Preventing bullying is up to us

Thursday, November 7, 2019

The Reader’s Viewpoint

The death of Diego, a 13-year-old student in Southern California, in September, is tragic. It shouldn’t have happened. In the newscast, I saw several students standing by or nearby and not doing anything to intervene. After the event, I saw parents demonstrating mob mentality directed at the superintendent of the school or at the school itself. This is the example they set for their children?

In todays’ world many want to blame the school, the teachers, their community, the police or whoever? Did they stop to think about their contribution to whatever tragedy has occurred? Sometimes it is more difficult to look within ourselves and into our own lives than it is to point the finger at someone or something else.

No one wanted this to happen to the young man, not even the perpetrators, but it did and each of us needs to hold ourselves accountable for changing the mind set of our children by setting good examples on how to problem-solve and handle frustration without physical, verbal or emotional nastiness; that means parents, students and schools need to do better. Not one of the aforementioned can do it alone or is blameless.

In the news the questions presented by the newscasters, were “Where was the school? Did they know anything about Diego’s situation? If they did what were they doing about it? Where were the teachers or supervising staff?” They showed footage of adults raising their fists, screaming, yelling.” And I thought to myself, “and we wonder why there is so much bullying?” What kind of example are these adults and the news displaying for our communities? Point the finger, get mad, get nasty, jump to conclusions, blame others – don’t wait for the facts – get others wound-up. These behaviors are examples of BULLYING.

What I propose is looking at ourselves. Do we allow bullying behavior by our spouse or ourselves, between our children, within the neighborhood, at sporting events, on the road, in the cyber world? Do we teach our children to be kind, supportive, find out the facts, and to go to a trusted adult if a difficult situation arises. How do we react when keyboard bullying on social media occurs? Do we jump on the bandwagon, support allegations without finding facts? These are examples of bullying.

We realize that as parents we cannot always be everywhere in every situation to protect our children. Schools are no different. Those who want to do wrong, will find a place or a time to carry out their intentions. Perhaps a supervising person or parent just checked on the kids in a particular spot and then moved away or turned their attention elsewhere and in that instant a bullying act was carried out.

If every adult in our world demonstrated appropriate behavior within our own lives, bullying would not exist. We can’t change others, but we can change ourselves. Each of us needs to be positive role models for our youth, in our own homes, in our neighborhoods, on social media, at sporting events, on the road, in a group when protesting something we do not agree with, and in the schools. Bullying can be lessened one person at a time – be a part of the solution.

Gail Richardson

Laurel

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