The truth of the matter is, we’ve all been a bully, and we’ve all been a victim of or a witness to bullying. It happens every day, on every playground, in every classroom, in every neighborhood. It occurs in our schools, homes, workplaces and churches.
There is no sacred place that’s free of bullies.
Think about it: How many times did you come home in tears because of something a mean or popular kid said about you behind your back or to your face? How many times did you spread a rumor or put down another kid just to make yourself “look better"?
So, when we hear about kids at any of our area schools picking on others — whether it’s because they’re biracial, overweight, suffer from bad acne or wear braces — it’s easy to brush it off as just "kids being kids." Because we’ve all been there, right?
But that doesn’t make it OK.
There are programs in place at most of our area schools that are anti-bullying in nature, such as Bucs Above Bullying. But if you listen to the commenters on the racial intimidation story at grandhaventribune.com, it’s easy to see that such programs are not all that effective. Current and past students share anecdote after anecdote about how they were bullied themselves, or witnessed it.
The problem is that, as well-intentioned as these programs are, they are simply too superficial. How can a feel-good program at a school be expected to root out bullies in our community when bullying is age-old and taught within our society as a whole?
Don’t blame the school; blame human nature.
Until we all choose to carefully monitor our words and actions, and choose to be kinder and more patient with others, we’ll never be free of bullies.
Perhaps we can stomp out bullying by being more compassionate to human suffering. As Easter approaches, it’s fitting that we take a page from our Christian brothers and sisters, and ask ourselves: What would Jesus do? What would he say to bullies? What would he say to the victims of bullying?
Let’s ask ourselves that important question in all of our interactions. What a kinder, gentler community we might live in if we did so.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.