Something that makes me angry is when I go onto Facebook and see the anti-bullying messages - especially when they're paraded around by the very people who set out to make my school-life hell.
"Oh Kezz, that was back in school, nearly 10 years ago, surely you should be over it by now?"
The whole "It was in the past, they were kids" argument makes me want to strangle someone - it's usually sprouted by people who are still bullies.
First off, anyone over the age of 5 knows that bullying and making other people feel bad isn't a good thing, so you can shove that argument out of the window. The fact that the schoolyard bullies are young should be no reason why they should be allowed to get away with it, because they soon turn into adult bullies who are infinitely worse. One thing that drove me insane were the"anti bullying" lectures that we got - nothing about NOT bullying, but rather telling us how to defend ourselves from bullies. Of course, all the bullies were in these lectures, so they became very redundant very quickly as bullies found new ways to torture their victims. Why aren't these lectures designed to teach children behaviours OTHER than bullying? I don't care if you're getting abused at home, it's no reason to make MY life hell. It's not my fault your parents are fighting all the time, it's not my fault if your parents are never home, it's not my fault you suck at school, why try and pull a power trip on an innocent victim to make yourself feel better?
We need to teach children skills to communicate better for a start, and how to relate to one another. Unfortunately there seems to be a great deal of parents who either are too busy to teach these skills, or are bullies themselves and encourage these destructive behaviours. And why wouldn't you? Bullying can be very satisfying (I should know, I used to bully my siblings a fair bit, it was one of the few ways I could get them to stay away from me) and it does make you feel stronger - at the cost of somebody elses self-esteem and feelings. I'm willing to bet that if you asked the people who bullied at school, 90% of them would come back and say that the victim deserved it, or that they were in some way justified in doing it.
Parents have a responsibility to make sure their children aren't bullies. Very few of them actually do this. No one wants to believe their child is a bully, and most parents defend their children instead of stepping back and trying to resolve the situation (and we wonder why people have superiority complexes). Or worse still, they believe the victim deserves it and reinforce the behaviour in their own child.
If there are any schoolchildren reading this, I ask you this - have you said something mean to one of your schoolmates recently (either in person or on social media)? Have you gone out of your way to make someone else feel bad? Why? What gives you the right to hurt another person just to make yourself feel better? I don't care if they're different, you're better than that.