What happens when the bully grows up?

I’ve been wrestling with the recent attention to bullying among the tweener/adolescent set. I am mostly stunned at this idea of it being a “new” thing. I’ve long-held the idea that junior high/middle school is sanctified torture – and yes, I mean torture. I feel that when there is a convergence of hormones, an emphasis in the classroom to pass standardized tests (never mind educators know about multiple intelligences and learning styles, the system has forced teachers to ignore that and teach to bubble answers) and the meta message of what is “good”.

I find it upsetting that we send a mixed message of valuing individualism and finding a “better” way to do things versus how we educate.  We send a message (intentionally or not) that if something is “different” it is wrong. The correct answer is “C” or “True” or “47”. What would happen if we tossed out standardized tests and let educators educate? And paid them to match their professional skills? I think that would help with the bullying because no longer there would be one approved path.

I know that doesn’t have much to do with the struggles of LGBT individuals. But bullying is not limited to sexual orientation: anybody who is different or perceived to be different stands the risk of being bullied. I know from personal experience that the scars of bullying really don’t go away.

I remember being spit on, having my crutches kicked out from under me, being taunted for being “different”. And equally, I remember teachers and administrators telling me not to show emotion because that is what “they (the bullies) wanted. I was eleven. It was a few decades ago.

It didn’t make sense to me then. And it doesn’t make sense to me now. The adults did nothing: the adults through their silence condoned the bullying. I wonder about those who did that to me then. I wonder how they parent and address bullying. I wonder if they even remember what they did to me.

I know what it did to me: and I wouldn’t wish it on one of their children.

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