Hypocrites. That’s what I hear when I read about this horrible situation that occurred over the weekend in our city.
I didn’t know him, but grade 8 student, Bryten Brown, took his own life because of the constant bullying from school mates. Grade 8. That’s just 13, maybe 14 years old. Imagine how painful his life must have been to make the decision to hang himself.
Within hours, hypocrites show up en mass online. As usual, Facebook becomes the place to turn to. Everyone suddenly has a voice and speaks out against bullying. Oh sure, that seems noble, but seriously? A lot of good it does. Bryten sure could have used those voices at school before this weekend. There will be someone soon speaking up saying that this raises the issue of bullying to the forefront of people’s minds. Not helpful. Bullying is just a symptom of the lack of respect and appreciation for life in general.
Let me ask, where were these people when Bryten was being tormented? Where were these teachers when all of this took place? I’ll answer my own questions, since I’ve been down the bullying road. Youth at the school were unaware it was taking place because of their difference in ages, they were afraid to get involved because they believe “It’s not my problem” or they were actively bullying Bryten. The teachers were too occupied with their own interests – like how much prep time they get – or the telling the students “Don’t worry about it. Just ignore it.” That’s a quote from Principal Dave Westaway from Bryten’s school when my own son spoke to him two months ago regarding his own bullying experiences. Thanks Dave, that was helpful. (By the way, I dealt with it)
Our culture is one that passes the buck and you can be absolutely sure that the school and the Thames Valley District School Board will spin it in a way that makes them shine. They will speak of their “Zero Tolerance” policy. Right *scoff*. That’s a fallacy. Ask any parent who’s child has been on the receiving end of bullying or fighting in the school yard. It would be more suitably called the “If we feel like dealing with it” policy or the “If we don’t like your child” policy. But surely our teachers wouldn’t play favorites would they?
Stop the hypocrisy. Stop trying to look like a hero after the fact. Step up before the fact and teach morality, cooperation and real respect in the classroom. Or better yet, respect in the real world.
Everyone has a story. Who will tell Bryten’s?