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  • Tad Milmine

Hazing vs. Bullying

So with all of the news articles coming out about bullying and hazing, I can't help but notice that each article (from various sources) are looking to place 'blame' on the schools ('how could they not have known' or 'turned a blind eye') but I have yet to read anything mentioning about the parents/guardians/families of the aggressors.

Firstly I have to note that, although bullying and hazing share some similarities, they are NOT the same. This is not to say that that one is more acceptable, but rather to ensure people know the differences. I have included a general chart to see how they overlap but the biggest reason why they are not the same is because of the outcome. Hazing is about 'inclusion' whereas bullying is about 'exclusion'. Repetition is typically not a part of hazing towards an individual.

Hazing oftentimes takes place in a change room where it is not appropriate to have cameras or monitors. Could you imagine the headlines about coaches watching youth shower and change or if cameras were present? Hazing, just like bullying, are done away from adult supervision. With that said, these sorts of behaviours are LEARNED which means these youth are learning this aggression somewhere. It doesn't 'just happen' and it most certainly is NOT a 'right of passage'. These youth are acting out and need help as well. Accountability and help! I completely understand why the victims can't speak up as it's the most difficult thing to do when we feel so vulnerable as it is. The bystanders play a large role as well seeings how they are standing there, filming these events, taunting the targets and encouraging the negative behaviour. We are working hard on that one. BUT the aggressors/bullies....where are the parents???? It's easy to blame the school or police or society as a whole, the difficult part is to look in the mirror and ask yourself what role YOU played. I would even go so far as to ask where were the adults who experienced the hazing 'ritual' once they left school to report what was going on and what happened to them? These continuous conversations need to be had with our youth. It can't be said once and left alone. Our youth are in an entirely different world than what we grew up in. With the addition of social media, our youth are exposed to things that no adult should be exposed to....but they have no life experience to understand what they are exposed to and no one is talking to them about what they are accessing. Please understand that bullying is NOT limited to schools. It is not the school's fault. Bullying starts with a youth who feels that its alright to tear someone down, throw them around, isolate them from peers and then attack them on the internet at night. They are doing this right under your roof. If you do not know what your child is doing on their phone/internet, then you need to start doing so. It's not a matter of privacy...they are your kids and NOT your friend. As far as I am concerned, parents need to be held accountable for the actions of their children. I bet there would be a lot more conversations around the dinner table if that were to be the case. It's easy for society to point fingers, but lets not skip the most important step of all....HOME.


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