Bullying: Some reflections

No Man Is an Island

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

John Donne

 Making the bus monitor cry – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l93wAqnPQwk

Yeah, that happened around here. I live in beautiful Rochester, NY and Greece is a northeastern suburb. Many tend to believe that suburban life is better than living in a city – any city. Well, no place is perfect – obviously. People in Greece have always prided themselves on their community, safety and schools. Sadly, in recent years they have learned the truth of Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall” for they have experienced shocking and embarrassing things – scandals with school superintendents, police officers, the Chief of Police and even the Chief’s son, and now this, and they are feeling awfully bad about it. For those who have been following the story, one man’s act of kindness has allowed people to use acts of generosity to show how they feel about this outrage, and Karen Klein has become a lightning rod for expanding the discussion of bullying to the (current) tune of $665,122. http://www.indiegogo.com/loveforkarenhklein?c=activity BTW, she is not going back to work.

Ironically, for years I’ve heard parents with kids in public school say we should have our kids there, too, to “learn how to face the toughness of life,” to “learn how to handle bullies.” Seriously? Would they choose to work in a similarly hostile environment or say “Forget this, I’m getting a different job!” Adults have that option, but yet we would put children into a “Lord of the Flies” world where not only are they powerless but their own families make light of what they tell them/tell them to “deal with it,” and then wonder why they aren’t doing well in school, don’t want to go, get “ADHD,” get depressed, do drugs, get scarred for life, drop out or kill themselves. Where’s that “trusted adult” when you need them? Think back to your own school experiences, folks. Life is tough, but should we throw children into the fire? Thank you, no. We don’t support hazing, either.

We homeschool for many reasons, and this is one. Our kids knew and played happily with all the neighbor kids since they could walk, but about 6th grade their public school playmates became vicious: starting fights with each other; mocking ours for being virgins or not fighting; trying to grope our daughter; using bigoted, racial slurs against my kids so often that I had to speak words we despise in order to tell them what they meant;* gossiping and making up lies about them… (What were they being taught in the schools?) What? Did you think homeschoolers lived in a bubble? Surprise! I had previously warned them that over time their friends would change and grow away from them and not be the same, but this was not what we expected, and I had to comfort and sadly remind them. Now, those young people are going to jail or dying in street violence and people ask “Why?” Do they imagine that marches and candlelight vigils will change the roots?

So, I stand (sadly) vindicated – about bullying in schools and how public schools often change us in ways we don’t want. Learn from this. Please. Sooner than later. You only get one chance to raise your kids.

In case you want to know what I think, I believe the children should go, with their parents, and stand before Karen and apologize in person and then be required to perform acts of kindness (feelings follow actions, not the other way around), like mowing her lawn, shoveling her snow, washing her windows, giving her flowers (maybe even having a later conversation with Ray Comfort). This is much kinder than the sentiment in my neighborhood – “They should be given the belt!”

*BTW, we are “white.”


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