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Op-Ed: Hush Don't Tell, Bullies and the School Kids Welcome the Combat Zone

By KJ Mullins     Apr 18, 2008 in World
The world our children live in is a maze of joy and sadly struggle. Too often bullies mar the way of our 'babies' and turn what should be enjoyable activities such as learning into a nightmare. But has bullying changed since we were kids?
Yes and no. At some time in most peoples lifetime they confront a bully. If you haven't look into the mirror and you may see a bully staring back at you. The difference with today's bullies and those of yesterday isn't that they are different, it's that they have more avenues to pursue their victims. Facebook and MySpace have had cases where a bully uses these media social networking platforms to terrorize. The cool kids think they are pretty much a hoot.
Nowadays kids do have more to contend with then when many of their parents were growing up. A fight in the schoolyard years ago dealt with fists and maybe if it was really rough a knife. Nowadays that fight is liable to be an honest battle til the death match.
Kids today deal with with violence, guns, drugs, AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, teen pregnancy, teen suicide, and bullying. We dealt with drugs, parents that just didn't understand and bullying.
Each day 160,000 children in United States miss school due to bullying. Stress related illnesses are cropping up in schools because of bullying. What has happened in just one generation that our children are so afraid of other children?
Going to the bathroom at school can be a danger zone. Each month 282,000 students are attacked in secondary schools. The school grounds are sometimes the most dangerous places in a town. And don't expect the staff of the school to come between a bully and their victims, the statistics show that only happens 4% of the time.
Kids know how to kill today. Almost anyone in school can tell you how to make a bomb and if not how to where to find out how. The means to learn how to fight back are there they just aren't the right means. Is there a right way though to fight a bully? We remember standing up to a bully may mean a black eye, today it may mean a gravestone holding your name.
Peer Mediation can help but it's not always the wisest move. Last year at a school in Toronto a child was beaten when he moved into help another. He was part of the elementary school's Peer Mediation group. He was kicked in the head hard enough to require medical attention. In the end seven students were taken from that school and placed throughout the area to finish the term. There were no news reports on the matter for all of the children involved were in the eighth grade. I know of the case only because I was part of the parent's group at that school.
Next week is the 11th annual National Day of Silence on April 25. Students take a vow of silence to protest bullying, harassment and discrimination in schools.
"I think it's time for me to stand up ... and help educate, because I'm lucky enough to have been given a voice to be able to talk and grab the attention of people," said 28-year-old Lance Bass, who's gay.
"Everyday, thousands of students are silenced. They're silenced by fear, they're silenced for being who they are. ... They're brothers, they're sisters, they're gay, they're straight, they're you, they're me."
Do I think this day will make a huge difference? Sad to say but chances are that it won't change a thing.
I have no answers on how to stop the madness. If I did I would be a millionaire spouting my pearls of wisdom at every education boards meeting place. I know enough to say that bullies will always be with us. There will always be those who root the on. Chances are their victims will lose a bit of self esteem with every taunt and punch that comes their way.
That is until someone wiser than I can figure out how to change the human beast known as the Bully.
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