Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What's Goin On...

Amongst the many viral videos out there on YouTube, a new one has popped up simply entitled Whats goin on by a 13-year-old named Jonah Mowry.  The video was originally posted right before school started in August.

I don't normally post about YouTube videos, but this one is worth taking a look at by educators and parents alike.  Get your hankies ready.

There is currently an on-going debate on YouTube about whether or not this kid has made up this entire thing as a prank.  If it is a prank, he's got to be in the running for Best Lead Actor in a Short in the next Academy Awards.  Jonah did post an addendum of sorts which you can see here:

 You can decide what you think.

Whether or not his video is a prank, I think it's important to realize that this is the reality for many, many students in our schools everyday.  Regardless of the comments posted on YouTube, anyone who has ever been the focus of bullying realizes that it's not simply a matter of just "toughening up" or "learning to defend yourself".  Besides being hurtful, bullying is emotionally draining.  Young elementary schoolers may not know how to tell their parents or teachers that they're being picked on which will cause the bullying to continue.

The most startling insight into Jonah's video is that he claims the bullying started in first grade and he first cut himself in second grade.  I will admit that this is much earlier than even I expected, and it breaks my heart to think that a seven year old would be in such pain that he mutilated himself to feel better.

Even though Jonah's bullying has been focused on the fact that he is gay, our kids go to school and are bullied for various reasons everyday.   It is not practical to believe that our kids are going to make it all the way through school, kindergarten through twelfth grade, without experiencing bullying at least once.  Our kids should realize that those same differences that are likely to get them bullied are also what make them special, and our children need to learn to value differences in others.  Likewise, it has been my experience that those who are the worst offenders when it comes to bullying are either bullied themselves or have other on-going issues that cause them to lash out.

I have to give props to Jonah.  If this is some sort of hoax, while it might be in poor taste, it has managed to shed some light on the sad, inner feelings of our bullied students which are so much more desperate than we have ever imagined.

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