In support of ‘One Mom’
This is regarding the On My Mind by Mims Driscoll: Mims, I want you to know that One Mom definitely can make a difference in bullying. And if you can’t, then I’ll stand with you, and perhaps Two Moms can make a difference.
What happened to your son on the bus was not right, in any way. He tried his best to withstand the onslaught of being verbally assaulted, pushed and then physically assaulted before he defended himself. “Sit down, Jew,” among the many slurs and curses, were deeply offensive for so many reasons - and his heritage is just one of them. He has every right to be proud of his heritage, to be proud of his Jewish forebears that survived the Nazi scourge. Many middle school students don’t really understand what happened during World War II, how many Jews perished, or what horrors Nazi concentration camp survivors truly endured. That doesn’t excuse their actions or their words. They must be educated. At school. At home. In churches or synagogues or mosques.
First, all the children on the bus must be disciplined for their actions -- and for their inaction. Yes, all the children. Their conduct was unsportsmanlike. They don’t deserve to win the game. Take away the win. Bold words? Yes. Sometimes knowledge must be painfully earned by all. There were boys on that bus who may or may not have said “Hey be quiet, leave him alone, he’s trying to call his grandmother, geez.” There were team leaders on that bus who may or may not have said “Stop being a jerk, shut up, calm down.”
Yes, some boys who were not involved may suffer. But they will learn to come to the aid of those who are oppressed. They will learn that bullying is not tolerated or ignored, no matter who starts it. Second, where were the adults on this bus? I know the coach intervened at the end, but was he not on the bus during the ride? If he was, couldn’t he hear the taunting? Obviously, they need to employ camera systems on the athletics buses as well as the regular buses. That’s a given, if it’s financially feasible. Alternatively, put an adult at the back and an adult at the front for supervision and discipline enforcement.
Finally, all of the children need to attend an appropriate, effective anti-bullying seminar or program immediately - something positive that can help them understand how their words hurt and diminish not only others but themselves, how to be an effective mature leader by example on and off the field, and how to bravely stand up for those weaker or smaller or different from yourself.
I would suggest that the entire Fort Mill school system needs a more systematic and effective anti-bullying program. One that has been used successfully in thousands of U.S. schools is the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. It is a comprehensive program that includes forming an anti-bullying committee, training staff to intervene immediately if they observe bullying and meeting with students and parents when problems occur: http://www.violencepreventionworks.org/public/index
Perhaps if we work together as parents, we can implement positive change in the Fort Mill school system so that bullying of any child becomes of thing of the past. Let us say together that we love our children too much to allow them to victimize one another. Fort Mill should be known for its great educational system, its fabulous talented teachers, its wonderful and caring resource officers, its world class band programs – never, never, never for bullying other students based on race, creed, religion, gender or sexual orientation. Let’s change the culture of our schools so that bullying is no longer tolerated – in any class, on any bus, in any athletic organization.