By: Lacy Hilliard
It seems that last weeks op-ed piece about bullying that occurred at Johnson County High School via the ultra trashy app Streetchat, struck a chord with several readers. I received more feedback than ever before as a result of the aforementioned editorial. Some commentators shared my opinions while others decidedly did not. While I always appreciate hearing the opinions of readers, even when they arent shared opinions, I do feel the need to address some comments that I consider both inaccurate and damaging to the well being of students; comments that, at their root, illuminate what I fear to be a larger societal issue and ironically a promotion of bullying rather than a solution.
Though it seems that the majority of the commentary I read was generated out of genuine concern for todays youth, I noticed a particularly troubling tone amongst the responses of many of the adult male commentators. The troubling sentiment can easily be summed up as the man up mentality and it seems to continue to run rampant in todays society.
Many of the men weighing in on the topic shared the belief that victims of bullying should just get over it, stick up for themselves, block the offending parties from social media or even resort to physical violence to end the harassment. All the comments of this nature seemed to not so vaguely imply that todays parents are raising a generation of sissies. Way to scoff at a complex problem and to diminish the struggles of todays youth, guys. Im sure that if someone that shared this vast wisdom had said to Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, Hey guys, man up and deal with your problems, before they entered Columbine High School armed with an arsenal worthy of any military unit Columbine wouldnt remain infamous to this day. Then again, considering the fact that Harris and Klebold made those that targeted them (and then some) pay the ultimate price for their sins through violent means, I guess their acts fall right in line with the man up mentality.
Teenagers feel everything more deeply than their adult counterparts. Hormonally, teenagers are a virtual petri dish of emotions and the social situations theyre hurled into in the modern school environment certainly arent for the faint of heart. Youre either liked or you arent. You either fit the socially acceptable definition of cool or you dont. And for those that dont, high school can be a torturous labyrinth designed to test the resolve of even the strongest in its ranks. One commenter suggested that bullying problems be handled as they were in decades past. However, a simpler time produced a simpler problem and the insults of yesteryear were love letters when compared to the way people abuse each other today. There is no one-size-fits-all solution because just as each soldier fares differently after returning home from war, individual reactions to unique situations arent calculable. However, the stigma to said reactions remains while people emptily tout the walk a mile in my shoes adage while displaying an attitude that does little to promote that mentality. Why do we love our soldiers until theyre mentally wounded? Why do we love the communitys children until theyre lost?
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