I’ve written in the past about how I can’t stomach the position of judgmental vehemence we are seeing more and more of lately, especially online. The sheer volume can be overwhelmingly depressing. Check out any recent headlines posted online and their comment sections to see what I mean.
It is especially troubling when someone makes a conscious decision to target one person with that type of hate. The victim’s dread at the thought of going to school or work day in and day out is awful. Bullying causes fear and hurt and pain and shame and anger and residual damage that can last a lifetime.
A few months ago, the case of a Berlin Jewish teenager who was bullied made headlines. The country recognized there was an issue with anti-Semitism and decided to send 170 anti-bullying experts to schools to address this issue. In the U.S., schools or school district may decide to address the issue, or they may not. The Anti-Defamation League has resources schools can use to combat bullying and cyberbullying. Personally, I think it is important to start teaching empathy at a young age. Putting yourself in another’s shoes, trying to understand perspectives not your own, is essential.
Hadassah is putting together a panel to discuss bullying and cyberbullying on October 28, 2:00 PM at Temple Beth Tikvah. Moderated by Mike Petchenik of WSB TV, invited panelists include experts from public service, private practice and the ADL. (For more information and to register, see this.)
Its objectives are worth noting because they touch on all aspects of bullying. Each warrant some attention:
• To define both bullying and cyber bullying
• To identify warning signals of bullying behavior/activity
• To learn how bullying affects learning and self-esteem and may cause depression and/or suicide
• To learn about the existing policies addressing the different types of bullying
• To learn about the resources, methods and programs available that help identify, prevent, control and respond to bullying
Sometimes children and adults don’t share that they are being bullied. Sometimes authorities who are aware do nothing. And sometimes the pain is more than the victims can bear. It is important for everyone to learn more.
Picking on someone is never okay. Allowing it to happen is wrong too. Here is an opportunity to learn more.