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When real life bullying gets viral –are we ready?

Life Onstage
By Ferliza Calizar-Contratista 

I couldn’t help but open my mouth on this recent video of a boy-termed-bully in a Catholic school in Manila. This is really serious.  So serious that missing my column for two Wednesdays made me write this now in the hope of contributing to the “transformative” factor of that negative situation.

Seeing that boy, all-powerful and feeling high and mighty, proving his power over fellow boys was already overwhelming,  but seeing the comments of the “netizens” shows how bleak this country’s future is.  We are certainly going to the dogs. 

This is a mental health issue.  Sounds complicated right? 

Let’s look at it this way, that boy is a patient. 
He is displaying that behavior for some reasons from his family, from the community he grew up to.. from the experiences  and exposures he encountered at an early age.  

He made a mistake. 

Since it has already been habitual, we are quick to question the school and then the parents. 
Unfortunately in “netizen” reporting, only the incident is reported. While the mainstream media gets the side of the school and reports its actions. 

But the anxious (not to mention furious) netizens are now blurting out all those words like daggers and armalites to the boy..now this is the more serious stuff. 

There  are extreme comments, heartless…Will you kill, have your child salvaged because he is a bully in school, or she did something wrong? 

The boy is admittedly unaware of the repercussions of his action and now people who are supposed to be mature enough, giving all these “warlike” comments, are also unaware of the repercussions of doing so. 

POINT: We are destroying the boy’s future. He will suffer from that public stigma, just like those porn-star wannabees, or adventurous ones (who are also mentally sick by the way) whose sex videos found their way on the internet. If the boy will graduate, will someone hire him?

There is a need for more education this time. 

I have not read this time the Republic Act 1103 or the Philippine Mental Health Law, we’ll take it up clearly soon.  

However there are certain aspects we can point out from this situation:

1. The academe needs to review its policies on disciplinary actions. In fact it should be termed now into “Transformative Actions” which include the disciplinary and treatment steps for the suspects/victims and the real victims at the same time. 
Guidance counselors must be mental health champions too. 

Expulsion, suspension according to standards, are just “giving up” and “kevs naka sa life nimo”, “we don’t want you” signals to the student. I know this opinion of mine may be unpopular.  But isn’t it more rewarding for the academic institution if students are also directed and healed to be the best person they can when they leave the halls of learning?

2. “Netizens” grow up. Search “pag may time”, about mental health.  And yes, act like mainstream media too since the digital world gives us a platform to be reporters, broadcasters and journalists.  We dont name names, we keep the  identities of minors and children. Whatever we share must always bring good specially if it is from something bad. Focus on the transformative – how do you inspire to bring about the change you have in your mind. 

3. Parents and family – this requires an entire column but this is basic. Love starts from us. If we can’t do it, we ask for help.  Humility saves a lot of screw ups, it gives room for suggestions. 

And lastly, we never give up on children. It is a sad thing that some of them already are traumatized. We never close our doors to them.  What they do are actually screams and cries for help. If we give up on them, they grow up with untreated wounds and what becomes of our community, what creates our country…?

Let’s open our eyes wider, lets process things clearer…as we go onstage life. 

I hope at this time, that video has been taken out. Do you agree with me?

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