Thumbs down: To bullying that takes place in any scenario. It’s a horrible practice, and those victimized by bullies can be made to feel so awful that they no longer can get through the day.
The reaction to a recent NFL case – in which Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito was suspended after he was accused of bullying actions against teammate Jonathan Martin – was encouraging. In the past, it’s likely such reports would have been dismissed, and the bullied player might have been told to toughen up or leave.
This time, the report has been taken seriously, and it has opened up a greater discussion about bullying in professional football. At least an NFL player has the option to leave a situation like that. In our schools, students don’t always have that choice, and they have to suffer every day. It has been a locally documented problem, with recent developments – a St. Charles mother has filed a lawsuit against St. Charles School District 303 and another child’s parents after she said her son was bullied at school.
Bullies, however, do have a choice. They’ve made a decision to make someone else’s life miserable, and they often are aware of the effect they have.
Bullies operate best in silence, so the prominence of such cases is important. When someone makes the decision to be a bully, it sends people scrambling to react. How should bullies be punished? How can the victim be protected? There is a simple solution for those who are bullies – just stop what you’re doing. It’s not OK to be a bully.