So, rather than have you sift through gobs of reporting and commentary to read what I have to say, I’ll put it out there right at the start. Grouping people together, or labeling people as belonging to a group as their primary means of identity, is well, not good. What purpose does it serve?
The people who are bullied are individuals who are being hurt and the real tragedy is that other individuals fail to act in some meaningful way. When you are being bullied, the last thing you are thinking about is any group that you may belong to that would have motivated this crime. All you are thinking about is, “Please make this stop. Is there someone here to help me?” And no group can possibly be organized fast enough to intervene on your behalf. All it takes is for one individual to stand up to the bully or call out the bullying behavior for what it is: insecurity (with a significant absence of self-control). And when the bullying ends and no one was there to stop it, all it takes is for one person to recognize the pain being felt by the victim and offer comfort and support. Individuals can do those things. Groups can’t.
Anyway…on with some excerpts from the article.
“Participants in Day of Silence go to school, go to class and answer when called upon,” she said. “For a family to decide to take their child out of class, it would disrupt that child’s learning and that would be a shame.”
This is true, however, any clever parent will find a way for the experience to be a learning experience (most likely about civics and possibly morals, neither of which are taught much in school – especially the latter).
The boycott of classes is a new tactic being urged by conservative groups to hit school officials where they think it will hurt the most: in the wallet.
“Most schools get reimbursed on the basis of average daily attendance. In other words, they don’t get taxpayer dollars for teaching students anything — they get taxpayer dollars for having fannies in the seats,” said Fischer, of the American Family Association. “So if you have fewer fannies in the seats that’s less dollars for school administrators and that’s an incentive for them to do the right thing here.”
Interesting. I did not realize that this was the case, and perhaps it isn’t in all states, but the wallet is certainly a place people notice being targeted. I wonder how many students it would take to translate into a significant enough loss for the school administrators to take them seriously.
The family groups also worry that GLSEN’s reach into the classroom will continue after the Day of Silence is over. While Higgins agrees that bullying is a problem, she said it would “open a can of worms” to give the group free rein and allow public schools — and public funds — to “transform the moral beliefs of other people’s children,” she said.
“No decent people want any children to be bullied … and I think they exploit that sentiment,” she said.
The last statement is very true of any self-respecting citizen, religious or otherwise. It would be my hope that Christians, especially, would step up and defend someone from a bully no matter what the victim believes or how they behave. It isn’t hard to make a case for Christians to defend the weak without necessarily condoning an aberrant belief or behavior, but it certainly can be hard to follow through with that type of compassion.
Self-esteem has been a big deal in education circles to the point of ridiculousness at times. What is lacking before self-esteem can be established, and what would help both the victim and the bully, is a sense of value. A confidence that you matter. You matter because you have been created for a purpose (to love God and keep His commandments, if you find meaning in the God of the bible). Bullying may weaken that sense of value, but if there are people in your life who will bear your pain with you, then that sense of value can be restored. And a bully who is taught the value of life will not long tolerate their destructive behavior towards others.
GLSEN does not currently receive any federal or state funding, according to a spokesman for the group. The non-profit is funded by charitable foundations, teachers’ unions and a host of corporations.
Ah…no government funding, good. Charitable foundation funding, fine. Corporation funding, okay (I hope the shareholders are paying attention). This group receives funding from teachers’ unions? Why am I not surprised.