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EVERYTHING BUT – Bully for you!

Ridley Greene

EVERYTHING BUT – Bully for you!

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THIS KEEP IT BETWEEN YOU AND THE PRINCIPAL just won’t work! Every time a child is bullied at school, its parents, yes, should inform the head – but simultaneously the police and the media.
If we are going to be serious about zero tolerance of this barbarism among school students, then let us be. Zero tolerance cannot mean the suffering by the victim for the sins of a wretchedly wicked and cruel world.
Hush-hush conferences with the principal and ad hoc mercy committees just don’t cut it. The perpetrators of these crimes of violence should be thrown out of the normal school system and given their education somewhere else – after a stint in incarceration.
Relying on the entreaties and nudges of anti-violence television commercials is showing how difficult it is to change the behavioural patterns of the criminal-minded.
No doubt, the supposedly TV prodding stems from the philosophy of the behavioural protagonists, who believe and argue that the more you expose the deviant to repeated instructive messages of positiveness and well-being, the more they will become responsible citizens and angels of the state. Balderdash!
The majority of people listening to the prodding – or enduring it – are those who do not require any change at all. At best, the behavioural change gurus can only lay claim to reaffirmation among us law-abiding citizens.
The headmaster of the school at which the latest battering of a child occurred was miffed at the victim’s mother’s running “to the media and the police” before having “a discussion” with him – a great deal said for a man who opted not to “comment” on the matter at all.
The mother should have acquainted the principal with the facts – but then many of these principals are oh, too busy! Some of their very teachers have to make appointments with their secretaries to ask them a simple question. Who then is a lowly mum to get an immediate audience?
Maybe a teacher of the school learnt of the savageness towards the 11-year-old boy, or even saw it. Teachers have a duty to report such barbarity to their year heads and ultimately the principal.
The alleged bullying was done on the school’s basketball court, for crying out loud! Many pairs of eyes must have been willing if not discomfited spectators.
No student should have to bear the cross of a battering all alone all the way home to mummy – with the ring of sniggering mixed with boisterous laughter in his ears.
Let’s be brutally frank. High on a principal’s priorities these days is the school’s reputation and “good name”; then his – or hers. Next is the vanishing before the Press. Anything else can play.
Understand this. Teachers are mostly hard-working, dedicated and, regrettably, underpaid professionals.
They are the bedrock of our intellectuality. I hold them in high esteem; and there are several of mine, though long dead, whom I still respect.
But this cannot be an excuse for me to turn my head away from a recklessness in school where teachers become invisible when bullying raises its tormenting head.
If teachers are literally afraid to deal with the bullies, then obviously the offenders do not belong on the school’s compound. They are ungovernable.
And let us not buy the explanation that it only happens once or twice. It should never happen at all. At any rate, how many times of attack would it take for a bullied victim to die by misadventure?
Parents of the bullied run to the media and the police – where they should – in the first place because they have lost faith in the fairness and justice of the school system: appointed discussion and negotiation with the principal, bureaucratic red tape stretching to the Ministry of Education and streaming back, generous consideration of the rights, fight against stigma and the future of the attackers – taking precedence over all the humiliation, broken self-esteem and pain of the victim.
Some bright spark will soon come up with a White Paper on the reformation of bullies for making them better citizens – after their fill of sadism.