When a member of my extended family dropped out of high school, the reason broke my heart. The teen was mercilessly bullied by classmates because his parents, both of whom are Deaf, use sign language with him in the home (he is hearing). This is shocking and unbelievable, and it has to stop.
I started the Stop Hearing Loss Bullying campaign because of my family member’s sad story. This could have been eliminated, had the students and staff been educated in the Deaf culture. Instead, my family member remains with his parents and is working to complete his GED.
Why Most Bullying Goes Unreported
According to a newly released study by StopBullying.gov, 28 percent of teens reported in 2012 that they were bullied in school. Boys were bullied more than girls. Incidents ranged from being sent threatening text messages and emails to getting pushed and punched.
Sadly, according to the StopBullying.gov findings, most bullying goes unreported because:
1) Those who report bullying may be called ‘tattlers’ or ‘snitches’ by their peers.
2) There are certain gender stereotypes that prevent bullying from being reported.
3) Retaliation can occur toward those who report.
4) Adults in authoritative positions may not take the bullying seriously or may choose to ignore it.
Two of the people featured in the new Stop Hearing Loss Bullying Video (see above) share how classmates taunted them physically. Tara, featured at the video’s beginning, explained how the marks and bruises on her arms didn’t come from casual horseplay. She was pinched and shoved and ridiculed because of her deafness.
Dave, at the video’s end, said the only way he could survive the bullying about his deafness as a teen was to hang out with the tough crowd.
How Can We Prevent Bullying from Starting?
I could go on and on with the stories, but I won’t. Why? Because it’s time to focus on educating our pre-teens and teens that bullying because of hearing loss and deafness is unacceptable. It’s socially unacceptable to harass and hurt someone who can’t hear.
It’s time to make bullying of any kind in schools and our communities SOCIALLY and MORALLY WRONG. And anyone who does participate in this behavior should be CALLED OUT by AUTHORITIES.
This means involving administrators, staff, resource officers, and student representatives in awareness workshops about hearing loss, deafness, and the countless stories of young people who were bullied because of it. This means showing the Stop Hearing Loss Bullying Video in school. It’s produced by me, Shanna Groves, and I give permission for it to be shown anywhere, everywhere.
Will you commit to showing the Stop Hearing Loss Bullying Video in your schools? If so, please write to tell me…Because hearing loss and deaf bullying ENDS with ME and YOU.