Letter: Schools just a product of bully culture

Published August 11, 2014 7:54 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Adults worry, discuss and employ a variety of programs to address problems of bullying in our youth. A recent letter discussed bullying in public schools ("Don't ignore bullying," August 9).

As an educator who has witnessed intimidation in both private religious and public schools, I believe that to effectively address this issue we must understand that we are a culture of aggressors and intimidators. Adults model offensive behaviors daily. Principals, staff, teachers, parents, siblings and friends barrage youth with example of cruelty, name-calling, and subjugation.

These behaviors are not relegated to public schools, but pervade our national foreign policies, are firmly imbedded in many adult conversations, and provide the essence for racial, ethnic, gender, aging, and religious discrimination. In schools alone, I've witnessed a principal harassing a student to tears in front of his class for wearing inappropriate shoes on a religious celebration day, teachers calling students "slackers," principals insisting that teachers are inferior to others (even though student test scores tell a different story), districts forcing teachers to adhere to teaching calendars when students are not ready to move on, parents gossiping about school staff in parking lots, principals blaming teachers for students harassing others at recess and beliefs that learners who speak languages other than English at home are inferior.

As a citizen I hear people threatening others with lawsuits, boycotts and guns. We are a litigious society feeding a culture of bullying. Until adults stop referring to bullying as a school problem and accept that it is a social problem, it will never change.

Miriam Bugden

Salt Lake City