Bullying has become the number one social issue in the schools today. It is so widespread that school boards are launching anti-bullying campaigns to try to stem the tide. Bullying is back in the news today because 9 teenage girls are involved in a case of bullying at a Boston area High School that resulted in the suicide death of 15 year old Phoebe Prince. She could not escape the abuse as the bullying was not only in person, but on Facebook and even on Craigslist. Prince, an Irish immigrant, was bullied mercilessly for months before the torment became so extreme she took her own life. We have always had bullies, but in our day, you would have one or two in the whole school. He would be that big dumb guy whose shoe size was larger than his IQ and he would use his size to compensate for his intellectual insecurities.
Today, that is not the case. The bullies are big or small, smart or stupid and resort to the same attack stategy as used by a pack of wolves or heinas. They target the weakest and gang up on them until they destroy them. There is quite a good movie about it called Mean Girls starring Lindsay Lohan. Lohan’s character tries to get back at the school female bullies by infiltrating their inner circle. In the process she ends up becoming just like them. Here is a typical line form the movie. “And evil takes a human form in Regina George. Don’t be fooled because she may seem like your typical selfish, back-stabbing slut faced ho-bag, but in reality, she’s so much more than that.” We let our teenage girls watch this edging movie to educate them on the subject. The message was not lost on them.
The bigger question is; why is bullying epidemic today? Because we live in a mean-spirited culture! We feast on the nasty and cruel words of Simon Cowell as he berates the hapless victims on American Idol who are willing to endure any level of humiliation to be the next Kelly Clarkson. Even celebrities are now lining up to be the object of Donald Trump’s condescending put downs. Every single reality show includes at least one segment where a contestant gets ganged up on by the others and verbally thrashed before they get voted off the island or fat farm or the who-gives-a-rip. And we mindlessly watch and are amused by this very lowest form of entertainment. I think they should take all those shows roll them into one and call it, “Dancing with the Big Fat American Losers”. I know, now I am being mean, but don’t miss my point, it is all contributing to the culture of bullying.
The biggest question of all for me is; where were Phoebe Prince’s defenders? Out of an entire high school was there no one that was willing to intercede for her? Was no one willing to stand between her and her tormentors and say, STOP IT? An entire school stood by and watched this play out for months. I saw Dr Laura on Larry King Live last night and she said, “I put every one of the parents on notice because you have failed to raise your children to care about others and stand up against injustice. You have raised a generation of spoiled brats who don’t care about anybody else but themselves”. You go girl! I’m with Dr Laura on this one. A couple of guys or a handful of other girls, that’s all it would have taken to have stopped this.
Jesus stood between an angry mob and an adulterous woman all by himself, and spared her life without raising so much as his eyes from the ground. Where are the heroes in this next generation? Heroes are made, not born! It is our responsibility as parents to train our children to first see the injustices around them, and secondly do something about it. Oh… and by the way, we may have to actually lead by example.