Sunday, May 20, 2012

If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes

I had to take a few days off to recharge my internal batteries.  Last week's explosion of suicides really drained me.  In the blog's absence, I've been busy with the facebook blog page.  If you're not already a member there, you should be.  Lots of good conversation going on there.  Batteries recharged, I return to see that not much has changed.

A 12-year-old boy is targeted by older peers after he sticks up for another student.  A 14-year-old is stabbed twice in self-defense.  The 12-year-old gets charged!!  History repeats.

In Des Moines, Iowa, 12-year-old Tyron Cratty was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and carrying deadly weapons.  Why was he charged?  He was charged because he stabbed one of the boys who had been bullying him.  And, once again, rather than focus on the root of the problem, which was the boys who had been bullying him, the bullied person gets in trouble.  In fact, once again, the old catch-phrase "...the incident did not involve bullying" comes into play:
An investigation by school officials concluded that the incident did not involve bullying, West Des Moines school district spokeswoman Elaine Watkins-Miller said.   “Staff talked with multiple students, teachers and those involved (in the incident),” said Watkins-Miller, adding she could not comment in detail about what happened because of student privacy laws. “This obviously was a fight and a conflict, but it was not bullying.”
Far too many questions without answers.  The most obvious of which has to be "why are these officials so quick to sweep bullying under the carpet!?"  It's as if they are afraid to acknowledge that it exists.  This certainly isn't the first time where, in a clear-cut case of bullying, the officials rushed to rule it out.  It's happened in cases where the bullied person committed suicide.  Even as the family and friends of the victim said steadfastly that (s)he'd been bullied, "the officials" hastily make the announcement that no bullying was evident.

Another question that comes to my mind, at least, is "just what is it that they're looking for when they look for evidence of bullying?"

Does the victim have to be battered and bloodied for them to "find evidence" of bullying!?

Are they only making that proclamation to cover their own asses?

Why does the word of the person stating that they've been, or is being, bullied carry so little weight?

Certainly, if I knew the answers to these complex questions, the phenomena of bullying would've been history a long time ago.  That said, these are questions that demands to be answered if we're ever going to bring this chapter to an end.  Perhaps, that's the very reason "the authorities" continue to cop-out to the response "there is no evidence of bullying":  THEY CAN'T ANSWER THE QUESTIONS, THEMSELVES!!

In the case of 12-year-old Tyron Cratty, the same school officials who reported that there "was no bullying" did make a half-hearted effort to remove him from the situation.  Their "remedy" was to attempt to isolate him from his tormentors.  Lunch alone in a classroom.  Riding a different bus than his normal.  Alas, their efforts backfired.  On the "new" bus route he was given sat his tormentors.
Somehow though, the boy ended up on the same school bus as three of the students reportedly bullying him, all 14- or 15-year-olds, his mother said. Nicole Cratty said the bus driver witnessed the beginnings of the fight on the bus and heard her son say he had a knife. But the altercation spilled onto the street at the bus stop, and by the time police and medics responded, one of the youngsters had been stabbed.
The bus driver witnessed this but did nothing to stop it.  It's on video, yet the school district spokeswoman, Elaine Watkins-Miller, says "there was no bullying".  Nicole Cratty, Tyron's mother has it right:
“I don’t believe the principals are taking the bullying issue seriously,” she said. “I think it went in one ear and out the other.”
I firmly believe that people who should matter and be able to make a difference are simply not taking the bullying issue seriously.  Until they begin to do so, we're going to continue to see incidences like this, and worse, in the news with alarming frequency.  As the saying goes, "if nothing changes, nothing changes."