Bullying in our society has reached a point of near epidemic proportions, with recent studies showing that more than a quarter of all children experience bullying and up to 35 percent of adults in the U.S. workforce report being bullied at work.
People are bullied because of their race, socio-economic status, or sexual orientation. Bullies prey on the youngest of us, the weakest and the most vulnerable.
Bullying is wrong, and should have no defenders. We must not be afraid to act.
We must make it clear that in our actions and our words that bullying will not be tolerated. We need to reach out and help those who are bullied, and those who do the bullying.
How? A good start is to watch the documentary "Bully," which depicts the bullying of a middle school student. The documentary will be presented twice, for free, at Brookings' Redwood Theater on Tuesday, March 26. The PG-13 version (mostly for language) will screen at 10:15 a.m. The PG version will screen at 11:10 a.m.
Brookings resident Gordon Clay, an unabashed anti-bullying crusader, is responsible for bringing the movie here; it is also available at the Chetco Community Public Library. His public forum about bullying was published in the March 20 edition of the Pilot.
Clay appeared at Wednesday's Brookings-Harbor School Board meeting, imploring its members and school staff to encourage students to attend the screenings.
We urge everyone - of all ages - to see this movie. It is an eye-opener for sure and, in addition to its award-winning, proactive messages, it's a tale that shows there is still much work to be done.
It takes all of us to stop the ugliness of bullying. Our local schools have positive behavior programs in place, but we can't rely on schools alone. It takes a community effort.
Parents should serve as good role models, mindful of their actions and words to one another and to others. They should pay attention to their children's behaviors and activities - monitoring cell phone and Internet usage.
Public and private businesses must make it clear in policies and actions that bullying is unacceptable in the workplace.
If you witness an act of bullying, step in and do something about it. It will show the victim that they are not alone, and send a message to the bully that his or her actions will not be tolerated.
Saying we oppose bullying is not enough. We must recognize what it is and then act. We must hear it, see it and stop it.