In recent months, bullying, which has always been an issue for adolescents, has come to the forefront of our nation's attention with a number of teen suicides. In a time following the civil rights movement one would think bullying might not have the clout it once did, that as a society-adults and authority figures wouldn't stand for such ignorance and behavior. But with social media outlets provided by the internet like facebook, and reality tv's glorification of cattiness - it's not a wonder we have stepped backwards...(to name a few of the more superficial reasons).
There was a time in my high school experience when I was picked on and harassed by my classmates and former friends after a break up. It didn't make sense and my freshmen year suddenly became a daily hell. I stopped eating consistently, lost a lot of weight and would cry before going to school and after. My home was my refuge. Luckily I had a great supportive family, who one day said enough was enough and got the school involved. Thus after 3 or more months of this daily torment, action was finally taken and the bullying quieted down until the end of my freshmen year. (at one point I literally had teachers telling me there was nothing they could do to prevent the harassment that would often interrupt our daily classes... so it took the headmaster- with my parent's encouraging, to put a stop to it) That summer I enrolled in a boarding school thousands of miles away where I finished my high school career.
I can't imagine what this time in my life would have been like had there been facebook- or any online venue for the harassment to follow me home and to become even more global or public... and in addition my crappy high school experience only lasted a few months, where as for these kids the harassment can span years. I also had the opportunity to "get the hell out of dodge" where many of these kids do not... My point is, I feel their pain. I've tasted only a sliver of what some teens endure today and I agree with Joel Burns- that schools need to be a safe place for children providing a forum where tolerance and acceptance can be taught.
Watch the above Video of Councilman Joel Burns to see what's fired me up! and check out this article from the Daily Beast elaborating on Joel's message and the recent media attention his video has received.