Bullying, Is This Just a Disability Problem?
Where do my rights end and consequences begin?
Quite a while ago, I read a book titled Bullying and Students With Disabilities: Strategies and Techniques to Create a Safe Learning Environment For All by an author by the name of Barry McNamara. The book was geared toward children, but I found a lot of material of interest that dealt with bullying and disability. I read this book through a service for the disabled called BARD, which stands for the Braille Audio Reading Download service. People with disabilities who can't read the printed word can get books like this one free of charge either through this site, or from their cooperating library or in the mail with a specific 'cartridge' that can be inserted and played on a specialized audio player.
This particular book gives various resources and stories, and at the end of each of the 8 chapters the reader is given a test. I don't believe I filled out even half of the tests correctly, but the tests were there. If you think bullying is a good idea, you should check out the book and see what resources it has.
Here is the synopsis from the aforementioned BARD service about this book:
Professor of special education draws on research and case studies to provide an overview to understand and address bullying of students with disabilities. Discusses specific school-wide programs, offers intervention techniques for parents and staff, and lists resources for students.
There's one story in particular that makes this book an especially worthwhile read, titled "Teen Cyberbullying Investigated: Where Do Your Rights End and Consequences Begin?" The story was written by a judge named Thomas Jacobs. He really did a great job with it; reading it really brought back memories, many of which have bullying written all over it.
The reason why I've been thinking about this again is because I recently was sent a message that could be considered bullying, although I could very well have considered it poetry-like instead.
Some years ago, and this is covered in the above book, I was involved with various telephone systems that you can call for free. The gentleman involved can be found all over the Internet in news stories, because he was going around and phishing for information. If he didn't get it, at least as it happened in my case, he disconnected my home telephone line as well as harassed a girl I was going out with at the time.
When I heard his name in the book, it understandably triggered my memories of that time. This book really hits home when talking about various types of stories in which people would call people names, harass others, and try to extract information from unsuspecting strangers.
One year after reading the book, I believe it's a good resource and starting point to understand this complicated subject of bullying. Some of the stories sound like everyday occurrences or innocent children's play, but oftentimes it's well beyond innocent name calling.
Here are some of the insights I found in the book and kept with me ever since:
- Try to treat people with as much respect as possible. Even if you don't like them much, do your best to avoid picking fights with them.
- An argument can get out of hand. It's not always the last word, and it can turn in to a physical altercation.
- Don't think that because one chapter dealt with a disabled individual who turned hacker at a young age and got picked up at the age of 18, it doesn't mean that you won't get in any similar trouble for what behavior you may have.
- The law does not care whether it's someone with a disability who's involved. If it is serious enough, you'll eventually pay for it, no matter the circumstances.
Here is what BARD has on this one:
Judge presents teen cyberbullying cases, their court decisions, and the ways those decisions affect teens. Discusses the complex issues related to digital communications, including laws, privacy, censorship, free speech, ethics, and the rights of minors. Advocates thinking before you click. Some strong language. For senior high and older readers. 2010.
There are others, including one where I podcasted on my book-focused podcast that talked about vicious behavior, and I related that to people whose stories I knew personally.
The online game has really changed out there, and I'm surely not saying that I'm 100% perfect. I'm saying that we should try to get along, and not get into these types of situations, and I feel that in a way that I am in one all over again.
This definitely can't be a good thing. I feel right now that I'm hurt, I've got nowhere to go, and I also feel like I have no friends. The people I know now, I feel like they can treat me well one day, but then they act out, and I can't say anything as I understand they have other disabilities.
I'm the only blind person, and don't let the book by Thomas Jacobs stop you in thinking you can get away with it. The law does not care whether you're disabled or not, and just recently, I may have done something that could've been bullying although I was only trying to defend myself in that situation. I'm still not happy about it.
Please feel free to reach out if you have any comments. I'm looking forward to any comments on this subject.