Could any truth be more apparent than the fact that school assemblies on bullying have reached epidemic levels of boring? Kids complain about this to me all the time. Unfortunately, school organizers seem the last to know. The assemblies make the same points over and over. Do we really think that those kids who bully do so because they don’t understand it is wrong? And can we also understand that the effects of cyber-bullying dwarf the typical push-and-shove routine that may happen at school? I suggest we spend more time lecturing one another and parents than kids. We are the ones with the power to patrol cyberspace. Let’s take a hard line on innuendo. Let’s be less tolerant of random pictures on Instagram. Let’s stop telling kids not to bully, and instead publicly call out those that do. It’s a more direct, interesting, and effective approach.
Admonishing kids not to bully has become a redundant, circular argument. It causes us to lose credibility with young people, and it feels phony. Let’s walk the walk, more than we talk the talk. There is a point at which constant worry about something makes it more real and ominous than it would be otherwise. Let’s make community meetings at school more relevant and transcendent. Students should be on every panel that is deciding about school programs and assemblies.