09 November 2014

Stop Bullying ...

This morning I read an article about a Norwegian boy, Odin - just 13 years old who committed suicide. He was bullied by fellow students. We all know how sensitive and emotional you are as a teenager - fragile, angry, excited, happy, scared little grown ups who has a huge and intense demand for being taken seriously. At least that is what I remember myself being back then.

It was tough and so intense - and other people's opinion about me just meant the world to me. So many coincidences decided upon what direction your life would take. Friendships got a different meaning, having first relationships and defining your own personality. Through language, clothes, hobbies and opinions. Going to school could be so tough if you were not part of the right "crowd".

The topic is very atypical for this blog but the story has made a huge impact on me. And it won't let go. I felt like someone hit me really hard in the stomach when I read the article in the national newspaper vg.no. His parents - have chosen to share their story with the press because they were aware that he was bullied and asked for help again and again but were not taken serious by the schools he attended to.  I need to get this out of my head because I think it is so important. And I feel that Odin's parents are so incredibly brave for having the guts to talk so openly and honest about such a painful issue. We must be made aware of this so we all do our best to limit the chances that this can happen. Because it shouldn't have. 

We all have a responsibility to take care of our surroundings and children can be cruel because of what reasons ever - I am sure most of us can remember either yourself or classmates being bullied - did you step up for those or did someone step up for you?
I stepped up for a few in my time in the school yard but I could and should have stepped up even more.
And I too remember that I had classmates who were picked on more that others but I couldn't even if I wanted to explain why exactly these kids became the "target". But I was also privileged that I mostly had amazing teachers who when they saw that someone was teased - exploded in furies and made it clear to all of us that this is not tolerated in a civilized community and we must all treat each other nicely. These teachers had a lot of personality and were aware of the role they played in our life and took that extremely serious.

It makes me so angry that this brave little guy has asked for help and his mother has repeatedly contacted the school, teachers in charge and authorities who are responsible for dealing with these issues - and action which could have made a difference was not taken. I think most parents are not even aware of what goes on at school - how their kids treat other the kids.

But every grown up must take action when they see - and feel that a child is not treated properly by other grown ups or other kids.