As a health educator and as a part of my curriculum, I teach on the causes and effects of the current epidemic among our young people, which was termed as “bullyism” by Dr. Fran White, who was citing a column written by Jill Richardson.
I am in agreement with the conclusions that a “profound damage is inflicted upon victims and their families.” Indeed, there is a corresponding increase in school violence, teen suicide and a subsequent increase in teen depression and other mental illnesses that do last, in many cases, a lifetime.
I, however, take exception to the conclusion that the issue is with the “adults, not the children.” Certainly parents, teacher, and administrators bear some of the responsibility, but most school systems, and certainly Queen Anne’s County Public Schools, are actively involved in training teachers, administrators, and students on how to recognize and prevent bullying from occurring and providing a support system for both students and their families.
With the advent of cyber bullying, the problem has gotten more complex and is not going away simply by talking about the issue. The remedy will not be found alone in knowledge. There must be a corresponding shift in the understanding of value, worth and dignity of every human being.
I believe a better motto would be that “applied knowledge is power.” Having the information is only part of the solution. We must all use that knowledge to eradicate the social illness of “bullyism.”