By Donny Winter
© 2012 Diversity Rules Magazine. All Rights Reserved
Donny Winter is a gay rights activist on YouTube and recently graduated from Central Michigan University with a degree in English and Anthropology. He’s aiming to publish a manuscript of LGBTQ-themed poetry and write a memoir of his high school days where he was a victim of frequent bullying.
For a long time the argument of whether or not parents should be blamed for their bullying children has been brought into question. After the recent event involving the Bus Monitor being bullied to tears by seventh graders, I began to question how these behaviors are learned. Do these children see this behavior in their parents and begin to feel that it’s the best way to deal with people who have differences, or do they personally choose to act the way they do?
Many will argue that a 12 or 13 year old child does not have the capacity to make coherent choices in regard to morality. Isn’t it logical to assume that by this age they have developed at least some sense of understanding when it comes to ‘right’ and ‘wrong’? I know a lot of LGBTQ people understand what it feels like to be bullied, and a good portion of the time bullies require that sense of satisfaction that comes from getting a rise out of someone else. After watching the YouTube video titled “Making the Bus Monitor Cry” it seemed more apparent than ever that in order to know what would hurt that older lady these children had to know the difference between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ behavior. This ordeal also proves to the individuals who believe that bullying is a ‘rite of passage’ that not only one age group suffers from it.
Are parents to blame for their child’s actions? While they do have a significant influence over their child’s development I do not necessarily think the child is completely ignorant to the ethics of social conduct. It is a general ideal in our society that hurting others is wrong, which no doubt justifies the fact that words can be used as weapons. In other scenarios children pick up the low tolerance for certain groups of people that their parents express over the course of time, which would indeed make it partially the parents’ fault.
I’m not willing to let the child off that easily though. Despite age, there is always a choice involved when it comes to acting on a thought and children especially in their teenage years are aware of that separation. A child can choose to be the bully, and they can choose to not be the bully regardless how their parents educated them.
Parents should be blamed for the things they say which the child can learn, and children should be blamed for their lack of selecting the ‘don’t say everything you think’ filter.
In regard to the lady who suffered on that school bus, my heart goes out to her and other people especially in the LGBTQ community who brave such situations. I can think of no greater punishment for those bullies than for them to always be remembered as ‘that bully who bullied the bus monitor.’