THE EDITOR: There have been many offerings and countless voices regarding the worldwide issue of bullying: what is bullying, how to stop it, how to avoid being a victim, what causes bullying?
However, the voice that has been reduced to a whisper and the voice that matters most (to me) is the child’s voice because while, unfortunately, adults are also victims of bullying, the even more devastating reality is that bullying is most prevalent amongst our youngsters.
Bullying has become such a norm that many people have begun to shrug it off as they do murder. It appears we have become so insensitive that we have become like fish swimming in water unaware of its presence when it comes to bullying.
Is bullying just children being children? When a child kicks another child daily or takes his/her lunch money or leaves him/her out of the game, should it be considered bullying?
Recently, I decided to have a discussion with my Standard Four class at the Athenian Pre-Secondary School on the issue, which was followed by each pupil writing a brief reflection. I found the responses so insightful that I thought I should share a few:
Sakura Leacock wrote:
“I think bullying is hurting someone consistently or terrorising someone to get what you want all the time. I think it is a serious crime because when you bully you disobey the rights that say: ‘you must be protected from hurt; you have a right to friends and play.’
“I think it should be dealt with very severely, meaning if it is happening in school, that person should be expelled; if it is happening at work, the police should be contacted. When you disrespect those rights mentioned, it makes the person being affected feel like less of a person or like they’re not good enough. In closing, my advice is: don’t bully, don’t become a victim and if you do become a victim, tell an adult, don’t give up your rights.”
Chrichelle Thomas wrote:
“Bullying is intimidating weaker persons. I think bullying is a crime because intimidating other people is reducing their sense of confidence thereby making them feel fearful of others. We stop it by imparting our knowledge and educating others who think that bullying is a way of life.
“Repeat offenders should be punished and charged with petty crime. Violence towards others is not an option, neither is hurting yourself because of being bullied. Therefore, I propose first education then punishment.”
Kristyn Craigwell wrote:
“I think bullying is a very horrible thing. Imagine that you are being told that you look ugly. Bullying is when somebody is mocking you consistently and won’t stop. I know it’s scary. I think bullying is a crime because when you bully someone you can hurt them emotionally and physically. You can beat them so bad they can die, which is against the law.
“I think bullying should be dealt with by giving the bully community service every time he/she bullies. If that doesn’t work, then the person would never learn, and he/she should be sent to prison where he/she would be taught some manners.”
Well, TT, there you have it. If nothing else, I hope it provokes thought. We should consider that they each felt bullying is a crime. They each felt that it should be addressed by the law and they each expressed that there was no excuse. What do you think? Is bullying a crime?
K REECE via e-mail