Bullying was once again in the news last week. Back in November, a.scandal in the National Football League became public. Three months into the investigation, some if the findings are being reported.
Jonathan Martin is a black player for the Miami Dolphins (http://mweb.cbssports.com/nfl/eye-on-football) who was sent demeaning text messages by a teammate, Richie Incognito. Additionally, he was allegedly harrassed in the locker room. Some if those insults involvd references to family members and the fact that Martin is of African descent.(http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/miami-dolphins-lineman-jonathan-marti...)
The NFL has assigned a special investigator to the case. They are now recommending that the NFL adopt a.vide of conduct for its players (http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/02/01/3905056/nfl-considering-player-cod...). This fact alone would suggest that bullying among players has reached a.very critical level.
It Is interesting to note that bullying is typically seen as the physically superior preying on the inferior. It was therefore surprising that some ofthese very tough men were becoming victims. Yet here we have the socially superior preying on the socially weak. It seems that the idea of "weakness" that makes a victim extends through different spectrums, and involves a variety of situations.
Considering all the attention that the phenomena of bullying has had, people may be.surprised that it is stll a problem. In fact, despite efforts that many have made to educate and activate on this problem, bullying in fact has increased (http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/bullying-statistics.html). Part of the increase can be attributed to social media, the idea that it's easy to demean someone through the loosely regulated social media sites.
Let's consider some reasons that have increased the incidence.
First of all, it doesn't seem the the social connotation of bullying has changed. In otheother words, it is still called "bullying". Bullying is something people do, just one of those nasty growing up or right of passage things that happen. As such, it's passed over, lightly addressed and even now as it has gotten so bad as to have resulted in suicides, not completely addressed.
Take the case of the recent presidential election. During the campaign, it was revealed that this person as a 16-year-old had teamed up with some friends to hold down a long-haired classmate who was thought to be unmasculine while this candidate cut his hair in front of other classmates.Consequences? None. It was just a case of typical teenage bullying.
So what did he really do? Assault (http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/_/dict.aspx?rd=1&word=assault) is defined as "an intentional act by one person that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent harmful or offensive contact" Battery (http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/_/dict.aspx?word=battery) is defined as "an intentional unpermitted act causing harmful or offensive contact with the "person" of another. Battery is concerned with the right to have one's body left alone by others."
And it wasn't just assault, it was assault with a deadly weapon. Those are pretty serious offenses. Yet not only was there no punishment.nor.was.this addressed, but it.was sloughed off to the point that this.person almost became the top.executive of our country!
The way to end bullying then might be to address it for what it is: a physical attack. It should be reported to.authorities as such. If.school authorities don't act, the kid should.have a cell phone.and call 911 at the slightest provocation. Since these kids also tend to have low self-esteem, it would help to make them aware that they.have the right to not be bothered, just as the law says, and these kids are no heroes only actingbecause rhwy superior qualities and quantities.
They will also need support to ignore the social media postings. Typically these predators want and get reinforced.by the attention, so ignoring them may stop them. As might a civil suit.
Some may consider these actions drastic. But unfortunately, nothing else seems to be working.