In our Schools… Bullying is an Adult Problem There Must be an Attitude of Change

Contrary to what many people believe, bullying is an adult problem, not a child’s problem. Adults are entirely to blame for bullying in our schools because they do not stop it. Bullies bully because they can, and because they can get away with it and adults decide when, and who will get away with bullying.

Bullying is not a “part of growing up” or even “boys will be boys” problem. Bullying is an adult believing that its “part of growing up” and an adult believing “that boys will be boys”.

Adults who did not experience severe bullying may excuse a bully by saying, “Back in my day, bullying was just something we all had to go through to make us tougher.” These adults show a lazy or uneducated attitude towards bullying. The children under their care are living in a risky and unsafe environment where bullying will be excused and tolerated.

Some others might say, “Back in my day, bullying wasn’t that bad.” There is some merit to this belief. Thirty-five years ago, we did not have “classes” on how to bully, by way of violent television and movies, raunchy comedy, sexually degrading pornography, violent video games and cyberbullying on the internet.

We adults need to change our attitudes about bullying. Whatever is unacceptable behavior in the adult world is unacceptable behavior in a child’s world. If an adult were bullied at work, for example, there could be repercussions for that type of behavior, which may include the bully being fired, disciplined, or even a lawsuit. In addition, if the bullied worker chooses not to do anything, they could leave their job and go to work somewhere else. Under the same conditions, could a bullied child have his or her bully fired or easily decide to leave school? This has proven to be unlikely.

At some time in our life, we will all be touched by an act of bullying or the aftereffects of bullying. Suicide, (“bullycide”), depression, anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorders, serious emotional and physical illnesses; these are just some of the things that can be caused from bullying. Bullying is leaving a wake of victims, (who become bullying survivors), all over the country. In addition, many of these survivors will suffer the emotional consequences of bullying all their lives.

Bullying and abuse in our schools will only be removed from our schools by the combined effort of many concerned and compassionate individuals, through parental teachings, social education (inside the classroom) and financial means.

Education is the key to every successful action we achieve in our individual lives, but when a group is educated, they gain synergy in a powerful movement. Communities, teachers, parents and students must build a consistent, planned program to educate schools and classrooms about the dangers of bullying because all children deserve to go to school to learn in a peaceful and safe environment.

Some of the things we must do as educators and parents are to:
• Have a plan of action to educate students and communities about bullying
• Select programs to teach about the consequences of bullying
• Prepare students to react and take action when they see bullying
• Focus attention on good behavior – Seize the teaching moments
• Teach that bullying will not be tolerated
• Be consistent, persistent and diligent in the resolve to stop bullying
• Teach victims of bullying that they have the power to empower themselves, and
• Teach bullies that they have the power to change, thus empowering themselves

I, and Bully Police USA, challenge all who wish to make a difference, for the one child, or many children, being bullied, by participating in BULLYING PREVENTION EDUCATION WEEK, October 17 through 21, 2005.

Only through a colaberative effort will adults face the problem of bullying and change the attitudes of those who work and serve our children in our schools.