Monday, January 24, 2011

Bullying a symptom of a deeper epidemic

The Republican-American (Waterbury, CT) January 23, 2011

"A Connecticut television station recently reported that a 12-year-old boy brought a BB gun and slingshot into school to protect himself from bullies. The report came just ahead of a state conference on bullying that concluded that a quarter of Connecticut students had been victims of bullying.
This, in the minds of many, is cause for alarm. Bullying is the current cause célèbre in American schools, right behind our souring scores in science and mathematics. If you're a parent who wants the attentive ear of the school administration, whisper the word 'bully' to the principal and watch the panic.
School administers have every right to be on high alert for bullying behavior. Victims are terrified, depressed, even suicidal. A young Irish immigrant girl, ceaselessly berated by merciless, prepubescent goons, killed herself in Massachusetts, evidently unable to endure the taunts. A gifted Rutgers University violist, whose roommate posted a salacious homosexual video of him on the Internet, plunged to his death from the George Washington Bridge. According to the National Crime Prevention Council, over 40 percent of all teenagers with Internet access have reported being bullied online. To many who have been the brunt of pranks and survived, such reactions may seem wildly out of proportion to the intimidation itself. But the pervasiveness, anonymity and range of the Internet amplify the assault, making it harder to deflect and almost impossible to ignore. Worse, the malice itself has become a poisonous game, in which the dosage is continually augmented to ensure the biggest yucks." Read More

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