bullying, Education, Educational Debate, expression, Higher Education, Inequity, K-12, Public Education, social critique, Streams of consciousness, Teacher Education
This weekend I am supposed to be speaking on a radio show in Dubai about the phenomenon of bullying. Of course, I’m nervous. I’m always nervous when it comes to these things. Bullying has been on my mind quite a bit this week as I prepare for my appearance. Although some may feel it is a great thing that bullying has become the fad of the moment, it actually makes me quite sad. It’s kind of like when the kid that no one likes all of a sudden becomes the popular kid of the moment. Everyone knows it won’t last and when it is over, the poor kid is left in an even worse place than before. Bullying has become a buzz word. It has infiltrated pop culture. Real Housewives are claiming that they are a victim, talk shows, commercials, plots in cartoons, etc are all focused on the topic of bullying. Unfortunately, there have been several important things that are always left for the viewer to figure out. What exactly is bullying? What would be considered bullying and what is not? Oh yea, and now that I have been told not to be a bystander, stand up, be brave, etc, etc, how exactly do I do that. This movement is under the misconception that schools, parents, school counselors, and teachers are gong to pick up the slack and fill in the blanks. Sadly, this is not happening. This campaign feels dangerously similar to the D.A.R.E campaign that research has indicated failed at accomplishing its goal of keeping kids off of drugs. Campaigns such as these will cause tons of people to rush into the field of bullying prevention bombarding our schools with here-for-the-minute interventions. Research has demonstrated that after these ‘momentary’ interventions leave, most often bullying spikes. There are many of us that have been working in the world of bullying prevention for some time. Researching it, working toward a way to prevent it, reduce it, and bring awareness. It feels as if pop culture has pushed its way into the conversation, will stomp around a bit, and leave us to pick up the pieces. For those of us that consider bullying prevention to be a life-long mission, I hope that bullying does not fall victim to the ‘fad of the moment’ syndrome by quickly rising to the peak of everyone’s attention and then quickly falling into obscurity. I fear all of this hype may leave the poor child trapped in the locker room being beat up for the umpteenth time without a word to use to describe his ordeal. I hope that saying the phrase ‘I’m being bullied’ does not become synonymous with the boy who cried wolf.