Bullying Still A Very Real Problem
Posted: February 15, 2018
Pardon me, Let's just slide this over here...
There, now that I can get up on my "soap box" and hopefully wake up my community...
BULLYING IS A VERY REAL PROBLEM IN OUR SCHOOLS!
I hope I did not offend anyone too much, the all Caps, Bold, Italics is as close as I can come to a Bullhorn in this blog.
By now you have probably heard about, read about, or been told about the mass school shooting in Florida, "Florida teen charged with 17 murder counts in school attack" - WISH TV8. While the information I have seen and heard has not related any of his possible motives, the basic story sounds very familiar. The young man, obviously troubled and dealing with a number of personal issues, finds it hard to make and keep friends. He becomes an "outcast" and suffers from Exclusion, a form of bullying that is very common among tweens and teens. Finally deciding he has "had enough", he lashes out through mass violence. This is a reoccurring theme with those who feel that their "community" has excluded them. They retaliate indiscriminately, seeking to harm as many as they can from within the community they feel has shunned them.
This same scenario may be playing out in our schools, it is certainly not something that is confined to any particular part of the country or socio-economic group. As a matter of fact, it was reported by the Daily Journal that, "Police and school officials were investigating after a threat of a school shooting was reported by students at a Center Grove school." While the details in the Daily Journal report are thin, one line stood out to me.
The group of students were tired of being bullied and were going to stick up for themselves by bringing guns to school, the student told deputies.
This report to the Sheriff's Deputies was the second one, possibly related to the same threat. It clearly calls out that more than one child felt bullied and had reached a point of wanting to "stick up for themselves" through guns and violence. The fact that two different students heard something like this and thought it credible enough to say something should be an eye-opener. It leads one to ask how many other threats and thoughts of this nature are occurring every week in our schools?
The reason these two reports, along with other reports that show there have been as many as 18 School Shootings since January 1st, get my attention is that I have been in most of the schools in the Greater Greenwood Area over the past few years talking to Teachers, Principals and others about bullying. The nearly universal response to my questions about bullying within the schools? "We don't have a bullying problem here. It just isn't happening in our school." To make this kind of statement more unbelievable, many incidents of bullying and threats of violence are reported to me and the staff at our school on a pretty regular basis. I had a mother come to me just a few days ago and tell me of the troubles she was having with her child's school over an incident where another child, 5-6 years old, threatened to "bring a gun to school and kill" her child. At 5 or 6 years old they were making this kind of threat! That a child this young even thinks in those terms is frightening and should be addressed quickly. Instead the school is fighting her and the parents of the child making the threat simply blew it off as "he is just being a butt-head."
We need to be getting more involved in the schools and the lives of our children. Programs need to be in place to help those being bullied and threatened. Programs also need to be in place to help the kids bullying and making these types of threats. It is time the term "education" returned to having meaning beyond reading, writing and math skills. Character education and efforts to help children develop higher self-esteem are needed. (No, giving every kid a trophy and making every kid a "winner" is not the answer, they see right through that kind of bull, they are smarter than that!) We need more than metal detectors and searches, we need to be looking into what is behind these threats and acts, seeking to help those who need mental or emotional support. More needs to be done to support the teachers and other school employees who are entrusted with our children and their safety, they need training and tolls to be able to respond both to incidents of violence and to the threats of violence.