Bullying the bully

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IT IS WORRISOME that the public’s reaction to the alleged bullying incident involving an Ateneo de Manila Junior High School student last December went out of hand.

One of the videos showed the implicated student taunting and attacking another student inside a comfort room, with the latter ending up with a bloodied nose.

With the public expressing their sentiments, the alleged bully, became the bullied. He became the target of memes, parody videos making fun of him and challenging him for a fight, if not demonizing him.

People should not forget is still a minor, who must still be treated humanely despite how abhorrent his actions were.

What the alleged bully did to his fellow student in the video was unacceptable, but the reactions of the supposedly older and more mature Filipinos were just as worse.

Social media have prompted Filipinos to constitute themselves as a lynch mob calling for the blood of a minor.

Even Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. joined in the fracas, saying the alleged bully “should be beaten senseless.” Apparently the same should be done too on a spoiled brat who has peddled his cheap services to the thug and bully Duterte and who seems impervious that his statement is unbecoming of someone who’s to officially represent before other countries the Philippines  that’s a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child.

There is no excuse for physically assaulting and attacking another person, but perpetuating the cycle of violence by hate speech and calls for blood will not help address the matter effectively or arrest the spiral of violence in our society.

It is dismaying that the alleged bully is a Taekwondo athlete, who should have been propagating the sport as a way to teach and promote dignity and honor.

The skills he acquired from learning the sport are meant for self-defense and should have never been used for the sole purpose of dominance or to boost his ego.

Taekwondo is supposed to instill discipline to its practicioners, but what the alleged offender did was the exact opposite.

As the Philippine Taekwondo Association said, Taekwondo “is firmly anchored on the sport’s virtues of integrity and self control.” It was never a means of violence, despite it being a contact sport.

While Ateneo has addressed the problem by dismissing the alleged offender, bullying cannot be solved by the mere dismissal of a student.

Bullying also happens in other schools. It also happens in adult workplaces and even inside the household. It is a problem of the society itself. Dealing with it properly requires constant effort from the mass.

Bullied people and even the bullies may be in need of help, especially counseling.

The Anti-Bullying Act of 2013, which mandates all elementary and secondary schools to adopt policies to prevent and address acts of bullying inside their institutions, should be strictly implemented and followed.

The incident should serve as a wake-up call for the government and other schools to strengthen and improve their regulations and protocols in addressing cases of bullying.

This incident shows how powerful and influential social media can be. Sadly it would seem that social media nowadays are used to bully and bamboozle others rather than build bridges of communication. Social-media users should learn responsible use of technology. Many people cry foul over bullying and yet they themselves are guilty of the same practice in their hate speech and blood cries on social media.

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