John Y. Brown, III: Will the Real School Bullies Please Stand Up?

JYB3_homeWill the real school bullies please stand up?

Of course not. All bullies, at bottom, are hurt cowards. But they do need to be called out and held accountable.

The actual bullies, of course, are the perpetrators. But they are typically very misguided and emotionally wounded pre-teens or teens. Not adults. But adults are involved and sometimes subtly (or not so subtlety) are complicit in school bullying incidents. They may want to “fit in” themselves with the “cool kids” or simply not “rock the boat.” And in doing so they may bend the rules or look the other way or even pressure innocent kids to lie or further bully these kids in other ways to avoid standing up to the real bullies and doing the right thing.

The courage to do the right thing begins with administrators who are capable of being honest with themselves about their motives. And then having the courage of their convictions be the kind of honorable role models these young people, deep down, really crave to see. And stare down bullies, rather than appeasing them in hopes they will harass them last.

Is that easy to do? No, it isn’t. In fact, it is difficult. But not as difficult as it is important for the grown ups involved to act like grown ups and stand up to the bullies. Otherwise, the “actual bullies” are being aided and abetted by the adult administrators, who then can, quite literally, become the “real bullies.”

And when that happens, the young and impressionable victims are “doubly bullied.” They are literally sucker punched by a classmate bully, and then figuratively sucker-punched by the school authority figures they have been taught to trust. And that is more than doubly unfortunate!


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