Bullies are in the news again. Bad ones who drove 5 gay teens in the last 3 weeks to commit suicide. But they were gay so it’s no big deal right? And you’re not surprised they were bullied right? Of course the school administrations swear up and down that they had NO IDEA it was going on. Meanwhile the guilty parties, the ones actually involved in name calling, harassment and even physical assault will remain unknown. As usual.
There are also a lot of people really upset with the current rash of tragedies. Dan Savage, never a man to mince words or be gentle in his critique is seriously pissed. He also has a project to let these neglected kids know that someone does care and life does get better . The mainstream media has picked up on his campaign. The same media that loves to give air time to the bigots spewing hatred. The people who think gays are evil. The same people who don’t want anti bullying campaigns to include protection of gays because that would allow gays to pervert their children.
Gosh I wonder where the teens got the idea that gays were a good target of ridicule. I wonder who taught them to harass kids with words like faggot and queer. I wonder why teens think they can get away with this kind of behavior.
Because they see adults doing it but unlike adults, don’t have the emotional skills to deal with abuse or understand where to draw the line. Most adults understand there are legal and moral consequences to their actions, teens don’t. Making matters worse is that the virtol adults are enagging in now is devoid of any restraint.
An adult gets mad at work, gets a gun and shoots people they are pissed off at, then shoots themselves because they know what they are doing is wrong. A teen gets a gun and shoots people at school they don’t like but don’t always die in the process. When investigators call on them years later in prison and ask them why they did it and they shrug- they don’t know. They were just imitating adults after all.
When we educate teens about bullying, we need to understand that teens think differently than adults, as if that isn’t obvious. Teens look to adults as role models. We shouldn’t be shocked when they act like the worst of us. So when kids are picked on and the adults look the other way, they think it’s acceptable. They deserve it for being gay, a minority, or different etc. it’s survival of the fittest and they have to get through it on their own as a sadistic rite of passage.
Mind you, this social dynamic doesn’t end at school. Even as a grown up you will find the bully, the jock, the clever girl who gets by on her looks and the principal who does nothing in the work place. Until one day the resentful guy has had it and shoots everyone. Surely we can be better examples to teenagers?