Views & Voices

Silence Is Not Golden


Students expect to be educated, not conditioned.

The desire to replace the “classical” education system ushered in what I will generously call “different” objectives for education. Whether or not this was a good idea, and I think we can all admit that some things needed to change, seems to have been irrelevant to the bullying culture that thrived under the older system and is still prevalent today.

The subservience of younger students, to some teachers and older students, was entrenched, and continues under the new educational objectives, even if somewhat surreptitiously.

Worse, the authoritarian teachers of the older system lamented the loss of their ability to impose disciplinary corporal punishment.

Already part of the authoritarian teachers’ resources, verbal abuse remained as a means for them to belittle students regardless of any wrongdoing, on any matter. These tyrannical teachers’ behavior made it very difficult for caring teachers to curb bullying, especially in schools still controlled by the punishment/belittling mentality, carried over from the older system.

Additionally, the “new, improved” system of education was primarily aimed at “conditioning” the student to fit into culture, society and industry requirements on a ‘need to know’ basis. This further discouraged intellectual growth, critical evaluation and individual thought.

Origins of knowledge were sacrificed to the cause of making kids compliantly ignorant, if not actually submissive to the demands of their culture. Under the new educational objectives, theoretical discussions are displaced by convenient rules to follow and not to be questioned.

If a young modern Galileo wanted to question the rate of descent of a falling object, he would first have to prove that it would be relevant to his seemingly predetermined menial servile employment… if he was “lucky” enough to get any job opportunity at all.

Secondly, he would have to find a teacher who knew, let alone was even interested in, what he was talking about. It is much easier to train kids to believe, according to the methods of Dark Age cultural repression, than invest them with the rational means to question by using their inquiring young minds.

It’s hardly surprising that when the successfully conditioned graduates of these “conditioning” classes became the authoritarian school district administrators, they sought to impose limits; not on bullying, but on furthering the potential of young people’s minds.

When combined with zealous irrational belief, and the instilled fear of the school being sued for wrongful activity of any kind, it is easy to see why so many school officials cannot understand the need to incorporate LGBTQ equalities and anti-bullying programs into the school curriculum.

They defend the indefensible restrictions on education, by ignoring the need to broaden the students’ knowledge … let alone provide an encouraging and rational learning environment; free from bullies, whether they be fellow students, school administrators, teachers or parents.

Taking down the bullies has to start with taking down those who empower the bullying. That’s not the onlookers, who are victims of their conditioning too, nor only the schools.

Indeed, bullying is empowered by every institution that seeks to limit an individual’s ability to say, “No, I won’t be limited, I want the freedom to be me. I do not want to be what you want, but whoever it is that I can be, with all the good I might achieve. Now, teach me, provide me with the means to let me become all that I can be, or get out of my way.”

Unfortunately, the mentality of those oppressors to our individual human rights is running rampant through every institution of our cultures; from organized religion to corrupt politicians and greedy corporations.

I understand the reasoning behind the “Day of Silence,” but since I came out many years ago, I’ve discovered that silence is not my forte´. In my lifetime, “the love that dare not speak its name” has become the love that won’t stop shouting for its human right to be accepted.

Thankfully, I see that it is acceptable, on the Day of Silence, to speak up to raise awareness of the intimidation that students and minorities face.

In that spirit, and because I was taught, under the older “classical” brand of education that, “silence is legally considered to be consent,” — and I certainly don’t consent to anyone having their human rights silenced — I shout my support to stop the bullying, the intimidation and harassment of anyone.

For every group of students who participate in the Day of Silence, we need someone, no longer a student, who is unafraid to rebel against rules and authority, to scream loudly and with indignation, “Look at what we have done to our young! The only way that they can protest, the only way that they can draw attention to the anguish of their torment, the only way that they have left to them to claim their humanity, is to publicly gag themselves.

That’s just wrong … end the bullying, now!”

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