Bullying is still a problem in our schools. There are many intelligent students who refuse to attend school because they suffer verbal, mental, emotional and physical abuse while in class. The schools operating on my reservation will likely never improve. The majority of board members, administration, faculty and staff don’t seem to care about the real problems our young people face while attending school.
Recently, a young relative was bullied by two adult women. I have reached the age where I can be considered an elder in my tribe. The two adult women who bullied the young relative are both older than me. I once believed they were good people but their actions in the past month or so have proved otherwise. Consequently, I think I am fortunate that these two old women exposed their true nature for me to see. Their behavior is toxic and I work hard to stay away from their kind. Due to their age, I doubt they will ever change their behavior. I am extremely appalled at their actions.
Also, reservation gossip is a thriving activity that needs to be outlawed. Some organizations actually have written policy against gossip in the workplace but employees often won’t follow policy. Consequently, these two old ladies got together and talked horrid gossip about the young relative. The two adult women actually work in schools on the Rosebud reservation; they should be ashamed to gossip about any student.
These two adult women referred to the student in a very disparaging manner. We all grew up in our respective communities and watched one another. These two adult women shouldn’t be calling young relatives derogatory names, since they both have extremely colorful pasts of their own. In fact, the names they called the young relative are likely names they were both called when they were out and about laying down their colorful pasts.
Consequently, I’ve known these two old women most of my life. We all know that heavy alcohol abuse and promiscuous behavior are actions most reservation people never forget about anyone’s past. Each one of us has a past and it’s usually the first thing that’s brought up in gossip sessions. When I was a teenager, I remember my older relatives making remarks about these same two adult women and how they used to behave. We can all change our behavior but our past is still always there for someone to talk smack about.
Gossip and bullying are traits of sick people who are afflicted with the disease of the mind. When I encounter someone who acts like they are affected by a diseased mind, I wonder if they are suffering from mental illness. These two adult women behaved in a way which people with diseased minds tend to act. Emotional intelligence is the opposite of the disease of the mind; I remember one of my relatives telling me it took her four hot sweats before she could sincerely pray for someone who had hurt her family. Those who’ve healed their diseased minds will pray for people who’ve hurt them.
Both adult women should know better to than to talk about a young person in the way they do because suicide is always on some of our teenager’s minds. It doesn’t take many words to push a teenager over the edge. School employees/board members who regularly gossip about students or other staff should be barred from working in educational institutions. If this is the type of education the adults are providing to students, then the schools on Rosebud should be closed.
Remember to be careful what you say because the person you gossip about will likely hear it back. Words can’t be taken back.
Vi Waln (Lakota) is an award-winning Journalist. She can be reached through email firstname.lastname@example.org