There was an incident at our local high school yesterday with a threat made via social media.
Shortly after the news broke the story, because the media, they always come, the district issued a response. They explained a threat had been made, the student responsible had been identified and removed, and that at no time was anyone in the building in danger.
It seemed to me our school district and the local police department had it handled. As someone who lived through a lockdown or two in high school, I was satisfied with the response they provided. That, however, was not the case for everyone. Worried parents flocked to social media and as I am sure you can imagine the rumor mill started working.
Turns out, the incident in question was a vague threat issued by a kid who reached his breaking point over bullying. On a community Facebook page alive with discussion on this topic, the mom of the said student explained that, while inexcusable, her son has been bullied and he chose to make a Snapchat post that was stupid and wrong.
Her comments were met with a mixed bag of reactions.
There were those who had similar stories from their children about being bullied endlessly and there were those who chose to illustrate the point of what a bully is in their replies.
All of it got me thinking.
No way, no how should anyone ever make someone else feel unsafe, but at the same time, how long can we expect to push someone and they not reach their breaking point?
Right or wrong, you can only beat someone down for so long before they act out. We hear stories about this constantly where a children hurt themselves or end their lives or choose violence because they feel like there is no other way to go.
We blame social media. Yes, it certainly exaggerates the issues. We blame video games and movies and maybe those have some effect on actions. We blame the schools for not doing enough and maybe they could do more. All those pieces have a part in it.
But, it starts at home, Friends.
We need to stop clutching our pearls and feigning surprise. We need to be a bit introspective and look within ourselves. Children learn what they live and it starts at home.
Just take a gander through comments on social media posts– the way adults are speaking to each other is disgusting. We are living in the age of the keyboard warrior. It should be of little surprise that our children are watching and modeling our behavior.
How can we expect better of our children if we can’t do better ourselves?
Social media, entertainment, school environments, and peer pressure– they all play a part, but so do we as parents. We are responsible for raising up the next generation into fine adults.
Now, I understand that sometimes, we can do all the right things as parents and impart all the good lessons, but once away from us our little loves can choose to make poor choices. It is in those moments that we, as parents, have to take responsibility for our children and not excuse their poor behavior.
I challenge you to ask your child questions and dig a little deeper. Are they speaking with kindness and being a friend to everyone? Are they using social media responsibly and appropriately? Are they speaking up for others? If they can’t be kind are they being quiet?