Friday, 16 March 2018

Developing a society of bullies: The ugly truth in plain sight

I can vaguely remember a book I read during my secondary level literature class called ‘School’s Out’. I cannot recall the author but I remember the plot was one which involved the most unlikely careless people in the role of teachers. That book shed light on what happens when the education system fails children and the community. At the time I thought it was a funny satirical story about our West Indian education system which was not at all like that. Now, I think I have found an institution and society which resembles that type of attitude and embodies the dysfunction it exposed many years ago.
School may be out for some, at least locally, where a lawless society is created, not from poverty and illiterate criminals, but from intellectuals who lack the discipline and commitment to be better examples. I am not sure this should be committed to paper, but it is troubling when faced with a facade which is a disgrace to an education system.
The bully
Bullies are breed. They are given teeth when their power is allowed to grow. They feed on the fear of others and are not afraid to intimidate or coerce or use veiled or direct threats. In many primary schools there is a growing epidemic of bullies who can cause disruption, and are labelled as troubled, in need of additional attention and forgiveness. They can beat up, and torture other children, because the education system says they need to be given an education and should not be discriminated against. The innocent victims are advised to accept their persecution as ‘rough play’ and learn ‘how to mix’ with different types of children.
These bullies or ‘special children’ then move into the secondary school system and continue to use force to fight and have their own way. They can get away with disrespect in many instances because their behaviour is enforced by ‘bully parents’. These parents are proud when their children show their strength, and they are always ‘ a good child’. Discipline is lacking and we must learn to tolerate their behaviour as a condition of ‘a problem background’. They will change eventually, is the hope given to those who must accept their purpose and test of life.
Then, the bullies graduate and get a tertiary education continuing their behaviour which has been developed over time. They know scare tactics work, as well as intimidation. They know how to play the game, when to curse, when to smile kindly, when to badger and when to threaten. They evolve into a bigger version of their small selves, and can even graduate, and may be fortunate to become world leaders, because power can make many things possible.

It is unfortunate that I discovered an institution which should be held in high esteem, being dishonest in its offer, disreputable in its processes, and another avenue for the bully to flourish. As someone advised that all work submitted needs to be original, the response was swift, explaining that Turnitin was never really used by the institution, and merely a threat by the school administration. The voice advised that many assignments were copied, pasted and submitted with full marks forthcoming. My shock was evident as was my disbelief, until that statement was reinforced the next day. Then I was advised it goes further, as some students pay others to write assignments and they submit as their own, graduating with certainty was the objective.
As I listened, my innocence felt ripped from me, and in its place, there is nothing.

Group work a panacea for the bully
The situation arose where a couple folks in a group could not agree on where collaboration to execute a project would take place. Then the leader decided to use the class day as a resolution to the problem. Everyone except one person showed up. The missing link deciding that if it could not be done on their terms at their time then everyone would receive zero for the project. One person crossed over, trying to bully the other team members to redo their work at the will of the missing link. Who do you think will win this battle? The bully of course. The key factor here is everyone must be present
to do the project; thus the lecturer will expect everyone to give in to the one who can wield the power. It has always been this way in the institution. Any other way would mean the groupwork was not completed. Quickly the bully knows their power. The others will compromise and give in to get the valued marks, it is the only way to win.
Developing a lawless society
Lawlessness does not happen overnight. It is an accumulation of a breakdown in a society’s justice and law enforcement system. When the leaders, principals, teachers, parents, and many others are lawless can anything else be expected from society? An audit and review of safety systems are normally done to establish credibility in processes and procedures for compliance. Maybe this should be extended to every aspect of society.
It is with a deep level of certainty, as I look around that my country needs help. It is sinking and rotting at all levels. If it were a bucket, there would be holes everywhere with precious water escaping from many routes. As the people flee through the holes which are getting bigger, some will remain. Hopefully they will not suffer persecution from those holding an unfair advantage. I wonder though, if the little bullies were not allowed to flourish, how different our society would be?
Not everything written can appeal, thus, not every truth should be revealed to those wishing to live in a bubble, which will eventually pop.
Thank you for reading and sharing. Leave a comment, and add to the discussion on bullying and your society.
We all have a say in what we leave behind when we depart this earth — let’s make a dfference. 
A short brief about me: I’m a corporate business veteran, with practical experience in a diverse range of industries — Safety/ HVAC / FMCG /Industrial Equipment /and much more . Sales ,Marketing, Business Development & Coaching are combined to deliver over 30 years experience. As an entrepreneur and blogger (Dwordslayer) I’m right now living an adventure, and looking forward to the next opportunity to challenge mediocrity.
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  1. Great message Donna-Luisa. I think so many of us see the bully and/or bullies within Society and are fed up. When they become adults with power, they are either feared or people pretend to friend them with hopes of favors being answered. I want to know when are the majority of adults in the room going to stand up and say, enough... we won't allow this anymore?

  2. Yes that is a question id like to get answers to. It affects us all in almost every known society.

  3. I'm so proud of you for the precious time you spent preparing this very timely and realistic piece of work. I pray this can be published in a handbook and be readily used by all Caribbean education system and internationally by extension.
    Keep up the good work my dear friend.

    1. Thank you Sherol. The Caribbean culture and education system is not one which embraces change easily. Thankfully, at this time change cannot be ignored.

  4. There was a bully in my high school, or junior college as we call it here in Singapore. Believe it or not, he was actually the discipline master, and among his many deeds, he openly chastise other teachers on stage in front of the whole student population, insisted the principal adopt his many absurd recommendations, and take every other opportunity to intimidate the students.

    I never went back to that school after graduation, because of him.

    But I'm sure he also inspired developing bullies. Give those a formal education, so to speak. I continue to dread how many bullies he created in my generation too. BTW, he got his way mainly 'cos he impressed upon others he had some sort of influence with the Ministry.

    1. Thank you for sharing your experiences Scribbling Geek. Bullying is a universal concern and it seems our leaders and persons in authority legitimize this as a power of assertion. Let us hope for more voices speaking out, raising awareness and maybe changing the status quo will be disrupted by better behaviors.