Friday, October 21, 2011

On bullying

From a retired teacher via email:
The tragic suicide of the 15-year old gay Ottawa teen has sparked renewed attention to bullying. It was big on CNN’s Anderson Cooper recently. And it’s not just a gay-straight thing.

Bullying has always been around. The big tough guy pushing smaller kids around. It’s "power". But at least it was visible.

But the Internet allows anonymity. So they think. A forensic analysis of the kid’s computer can reveal the sources of the bullying. There should be a legal way to search out and severely punish perpetrators. Even if they’re "minors" under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Exposing the perpetrators is one major deterrent. Denial of access to the Internet should be part of the punishment.

But, of greater concern is the often vicious attacks on homosexuality by certain religious groups who view it as not just a "sin" but should be driven out of existence. This seems to encourage the tactics of the bullies.

Our politicians who "bully opposing parties" in election campaigns is another concern. Remember the attacks on that proposed NDP-Liberal-BQ coalition attempt? Entirely legal within our constitutional framework but ignorance and paranoia prevailed. Dion and Ignatieff were both bullied into submission.

Media bullying, the Sun news chain in particular. Especially Sue-Ann Levy who not only disagrees but stoops to petty name-calling.

So teens have many examples to draw from.