April 23, 2012

Iowa Newspaper Devotes Entire Sunday Front Page To Anti-bullying Editorial

The Sioux City Journal, which is the daily newspaper in northwestern Iowa, devoted their entire front page yesterday, to an editorial about bullying.
 
According to the Des Moines Register:
                                                     
The entire front page of Sunday’s Sioux City Journal is devoted to an editorial about bullying by youths.

A northwestern Iowa high school student, Kenneth Weishuhn of Primghar, committed suicide last week. A month earlier, he had told people he was gay, and school officials and other students said he had been bullied, online and in person, ever since.

Saying such cruelty is common, Journal editorial writers urge school officials, parents, and anyone else who witnesses bullying to take immediate action to stop it, instead of downplaying and ultimately perpetuating it.

Like most American newspapers, the Journal rarely publishes its unsigned editorials, which are intended to represent the view of the newspaper, outside of pages designated for opinion pieces. It’s even more rare for a whole front page to be devoted to a single topic.

“We must stop bullying. It starts here. It starts now,” the editorial declares in large capital letters below a cartoon by Brian Duffy.

Personally, I think that’s fantastic. The Sioux City Journal cited the death of Kenneth Weishuhn, and calls upon the entire community to have zero tolerance for bullying. In the editorial, they wrote in part:

This is not a failure of one group of kids, one school, one town, one county or one geographic area. Rather, it exposes a fundamental flaw in our society, one that has deep-seated roots. Until now, it has been too difficult, inconvenient -- maybe even painful -- to address. But we can't keep looking away.

We must make it clear in our actions and our words that bullying will not be tolerated. Those of us in public life must be ever mindful of the words we choose, especially in the contentious political debates that have defined our modern times. More importantly, we must not be afraid to act.

How many times have each of us witnessed an act of bullying and said little or nothing? After all, it wasn't our responsibility. A teacher or an official of some kind should step in. If our kid wasn't involved, we figured, it's none of our business.

Try to imagine explaining that rationale to the mother of Kenneth Weishuhn.

It is the business of all of us. More specifically, it is our responsibility. Our mandate.

If we're honest with ourselves, we will acknowledge our community has yet to view bullying in quite this way. It's well past time to do so.

Stand up. Be heard. And don't back down. Together, we can put a stop to bullying.

I cannot add one word to their editorial. Bravo.



 straight talk in a queer world.





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