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?

8 thoughts on “Hypocrites

  1. Excellent post Todd. I am one parent who has also dealt with the bullying issue for many years in the school system that does not care. I too took charge of the situation and fixed the bullying issue myself. I had one teacher even bully one of my children. Telling him that he had to wear a dress to portray what the women in the pioneer times had to endure! Of course I talked to the teacher, principal and as well sent a hand written note to the education system explaining why my son did not have to wear a dress but we would endorse him wearing what the pioneer men wore! Unfortanely his picture showed up in the year book that year wearing a dress skipping down the track! He then had to explain to us how that happened. Well he said she said I would have to write up a 1000 word essay as to why my parents are not supportive of the school system. So he opted out and wore the dress as it was easier! Did we have a problem about that … you betcha. So it is not just the students that bully but some teachers do this as well. I have another bullying story about another son but that too is a long story that was never dealt with by the principal or teachers. When will it end… hum not until we as parents talk to the bullies parents! And go alittle further by talking to the bullies directly when they affect your kid. The bullies need love and someone to show them how to be kind to others. They obviously have some issues at home and vent at school.

  2. Thank you for your response. There is little accountability within the school system. I hear what you are saying about teachers being bullies themselves in some situations. It definitely exists and it happens between teachers too. If you happen to be a teacher that speaks out against the unjust actions occurring in the system, you are immediately black-balled by the very institution that claims to teach integrity. The only way to ensure self-preservation is to tow the line. Such a sad scenario no matter how it is looked at.

  3. Todd your post is excellent! It is long overdue that parents, students, and teachers demand changes within the school system with bullying or any other type of harassment. Our family is sick to our stomachs reading about Bryten. Students must go for help when they are having these awful feelings. There are people out there who will help but our family understands the feelings of thinking you are so alone and helpless since our family has been living a nightmare for over 7 years since my husband reported the truth and has had his character, reputation, and dignity destroyed. My husband is a teacher who is currently off on a medical leave due to severe undue stress. This is the second time he has had to take a medical leave and it has reached the point that he does not feel safe at work anymore because he had the integrity and courage to stand up and report thefts by other teachers within the system. For telling the truth my husband has been harassed, punished, threatened, and bullied by one certain higher up within the system. Our family has had to endure this pain and suffering for 7 years with no help from within the system. This nonsense has to stop! The only way it ever will end is if we stand up and demand transparency, accountability, integrity, and have zero and I mean zero tolerance for bullying towards anybody. Our families thoughts and prayers go out to Bryten's family. Bryten you will be in our prayers and we have decided its time to take a serious stand and do our best to make changes. This is the second life that has been taken by young people in the TVDSB. A young secondary student from Saunders in London took his life after being bullied.

  4. There is a way that bullying can be reduced to nil – adult supervision. With adult supervision, no bullying occurs. It is the single most effective way to reduce schoolyard bullying.

  5. Let's face the facts that violence is now just tolerated. How many parents allow their children to watch TV shows and play videos that glorify violence and it is okay there. But when they begin to act it out, it becomes very easy to start the finger pointing. My heart goes out to everyone that knows Bryten's family, including the staff at Lockes.

  6. Unfornately the system starting with schools has taken away control from parents. Because of the wrong actions of a few, children are now told that no one can punish them so for the bullies it is free rein. Children today have no consequences for their actions. Bleeding hearts made it easy for kids to have the idea they can do what they want and if parents try to reign them in call the police cry abuse. Children have no healthy fear of what their parents will do if they misbehave. Making those inclined to bully in charge. It has become a sad world with no kindness and compassion

  7. Today is the day that our community has said farewell to Bryten Brown. It is easy to cast blame; on schools, on staff, on parents. I want to be clear on the matter. This is a system failure.Our system of authority has let down Bryten and his family. This system is made up of responsible adults who turned a blind eye, whether it was teachers, principals, community members and parents of those who bully.I have received quite a number of emails directly from parents sharing their stories about the impacts of bullying on their children. No matter how you look at it, it is a terrible tragedy that this occurs our "civilized" culture.Please encourage your friends and family to share their stories with me at rowleywriter@gmail.com. This matter will not be put to rest until the is widespread acknowledgment of failure of the system, particularly the school system.Bless and be blessed. Thank you for your courage to speak out. Let's keep it going!Todd

  8. I think it is time for some parents to teach their child to STAND UP!. All this "wussification" of handling conflict is not working and teachers/admin seem not to care. Maybe they wills tart to care when students start kicking ass. Back when I was in school, that is how it was handled, and parents were actually parents (got an ass kicking at home if one acted up at school).

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