Sunday, November 20, 2011

Let's talk: Bullying

I've been thinking a lot about bullying. Not a big surprise given it's presence in my local community at the moment. As you can see by the pic, I'm saying NO to bullying. This is part of a facebook campaign by the local youth services here in Ballarat to curb bullying in the schools. I've been involved in youth services programs off and on over the years but this one is close to my heart.
I was bullied and harassed as a child, teenager and as an adult. Each time I felt powerless to stop it, like it was somehow my fault that people found something to pick on me in a nasty fashion. It was as if the whole world was conspiring against me (cliche alert) to make me feel bad, or not good enough because people made me feel that way.
I like to think that I can handle it, that I'm strong enough to put it behind me and tell myself that I'm a good person and that these people (and I use this term only in the biological sense) are being cruel because they've got their own issues to deal with.
Of course, the scary thing is that is is a vast minority who believe that bullying is something that should be stopped. Schools say they can't stop it, that it's too hard to police and they have better things to do than ensure that their students human rights are not being violated. Because that is what it is. It's a violation of human rights (for more information please check out ).
The law protects schools as there is currently NO effective legislation in Australia preventing it or making the schools responsible for it when it does happen. They can say they know about it when it happens but adapt a 'hey what can we do about it?' attitude about it.
Kids who bully or are bullied are at risk of developing serious mental health issues as a result of verbal, physical or any other type of abuse. That is UNACCEPTABLE.
The truly ignorant out there believe that it is up to the parents to do something. That the rest of us Singletons (Bridget Jones term) should just sit back and ignore it because it doesn't affect us personally. Those people will then point out that it is hard work.
Well damn, what were they expecting?
Anything that is worth it on a scale such as this is going to be a lot of HARD WORK because it is worth it.
As a member of the community it frightens me that this is the attitude of those who are supposed to fight the battle instead.

I don't see a petition, just on it's own, being the cure to all this. What we need is a change in legislation, a bill that holds schools (and other educational institutions) responsible for instilling a police-able Zero Tolerance Bullying policy for their students, teachers and subcontractors. If they are unable to do this then they should be forced to pay a fine to charities that work towards helping victims of bullying.
I'm not looking for short term solutions. I'm looking at the picture, seeing the details as well as the scope.
Don't be ignorant.
Don't let others be either.
If you liked this post, please share it with someone else. Comments are always welcome.
Make a change. Be a leader. Promise that you won't be silent on this topic just because of another's cliche`d and ignorant perspective.

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