If you watch the news, in addition to seeing too much mischief and mayhem, you probably see too many instances where someone is verbally pushing others around.
Across America, in government and in the community, we are asking adults to show respect and demonstrate decency toward one another. The popular term is civility. It means to stop yelling at or over one another, and start talking to those with whom we do not always agree.
At its heart, an effort to stop bullying is really about showing respect and demonstrating decency in our schools and every other place where kids interact.
There were bullies when I was a kid. There were bullies long before that. Bullying has always had a destructive impact. But with the Internet and texting and YouTube, technology can make efforts to hurt and humiliate more public, more prevalent, and more personally devastating.
An important lesson for all of us is the difference between healthy and unhealthy competition. In healthy competition, those involved attempt to do their best, often making everyone better. In unhealthy competition, some do their worst to others, in the false hope of getting ahead by pushing others back. Nothing, not popularity, not privilege, not power, justifies that.
A bully operates the same way an abuser does. Isolate a victim. Overwhelm them physically and emotionally. Make them afraid or ashamed to tell family, friends, or authority figures about the problem.
So we have to change the bad attitudes that contribute to bullying. So we have to raise awareness of what bullying is and the recognition of the terrible consequences that result. So we need effective strategies to prevent bullying whenever possible and to counteract bullying whenever it occurs.
There are many tragedies and improper actions that we describe as senseless. It is truly senseless to have lives lost and lives diminished because of the abuse that bullies dole out.
Together, you can work to make bullying stop. That is the promise of this program. Thank you to all who have a hand in developing and launching this laudable effort.
Contact: Jennifer Wilson