Casey Heynes – hero or villain?
The story goes that Casey Heynes, a pupil at a secondary school in Western Sydney [NOT Mt Druitt, but perhaps nearby], was bullied for months (in some reports his entire life) by these kids and in all that time he just took it but this last time it was just too much.
Heynes and the bully in the video are reported to have been suspended.
Sir Roger spoke to an expert in bullying who went to an English boarding school (you know, the ones where bullying was not only an art form but an essential part of the social training for the upper classes).
“Well, the real villain where bullying happens at school is the education system, and in the school specifically the Principal and staff are the first best suspects. And the parents of the bullying boys. And the other children who do and say nothing.
Principals are the chief offenders because the culture of any school – staff and students – is a direct and palpable reflection of its Principal. You can fairly surmise, about any Principal in a school where bullying occurs at this level, that there is a real question over whether he or she has any serious commitment to stopping or punishing bullying – as contrasted with the nicely languaged anti-bullying policy in official documents and websites.
Teachers in any school, paid partly to supervise students, simply cannot be unaware of bullying in their school or of the identity of those likely to be bullies – except by deliberate ignorance.
Other students who know, and even watch, and do not intervene against bullies, or even report it, are cowards and slime.
Governments have legislation that holds schools responsible for stopping bullying, creating an anti-bullying culture, and maintaining strict procedures to stop it and to handle it when it does occur. Schools are awash with videos, books and pamphlets about bullying.
Sadly, in some schools the biggest bullies can be teachers who know how to control classes only with intimidation, threats and punishment.
In this case, all the school, the Principal, seems to have done is to blameshift their own apparently appalling negligence and, of course, punish the victim!”
Says Sir Roger’s expert,
“Let’s be clear about this. Bullies are cowards. The worst sort of cowards. They take out their own insecurities or feelings of insignificance on people who are weaker than they are. Always. It is the only way they can feel any power at all.
But almost worse than bullies are the people who let them get away with it. How do we learn our behaviours? We repeat the ones that work. So people who give in to bullies teach them to continue bullying.
The other way bullies learn to bully is by example. And that is too often the example of fathers who slap their kids around to teach them a lesson, or because they’re drunk, or because assaulting their own children, or their wives, is the only way they can feel any power in their own lives. And the children learn that the power lies in the knuckle.
As in so many other areas of life, the abused becomes the abuser.”
Casey Heynes’ school claims that it does have (*clutches pearls*) an anti-bullying policy. They “work hard“, it says, they have a “plan“, they say, that “outlines strategies“, and they urge people to report bullying. Clearly something has gone wrong with this plan. Because all over the internet, all over the world, everyone can see it doesn’t work. And the most likely reason for that is that they don’t really mean it and it’s just lip-service and hopefulness. In fact, here’s what they say about student safety:
We create and maintain a safe school environment by protecting the wellbeing of our students and promoting positive relationships between students.
Well, we can have a bit of a chuckle about this hollow, weasel-worded pap. Explain again how you protected Casey Heynes’ wellbeing over all this time? Help me to understand how this confronting video demonstrates the success of the strategies you have so carefully outlined in promoting “positive relationships between students“, rather than the abject failure of (*coughs*) leadership?
Sir Roger was bullied at school once. The bully never did it again. Never looked Sir Roger in the eye again. Sir Roger never touched a hair on his head, either. Sir Roger simply stood up to the bully, absorbed the pain and never gave in. The bully gave up, beaten by non-violence.
Sir Roger would never advocate the lengths to which Casey Heynes has gone here but he utterly understands it. And he thinks the school Principal and the entire teaching staff should be carpeted and demoted for dereliction of duty, or for cowardice. They have a strict, legal Duty of Care to Casey Heynes (and all the other bullying victims at the school that we don’t know about, but you can be certain there are several) and they have spectacularly failed to fulfill it.
If Sir Roger were Casey Heynes’ parents he would have the school and the Education Department in court.
Finally, the real hero of this incident is the one girl who intervened and told the taller bully to “back off”. Good on her. She’s got guts. And real character.
And to the bullies: All over the internet! Pwned! By Casey Heynes!
An education department Spokesbot carefully selected its more softly-modulated vocaliser setting [the comma-separated “long-suffering, patient-with-the-children, yet-stern-with them, and-taking-no-nonsense” module], to say that the school doesn’t tolerate violence and deals with it according to a community-agreed discipline code’.
Of course it did.
Note the use of “community”. Beautifully finessed bet each way. Blame-sharing – “it’s not just us, the community agrees” – and responsibility-taking – “we consult with the community, you know”.
Know what? The school does tolerate violence. We know this because this was not the first time Casey Heynes has been bullied at the school and if it has happened before the school either knows about it or is derelict in its duty of care. The school’s discipline code might be one of those “should-have-‘em” lip-service things like mission and vision statements that nobody thinks about. We know they don’t care about it because if they did this incident would not have occurred.
Posted: 15 March, 2011 in Australian Politics, Australian Values, Culture, Education, Internet, Language, legal, Life, Media, politics and government, values, Video.
Tags: anti-bullying, asey heynes, australian education, australian education values, Australian Values, bullies, bully, bullying, casey, Casey Heynes, casey heynes' school, duty of care, Education, education department, education system, hero, Heynes, http://valuesaustralia.com/blog/casey-heynes/, pile driver, pupil, pwned, safety, school, school culture, school principal, St Marys, student, student safety, teachers, values, victim, villain, weasel words