IS IT JUST DRAMA OR IS IT BULLYING?
Bullying—the act of harassing or intimidating a person—is wrong pure and simple. Statistics for 2010 show that over 2.7 million kids are bullied every year in the U.S., and of that number, more than 160,000 miss school because they are bullied.
Bullying is defined as the continued harassment or intimidation of a person who appears to be weaker or different. Some people, like the father of a student who posted a video on line of a classmate who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, feel it is the victim’s fault, and that his or her actions are to blame. Others believe that kids have always joked about someone and it’s just “drama”, and should be ignored. But, I have to ask, is it just drama or a victim’s fault when personal property is destroyed, jackets are slashed, violence is threatened or actually carried out, or rumors are spread through social media? You decide.
· Two first grader boys are pushed then punched by a second grader, and forced to sit in a mud puddle at recess. Drama or Bullying?
· A 12-year-old middle school girl receives daily notes of sexual innuendos from three girls for over a month. One day, she returns from lunch to find tampons taped all over her desk. Drama or Bullying?
· A ninth grade boy is repeatedly called names because of his small stature, and his clothes are ripped and thrown in the trash after football practice. Drama or Bullying?
· Two 13-year-old girls post messages on social media making fun of a 12 year old girl’s appearance, family, and post pictures of her walking, talking, sitting in class, etc. with derogatory comments attached. Drama or Bullying?
These are just four of the milder examples of what I call bullying. In each case, the “authorities” in charge determined no bullying occurred, and labeled the incidents as “drama” even though one of these young people committed suicide to end the torment.
Books such as Eric Gale’s The Bully Book and Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall are bringing light to the effects of bullying, but it’s not enough. Publishers, editors, and writers can do more.
“To know is to learn.”