In the press right now there is a lot about the bullying issue as a result of the recent suicide of a high school student. Now we have passed legislation that makes it against the law to bully somebody. I am not sure of all the nuances of the new law but I am sure that the email police, facebook and twitter police, among others, will protect all of our children from the unfair and slanderous comments from other kids just because of the law. It is nice to know that all we have to do is pass a law and bingo! hurtful things that kids say to other kids will go away. Clearly the responsibility of teaching kids that we are responsible for the things we say to others is that of the state and the school, not parents. How could one expect a parent, friend or teacher to point out that a teenager is emotionally stressed and that some intervention is needed? We have added adjustment counselors to schools, peer ed and other convenient programs that let parents push responsibility to somebody else. Then, guess what? Now we have opened up the need for the courts to become involved which increases the need for lawyers. I guess that this is one way of creating jobs, although perhaps this is just a little over the top.
I believe it is an unbelievable disaster and heartbreak for our young to do this or have to experience a friend doing it. If for one moment any of the staff at the school had any idea that this child may have been on this path they will have a burden to carry for the rest of their lives that may be unbearable. The result of this may also be an over-reaction that will be typical of our "legislate a law" mentality.
The next thing that we will have to do is make available a room at every school identifying it as the kangaroo court room. Let us not forget that we will need to put right over the entrance to every school signage that tells all who enter that the Constitution and all of its rights are given up at the door and that the rule of law has been suspended in the facility. In some schools we are now letting kids report other kids and putting them on a list and then punishing them for bullying based on what is reported by other kids. We will next be taking anonymous reports in a box on the wall where students can just write on a slip of paper a name of someone who will then be placed on a list. The list will them be given to the staff overseer of bad kids who bully, and they will be watched to make sure they only say things or write things that are acceptable to the faculty censor, who will release the official list of acceptable words and phrases that can be used in written or verbal communications. Then (oh I sound so Orwellian) maybe just maybe we have lost sight of what it means to parent.
It is a tragedy a young girl killed herself, make no mistake, but maybe just maybe it was a missed issue of depression. One thing is sure, we should not rush to judgment and begin the knee jerk reaction that has started. An error in judgment in one school is an error we don't need a law to know it was wrong.
And that's looking out my window -- hoping that we don't run over our basic freedoms in our rush to the blame game!