Brian Cuban, on his website, briancuban.com has introduced a contest in writing an essay about how to combat bullying. The winner will receive two platiinum level seats to a Mavericks game.
Individuals with disabilities are more aware than most of the difficulties in dealing with bullies. Bullies, it seems, have a type of sixth sense that allows them to identify those that lack the resources to fight back. It is, no doubt, caused by the bully’s own feelings of inadequacy that they have the need to ridicule and physically assault others, thereby making them seem more important. Understanding the psychological dynamic does not help with dealing with bullies. Awareness, though can be a good tool.
Society has long seemed to believe the problem was within the weaker kid not standing up for himself. You just had to look at the back of a 60's era comic book where a Charles Atlas cartoon, showed that the 97 pound weakling just needed to toughen up, so that he could become a bully.
The bullied kid all too often gets no help from teachers and principals, and in fact, any complaints to authority made the bullying only increase.
The only way the prevent bullying is by making it more offensive to our society, to let bullies and potential bullies know that such behavior is not to be tolerated, and more importantly to begin sending the message that bullying someone else does not make you tough.
We need to have people acknowledge that they were bullied. We do not have to feel ashamed of having been abused. We need a celebrity campaign where celebrities say, “I was bullied,” and acknowledge it.
We need teachers and principals that are aware of the need for action, and awareness that bullying destroys live.
We need to tell the victims of bullying they are not alone. We must make sure that kids have within the school a place to go to report bullying and to know that bullying will be dealt with promptly. We have to prove to society that there is no place for bullying.
We have to help other kids stand up for their peers, and understand that reporting bullying is not, “ratting out,” the bully but saving the victim. If kids do not feel alone, if they know others stand with them, and bullying is not tolerated, then they do not have to feel isolated.
Bullying is a social disease, it destroys lives, causes suicides, and today is more prevalent than ever. Social media makes bullying from a distance easier. We have to eliminate that, and that includes allowing social media cites to take preemptive action, shutting down profiles created to abuse others.
Our efforts need to assure kids that they are not alone, that there is somewhere to turn, and that action will be taken to protect them. Our children are our most valuable resource and we need to start treating them that way.