Bullies: Everyone's Problem
One Can Only Hope
Whether it was a foul smelling kid our age or an older “cool“ kid, at some point in our lives, we’ve all been faced with a bully. We dreaded going to school because we knew what we’d have to face. Day after day, some kid with a low self-esteem would be waiting there, overflowing with aggression and resentment, ready to ruin our day. We felt powerless and small. We had done nothing to deserve such treatment, but receive it we did.
Parents, seeing their child in pain, struggle with what to do. Do they step in and risk having their child be known as the baby of the school? Do they stand back and hope that their child can come to a resolution on their own? It is quite a dilemma.
When I was in fifth grade, my teacher, a nun on a mission, made my life hell. Though I got some of the best grades in the class, she felt the need to humiliate me daily, treating my work like it was sub par. When another student punched me, Sister didn’t penalize him. After repeatedly going to the doctor for stomach pains, my doctor told my mother to either have me transferred out of the school or to speak with the teacher and make her lay off me. At this point, my mother, another teacher at the school, stepped in and the three of us had a very awkward meeting. Sister’s excuse for her behavior was that she didn’t want the other students to feel like I was being given special treatment as a child of a teacher. As my mother is a true mother lion, she didn’t let Sister off the hook. The nun apologized to me and claimed that she was the hardest on the ones she loved. After I went to the sixth grade, this teacher became my biggest champion, praising me to anyone who would listen, nominating me for any special award at the school. Though her change in attitude was something to note, it didn’t make up for the pain she had caused. Adults are supposed to stop bullying, not perform it.
With the internet being the main form of communication for many members of the current generation, I knew it was only time until bullying made its way into the cyber world. When I read about the young girl, Megan Meier, who was driven to suicide by the actions of a former friend’s mother, Lori Drew, it deeply saddened me. From what I’ve read, this sick woman contacted Megan via MySpace pretending to be a teenage boy with romantic intentions. It should be mentioned that the account was created with the assistance of her daughter and an employee of Drew‘s. The point of this charade was to obtain embarrassing information from Megan to be used at a later date against her in retaliation for allegedly spreading rumor about Drew’s daughter. When it was obvious that Megan, who was prone to depression, was in love with the boy, Drew became vicious. She began to bully Megan and told her that the world would be better off without her. Pushed over the edge, Megan hung herself. It is sickening that Lori Drew may never go to prison for helping Megan meet her end.
There has been much debate about this case. Some people say that because Megan lied about her age on MySpace that she isn’t as innocent as the press portray her and thus does not deserve our pity. If a white lie like this merits such a cold-hearted response, no one on the internet will ever be pitied again. Some people want to excuse Drew’s behavior by saying that she was just trying to avenge her daughter. If people were given the death penalty based on rumors about rumors, our world would be a ghost town filled with cemeteries. Some people say that Lori Drew should be forced to meet the same end. Besides selling another paper, what good would that do? It doesn’t matter on which side of the debate you find yourself on. Megan is dead and it could’ve been prevented.
It is evident that Lori Drew has severe mental problems. A woman nearing her fifties doesn’t act like a teenager if all of the wiring is intact and functional. A mother doesn’t cause harm to a child even if they suspect the child harmed their own. Yet, where was Megan’s mom when the bullying was taken place? Did she not notice a change in her daughter? Articles claim that the family noticed how suddenly happy Megan was. Did no one question why? I am sorry for the family’s loss. However, any doctor who diagnoses a child with a mental problem asks that the family note a change in behavior. I understand that they were just relieved to see her happy. Still, how could they not delve further?
Parents, why do you allow your children to roam any where they please on the internet? When did your child stop being precious enough to be looked after? There is a difference between giving your child privacy and ignoring them. Like the television to my generation, the internet has become the babysitter of this generation.
With all of the programs in schools to prevent bullying, why do people still bully each other? Is it that the program isn’t reaching the right kids? Could it be that it’s not simply related to common low self-esteem, but to a chemical imbalance? Do the parents of these bullies not believe their kids are bullies or do they not care because they once were bullies too? If every generation has bullies in it, we aren’t doing enough to stop it. I wonder how many more Megans will die before bullying becomes a thing of the past?
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