Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Question of the Week: Question #39

In honor of Back-To-School Week, I've been thinking about all the issues today's generation faces. Sure, we had to contend with things like boys and cliques and annoying teachers, but everything just seems so much heavier nowadays. Have a question? I'd love to hear it, so feel free to email me (mellow1422 [at] aol) or ask me on Facebook or Twitter, friends! Today's question is...

What do you think is the biggest issue facing schools today?
There's a serious virus going around. A purely evil one. It's an epidemic that's spreading like wildfire across elementary school playgrounds, middle school lunch rooms and high school hallways. And its speed? Well, it's making itself known at unprecedented and costly rates.


Maybe you've seen bullying take place firsthand. Maybe you've been the target of bullying. Maybe you were the one doing the bullying.

Or maybe you've heard the news about the recent suicides of young people who were victims of bullies. Maybe you were shocked that bullying could have such devastating consequences.

I wish I could say I was shocked, but sadly, I wasn't. I wish I could say that bullying was as foreign to us as ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.

But it's not, and if the national headlines can teach us anything, it's that bullying is surely no longer just child's play. It's no longer just a classmate laughing at the color of your shoes or laughing at the way you throw a baseball. Granted, these forms of bullying still exist, but now the taunting seems to know no age, gender or race boundary. Peer pressure. Insults. Harassment. A snide remark. Taunting.
Is this a sign of the future? Is this the world the next generation is going to call home because they don't know any different? All too often, we forget that words last far longer than the few seconds it takes for them to leave our lips. The sting can last a lifetime, or in some cases, cut a young life short. You'd be amazed at what people still remember in five, 10 or even 20 years after the fact. Words have power, and they can hurt. Plain and simple.

So what can you do? How can you put an end to the cycle of bullies? I've never tolerated bullies; in fact, they've been my pet peeve my entire life. I simply won't tolerate people putting others down. My parents raised me with the mentality that no one deserves to be bullied. I still live firmly by that mentality today.

No one deserves to be afraid of going to school, work or to just walk down the street. Bullies want you to live in fear, to constantly be questioning yourself. Don't give them that power.

That's why I'm so glad to see so many organizations stepping up to combat this epidemic. Silence only perpetuates the problem and gives it a stigma that this is a taboo topic that everyone is afraid to talk about and address.

I won't stand for bullying. I hope you'll stand with me. Together, we're stronger than any bullies and their tactics.

[Photos via We Heart It]


  1. I think about this all the time. The bullies back in school are bullies now and it drives me crazy. It's just so sad and I am so grateful you've brought greater light to the problem.

  2. Bullying comes in many forms and is absolutely a problem today. OK, it's probably always been a problem. But somehow it seems meaner today or more prevalent. Or maybe we are just more vocal about it? There are, sadly, so many more ways to bully today, thanks to social media. Kid bullies grow up to be grownup bullies...and it just continues. It is a huge problem and the more we talk about it, the more we can hope to temper it and help those who fall victim.

  3. Bullying has always been around, and probably isn't going anywhere. It also hasn't exactly gotten more vicious; the nastiest things kids can say about each other were said long, loooong before this generation. I think the main difference today is that the way we communicate within this culture has changed so drastically that kids can't get away from it. Bullies text at them and gang up on them on their facebook pages and post horrible things about them on public forums (which other jerks then 'like'), at any time of day, and the only way to avoid it is through isolation- no cell phone, no facebook, avoid all of the ways that their peers communicate with each other.

    On top of that, most of these kids have even less of a support structure than we did when we were getting bullied. Teachers are being almost forcibly restricted from becoming personally involved in their students' lives (out of fear of lawsuits); administrative measures taken to avoid the one-on-one time that a handful of bad teachers would use to abuse their students, and that a profound majority would use to pull one of their students aside and ask 'are you ok?'. Teachers are afraid to hug their students, no matter how much one might need one. And a lot of parents are so alienated from their kids, so uninvolved, or just burned out from busy lives that a lot of them might not notice anything's wrong until it's too late.

    But this isn't going to be solved through legislation (like, say, Lady Gaga was pushing for). It would be a dark day when there are broad, sweeping laws passed to punish anyone who hurts anyone's feelings- plenty of people have their feelings hurt by anything but pure praise and flattery. There's a difference between a comment that stings and 'bullying,' and those who have been bullied know it. Think at this point, the only way to help this problem is to start really communicating again, to be each other's resource to draw on when the bullies descend, to offer some honesty (which in the long run is far more comforting than false praise) when someone has been buried under insults, and to make sure to ask 'are you ok?' if someone seems to be struggling. To tip the scales back towards more positive interactions than negative ones.


Your lovely comments make my day so much sweeter! Thanks for stopping by and saying hello!


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