Recently at one of our local high schools in Omaha, a deaf student was targeted by bullies.
In this particular incident, two other students took the deaf student’s backpack and dumped it and its contents, including a tablet and a bank card, in a school toilet. The perpetrators were caught and disciplined by the school. Classmates of the deaf student rallied around him, raising money to replace all of his damaged items.
Unfortunately, we hear these stories way too often. How do we stop such abhorrent behavior and protect kids from becoming bullying victims?
There are no easy answers. But at Boys Town, we know where to start. We teach our boys and girls a simple truth that everyone should live by: All human beings deserve and have a right to be treated with respect and dignity. We reinforce this message through both the practical wisdom of the Golden Rule – treat others like you want to be treated – and a deeper, spiritual context that helps kids understand that everyone is equal in God’s eyes.
Bullying won’t end until all parents teach their children that it’s wrong to single out others for abuse, including harmful, hurtful physical behaviors, slurs and online attacks, especially when the only reason for doing so is because a person is considered to be “different.”
The truth is, we’re all different. Nobody can claim to be “better” than someone else. We all have weaknesses and shortcomings, and trying to understand and get along with others is better than misunderstanding and victimizing them.
Parents are the first and best line of defense in preventing young people from becoming bullies, from becoming victims and from becoming bystanders who don’t stand up to bullying when they see it or know it is happening.
For more information on bullying, including how to talk to your kids about it and working with their school to prevent and stop it, check out the helpful videos, blogs and articles on our Boys Town parenting guide.