Why 90’s Kids Were Shafted When It Came to Preventing Bullying

Imagine this. A 6 year old trying to kill herself by a razor she found on the ground. Why is this happening? Because the 6 year old feels so alone. Now imagine a bystander having enough sense to grab a teacher before the 8 year old does any damage. Imagine the teacher grabbing the razor. Imagine the teacher telling the principal for the principal to just wave it away, not wanting a lawsuit. Imagine the 6 year old feeling alone for years to come.

Imagine this was preventable.

Imagine an 8 year old playing with snow on the basketball court. Imagine some kids making balls of ice and throwing them at the girl, while others looked on in horror. Imagine the teachers finally walking over after socializing under the hood of the warm school building. Imagine their faces when they see the blood. Imagine the 8 year old in the hospital, a broken scapula and one mother ready for a lawsuit.

Imagine this was preventable.

Imagine being bullied every day. Imagine feeling like you will never be anything. Imagine the depression, daily gray. Imagine the years of nightmares. Imagine the social inadequacity you will feel for the rest of your life.

Imagine this was preventable.

Imagine the gapping hole you feel in your heart when your boyfriend…girlfriend…best friend…sister…brother tell you this happened to them.

Imagine Columbine was preventable.

Imagine if bullying was prevented before Columbine.

As per stopbullying.gov, 12 out of the 15 school shootings which occurred in the 90’s was due to bullying. Bullying was the buzzword for around 15 years after Columbine, but recently it’s been AUTISM*, ADHD, and TERRORISTS. Yes, bullying gets brought up still. It is NOT where it should be. However, it’s not where it once was.

Why did bullying become such an issue in the 1990’s? Why was I bullied? Why is it so common for people I know to be victims of bullying?

Bullying has been around for ages. And please don’t tell me that it’s because my generation couldn’t handle the bullying…other generations suffered the same. School shootings have been happening for years (http://www.k12academics.com/school-shootings/history-school-shootings-united-states#.VLSCiSvF-So) though the first ones to be offically recognized due to bullying were in the 1970’s. It just so happened my generation had the deadliest school shooting, which was when bullying became a major focus for the nation.

But students have committed bullycide before. I remember learning about cases from the 1960’s. It took a massacure to prevent bullying in schools? Why wasn’t this prevented beforehand? Prevention is key, it’s how we can make sure these situations don’t occur…ever. Yes, mistakes are going to be made, but if the bullying had been prevented…and it wasn’t uncommon to be bullied in the 90’s.

Why am I saying kids in the 90’s got shafted? Well, they got tortured by bullies for the first half of their lives, then got to watch the anti-bullying movement first try to rise up and fail…and then again, and again. I can say my recent exposures to the public and private school system have shown that bullying is far less common than it once was. It still happens however.

It shouldn’t take people dying for an issue to gain awareness. It shouldn’t take years of students being tortured. Tolerance needs to be created and acceptance needs to be taught…STILL! Even if someone has different views than you, they need to be accepted for what they believe. People shouldn’t have to feel like they have to change who they are to fit into society’s mold.

But here’s the age old question: How do you teach acceptance on a wide-scale basis?

 

*Just because I mention something as a buzzword does not mean I want it not to be one. I am so thankful autism is finally receiving the focus it needs to gain.