullying very seriously. However I do not feel the school is solely responsible for the actions of the kids in the school. In additon cyber bullying takes place outside of school and the school can not be held responsible for that.

So it's hard to say who is responsible for bullying but like most things, it starts on the home front. Passing a law won't stop or cut down on bullying much like passing a law did not stop people from drinking during the prohibition era, stop people from doing crime, or drugs from being sold and used.

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