I’m so sick of hearing that there are people who aren’t nice around and Jessie just needs to toughen up. Is that what you say to parents of the kids who’ve committed suicide due to bullying – they just weren’t tough enough??!! Would you dare?!!
When will society progress past just talking about bullying, to taking action and stopping it in it’s tracks? It’s a crime, yet there’s not even a lot the Police can do except take reports. School’s aren’t willing to uphold their anti-bullying policies they’re funded to create and implement. What do you do? It’s so bloody frustrating!!
I’d rung Jessie’s previous high school principal back with the names of the two students who have been spreading awful rumours about her, she took two days to call me back. It was late afternoon last Friday before school holidays. I missed the call and of course couldn’t call back and was told to send an email to the school email address. It’s likely it won’t even get to her. School’s care factor – zero.
I’m not surprised though. When I initially rang to report it to the school it took me two days to get through to the Principal. My call wasn’t returned so I rang a few times on day two. By 3pm there was audible steam coming from my ears which finally got me through. I bothered because I believe the school has a duty of care. After being told again that Jessie needs to learn to thicken her skin, I see the school disagrees.
The Principal, unintentionally I’m sure, also made a statement I found quite telling. In relaying the content of the rumour, she told me she hadn’t known about Jessie being sexually assaulted when she was 8. She told me I should’ve told her when she was at school as that explains Jessie’s behaviour…?? Um, why wasn’t her well documented and discussed diagnoses of bipolar, acute anxiety and PTSD enough?? Why should that knowledge have made any difference to her care at school? Not that it matters now, and moving on…
Before teens can begin to feel empowered after bullying, they need to be heard and adults need to learn to LISTEN. Principal’s need to accept that it happens in their schools. Burying heads in the sand doesn’t make the issue go away. Teens are told to report any kind of bullying, but why?? The damage done with dismissive words isn’t considered, but felt intensely by the victim. If we’re going to keep telling kids to speak up, we have to be willing and able to protect them.
As much as we can try and empower our kids against bullies, we can also teach the ones who are bullying that it’s not tolerated. If you’ve ever been bullied, or lived with the consequences of it, you wouldn’t say kids just need to thicken their skins. That over-simplifies bullying and places blame and responsibility on the victim. Bullies pick on those they perceive to be weaker than themselves. Why do we not place even 50% of that responsibility on the perpetrators by holding them accountable??! Isn’t this the time to be teaching all teens about responsibility and consequences of actions?
It makes me so upset and utterly frustrated that in 2018 , the best we are doing is telling victims to just ignore it and delete messages etc – effectively protecting bullies by getting rid of the evidence. Are we not learning that this does not work, nor does it stop what’s going on? Jessie hasn’t been at her old school for two and a half years and only keeps in touch with one friend from there. It doesn’t stop the rumours and lies continuing on about her. I really have to wonder what’s wrong with these girls!! What is missing in their lives?? As the police school liaison officer said, they often talk at schools, but to some it just doesn’t get through. Her explanation was more detailed and contained numerous descriptive expletives! Mirroring my unspoken thoughts, it was relieving to know the frustration and distaste doesn’t lie solely with me.
“Stand up, speak even if your voice shakes” – Amy “Dolly’ Everet