Bullying — I see it every day in the school I work in, I hear about it, read about it and see it in the movies and television programs I watch. Much of the time it’s treated like a joke — you know — kids will be kids, it was just a bit of harmless fun, or, what’s most disgusting– the victim brought it on themselves. These are just a few of the excuses I regularly hear used to excuse bullying.
There has always been bullying, there will always, unfortunately, be bullying. But the LEVEL of bullying today has reached new and horrific heights. With our access to technology that allows for the lightning fast spread of malicious gossip and pictures, the damage that can be wrought on someone’s life is inestimable.
For some reason, bullies are always pardoned, always looked upon as being victims themselves. They’re often painted as being misguided, or the unfortunate products of bad environments,or as having been shown no love or affection; the list of excuses for their behaviour is boring and long.
Victims, however, are routinely looked upon with pity and in some instances, disgust and intolerance. It’s not often you’ll hear someone say that a victim of bullying is a product of a bad environment, or that someone should ‘reach out’ to them. As a result, victims of bullying have, in recent years, resorted to extreme behaviour in an effort to strike back and be heard.
First it was violence. Surely you remember Columbine? Taber? Oklahoma? There were many other mass killings/suicides world-wide due, reportedly, to young people reacting violently after suffering years of abuse and humiliation at the hands of bullies. Now, kids are simply killing themselves because they see no way out. Kids as young as 11 years old. That is tragic beyond words.
Lately, many high-profile ‘stars’ have come forward to speak out for these kids and to offer them some hope and support. Their gestures and pleas have been strong and emotional, and in some cases, calculated. But, I suppose any attention is better than no attention.
This man, Joel Burns, has also decided to speak out. He’s not a movie or tv star, not a famous football or hockey player, he’s just someone trying to do something to put an end to youth suicide caused by bullying. His story is moving and courageous; his message simple: It will get better.
You should watch his speech:
If you know of someone being bullied — for any reason — take the time to tell them “it will get better’. Maybe, you’ll save a life.