Casey Heynes and the Truth Behind Bullies
Here is a tale about bullies and their victims that you may have heard about. It revolved around a teenaged student by the name of Casey Heynes but, in truth, it could have been the story of any one of us. I won’t go too much into the details, but here is a brief synopsis. It appeared that Casey (although a rather large kid) was gentle enough to attract the attention of some merciless bullies who constantly attacked him. The cruelty had reached the point where one of these bullies was going to make a video of Casey’s next beating and place it online. However, unexpectedly, instead of taking a thorough beating, Casey found it within himself to grab his assailant and slam him into the ground. At that point, Casey just quickly walked away and a further altercation was avoided through the intervention of another student. The school principal subsequently punished Casey with suspension because of the incident (the same number of days as the bully). Of course, this sparked public outrage. After that episode, there was a lot of on-going publicity on the Internet (and even TV), with most of it supportive of Casey and his right to violently attack his bully in order to prevent further abuse.
That’s the story. And, in essence, it’s a story that involved millions of children throughout the years, when it come to being seriously bullied. I don’t mean the kind of teasing that is a normal part of growing up. I’m talking about serious, self-esteem damaging bullying that ultimately can negatively affect the lives of those who have been victimized. What is the cost rendered by this victimization? It can be considerable. In the case of Casey Heynes, it ended in an explosion of fury that very well might have ended the life of the kid slammed head-first into the pavement. Or it could have left the “bully” a quadriplegic.
That reaching inside for his inner strength and standing up for himself was the only action that Casey, as a kid, could perform after backing down all those other times. And you really couldn’t blame him for that. How many times have we, ourselves, wished that we had stood up for our own damaged self-esteem? Did this action solve Casey’s problems? Probably not. The real issue at hand is how we, as adults, deal with this horrendous problem.
If your child comes home from school and looks depressed, do you just ignore it? If you are a school official, are you aware of the problems that bullying can create? Have you heard reports of bullying in your school and chalked them up to just kids doing “what kids do”? Do we expect children (who represent the “Hope” of our future) to sort these things out on their own?
When we talk about having hope in the face of adversity, we are not talking about having to rely on just our own strengths when we face life’s hurdles. We are also talking about the support and love we receive from others while giving all that we have, as well. At its most beautiful, hope can be a two-way street. For the person who has been told that they have a terminal illness, should they not have a support group to help them find their inner strength? Of course they should. In that same way, we need to help our children by not allowing them to be subjected to the violence of bullying. We can do this by listening and observing while setting the tone for honest communication with our children.
And just one more thing. The actions of the much smaller (and younger) boy who was the “bully”, in the Casey Heynes episode, is also a cause for major concern. If your child was that bully, wouldn’t you want to know what was attacking his self-esteem in such a way that he felt the need to attack a larger child who had consistently refused to fight back? To be honest, we have two victims, here. Let’s hope that all the media attention doesn’t escalate this unfortunate scenario further. To have hope means to work towards having inner peace immersed in an atmosphere of love…
~ George Parker, N.D.