Reflections On The Columbine High School Massacre
I do, however, want to add my piece to the puzzle, and my deep concern is with what is going on in our schools among our children. Peers harassing someone who is "different" is an all-too prevalent occurrence that begins in elementary school. By junior high and high school, when adolescents become very concerned about peer acceptance, such behaviors as taunting, shoving, making threats, and vandalism can make the life of a student a living hell.
Most of the time the school has nothing in place to deal with such
harassment unless they can tag it as sexual. If the alienated student
does not have a few close friends to turn to, or does not have a solid
system of support at home, the problem is amplified. I cannot overemphasize
the toll this can take on a student’s self esteem and view of
life in general.
But young people who are not so well adjusted for any number of reasons
may end up responding in a much more radical manner to a long siege
of harassment. Unfortunately, those students who already have personal
problems to deal with are often the ones labeled "different"
and who are consequently the targets of their peers. Such a combination
I have talked to many teachers, and it is clear that most are aware of the cruel ways students can treat each other. It is equally clear that most schools do not know what to do about it. It is time we did some serious thinking and talking about an issue that makes many young people miserable at best and violent at worst.