New York Kids: Bullying the elderly
An article was published online today in the Toronto Star which was accompanied by a video depicted Karen Klein, an elderly school bus monitor, being taunted by the children she supervises. Throughout the video, young students repeatedly call Karen “fat”, “worthless”, “ugly”, “troll-like”, and worse.
It is disheartening to see videos such as this, in which an individual, no less an elderly citizen who contributes to her community, is bullied by the students and children she wishes to serve.
In the video (which is difficult to watch) it becomes apparent that Karen is not interested in defending herself against these students, a questionable approach to dealing with bullies of a younger generation. We commonly hear of older individuals extorting, harassing or, in a sense, “bullying” younger persons (such as in the work force, on playgrounds and so on) thus is it rare to see a case like Karen Klein’s. I think this raises a really interesting question of how anolderperson would and needs to respond to being bullied and harassed by younger community members.
The old adage of “ignoring it until it goes away” or claiming that people will get bored of harassing individuals if it seems to be ineffectual is in itself an ineffectual tactic to deal with and navigate harassment issues. In the case of Karen Klein, I highly doubt that standing up for herself would have worked any better than trying to simply ignore the ignorant and abusive comments being thrown at her.
Since the video came out on youtube, others videos of similar situations involving Karen and the same students have surfaced, going to show us that willing harassment to end will not suffice.
It is my personal opinion that there is a misgiving in regards to language in cases of bullying, as a situation such as this depicts clear instances of harassment and human right violations. I would argue that the term “bullying” infantilizes the implications and effects of the types of harassment people experience at the level of elementary school, which tends to be the arena equated with bullying. By infantilizing these situations through a rhetoric of bullying, it nullifies the severity of trauma associated with harassment and “bullying”. The article also touches upon the LGBT suicides that have become increasingly visible across America, suicides that happened as a affect of homophobic bullying. If “bullying” reaches the point at which it begins to claim lives, why do we still call it bullying, when it is in fact something much larger and more damaging than the play ground name-calling equated with ‘bullying’ and becomes an issue of harassment, privacy violation, and an ignorance toward human right?
Furthermore, it comes as no surprise that the students involved in the harassment of Karen Klein are not faced with any charges, or reprimand of any kind. We need to ask ourselves why it is that harassment cases such as this go unpunished, or worse: unnoticed.
I once heard somewhere that negative and harmful behaviours, such as harassment and abuse, continue to exist within any community because the community allows it to do so- it is only once the community decides a certain type of behaviour will not be tolerated that it will cease to exist.
This is our collective responsibility.
Read the article and watch the video here; http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/1214780—video-of-bus-monitor-bullied-by-students-goes-viral?bn=1
- peersupportteam posted this