“Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior generally among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance.The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.”
This term has been thrown around almost as much as the word love. A few days ago I was speaking to a group of secondary school students about bullying at their school. The young males were quick to point out that a lot of what is now considered bullying, to them is just teens having fun and wished that the adults would lighten up about it all. I think now is the time to say that these boys were currently serving their final week of suspension for bullying err “teasing” one of their classmates.
That’s right readers, as one can clearly deduce from their lamentations, not everyone understands what bullying is. Yes, we may put the PSAs out or even illustrate what it is using PowerPoint or the old fashion Bristol board with photos, some of us will continue to miss the point. While the lesson may be simple for some it is complicated for others.
To the young men, what they were doing was harmless. “Sir all we did was give de man some jokes on his hair cut”, the reasoning for the punishment they had to face and the blemish that was now on their school record. It immediately brought me back to my secondary school years and how much we were teased and did some teasing of our own.
Teasing your fellow school mates has been synonymous when one considers idle playground behaviour. What’s a laugh at your best friend’s expense especially when it is meant only in jest? Well, that’s what I used to think especially when I remember some of the names we would give to each other. If you were one of the lucky ones to get a nickname that you actually liked then “yay” for you because more often than not, the name that would stick with you throughout your school years is one that in the teething stages, you would detest. One thing we made sure of was that whoever was teased was ok with it. At the end of the day we all knew it was jokes and no one would take it to heart and if they did we knew to stop immediately and apologize.
In bullying there is no apology and there hardly is friendship. Just one child imposing his/her power on another. That power can be physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. Even in today’s description I observe that my group was involuntarily involved in some form of bullying with our teasing, however, never did we embarrass our peers to the point that school was the last place they wanted to be.
Help stop the bully; if you know someone who is being bullied, comfort the person being bullied, don’t be a bystander, report the matter or if you can,come to the person’s defense when bullying occurs.
Have a great weekend ya’ll and God bless.