Monday, October 31, 2011

From Any Neighborhood

With all of the attention in the media today on the topic of bullying, it has occurred to me adults can also be guilty of this type of persecution.  

Bullying is a form of aggressive behavior, which may manifest as abusive treatment, the use of force or coercion to affect others, particularly when habitual and involving an imbalance of power.

Recently, I heard a student talking about a teacher who has on more than one occasion directly asked certain students in front of the whole class if they are "on free lunch."  I don't know this teacher personally, and so I can't speak to why she might be doing this, but regardless of the reason it is insensitive, embarrassing, and, well, a form of bullying.  

Every year on Halloween, I hear complaints about people bringing their children to neighborhoods other than where they live to trick-or-treat.  I've heard these kids called "imports" - or worse; for the most part, these are the kids from lower-income neighborhoods who are loaded up into cars and driven by adults over to higher-end neighborhoods on October 31.  It seems to me that labeling these kids is a form of bullying; who is to say that these kids are any less deserving of a fun-size candy bar or a pixie stick than the next child?  The last time I checked, there weren't any official Halloween Rules to regulate who can trick-or-treat where.

Personally, I like giving candy out to trick-or-treaters on Halloween, and, from my perspective, the children who are likely to appreciate and enjoy the candy the most are those who don't get it as often, which may be exactly the case with this group of kids.  I'm choosing to take my dad's outlook on this one:  it's far better to err on the side of kindness and generosity than on that of judgment and bullying.  I say as long as I am fortunate enough to have the resources to buy candy on Halloween to share, I will enjoy sharing it with children from any neighborhood. 

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