Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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October 21st, 2011

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

Diverse points of views and open and honest debate of issues is how our democratic society was founded. We all have a right to agree and disagree and even agree to disagree. But, what we must not do is misrepresent a person’s character, destroy one’s personal life, or use physical force.

In this column my objective has always been to write about issues. Although what I do here might be considered written bullying to some, it actually ought to generate debate and conversation in the public arena. However, if while I do this, I offend or hurt anyone personally, I apologize, because that has not been my intent. I hope those who attack me would say the same.

Bullying has been a subject in the news a lot lately and for far graver reasons.

Schools are plagued with children bullying other children, and District Attorney Jim Farrell has started an initiative to combat bullying. Farrell wants to nip this problem in the bud.

Our DA has been visiting schools and lecturing students on the dangers and consequences of bullying. The statistics he uses are frightening, and we must all be grateful that Farrell has made this a top priority.

Bullying is often dismissed as a part of growing up, but it’s actually an early form of aggressive and violent behavior. As Farrell sees it, “bullying prevention in schools is actually crime prevention.”

Statistics show that 60 percent of children that bully usually end up with felony records as adults, and 160,000 children in America skip school every day because they fear being attacked or intimidated by other students.

The Department of Justice reports that 37 percent of students don’t feel safe in their school, and Institute of Health reports that 33 percent of all students in the 6 to 10 grades nationwide experienced some kind of bullying.

Farrell told me his presentation focuses on educating kids about the serious consequences of bullying and that those that are experiencing bullying must tell an adult. “Our adults, our parents, teachers, school administrators should be prepared to act and hold the bully responsible and accountable. We all must be engaged to end bullying. There must be consequences for this behavior.”

The presentation seeks to engage the group with the most power in the school, the bystanders, the kids who stand by and watch, laugh and give the bully an audience. “I want to encourage them to stand up for others, to show compassion, to not be a bystander but to be a witness, resister and defender of the victims. I explain the difference between tattling and telling and how the difference is important.” Farrell said.

To counter attack bullying, Farrell said he is encouraging bystanders to act strong in a chain and to stand up for the victim. “I would like them to say, ‘Stop,’ and for the next person to say, ‘Why are you being mean?’ and for the next person to say: ‘Knock it off’ and for the next person to say, ‘Leave him alone,’ and so on and so on for a chain reaction of compassion and help. The bystanders are now standing up and making a commitment to end bullying and are the heroes.”

We all have a lesson to learn – even us adults.

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