Prevention is not a cure for bullying

Arthur Boyle, Staff Writer

Barbara Coloroso came to speak to our school about bullying. The teachers listened for a half day of school (the main event of Coloroso’s bullying package deal), the students listened for a quick 40 minutes, and the Saint Louis Park district was out an estimated $4,000. Before I carry on, let it be iterated that city taxpayers paid $4,000 for that woman to regurgitate a speech I have heard once a year since grade school.

Her performance can and should be forgotten quickly. Not only was the content unrelatable, she (ironically) placed a new student in an incredibly awkward situation trying to explain the behavior of the “high social–status bully” towards new students, and her erratic schedule and lack of poignancy destroyed any potential positive outcome.

There could have been small positive outcome. Any potentially life-saving endeavor cannot be completely negligible. But in some cases, this one definitely (given the inefficacy of the ridiculous woman and the nature of our school environment and history), the potential negative outcomes outweigh the positives.

Not once during Coloroso’s presentation did she mention what action the victim should take. She discussed that bullying is awful and what other people should do about bullying, and then hammered away at those points. She framed it in such a way that the victim is helpless, with no option of his or her own, completely dependent on others to solve the problem.

I cannot back anyone who subscribes to this theory. In drastic situations, as a total last resort, fine, involve a higher authority. But delegating other people’s independence away from them solves nothing, in fact it makes things worse.

If anyone can truthfully look me in the eyes and tell me there will always be a parent to solve all of my problems, to warm me up a bottle of milk, and send me to bed to wake up to a happy tomorrow then fine, I will listen to this woman. But I cannot believe that someone will always fix things for me, and I wish more people thought similarly.

When I want something, I work for it; I put my time into it, and sometimes I get it. If I feel someone or a group of people is taunting me, I speak back and I defend myself. When Dr. Skinner wants the Sue chant to stop, she stops it. When President Obama is thrown into an economic crisis, he responds with action (effective or not is irrelevant).

If I could save a life, I’d do just about anything. I think many would if it was spelled out clearly for them. But then again, I don’t really care if someone calls you stupid, or fat, or unathletic, or a whore, or a slut, or even if they deride you because you are fundamentally different from them: prove them wrong. Prove to them that you deserve better and shove it in their face; prove to them you are so far above and beyond their hateful baseness they are forced to believe it. Do what needs to be done to get what you want: prove it to yourself.