Bullying & Privilege in Swanton

Breanna Fangman

According to StopBullying.gov, when adults respond quickly and consistently to bullying behaviors it not only sends the message that it is unacceptable, but it can stop the behavior over time.

So when Matt Cox, a father from Swanton, Ohio, learned his 10-year-old daughter, Kristin, was bullying another student for the second time, and was therefore suspended from riding the bus, he quickly responded.

Cox made her walk five miles to school on a chilly December morning while he drove alongside her. This not only taught her a lesson in bullying, but it taught her the difference between rights and privileges.

After sharing the news of her suspension, Kristin said, “Daddy, you’re going to have to take me to school next week.”

Little did she know that having things like a car or bus ride to and from school everyday is a privilege – not a right.

In today’s society, we don’t talk enough about bullying or the difference between rights and privileges enough. Between 1 in 4 and 1 in 3 United States students say they have been bullied, according to StopBullying.gov. This obviously affects a lot of people, some worse than others – sometimes it drives people to suicide.

Yet sometimes people try to downplay the seriousness of bullying by saying things like “kids will be kids.” However, this is not the case at all. Bullies are made, not born.

Raising awareness about bullying, having parents and schools teach children the consequences/effects of bullying, and teaching people how to handle it in the earlier years of their lives are steps to diminishing the problem.

Besides Kristen’s issue with bullying, she also had a problem with distinguishing her rights from her privileges – as so many of us do. I mean, how often do you take time to appreciate your able-bodiedness? Or your social class? What about your education? Oh, and your gender identity? The list goes on and on.

Many of us fail to realize that we are lucky to have these privileges. There are people all around the world, all around the country, all around Ohio, all around our community, that don’t receive any of the special advantages that we don’t even think twice about.

So next time you’re complaining about your school work, be grateful you have school work to do in the first place. There are people out there who would do anything to be in your position.

Overall, whether you agree or disagree with Cox’s punishment/life lesson, it did bring awareness to these prevalent topics and hopefully we can start making changes from it.