Bullying and Religious Freedoms
Last comment by SusanS 4 years, 3 months ago.

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I contemplated whether to write this or not. I actually believe that we have too much overflow of information on this topic at the moment. However, after some thought I felt it best to go ahead and write it.

Recently there was a letter to the Editor published that I found to be unsettling. It was from a former student who had been bullied in school. She was a non-believer and felt she had been bullied by Christians. What bothered me was that her experience did not at all relate to the issue at hand in our district. No one has been bullied, no one was reported for bullying. And it gave the impression that it's only Christians that bully. Not true. Bullying is about power. I've known people from every walk of life who have been bullied. And I've known many Christians who have been bullied. This issue didn't even need to come into play with regard to religious freedom.

I do. however, feel for her and anyone else who has experienced bullying for any reason. There is never justification for it. Bullying goes on in our schools everyday, both here and all over the country. I would love to see it addressed. I personally believe it is the result of a lack of proper parenting in the home. When we teach our children to be kind to others, and allow people to be unique and different from us, we prepare them to live in a diverse world. It doesn't mean they have to agree with everyone, they certainly don't. But we ought to be kind and caring.

My daughter was bullied for two years in high school. When we finally found out about it, we got on it quickly. Thanks to a wonderful counselor at her school it was taken care of, but the scars were deep. Only because she had strong support and love around her was my daughter able to get through it, work it out, and grow from it. In an attempt to help herself heal, she created a video (which is still viewed on Youtube)to help educate others about bullying. My daughter was pleasantly surprised when a school district in another state asked permission to use her video in a presentation they were making in all of their schools to help prevent and educate students on the effects of bullying. And somehow, she managed to finish first in her class that year. So, yes, this is personal to me.

My main point here though is this: Bullying was not in any way related to what happened in our county recently. When we allow dramatic information to be attached to a basic issue, we sensationalize and blow emotions out of proportion and it does not help us to come together as a community or find resolve with each other. By allowing this, we turn the issue into something it never was. No wonder our country is in such upheaval.

I fully support the Herald (and any other news agency) sharing all sides of any issue and doing their best to give the full story. However, I do not support publishing information that is not relevant and does not help bring about a positive resolution for all involved. And I'm not sure I believe all sides of this have been aired.

I will say that I do believe all sides want the best for our students. However, many have mishandled information and communication. So, let's leave the comments out from those who are not here and don't know the actual facts about what has gone on. And let's do whatever we can to try to bring our community together. A lot of damage has been done and it's going to take time to rebuild it...if we can.
It makes me sad because I love this community.

Latest Activity: Dec 19, 2013 at 11:36 AM

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terryterry2 commented on Thursday, Dec 19, 2013 at 15:04 PM

I have a neice that goes to SHS and her councelor could care less. She has been bullied and stalked on campus, and we have gone to school I don't know how many times and their attitute is we will take care of it. Even my nephew tells me of how less the teachers could care, his teacher cusses at the students in class, and they let the black kids run the place because they are scared of them. When I tell them to see a councelor or teacher he laughs. He tells me it is hard to find anyone at SHS who cares, most teachers, councelors hate their jobs and all they hear is we have ove 900 students we can't babysit just one, grow up. I asked about the resource monitor they have to help and both said he sits in one place all day watching the girls go by. So on tv things look nice and they say all the right thing, but if you ever been through bullying the truth is a little different.

gawalkman commented on Friday, Dec 20, 2013 at 09:44 AM


Great post...as usual.

I have a friend who has a daughter attending SHS. She is a local Girl Scout who spearheaded the forming of a student organization, at school, this year. The purpose is to educate others on the aspects of bullying.

I would like to encourage my fellow readers to engage your teenagers and challenge them to become involved.

I proves to me, again, that our children are worth fighting for.

gawalkman commented on Friday, Dec 20, 2013 at 10:16 AM

Here's an update to my previous post.

The name of the student organization at SHS is: Stand for the Silent. It is the SHS Chapter of a national organization.

For more info about the national organization: http://www.standforthesilent.org/

Scott Garner commented on Friday, Dec 20, 2013 at 20:11 PM


Nicely spoken. Conflating the issue of school bullying and the ongoing dialogue (if you can really call it that) on religious expression in school is a very fine line to walk. But there may be some room for the perspective in the letter to the editor you reference.

Christianity is ubiquitous in this area. When I was a sports writer at the Herald, I observed high school football games where prayer was led over the PA system, where coaches took their teams into prayer before and after the game. I wonder how a linebacker raised in the Baha'i faith -- a faith that accepts the teachings of Jesus as part of its own religious identity -- would have fared if he felt compelled to remove himself from this group prayer.

"Bullying" is a popular hot-button term these days. I don't think the pressure to conform itself is bullying. But the response of a not-insubstantial segment of middle and high school kids to those who do not conform to the group can easily veer into bullying.

I am glad to hear that your daughter received quick assistance and then went above and address bullying in an attempt to help others. But some of the conversation in Bulloch County regarding religion and its place in the public school system *is* informed by testimonials like the one in the Herald.

mbraz commented on Friday, Dec 20, 2013 at 22:00 PM

And—though it's no longer a relevant part of my life, Susan—I'd be willing to sit down in a one-to-one conversation (not a blog) and discuss my experiences along these lines while in junior high and high school. You might be surprised.

SusanS commented on Sunday, Dec 22, 2013 at 16:58 PM

Mike.... I would always enjoy any opportunity to sit and talk to you on any subject. :-) And I don't think I would be surprised by much. :-) However, my point here is that we don't need to make it appear that Christians are the only ones who bully. And in my personal experience, someone who says they are Christian and bullies, isn't really living out the love of God.

Scott, I appreciate your input. M point here also was that when we are dealing with such a sensitive issue, it is better to stay focused on the facts regarding the specific issue and not allow other issues to be piled on top of it which were not part of the main complaint. There are so many kids in our school system whom I love dearly. They come from all walks of life, all backgrounds, and all sorts of diversity. Each one of them deserves to have their First Amendment rights respected. Nothing is ever going to be perfect, no matter what rules are set in place. But if we want to address the topic of bullying, it has to be done on a grander scale. And I am all for it. :-) but separate form this prior issue.

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