We usually read and/or hear about it when something “sensational” has happened but anyone who has a loved one who has experienced it and anyone who has experienced it firsthand knows that  the sensational is not what makes bullying a problem. Bullying itself is the problem but what causes it in the first place? Why is it allowed to go on until something “tragic” happens?

We often read about bullying when someone in their teens or younger has been victimized. Have we made the definition broad enough to do an adequate job of recognizing or identifying bullying? Is bullying always an activity that is rejected by its victims or is it advisable to question whether bullying may sometimes be an unwanted act of aggression that is, nevertheless, accepted even by “victims”? I’m thinking about the young man, the drum major from FAMU, who was recently killed as a result of hazing. I know we don’t equate hazing with bullying but it’s definitely an act of aggression, often harmful, sometimes fatal, that is unwanted even if accepted by the person on  the receiving end of the aggression. I read and cited a report that indicated that sexting is an activity that has become accepted by many high schoolers who are trying to make sure they’re accepted, considered cool, fit in. A young lady whose leg was broken during a hazing incident about the same time the young man was killed said part of the reason she tolerated the aggression is because she wanted to be accepted by the band members. Should we begin to at least question whether activities such as hazing should also be classified as bullying?

We know that teens and younger aren’t the only ones who experience bullying behavior. Bullying that can come in the form(s) of verbal and/or physical aggression and can be perpetrated at home, school or work by people of various ages. There are many problems with this issue. Dr. Richard Deaner and Natasha Carter will address the matter this week but let us know what your thoughts are too.