By Letter to the Editor on August 13, 2020.
Pink shirt day and little girls writing story books about overcoming bullying. The constant pressure and stress on young people, dealing with intimidation and plain meanness on social media that ultimately leads to lives destroyed. Will it ever change? My guess is no.
The reason bullying happens is as varied as the people being bullied and the bullies themselves. I am sure there are lots of experts who can explain the reasons, but we seem short on solutions. We talk about it all the time, parents, teachers, managers, politicians, media and of course the people being bullied. Bullies are the only ones not talking about being a bully because, quite frankly, I think in most cases the bullies do not see themselves in those terms. Why is that? Maybe because they justify it by thinking it is just for fun or they deserve it, always an excuse.
My guess is, in our lives most people have either been bullied or are bullies or both. If we have any chance of fixing this pervasive problem, we need to confront the bully, with the goal of the bully understanding their hurtful action and a public apology to the affected persons.
What is a possible solution? Here is my “high-profile” example. Recently, one of our most important positions in our Canadian government, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, has been accused of bullying her staff. In the article in the Lethbridge Herald, some prominent people suggest we need an investigation, avoid controversy, handle behind closed doors and we do not want to damage the institution of the Governor General. Some good advice. The investigation should be conducted with some respect for this important position. After a thorough investigation, one of two things should happen. If the accusations are false, then the people making them need to apologize to our Governor General in public. However, if the accusations are true then the Governor General must call a press conference with all the employees she has bullied and publicly apologize.
The pervasiveness of bullying in every aspect of society is a significant factor in our “cancel culture” and “social discord.” If we have any chance of fixing this serious problem, we need to start at the top, to show that no matter who you are and what position you hold, bullying is unacceptable and will be called out with appropriate consequences. No cover-up.