Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Just shouting at deaf ears

Have you read this yet? Here's the gist:

(CNN) -- A gay teenager who pulled a stun gun on students he said bullied him has been expelled from his Indianapolis high school until January.
"While the district does not condone bullying, it also does not allow weapons to be brought on our school campuses for any reason," a spokeswoman for Indianapolis Public Schools said Tuesday. "Students who violate this rule will be held accountable."

I was about to share this on Facebook, thinking the story could stand some more attention, but... fuck it. One more snarky comment from me isn't going to suddenly make things better. Now, I had a whole angry rant here about how public schools are full of shit, but that's really not the point I hope to make, so in the interest of being informative rather than just blowing off steam, I'm going to scale it back a little. So, let me just get a few thoughts about this specific story out first, and then we'll get to the heart of the matter.

The environment in our schools molds our children, and their low standards of education and care are clearly setting up our entire country to fail, but hey, who has the time and resources to solve that problem, right? Better to just make an example of the kid with the taser so they can keep up appearances without actually making their schools any safer.

"The district does not condone bullying," she said. "Students who violate the rights of others through bullying behaviors are held accountable."
Really? I wonder, how many bullies have been expelled? My guess is few or none. Seems like disproportionate punishment to me. Oh, but the student with the weapon has to be expelled, because obviously that weapon was making students feel unsafe in their school. By that logic, the bullies should've been expelled as well, but hey, that makes too much sense.

By the way, what kind of spokesperson actually has to say "we do not condone bullying"? I never once suspected they did, until they said that. Nobody (publicly) condones the practice of bullying, so when you make a point of saying that you don't condone it, it's overcompensating. I actually suspect worse things about this school because they went out of their way to say that.

Students take part in anti-bullying programs from kindergarten through 12th grade, district spokeswoman Mary Louise Bewley said. The district also offers Gay Straight Alliance groups on multiple campuses, including Arsenal Technical High School, where Young attended, Bewley said.
Yeah? How well is that working out for you? A gay student brought a taser to school because, in his own words, "I wasn't safe." Tell me, if a student is being pushed around and physically threatened by other students, what does your little alliance group do about that? How did this situation escalate so far before the school stepped in?

Look, it doesn't take a brilliant person to see the problem here. These punishments are clearly reactive in nature, not proactive. They claim they have anti-bullying programs, but have these programs improved the social atmosphere in schools? Obviously not. I don't know, maybe if kids respected your staff at all, they'd listen to what they had to say in these programs, but my guess is they don't.

Okay, ready? Heart of the matter time:

You know what would go a long way toward ending bullying in schools? Showing the kids, through our actions, that judging somebody because they're different is completely unacceptable and utterly un-American.

How do we do that? Well, off the top of my head... Legalize gay marriage. Stop cultivating a culture where gays are considered aberrant and a danger to our way of life. When prejudice and hatred dictate policy in our government, it teaches our kids far more than any cheap public school workshop will.

Kids bully because we've taught them to do so; we show them that's how the world works. Look at our politics; look at our wars; look at our reality tv; look at cable news. We've taught them that aggression, drama and violence are the tools for success. Are we really this fucking stupid?

Well, for once, I'm going to call on you, the person reading my frustrated diatribe, to take action. Even if you don't share this actual post, share the idea. Make other people connect the dots. We can't publicly say we're against bullying while our actions send the opposite message. Actions speak louder than words; we've all heard this. Isn't it high time we lived that creed? Shouldn't we practice what we preach? Or are we going to continue letting fear, misinformation and hatred tear our culture apart?

Stop telling our kids how to act and then wondering what went wrong. Be a fucking role model.

That's all I needed to say for now. Peace and love, all you happy people.