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This place matters

Monday, October 4, 2010

Bully for you

Seems that the world has, just this minute, decided "Oh wait, bullying is a problem." I'm glad they've come to this realization, but have no idea what took them so long. Why did it take so many teens killing themselves before the world took notice?
How many times have you heard someone say kids can be so cruel? Is this just a fact of life? Are children universally evil toward each other, or is it the product, somehow, of society? Is it something to just resign oneself to? And how do we expect kids, who are young and a bit fragile, to just hold up under it?
Like I was thinking today about what the world - or my workplace in particular - would be like if people behaved the way kids at my elementary school did. My coworkers would be forever calling me a dyke, and I'd have some random person I barely know run over and shove me to the ground at lunch three or four times a week. The guy in the next cubicle over would spend his days devising new ways to hurt me over the things about which I'm most sensitive, and every now and then, someone would bust me in the face with a backpack and the HR lady would respond by demanding to know what I'd done to make that person hit me. (Okay, the backpack thing only happened once, but I'm still a little pissed. I'm Irish. It's how we roll.) How would I get anything done? I mean, I didn't take as much abuse working at that group home as I did in elementary school, and I suspect most people can say the same. And it wasn't just stuff that happened to me; I'm still ashamed of myself for it, but I can think of quite a few times when I behaved no better to some other kid.
In fact, I know quite a few people who would consider themselves very, very lucky to have gotten through elementary school with only one backpack to the face. Kids at my school got concussions from running from the bullies chasing them, were severely injured having their chairs pushed out from under them, and were verbally abused in ways that would mean a big fat lawsuit in the grownup world.
So what is it that turns cute little munchkins into vicious demons as soon as adults turn their backs, and is it inevitable? Is it just the case that fragile and vulnerable kids are gonna be tortured into suicide now and then? Or is there a way to turn the little demons? 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that something, and I can't tell you what, changed between when we were in school and now. It's just different somehow... and seems worse. I fear for my kids on some level for what is going to be happening in school when they get there.