Letter to the editor: Bully tactics are a disgrace
To the editor,
Your article on bullying (Aug 30) brought back memories. Although I went to school in a small middle class town, I can vividly recall being bullied. I was actually physically assaulted on three occasions. Going to an authority figure only made matters worse.
This problem is not just part of “growing up”, a “rite of passage” or a matter of “boys being boys”–it is a national disgrace.
The problem however does not lie so much with the violence itself as it does with the institution spawning the violence, namely schools. Today, schools basically resemble prisons, with many different types of people being forced to live together. This makes for an atmosphere of high tension, as the violence in our prisons demonstrates. Add to this the pressure to perform and the obsession with competition, both academically and in sports, and the result is cliques and splinter groups, with the smart and strong bullying and berating the not-so-smart and not-so-athletic.
The time has come for us to rethink our educational system. The current method of “warehouse” teaching is not educating our children, it is simply training them. Our present school system, conceived over 100 years ago, adequately served the needs of a young, growing industrial society. But we are no longer a society of smoke-stack industries, as we all know. Business and society has changed radically in the last 30 years; the schools need to change also. Alternatives such as home-schooling, age-neutral resource centers, mentoring, apprenticeships and real-world learning must be explored.
In the meantime, much could be done to end the bullying in schools by adopting the ever popular “zero-tolerance policy”–this time on any kind of physical or emotional abuse or violence. But until schools stop emphasizing straight A’s, SAT scores, touchdowns and homeruns and start valuing compassion, empathy, respect and brotherly love, the bullying will continue.
South Lake Tahoe
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