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Some Thoughts About Bullying

Some thoughts about Bullying

Hello, everyone.

Every so often, I come across something that is too painful to bear.  On YouTube, there is a video posted by a dad that chronicles his autistic son being bullied by a teacher and a teacher’s aide.  Here is the URL for the video:

I have seen the video and have downloaded it to a folder of audio and video keepers that I have.

As sad as the idea is, the concept of a teacher bullying a student or fellow teacher is not unthinkable.  Indeed, it happens more often than anyone wants to think.

In all my years as a student in school, I can think of only one teacher whom I would describe as a bully.  He was the teacher of a science class that I took when I was a freshman in high school.  We had a black girl in our class.  Natalie had an older sister, two years ahead of us, and this teacher continually made nasty comments about Natalie and her sister.  The teacher was an old timer and should have known better, but this was in the 1950s, a couple of years after Brown v. Board of Education, and there were still some rancid attitudes in this “Christian” country towards those who were different.  Thankfully, this bigot was the exception rather than the rule, because I sat in classrooms that were led by absolute saints.

But I did see – and experience – behaviors by my co-workers once I became a teacher.  In my first year of teaching, my co-workers were wonderful to me.  After almost half a century, I still remember those wonderful people.  Sure, there were a couple of people whose attitudes left much to be desired, but those particular teachers were not well-liked by the kids.  Many times, they would come to me and talk about these people and why they did not like those teachers.  But all in all, I worked with a group of dedicated teachers who were just as magnificent as the saints in whose classrooms I had a seat.

But my last two years in the public schools were exactly opposite to my experiences in my first school.  I knew some teachers who did indeed exhibit behaviors towards me that I would describe as bullying.  One of the teachers in one of the schools in particular had a very strong dislike for me, to the point that on the last day of school, he refused to shake my hand and wish me good luck.  It was this experience, plus others that I had, that have led me to the point where my respect for teachers has pretty much gone down the drain.  It was also the reason that I was not surprised at the behavior of the classroom personnel towards the autistic child.

On that moronic “Crooks & Liars” website, there was an item about the city of Philadelphia having to cut costs from its public school budget.  There was a statement in that article that lit my fuse.  I was still hurting for the poor little autistic boy who had been bullied by his teacher, and I simply could not remain silent.  So I posted the following comment in their comment section:

– – – – – – – – – –

Here’s What Makes Me Sick

JuniusJunior —4/27/123:29pm

“The elites’ plans are in place to close 40 schools, break the teacher and janitorial unions, and put the education of the City ofPhiladelphia’s children up for bid. It just makes me sick.”

Here’s what makes ME sick; There is a video up on YouTube, created and uploaded by the father of a small autistic boy. The child continually came home from school crying, and the dad couldn’t figure out why. So he put a wire on his little boy. He apparently did this for one day and the audio was astonishing. On one of the audio clips, the teacher called the little boy “a bastard.” The clip is on the video.

In his commentary on the video, the father said that he was extremely worried about the teachers’ union doing all that it could to protect the teacher’s job. They apparently got the job done, because there was some reference to the teacher and her aide being transferred to another class in a different school.

So one can logically conclude that protecting the job of that teacher was of far more importance to that union than was the irreparable harm done to that innocent little boy.

So if protecting unions is THAT important to you, then go for it. As for me, if given the choice of protecting a union and guaranteeing the physical, moral, and emotional well-being of children, my choice will always be on the side of the children.

– – – – – – – – – –

And in case there is any doubt:  Yes, I am JuniusJunior.

There was one response to my post.  I will quote the first and last paragraphs of it, with comments.

“You obviously have no clue what goes on in education or a classroom.”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!  I taught high school for 5 ½ years.  I think that I have some kind of concept of what goes on in a classroom.

“Of course, being a right-winger who seems to dislike teachers and unions, I can see where this one video confirmed your ignorant misinformed opinion about unions, public education, and teachers.”

First of all, I have explained how I come by my attitude towards teachers.  Second, I’m a right-winger?  He don’t know me very well, do he?  Aside from Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson, the three presidents I have admired the most are FDR, LBJ, and Bill Clinton.  So if I’m a right-winger because I don’t have a lot of use for unions, then these three guys are some kinds of right-wingers as well.  Third, just because my mileage differs from his doesn’t mean that I am ignorant.  I come to my positions via my personal experiences.  Fourth, I came to my feelings about unions through my membership in the AFSCME when I worked for the State of Illinois back in the 80s.  That “union” was more worthless than mammary glands on a boar hog.

One thing I found extremely interesting is the fact that the guy who wrote the response seemed to be FAR more upset over the fact that I do not like teachers and unions than he was about the teacher calling the autistic little boy “a bastard.”  THAT statement and action was what made me go off in the first place.

One more thing:  When I tried to visit the site this morning, there was a big splash screen telling me that I had been banned from the site.  I use Google Chrome, so I loaded Firefox and I was able to view the site there.  But banned from a website because I don’t kiss the hineys of the unions?  Oh well, I did the hat trick because I am 3 for 3 in getting banned from that site.  This one just happened faster than I thought it would.

I never was blessed to have had children, and I feel that I have missed much of what is worthwhile in the course of a life because of this.  The video contains a photo of the boy who was bullied, and when I saw the picture, my heart dissolved.  How could anyone who possesses even a grain of human decency ever mistreat such a sweet, charming child?  But it did happen, and if the dad had not had the courage to put a wire on his son, the events recorded would have remained a dark hidden secret in the realm of education.

I was born with a sight disability, and I do not recall one instance in my childhood and teen years when I could truthfully say that I was bullied.  Yes, there was the usual teasing that goes on among kids, but I can’t remember any teasing that I would call mean.  The first experience of what I would call bullying occurred in the Nazarene Church in my college town.  After that, I experienced numerous incidents of bullying and they all occurred in the Evangelical church.  I never experienced it among the mainline Methodists or Presbyterians (PCUSA) in the years I was in these groups.  (The Evangelical Methodists – well, that’s another story.)

But like I said, I was accepted with warmth and love by the PCUSA and the Mainline Methodists.  And I do believe that there is indeed a correlation between bullying and level of intellect.  My grandfather was a coal miner in southern Iowa.  He never went past the eighth grade; yet he was a self-educated man.  He owned a set of Encyclopedia Americana and served as the treasurer of his local unit of the United Mineworkers.  He raised me, and he treated me as a small child with nothing but love and respect.  Not once did I ever hear his voice level above that of normal speech.  My stepfather, on the other hand never went past the second grade.  He hated books and learning and educated people.  And he very seldom ever spoke to me in a voice that was not a yell.  So based on my experiences with these two men, I have decided that those who bully are of a lower intellectual level than those who don’t.

And that same law applies to churches, in my experience.  The Fundie “school” where I taught 40 years ago was the worst bastion of bullying that I have ever seen, with the way that the staff and students were treated.  And at the same time, it was the most ignorant bunch of people that I ever was around for any length of time.  Sure, there were intelligent individuals in that cesspool of heartlessness, and they were among the most beautiful, saintly people I have been privileged to know.  But the majority of those people were among the worst.

Among churches, the Nazarene Church was the worst, and the church in my college town and the church in California were the worst of the lot.  Like the Fundie school, there were saintly people and churches in the midst of the miasma of meanness, and they likewise were beacons of intellect in the darkness of ignorance.  Indeed, the Nazarene Church in the town where the university where I did my graduate study is located stood alongside the PCUSA and the Mainline Methodists in terms of intellect and kindness.

I would even go so far as to say that the “Chambers Law of Bullying” applies to gods as well.  I don’t need to mention Confucius.  “Christian America” has essentially turned Confucius into a joke with its “Confucius says…” nonsense.  Yet Confucius was one of the world’s great thinkers – possibly the greatest thinker to come out of Asia– and he definitely was worthy to be mentioned in the same breath as Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle.

Then there’s The Buddha.  Siddartha Gautama, like Confucius, was one of the greatest thinkers in the world, and, by all accounts, the greatest teacher that the world has ever produced.

When one studies these men and their belief systems, one finds a glaring omission – the concept of cruelty and punishment.  In Buddhism, the goal is not “heaven,” or spending eternity with “Jesus,” but enlightenment – that realm of perfect understanding and perfect conduct.  I have never known or experienced Buddhist bullying, and once I began to examine that religion, I understood why.

And in today’s world, there is Mormonism.  I am the first to admit that I do not understand Joseph Smith or the Latter-Day Saints.  But I do understand Mormon history to the effect that I know that Mormons suffered mightily at the hands of Christians.  Even today, this animosity from the Christians exists.  I recently read an article online which said that Christians claimed that they could not vote for Mitt Romney for president because he does not believe in the Trinity!!

And then there’s Christian television, but due to time and space constraints, I will leave THAT at that.

So how do we put an end to bullying and nonsense like what the poor little boy experienced?  Like all sin – and YES! I DO believe that bullying is sin – it is a matter of free choice.  Nobody forced that teacher to call that little autistic boy “a bastard.”  Nobody forced the senior pastor out in California to treat Carol the way he did when she made a simple, honest mistake.  Nobody forced the school board at the Fundie school to treat the students and staff in the cruel manner that they did.  Nobody forced the people in my life to do what they did to me.  And no, “Jesus” will NOT solve the problem .  Not when his followers are 99% of the problem.

Maybe what is needed is a sincere study of Buddhism and its tenets.  Indeed, on a page that discusses the basic tenets of Buddhism, there is this:

“”Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others.” — The Buddha”

Paul borrowed from The Buddha when he instructs us in Philippians 2:12  to “work out you own salvation with fear and trembling.”  “Jesus” won’t help you; he has too many issues of his own.  But if each one of us in this world determines in his or her own heart that no teacher will be allowed to refer to ANY innocent child as “a bastard,” that no government will be allowed to kick an aged or infirm person from a place where said person can receive treatment and be safe, that no church nor any member of a church shall be allowed to mistreat even one person for whatever reason, and that all persons, nations, and religions in this world are all equal and are to be treated with all due respect, then we will have at least taken a microscopic step towards ending all bullying.  And, frankly, I believe that the Supreme God would love to see that happen.

Have a great day.




April 29, 2012 - Posted by | Miscellaneous, Religion

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