Friday, March 18, 2011

Bullies Beware – There’s a New Sheriff in Town

You’ve seen it.  That YouTube video where the scrawny little kid (the bully), no more than 80 pounds taunts, hits (three times) and harasses another kid at school. The kid who’s being taunted eventually fights back, body slams the bully and…game over.  *drop the mic & fade to black*  The :40 second video reminds me of a clip from WWE SmackDown!
Now, I normally don’t condone violence, but I have to be honest.  I was glad to see that bully get a beat down.  He deserved it… Yeah, I said it.  And by all accounts, most of the world agrees with me. I think there was a collective cheer heard all around the world when that kid fought back.  Why?  The bully represented the oppressor, the abuser, the mean girl, the evil boss, etc. It was a Rocky Balboa moment!  And it kinda felt like a revolution!

But seriously, bullying is very real problem in this country, and I hate it.  Every time I read a story, hear a news report or see a mom on TV mourning the loss of her kid who’s committed suicide (because they were bullied), I cringe.  It makes me mad, sad, disgusted, and I sometimes feel a sense of hopelessness for the up & coming generation.    
The truth is…we (myself included) need to ask ourselves some honest questions. What makes a kid think it’s OK for him/her to hurt someone else?  Is it something they’ve learned?  Is it a lack of discipline from their parents/guardians?  Low self-esteem?   Where does it all come from?  
I surely don’t have the answers.  But I do know what it feels like to be bullied.  I wasn’t physically traumatized, but I was relentlessly teased as a kid because of my weight.  Elementary school was difficult for me and the bullies didn’t make it any better.  But that was then and this is now….no need to dwell on the past.  
It’s not easy standing up to a bully.  I often think about the kids who don’t have the strength, both physically & mentally to process and execute that kind of courage.  And should they? After all, they’re just kids!  Some adults can’t even do it.
The bottom line is this: Kids should be able to go to school, learn, feel safe and enjoy that experience. In a perfect world, teachers, parents, communities and law enforcement would work together to recognize bullying, and enforce zero-tolerance rules against it.  Period. 
Until then, we may start seeing a lot more of these “Bully Beatdown” videos…