Sticks and Stones

I watched the documentary Bully last night. The film follows a few children and families who have been faced with bullying, including two families whose children committed suicide because of bullying.

An overarching theme of the film was that school administrators are no help. This is highly disturbing. Yes, it’s true that “kids will be kids.” But when students/parents report multiple instances of bullying, action needs to be taken. I was shocked to hear one administrator say that if there isn’t blood on a child, he/she is not being bullied.

WHAT? I immediately thought of the saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Well, that may have flown in 1862 when it was first coined.

But I’m sorry, this adage is not true. The kids in this documentary were called fags. They were called spazzes. They were pushed into lockers and sat on. They were verbally and emotionally tortured. That HURTS. It hurts the psyche. It creates scars that can’t be seen or touched.

A poem by writer and poet Shane Koyczan is mentioned in the Wikipedia entry for “sticks and stones”…an animated version of his poem went viral on YouTube earlier this year. Watch it. It is beautiful. Share it with others.

And we all know that adults bully other adults as well. Case in point: I saw a story on the news tonight about Miami Dolphin player John Martin taking a leave because of persistent bullying.

Many of us probably have experienced workplace bullying, either as a victim or bystander. There are people across the country trying to get a “healthy workplace bill” passed in their states. My friend Deb is working on the Massachusetts bill. Check it out. 

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