Hostile Territory

Staged scene of bullying at Pres. Errázuriz Regional Institute (IRFE), Author Diego Grez (GNU and CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

WARNING:  Graphic Images

A security camera inside Carson Elementary School in Ohio recorded the assault on an 8 y.o. boy by a fellow student in a restroom.  Other children are believed to have struck and kicked Gabriel Taye as he lay unconscious, then stepped calmly over him. Two days later, the boy hanged himself [1].

Impact of Bullying

The victims of bullying are more likely to feel disconnected from their peers, self-isolate, and perform poorly in school [2A].  They can have low self-esteem, feelings of emptiness, depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

Physical problems, also, occur. Victims may have headaches and stomach aches, problems sleeping, and difficulty concentrating – all contributing to higher absenteeism (school avoidance) [2B].

In extreme cases, victims may self-harm (via cutting, alcohol, or drugs) and/or attempt to take their own lives.  Tragically, some like Gabriel Taye are successful.

School Safety

Which begs the question:  Are schools keeping our children safe?  The evidence strongly suggests they are not.

An investigation by the Associated Press uncovered an astounding 17,000 official reports of sexual assault by students in elementary and secondary schools over a four-year period [3A].

In one notorious South Carolina case, at least four children between 11 y.o. and 14 y.o. were sexually assaulted by as many as 30 others in a gymnasium bathroom at Estill Middle School [3B].  Victims allege that teachers, staff, and administration turned a blind eye to sex between students, regularly allowing children of the opposite sex to enter the bathroom together.

A civil suit is pending, but prosecution was declined.  Since victims were underage, they were legally unable to consent to sex.  However, an assertion is being made that they were comparatively negligent.  No remedial action has been taken whatsoever.

A War Zone

Most parents have little or no choice, but to send their children to public school, where textbooks are scarce; libraries outdated; buildings often decrepit; and resources non-existent.  In Philadelphia, PA over 9000 students this year participated in the lottery to determine which 96 would be admitted to one charter school [4].

Add to these very real concerns safety issues.  For a great many, school is not the secure and nurturing environment it was meant to be.  It is instead hostile territory.  A war zone we can only hope our children will survive.

And calling to Him a child, He put him in the midst of them and said, ‘Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven’ ” (Matt. 18: 2-3).

[1]  USA Today, “Student beat him, then others kicked him.  Later, 8-year-old kills himself” by Anne Saker, 5/11/17, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/05/11/student-8-beaten-kicked-kills-himself/317441001/.

[2A][2B]  ECB Publishing, “Bullying:  not just about stealing lunch money anymore”, 12/8/15,  http://www.ecbpublishing.com/bullying-not-just-about-stealing-lunch-money-anymore/.

[3A][3B]  Associated Press, “Clash over middle-school sex assaults:  Did they happen?” by Juliet Linderman with Justin Pritchard, Reese Dunklin, Emily Schmall, and Claudia Lauer, 5/8/17, http://www.apnewsarchive.com/2017/An-officer-assigned-to-Estill-Middle-School-in-South-Carolina-reported-a-schoolhouse-rape-in-2013/id-e53c214b232e44c68fd06d6f178006e0.

[4]  ABC Action News 6, “9190 Apply for 96 Spots in Philadelphia School Lottery” by Walter Perez, 2/21/1/7,  http://6abc.com/education/9190-apply-for-96-spots-in-philadelphia-school-lottery/1766103/.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

 

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18 Comments

Filed under Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Christianity, Community, Neglect, Religion, Sexual Abuse, Sexual Assault

18 responses to “Hostile Territory

  1. Hi Anna

    My son had an incident of being bullied when he first entered Middle School. What I found out was that teachers were literally standing by and watching this happen, and none ever simply stepped up and said, “Hey stop that.”

    After I raised enough ruckus, the principle finally stepped in and put an end to it, at least enough that my son could function. That, and me going to father of one of the kids and pretty much telling him what was about to transpire between me and him if he didn’t get his kid under control.

    But, that really illustrates a point here. Those who are in positions of strength have a moral duty to protect those who are weak from others with power set on doing harm.

    • Thank you for sharing this, Wally.

    • This is very disheartening. I do wonder why teachers often pretend as though they had no idea that bullying may be going on in their classroom or worse still, refuse to address incidents when they do occur.

      • Some teachers feel their hands are tied. A national study in 2004 found that a fear of lawsuits is seriously undermining classroom discipline https://www.publicagenda.org/press-releases/discipline-problems-unruly-behavior-seriously-threatening-student-achievement.

      • That’s a good question. I suppose in some cases the kids scare them, too. Or maybe they are worried about getting in some sort of legal trouble in the interact physically in any way. I don’t know. What do you think Gbolabo?

      • I really don’t know. This is all a part of some “cultural shock” phase for me. Where I come from, teachers command respect in schools, school kids behave. When kids don’t behave, teachers discipline them. Parents are generally happy with teachers that instill discipline into their children. Well, not all parents. Some parents challenge teachers on account of disciplining their children. Those parents don’t receive sympathy from the community. However, legal issues do not arise. Bullying is not going on at an alarming rate as it is here in America. It is not a perfect system but it works. No kids commit suicide because of bullying. Teachers don’t turn their eyes away during a moment that warrants corrections. I have heard all the arguments against spanking disobedient children. I believe some of the arguments but every system has its pros and cons.

      • I actually think you hit that right on the head, honestly. It’s really that simple.

        “When kids don’t behave, teachers discipline them.”

        That’s the whole issue. That doesn’t necessarily mean they have to spank, but simple on the spot correction of bad behavior goes a long way. We seem to see eye to eye on this.

      • Some parents are not teaching their children the limits of decent behavior, and not supervising their behavior adequately online. Worse, some bullies are reflecting the hostility of their parents or being targeted, themselves, at home.

      • True that huh? When a person is victimized I suppose they in turn look for an outlet for their own fear and frustration. That’s a sobering thought, that the way we deal with people can affect in turn how they do.

  2. It is True Anna that Hurt people, Hurt people and Children all ages are the same. Today in Australia some Public Schools no longer have Religious Education and this is increasing what Hope will hurting Children have when they feel unwanted and unloved and are frightened because of bullying, what can the World offer them to take away the emotional pain that in anyway compares to knowing that your Loved by Jesus, I grieve for our Children today, time is short.

    Christian Love Always – Anne.

    • As you say, the real problem is with the bullies, Anne. I, too, grieve for our children. We are not leaving them much of a world…assuming they live long enough to inherit it.

  3. We got pulled out of public school in the early years for this reason. My mom said that she remembers when you could walk around at night without having to worry.

  4. this is quite shocking. kids at this age shouldn’t be getting ideas to hand themselves and hitting the other pupil so hard … punching. these things also happened in my school but not suicide. i hope some one pays more attention to these cases. these are very important because these kids are the next generation. sometimes something like this happens in senior class, the junior kids can also follow them and do the same things.thank you for sharing. ❤ ❤ ❤
    love,
    maneeha.
    (mia)

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