I suppose it always has been. The difference is that nowadays adults are taking an active role in educating children about this topic. We are teaching victims how to get back the power, self confidence and safety that is being stripped from them every time a bully taunts and terrorizes. Children are learning ways to deal with this unfortunate situation and not feel ashamed. Bullying is no longer an issue to be swept away or laughed at or downplayed. Bullying is serious stuff.
And it's not just kids stuff anymore.
Bullying has lead to a rash of teen suicides. Recently the It Gets Better Project published a book to provide hope to LGBT youth who are struggling to find a way out of the injustices thrust upon them from a less than tolerant society.
School counselors and social workers visit our classrooms for "What's Up?" meetings to discuss issues surrounding bullying. The book Stop Picking on Me by Pat Thomas is a terrific resource to get the conversation started.
And just this week I read a poem written by Shaili Patel and Myisha A. Bryan, two deaf high school students attending Passaic County Technical Institute. It seems fitting to include it here.
Some talk by mouth, I talk by hands
Never once hearing your continuous demands
When woken, no alarm clock sounds
Only vibrations are felt all around
Once you're aware, you mock and jeer
Thinking its okay just because I can't hear
But I feel your scoffs and I feel your taunts
Always in my nightmares, you never cease to haunt
Never once do you attempt to understand my ways
Of my abilities, one day you'll be amazed
I understand more than you know
I feel more than I'll ever show
Days come and go, with your unchanging style
Making me wish I was worthwhile
Never once did you share a smile
Did you think I was a useless scrap pile?
You don't get it; your words are like bombs
I have a voice; it just rests in my palms
My reverence toward you has begun to decline
I respect your voice, can you respect mine?