I have been following on various domestic and international coverage on the speedy cover-up of a huge sinkhole which appeared in one of the major cities in my homeland. Yes, the hole-filling process was carried out in a very orderly manner and the roads were reopened in no time. I suppose the praises received in the various coverages for the workmanship in the cover-up effort are well-deserved.
But I am concerned of answers to a couple of questions being buried in the hole as well. Namely, why did the hole appear in the first place, and why were preventive measures not enough?
And these are the questions I sincerely hope to have answered in another huge “hole” we are seeing elsewhere – bullying in schools.
I should confess before I go on any further that I am probably the least appropriate person to talk about bullying… through much of my school years, although I was never the bully, I was either on the bullying side or I knowingly chose to stay uninvolved. I had my reasons, and they were all I had to take the stance I took and act the way I did back then, but I am convinced now there are no justifications for bullying. I firmly believe that it is wrong to abuse, intimidate, or threat any other, physically or verbally, individually or in groups, secretly or in open.
I find it very important that I say this.
Maybe I was too weak in my school years to speak up about, let alone stand up against, bullying.
Maybe back then, I gave top priority to self-preservation over everything else, including my conscience.
And maybe I live to regret it every day.
I still think about what I could have done differently, and fear that I would do exactly as I did if I am put in the same situation again. I am still not sure what would be the best way to handle bullies. But I know there is at least one thing I can do – I can say that bullying occurs far lot more, and in a much wider spectrum of shape and size, than existing data would show. And the worst thing we can do is to try to cover up any evidence pointing to these truths.
Bullying is a big gaping “hole” in our education system (and possibly in yours as well), and it must be filled. But we cannot rush to cover it and treat as if there were none – we must get to the bottom of it, and come up with constructive means to rebuild a stronger system above it, or it will eat us alive from within and leave us with nothing to stand on.
Maybe we are good at covering up sinkholes speedily, but this is one we must not cover up in haste and resume life as if it never existed.