Guest OP-ED: My Bully Pulpit
By Gini Pariseau
Although adolescent bullying has become the current main focus, there is a vital need to acknowledge the existence of adults who endure bullying as a part of their adult day-to-day life. The workplace has been the stage for overwhelming scenes of bullying.
You would think as adults, we would have the maturity to deal with, prevent, and carry-on following an interaction. A most serious characterization of bullying is an incident that is between a superior and oneself. At any point in your adult life, you may have a family, a home, or a life that will not allow you to respond in kind. When the bully is your superior, you jeopardize your job and subsequently all that your job supports in your life.
- Demeaning is a superior who stands in your face and says, “If you don’t get what I am saying there is something wrong with you.”
- Threatening is a superior who may suggest that something on your desk or in your domain in the workplace may under strange circumstances meet an unfortunate end.
- Controlling is a superior who accuses you of something and doesn’t allow any defense. A superior who controls a situation by accusation and then humiliation projecting his power and control by removing you from a classroom of children without explanation.
All of this is made overwhelming by the daily repetition of this kind of behavior. It is where the two roads of adult and adolescent meet and ask the same question – how do I deal with this? It is just so alarming that there are people in positions of authority that find this demeaning/threatening/controlling behavior to be a tool in their manipulative and intimidating world. Is there a doctor in the house?
It is so wonderful that there are people working to make sure that children and young adults do not suffer from bullying. However, to all the adults out there who must endure the bullying of superiors and people of authority on a daily basis – you, sadly, must endure.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts will work to make sure that handbooks are continuously updated to incorporate information that will help deal with any bullies that children and young adults encounter.
Local newspapers recently ran an article where the Saugus Public Schools were cited (among other things) for failure to update the bullying prevention intervention plan consistent with the state anti-bullying law in the faculty and student handbooks. My research has found that updating may be made to student handbooks but updating a faculty handbook isn’t possible because it does not exist. Its development will, no doubt, have input from at least one bully.