As the title warns you, I will be incredibly cynical in this post. I am writing about something that I have loads of experience with: the bullying protocols in American public schools. And, as any grade school veteran will attest, they never work.
School anti-bullying programs literally never work.
I mean, seriously, what good is telling the bully to stop when you know those four small letters can’t even move a subatomic particle? What good is the teacher taking recess away from the bully–everyone knows they’ll beat you up outside of school.
To give you a real-life example of the futility of school anti-bullying programs, I will tell you the story of a classmate of mine from grade school. Let’s call him William. William was a transfer student to my school because at his previous school, his life was literally being threatened by bullies. According to him, he would get his head slammed into a locker an average of 3 to 5 times a day. From this, he had six concussions in two years, and because of the concussions, along with traumatic brain injuries, William got diagnosed with ADHD, behavioral disorder, and dyslexia that he did not have before. And guess what the teachers did about it?
Zip. Zilch. Nada.
When the head slamming started, William’s parents talked to his teacher, and William’s teacher notified the principal about it. The principal then notified William’s teacher about it. It was literally a volley: it went back and forth between William’s teacher and the principal. This volley lasted two years, and William and his parents eventually had to take the bully and the bully’s parents to court because the school did nothing about the problem. Afterwards, William had to transfer to my school, which was halfway across town from his house.
That story is 100% true, and it’s not the only scenario in which bullying was taken too far. If I listed all of them, I would be typing here for the next month or so. Having observed quite a few of these scenarios, I have come up with a proposal for an ideal anti-bullying protocol.
This protocol would not revolve around telling the bullies to stop bullying because some people are just so hurt and broken inside that they need to take it out on others; it’s human nature. It would not involve teaching kids to stand up for themselves and others because I know from experience that sticking up for myself takes bullying from bad to worse.
The first part of this protocol would be making every effort possible to separate the bully and the victim. Their lockers would be on opposite sides of the school and they could not be in classes or paired up for projects together. But the central element of this protocol would be victim empowerment. Instead of holding a “Don’t Be a Bully” assembly, schools could hold a “You’re Awesome and Amazing” assembly. Being the victim of bullying hurts, both mentally and physically. Victims of bullying need to be told that they are loved, worthy, incredible, special, smart, beautiful, courageous, kind, and compassionate by their teachers, peers, friends, and family. They need to have hope for a better future and that everything evens out eventually, and just hang in there until it gets better. Most importantly, it is NEVER the victim’s fault if they get bullied. The bullies are just so sad and negative on the inside that they need to spread their bad vibes everywhere.
WARNING: EXTREME CYNICISM AHEAD
Finally, if any of you amazing humans reading this post right now are the victims of bullying, I have some advice: DO NOT talk to the bully. Do whatever you can to avoid the bully at all costs. Explain the situation to the teacher and tell them to please not pair you up for any projects or assignments. They will understand you, trust me, I’ve had to do this once or twice in my schooling career. If you see them in your path, go to the other side of the building and take the opposite stairway. I know it’s not fair that you have to do all of this work and the bully gets to do whatever they want, trust me, coming into contact with the bully will only make the situation worse.
Most importantly, surround yourself with friends and family that love you for who you are. There will always be haters, but block the haters out. Haters don’t exist in your world. Lovers do. Find the lovers and stick with them. Those bullies are not worth your time.