JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: CLOUDCUCKOOLAND EDITORIAL SAYS IT’S A BEAUTIFUL THING WHEN BYSTANDERS STAND UP TO BULLIES – BULLYING HAS BECOME A SUBJECT FOR CHEAP SPEECHES – MARGARET WENTE CHIMES IN   Leave a comment

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO AN EDITORIAL IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Bullying in Canada is nothing more than a soapbox topic.

The soapbox gets pulled from the closet every now and then, as when Amanda Todd was so brutalized, to stand on for a cheap speech.

The fact is that complicit bystanders generally are teachers and school officials.

They are the ones in authority, and it is owing to nothing less than a cowardly shirking of duty that bullying happens in our schools.

You cannot blame the children when their local adult example is an example of indifference or cowardice.

It really is a very simple matter: are we to have civil society in our schools so that we have some hope that the generations passing through grow up as more responsible citizens?

You cannot teach civility or human decency when this goes on, as it does regularly.

Slogans and programs are pointless expenses are not much more than a cover-your-behind effort and an utter waste of time and money when a poor example is shown by those with the authority.

I know the difference that is made by a responsible adult from my own childhood experience, and I have never failed to intervene when there is genuine bullying or violence involved.

Also, we should not forget that there are more than a few teachers who are themselves bullies.

There were when I was a child, and the experience of a friend brought the fact powerfully back to me recently, a case of a horrible teacher going beyond bullying to vicious verbal abuse and the baring of teeth against a woman worker for a Board, in front of others, including a school superintendent, who did nothing.

And what powers do the higher authorities have in these matters?

Virtually none because they have abdicated to the teachers’ union and to bullying parents.

So, it is time, politicians and senior school officials and editorialists, to put up or shut up. It is very tiresome to keep hearing about a problem that is completely avoided other than buying some t-shirts or other slogan-laden promotional premiums.

Either take some genuine action or quit talking about the problem you deliberately avoid even as you speak of it.

And what do I think are the chances of that?

About the same as were the chances for zero-tolerance of violence in the schools. The policy, a sound one, was swept under the rug quickly with the firsts objections from affected parents.
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“Public shaming – reduces the big, strong men who threaten little girls anonymously or from behind automatic weapons to the wee, limp men they are.”

Again, an example of the soapbox pulled out, but the statement helps no one because it is utterly non-operational.

Someone has to lead and direct the effort.

Just saying “public shaming” is a bit like saying bullies should be told their behavior is unacceptable.

Yes, but who does the telling?

This issue has always been about leadership in the defense of human values.
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I see good old Margaret Wente is at it again with her predictably titled squib, “The best protection against bullying isn’t legislation.”

Of course no one is permitted to comment now on the dishonest words of the Globe’s only demonstrated plagiarist.

But it is fitting she too should chime in on bullying.

She’s been a verbal bully for years, often attacking what she doesn’t even understand.

And does anyone remember her filthy words about Palestinian mothers not loving their children a few years back?

The words of a genuine bully, surely.

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