Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bullying and Teachers Inaction

This is the article, which inspired this rant to some extent in reference to the Fox hit show “Glee.”

So, after reading this article recently it started to make me think about bullying. Not, that I’ve never thought of bullying before, because I was bullied in high school, but that was also years ago for me, and bullying, although it was awful, has gotten a lot worse in recent years, causing young people to take there lives. However, my attention has been brought more recently to Glee, which is a show I have adored since the beginning, after a recent episode entitled “Michael,” parts of the episode infuriated me. I read the article in question a couple days after watching Glee’s “Michael” episode, and it brought my attention to the fact that teachers stand by and nothing to stop bullying, even when they see it and know it’s going on.

Kids, teens, and adults of all ages watch Glee, I’m 27 and watch Glee with my roommates, but my mom and my 16 year old sister also watch Glee. This article infuriated me, but also made me cry. So, I’m going to point out bullying within Glee and the consequences, or lack thereof, that happened as a result. Or things that, perhaps they may have gotten in trouble for that had nothing to do with bullying. Furthermore, I will also mention, inappropriate behavior done by teachers. However, please bear with me, I may miss something that may have happened, but hey, there’s a lot of bullying and such to be able to catch everything, but I will get the big things that happened.

In Season 1 of Glee, Mr. Schue walks by while all the jocks are standing next to a dumpster with Kurt, and he asks Finn about his Spanish essay and if Kurt’s making new friends. However, Mr. Schue keeps walking as the jocks toss Kurt into the dumpster. Mr. Schue just kept walking, I’m pretty sure he knew Kurt would never hang out with the jock guys, letting this happen. In the same episode, Mr. Schue blackmails Finn to join New Directions by saying that weed was found in his locker, when the weed was actually Mr. Schue’s. Can I say inappropriate? There are no words to describe this low point that Mr. Schue has sunk to, or desperation for the Glee Club to be good and win. I wonder, sometimes, if Mr. Schue’s agenda is more for himself that the actual Glee Club.

Also, slushing done by the jocks, it may not be verbal or physically hurtful, but the teachers, especially Mr. Schue, know that the slushing is going on, and yet NO ONE, does anything to stop it.

To go off, Mr. Schue’s “agenda” as mentioned above, he gets April Rhodes to come back to McKinley to get her diploma by taking his Spanish class, so she can join Glee Club and help the win in their upcoming competition. See, what I mean? But April, just does more inappropriate things with the Glee Club members, like giving Kurt alcohol and muscle magazines, showering with Puck and Mike, and also trying to teach Mercedes and Tina how to shoplift. When brought to the attention of Miss Pillsbury, Mr. Schue doesn’t really do anything about it until the very end.

Student don’t even report some of the stuff, that happens, like when Puck locked Artie in the porter pottie and was going to flip it, until Finn stopped him. And when the football guys paintball gunned Finn for missing practice. Nothing happened to anyone, in form of punishment.

Jesse St. James eggs Rachel with the help from of his Vocal Adrenaline peers, something Rachel mentions. The guys get up to “mess up that Jesse kids face,” as they put it, but were stopped by Mr. Schue. I agree, violence versus violence is never the answer, but I also disagree with Mr. Schue half the time. When students do something like egging people, slushing, throwing people into dumpsters, there needs to be consequences to their actions and there were none in this season.

A new level of vulgarity is used when Kurt and Finn are sharing a room when they move in together because they’re parents are dating and Finn uses a highly offensive gay term to describe a lamp or something, and Burt comes in and gets onto Finn for the language and kicks him out. Kurt doesn’t quite understand, but every time someone does something to Kurt and Burt KNOWS about it, he does something about, unlike MOST characters.

In Season 2, the slushing is still happening and people still look the other way, teachers included. During “Britney/Brittany,” Kurt just tells Mr. Schue to loosen up, and gets sent to the Principal’s Office, nothing comes of it, yet, slushing, etc. is okay? Karofsky begins terrorizing Kurt to a whole other level and one instance, Mr. Schue brings him into his office to talk about, (first time for everything, huh?) acknowledging that he knows about it and says something to the nature of ‘you typically let it roll off your back, but now you’re becoming belligerent,’ etc as a result. Wouldn’t you, if no one was there helping you, and you only had yourself to rely on? But shouldn’t you also be talking to the person doing the bullying as well, not just the victim?

Furthermore, in the “Never Been Kissed” episode, the bullying towards Kurt via Karofsky comes to a new level, as we find out that Karofsky himself may be gay, and when Kurt confronts him about his bullying of him, Karofsky forcefully kisses him, and then later proceeds to threaten to kill him if he tells anyone. Fearful, Kurt keeps it to himself, terrified. Until, his father Burt sees a gesture that Karofsky makes to Kurt and is forced to tell him about the threat, but Finn had just stood by and let it happen just like the teachers. It took Burt going to the Principal, at this point it was Sue, and she expelled Karofsky, but then the school board overruled it. A school board that idly sits by and is pretty much condoning the fact that Karofsky threatened to kill a fellow student, by claiming it’s a figure of speech. What if I “figuratively” say I’m going to put my foot in your ass? This resulted in Kurt transferring to Dalton in order to escape bullying, but EVERY school should be safe for all students no matter what circumstances are afforded to each individual student.

Santana and Karofsky start “The Bully Whips” to gain sympathy votes for Prom King and Queen, and to ensure Kurt transfers back for Nationals. However, at Prom with an overwhelming number of write in votes Kurt wins Prom Queen, and he eventually ends up going back in there and accepting it as a highly confident person, the person we know, love, and admire for everything he stands for. My issue with this is when Principal Figgins saw who won, he read it even though he shouldn’t have, because that just ensured that the bullying would continue. Most of all there were no consequences to this incident, making it seem as though what the class did by writing in Kurt’s name was okay. This was also one of the last incidents or episodes that we hear about “The Bully Whips.”

Onward to Season 3, in which thus far as of episode 12, “The Bully Whips” have not been mentioned again. Karofsky transferred to another school, so he wouldn’t have to be ridiculed for being a closeted gay, because he still thinks Kurt’s going to out him. So, we don’t have any bullying from Karofsky so far this season. However, when we meet Rory for the first, he’s being pushed into lockers, his cell phone is being knocked out of his hand and being picked on because he’s from Ireland. By the end of the episode, Finn finally stands up to the Hockey Jocks and helps out Rory. This was just another instance of Finn just standing by and allowing others to be bullied.

Mercedes tells off Mr. Schue in an episode and gets kicked out of New Directions, but her confrontation was way worse than what Kurt had said last season and yet, he was sent to the office. Doesn’t seem fair does it? Rachel gets suspended for stuffing the ballad box to ensure Kurt wins the student election, she gets suspended and banned from competing at Sectionals after admitting to it. This is the only instance where there were consequences for a students’ actions at school.

However, the instance in this season that had me reeling was when Sebastian slushes Blaine, and we later find out it was laced with rock salt. All Mr. Schue does is tells Figgins and Dalton’s Headmaster. Kurt doesn’t want to fight violence with violence, understandable, but when Santana has audio of Sebastian admitting to putting rock salt into the slushy, Kurt doesn’t want to turn it in, because he wants to see their faces when New Directions beat them at Regionals. What puzzles me is the fact that Blaine, who now has to have surgery due to the slushy, has no say in what happens. He took the slushy for Kurt, pushing Kurt out of the way. I loved when Artie goes off on Mr. Schue, even though he’s just told to cool off, unlike the others who have told off Mr. Schue.

This is the conversation that went down:

"Look, Figgins and I spoke to Dalton’s headmaster," Will says. "They’re opening up an investigation. So guys, I’m telling you, please let the system handle this one." -Mr. Schue

"No! Dalton’s old school, Mr. Schue. They’re not going to turn their back on one of their own. They need payback."-Artie

"An eye for an eye."-Mike

"No! I have a zero tolerance policy for violence of any kind," Will says. "That’s not how we do things."-Mr. Schue

“No, we sing and that’s all we do.”-Artie

“Do you want to get disqualified from Regionals?”-Mr. Schue

“I don’t give a damn about Regionals! We’re people, what do you expect of us? The world may not see us like that, but when they tease us, and throw stuff at us, and toss us in dumpsters and tell us we’re nothing but losers with stupid dreams, it freaking hurts. And we’re supposed to be the bigger person and turn the other cheek? And be the bigger man and tell ourselves that those dreams and how hard we work, makes us better than them. But it gets pretty hard to feel that way, when they always get to win.”-Artie

"I get how upsetting this is for you…”-Mr. Schue

"No! You don’t! And don’t give me any of that 'it gets better' crap, because I’m not interested in it getting any better. I want it to be better, like right now. I want to hurt them the way they hurt us. No, worse. I want them to feel my pain because frankly, that’s all I have left to give."-Artie

I agree with Artie in this, I don’t believe in violence, but there are other ways to handle a situation like this without violence. This is the first instance where someone got physically hurt because of bullying, however, what happened to Dalton’s “No Bullying” policy. Santana should have turned the tape in. Do I think he should go to jail? Maybe not, but suspended, expelled, something needs to happen. For every action there’s a reaction, a consequence. We don’t really see any consequences for students actions. Yes, Puck was in juvie for stealing an ATM, yes Rachel, got suspended for stuffing the ballad box, and yes Karofsky got expelled, but remember the school board overruled it and reinstated him. So, putting rock salt into a slushy and causing them to have surgery because of it, and Kurt would rather teach them a lesson instead of punishing them, this was the only instance where I didn’t like what Kurt was doing and his intentions, I agree with Santana that the tape isn’t violent, it’s clever. Hopefully, she has a spare copy.

This instances are just a few of some major things that have happened on Glee, and how fellow students and teachers stand by and let these things happen, is disheartening, as is what went down in the article that I’m basing this off of. For a show, that reaches a wide array of audiences, especially the younger people, see a show where there aren’t any consequences to bullying and it makes you feel like you somehow deserve the torment you get, but you don’t. Every individual deserves to be safe, especially in school. You’re there to learn, to prepare for your future, but how can you if you’re being taunted, teased, shoved, picked on, etc. Your fellow peers are letting it happen, teachers are “blind” to it. It’s the teachers job, the school’s job to make sure the learning environment is safe for everyone, but teachers are afraid of losing their jobs because of various School Board Policies, but every district is very different, so results can vary.

There are no words to tell you how much it pains me to read, an article like the one I’m referencing where 9 kids killed themselves because of bullying, and most were LGBTQ. You should never have to feel ashamed of who you are, put down, you deserve to be loved and receive love in return.

So of fear of sounding repetitive I feel, I should leave it here. However, if you feel like you have no escape look to yourself, find who you are and whether you are proud of who you are, don’t let people belittle you, and please don’t take your life. You each have something to offer the world, even if you don’t see it yet. Believe in yourself, and you will prevail.

If you, ever need help and/or are considering taking your own live, please visit: Or call the Trevor Lifeline: 866-488-7386, it’s toll free and confidential.

Again, here’s the link to the 5 page article: