The torment for the parents of the young suicide victim, the children who are accused of causing the horrific situation, the parents of all these children, the school officials, in fact, all children, parents and teachers in the school are in this together.
Yet, as usual they end up standing at polar opposite sides of the scales of justice. This is truly no different that what goes on around the world where there is dissention and fighting. Everyone throws barbs and daggers at one another and the name of the game is BLAME. As an executive business coach and family therapist who has worked with school districts and troubled youth I beg the leadership of the school to find a way to gather the parents together and look more deeply into what is really going on. There is more, much more at the core of this issue than merely “bullying” at school. This is too simplistic an answer. The demand for “leadership” means all the adults who have a stake in the game need to become leaders. Sadly, they will be kept from the real, honest dialogue that needs to occur because the lawyers will keep the polarization going. Their interest is one sided, for their clients.
Yet, somehow, someone needs to yell “STOP” and demand a guided talking time with the parents and then with the parents and the youngsters. The first organization we all join, the family is where we learn about fairness, favoritism, bullying, caring, deceit, and betrayal. We take what we learned at home into our next organization, the school and eventually into the workplace.
Maybe this tragedy can be used to dig deeply into the underbelly of the emotions that led to this young girl’s death. It is more than just what happened at school, although that is certainly a part of it. It’s about all of us to get past blame and condemnation, and it’s about time!
The above is Sylvia’s response to Molly Line’s blog; “Bullying Arraingment” posted on FOXNews on April 6, 2010.
There is a real need for discipline in our schools the way it should be. Bullies understand strength and weakness, and will fold to strength every time. I went to a Catholic school and was taught by Nuns in the late 50′s and early 60′s . We had 1 bully the entire time I was in school, and he was stopped in his tracks with a good old fashoned paddle. We need to get back to living in the real world again.
The “word” tragic doesn’t even come close to describing the fallout from the suicide of this girl. Sylvia is right, “justice” (i.e., assessing “blame” and administering consequences) through legal channels alone doesn’t address the fallout from this terrible event. Regardless of the legal outcome, a stigma remains for the parents with children attending the school and the students (regardless of their involvement or lack of it in this incident), as well as the teachers and administrators who are responsible for doing their part in keeping a safe environment. What is needed (and what the legal “blame game” will likely prohibit) is honest soul searching and courage to face the truth about what fueled this scenario, as well as sincere and meaningful commitments to make the necessary changes to prevent another such tragedy from occurring. One can only hope that once the dust settles, all parties would be willing to reach out for additional dialogue with an intention to do just that. Only then will the real lessons have been learned and the healing begin. Now THAT would be leadership.