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Athletic Programs Teach Goals - and Help Bullies
School administrators throughout Massachusetts victimize targets of bullies. It is cruel and devastating when authority figures sweep the crimes under the rug. Too many principals and teachers take the word of the offender over that of the victim. This disenfranchises the tormented and fosters additional abuses. Why is this so? Bullies are usually jocks and upper-middle class students. The victims are usually misfits, unique, smart, self-conscious, or rebellious. Faculty often choose to ignore cries for help. Many faculty members seem to favor the jocks, pushing “undesirables” out of school. I home-school my daughter. Students and teachers bullied her so viciously that she refused to attend. The school’s investigations resulted in the faculty asking the bullies if they committed the crime and then accepting their denial as truth. The school took a CHINS out on my daughter. I have spoken to other students who are being bullied. One has issues with the same teachers; people the vice principal defended when we complained. My children no longer attend public school. Yet my blood is boiling. The Bridgewater student who was beaten by three jocks while another student filmed it was bullied for over a year. The school did nothing until his mother got a lawyer and the video leaked onto the Internet. This is the crux of the issue. Scholastic athletic programs are important. They teach teamwork and goal setting. They also instill a pack mentality, program kids to attack differences, and strike at weaknesses as a team. Additionally, these jocks are lionized while their victims are scorned. Should we continue to celebrate athletes and forgive their violent tendencies? The answer is no. The time to act is now.
Copyright © 2011 Sean P. Pratt, all rights reserved
Additional Information: This was a letter to the editor that I submitted to the Brockton Enterprise. They, in turn, published the letter in the June 8, 2011 issue. At the time a video had surfaced of a young boy in Bridgewater being held by two jocks while a third punched him repeatedly. This incident sparked some debate but little in policies or change. Also at this time, my own daughter was dealing with her own bullies, both student, and faculty. The Vice-Principal of her school reacted to her refusal to attend school by trying to have her removed from our home because after all she was not one of the elite and should, therefore, be destroyed. I am not a violent man, but for that vice principal, I will make an exception should our paths cross again. My daughter is grown now and doing well.