02/19/15 by Rennie Detore
Bullying is no stranger to headlines. This one, from a high school in Illinois, reads a little different than the norm.
A 15 year old student, Stephen Davis, at Streamwood High School found himself the butt of jokes among his classroom when a student drew an unflattering picture of him on a dry erase board. Being made fun of about his weight and appearance is nothing new for Davis, who freely and bravely admits he's been getting picked on since grade school but admirably shrugs it off as best he can.
That student may have started yet another day of bullying directed at Davis, but the substitute teacher in that day finished it. He continued to abound on the drawing from the student and added antennas to the cartoon face of Davis on the board and added a few ignorant words to further punctuate his insensitivity and idiocy.
How exactly did the rest of the world hear about this or see it happen? The video was recorded by Davis when he saw the teacher actually join in on the so called fun that the entire class was having. The school didn't respond to any inquiries put forth by national media as one would expect they're trying to speak directly to the substitute teacher at fault, along with formulate some sort of public relations rhetoric to tell the world "how they don't condone this act."
The school undoubtedly doesn't agree with this heinous act of bullying put forth by an adult nonetheless, but this act shows two things quite clearly: bullying isn't just about unacceptable student to student behavior, and more needs to be done without the schools.
Davis is the victim here, without question. You have to assume that Davis spoke up at least a few times to someone within the school that the bullying was hurtful and perhaps incessant and consistent. He needs to say something to a principal, teacher or counselor to help keep the school aware of what is happening, right?
Turns out, according to Davis' sister, he's done that several times but hasn't seen the kind of action that you would assume happens given how so much work and spotlight has been devoted to bullying nationally.
And with that, Davis decided to take his bullying into his own hands by videotaping what was happening with his cell phone in a modern, technological vigilante moment of strength. Telling someone first is preferred, but you have to wonder aloud just what that would have done had Davis accused a teacher of doing something so pathetic like this.
The teacher undoubtedly saw their career aspirations of being a full time teacher just about anywhere receive permanent detention as they'll be looking for another employment avenue and field completely as soon as possible. But being banished from being a teacher shouldn't be the only adverse action to fall upon this adult. Kids and young adults shouldn't be excused from bullying; you can argue that educating them on how wrong and hurtful bullying is should conceivably be a first step toward them growing up to be a smarter, sincere adult.
The fact that an adult teacher actually bullied a 15 year old high school student shows just how far the anti bullying campaign has come, suggesting that there is much work to be done. A public apology is place to start, but that isn't going to solve a bullying problem that clearly needs to be addressed with a little more fervor than presently being done.
Of course, you can't account for notion, which the school is most likely going to use in its addressing of this issue, that this person acted on their own, and they'll be promptly dismissed. That's all well and good but it totally overlooks fixing the problem at the core. Yes, they'll always be stupid people, and you can argue that you can't fix "stupid."
But all the bullying ads and celebrity campaigns can't show what Davis caught on his cell phone at school. That's bullying at its worse, and that reality is what needs to be seen so real progress can be made.
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