We didn’t know whether we would go down to Ourense at the beginning or at the end of the week. Maruxa was worried that no one would remain in the village once school started. And she was right. It was likely that the same souls would remain in town—at its core, they were less than a dozen people. For her, and for me, September is a kind of new year. Having four daughters with a thirteen-year diference among them meant that my mother spent thirty years of her life getting ready for the start of school. Getting ready for a new stage that was not always welcome.
Though not wishing to look back, I do think about what starting anew might mean for many students. About how far we have to go on issues of diversity and inclusivity in the kind of learning that really matters: that of learning to be.
In my time, one didn’t speak about bullying in school, nor were we aware that the things happening to many were not fair. But today, these bullying behaviors are so systematized that they reach positions of power and represent our society at a local, state-wide, and global level. Think about one of those political leaders who appear on the pages of newspapers. Now think about the traits that define them, and then imagine who among your classmates in primary school (or high school) could become president of the United States.
Bullying has been legitimized. Hearing insults and personal attacks from our politicians (also at a local level) already seems so normal to us that we don’t even question it. Sometimes we even echo this behavior and end up being part of that group of harassers who are not aware of being so.
Bullying is a social matter and a social responsibility. The values being amplified on a daily basis by mass media and social media end up permeating society. And what can we do to stop this?