Observations of an ordinary man

Monthly Archives: September 2015

Bullying

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My nephew has just started school and already he is being bullied. After my brother posted his rant on Facebook I was surprised at a few of the responses. Here are a couple of them:

He’ll need strategies for dealing with it to stop it in his tracks. It’s very early days and all the kids will be attempting to work out who is who in the pecking order and as [name] is very articulate, he’s likely to be making himself noticed to the wrong kids! And schools mostly do not count stuff as bullying unless it’s sustained – and that means longer than a week. I know it’s really hard, but he needs to learn how to deal with this himself now – karate classes??

And…

Have you thought about taking him to some kind of martial arts? It instills confidence and discipline. I wished I had discovered it earlier in life because then I wouldn’t have had such a hard time at school. If he appears less of a ‘victim’ he will be left alone. Failing that, if they do persist, at least he will be able to defend himself. Hope he is ok.

These comments imply that my nephew is the one that needs to change. “He’ll need strategies”, “karate classes”, “martial arts” to instil confidence and discipline. Why does he need to do those things? He is the victim. 

Why aren’t all of the comments about how the perpetrators need to change (no comments mentioned this) or how the school needs to protect him (a few did mention this)? This is being treated in the same lines as sexual assault. We seem to want to teach the potential victims how not to get the attention of potential assailants.

When did we get to the point that it is easier to say that the victims need to change? It’s simply not good enough. The perpetrators need to change. Simply making it harder for them to bully doesn’t change the underlying issue. Bullies bully for a reason. Find that reason and fix it. 

No more victimising the victim. They are not the ones that need to change. Schools should be a safe place for children and if bullying is occurring, then the school needs to do something about it. They need to have programs in place to deal with children who are bullying and support for those that are being bullied. It’s not good enough to “let them sort it out”. This is real life, not some movie where the bullied kid ends up the hero. Bullying leaves scars, some that never heal.

Our children deserve better than this.

Some bullying resources:

http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/

http://bullyingnoway.gov.au/

http://www.ncab.org.au/bullying/

http://www.edutopia.org/article/bullying-prevention-resources

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