Monday, 17 November 2008

Monday Night Live

Today, Instead of the usual poignant discussions I present about hair styles, camping in fields, and Star Trek, I have decided to go into a more political direction, to see if I can match a classmate in up-to-date political discussions. The answer will be no. I am undoubtedly a different style of writer, and whilst this person is great at giving opinions about current events, I seem to be more of a laugh-and-smiles type person. I have always been this way. Its pretty much my default position, and that can't be helped, much to the chagrin of many of my peers. Using the BBC ticker at the top of my screen, which constantly rotates at an alarming speed, I have found a story that I could relate to on a personal note, so here we go, down the rabbit hole, uh...Dorothy.

There were only 90 children permanently excluded from school for bullying last year in England, according to figures released by the Conservatives.

Shadow Children's Secretary Michael Gove questioned why "just a handful" of permanent exclusions had been imposed.

There were 6,800 children who received temporary exclusions for bullying.

"The victims of bullying shouldn't have to put up with seeing their tormentors stroll back into the classroom after a few days away from school," he said.

The permanent exclusions for bullying - 80 in secondary and 10 in primary school - were fewer in number than the 2,700 permanent exclusions for disruptive behaviour, 210 for theft, 400 for drug or alcohol use, 140 for sexual misconduct, 980 for assaulting an adult and 1,350 for assaulting a pupil.

The number of permanent exclusions for bullying has fallen in recent years - down from 150 in 2003-04 and 130 in 2004-05. The number of temporary exclusions for bullying for these years were 6,750 and 7,680. - Source: BBC News Website, Education...

Now that's a lot of data to chew through, and I have no option to chew it like a tough piece of gristly steak if I am to truly ascertain what exactly is the issue. Undoubtedly bullying is a huge problem. Many, many children are bullied each year, and yet it still continues, like malaria. Although you can protect yourself, there will never truly be a cure.

As a boy, aged 12 or so, I was supposedly "Bullied". However, I never felt as though the acts that had transpired would qualify as such, as I was unwilling to make any form of complaint. That, as I had deduced, would simply anger these cretins more, and in turn cause them to make my life increasingly miserable. I genuinely subscribed to the "If I leave a problem, It will eventually go away" train of thought. This turned out to be a mistake, as whilst the problem did not increase, it became a staple of my early secondary education. Much like visiting the dentist or taking a test. It happened, I let it happen, and so it continued. My self esteem was destroyed, and I simply thought it would never end, so I didn't react. The monotony of mockery and persecution of a person clearly became unbearable to my collection of angry and abusive people, and so they left me alone. Like a desert storm, it was gone as quick as it came.

So what could I do, but observe the next generation, with curiosity and new found vigour? I started to learn more about the bullies behavior, and their migratory habits. This moment was crucial, as the moment in history where, shock and awe, bullying became a major issue. I assume before it was tolerated in schools, because the adults were simply too old and tired to deal with the immediate problem. Before this initiative, the problem solving technique they so lovingly pushed upon us, was to put the victim (me) and my bully (lets call him Trog) in a room together, and have us "talk out our differences". Now I'm not sure if the name Trog, or the fact that Trog looked like he had lived most of his life on the underside of a city bus were any indication, but Trog wasn't the most verbal of people. The entire time was spent with Trog alternating between verbal abuse and small amounts of physical pain, the kind you get when you hit someone with a ruler. Say what you want about Trog, but he had time management skills.

The new method was more of a targeting aid than a preventative measure, with the famous blue pieces of plastic endorsed by celebrities being all the rage as a form of silent protest, as though one day all the victims would line up in a row, their fists raised, their eyes unblinking, as the bully could do nothing but utter "There, but for the grace of God" and flee into the hills. Remember these?

Yes Bono, I'm sure that you were bullied, in between banging groupies and making a fuck ton of money. Now crawl back to your cavern, you ignorant tool.

The bands were a part of a radical movement to stop the bullies. I myself thought about aligning myself with this charity, as a show of support for my brethren who had been attacked after me. But then I thought about it in the same way I would think about tying soap to my feet and trying to slide across a bed of nails, it just wasn't going to work, and it would end with pain.

Ive been slightly out of the loop when it comes to the "Great Bullying Plague" but then again, Its been almost 5 years since I was bullied, and I have been quite occupied with growing a pair and learning how to make jokes to get myself out of sticky situations, so I haven't really cared that much. It happened to me and I forgot it.

The solution to bullying does lie in excluding the bastards. When someone leads what I can only refer to as a campaign against you, the last thing you want is a teacher, or some other adult, telling you its "because they're jealous" or that "they want to be friends and they don't know how." If they don't know how to distinguish a handshake from fast moving closed fist, then not having friends is the least of their problems, and no amount of teaching is going to sway them into the paths of academia, so the best thing for them is to be expelled.

The sort of people who bully are vindictive and wry. I say this in the sense that, they know how to work the system. They know that the road to a life without school is to be a complete jerk. They know how to get exactly what they want in life, which is easy street, and they know that they will get it. All I am suggesting is that they should get there as soon as possible, because perhaps then their innocent peers don't have to be abused in the process.

This got incredibly serious, so I think I'm going to end with a classic icebreaker joke.

"A man with a duck on his head walks into a doctors office. The doctor says, 'what can I do or you?', and the duck says 'Doc, can you get this guy off my ass?"

Classic comedy. Tell your friends.

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