By Bernita Bradley
As we come to the close of bully awareness month, what was accomplished? Did we protect the victims? All the rallies, school and community talks and stories told. All the articles shared on how to stop bullying, does it just go away now?
Does the person at the end of the insults and taunting get to go to class tomorrow and feel at ease?
Does the trauma it caused get to go away? Tell me, after 31 days of awareness. Has eyes opened, do they just shut again?
What long term plans have been put in place to make sure bullying does not take place again.
Oh, I know that there are no perfect fixes here. Scars will still be left. Fear will still grab the stomach of the one who walks the hall hoping no one has written, "I'm fat" on a note waiting to slap it on your back. What about sitting at the lunch room table afraid to eat because students await the moment to make pig noises when you chew. What about all the metal mouth nerds, weird dressing, homophobic, you don't talk like the other kids' comments that will still be made?
This is just a reminder, that bullying still happens and it hurts. After those 31 days to make an impact. Their words and fists still impact the victims.
When does this become a serious issue to those who have the authority to change it? When principals say they are doing their best, but are still not able to protect kids? When superintendents adopt programs to prove they don't allow bullying, but have no investment in assuring the hearts are restored from restorative practices. After all sticks and stone..... Yeah yeah, it still hurts.
Does it take another shooting, dousing with fire, closet hanging or facebook post that sends families scrambling and screaming for help to stop the madness. Every child won't tell, remember that.
Bullies don't tell on themselves, remember that.
A lot of students turn a blind eye or join in out of fear of being bullied as well, don't excuse that and remember that.
Youth go home and worry about how they can stop it themselves and then they get tired and lash back, remember that and don't make them the villain when they do and you know you did not do your part to stop it.
The long sessions in your office trying to make the victim understand that you support their efforts to feel secure in your buildings mean nothing when they return to the class with students who continue to taunt them, remember that. Making them apologize means nothing, remember that.
Finally, I say this with the deepest sentiment and heart cry to hopefully change how bullying is addressed, SOME WILL NEVER TELL YOU, THEY KNOW YOUV'E SEEN IT AND DO NOTHING TO HELP THEM. I will advocate everyday for those who hurt, I know all to well the pain. #bullyinghurts #Voices4Ed #ChoiceIsOurs