See Something, Say Something in honor of National Stop Bullying Day
Last week was "National Stop Bullying Day". As the Guardians of the communities we serve anti-bullying is literally at our core. Today we're writing about how pertinent it is that if you "see something" you must "say something".
When any situation arises information is paramount to resolving it. Unfortunately, we do not always share such vital information with others for various reasons. It cannot be understated the importance of saying something when you see it happen. Direct intervention is not always required but if you see an event unfold take note and inform the proper authorities.
This blog will aim to do two things:
1️⃣ Help and encourage those who shirk or hesitate to act.
2️⃣ Help those who cannot tell the difference between a serious incident and a friendly encounter. The key to both is observation and proper analysis.
As a citizen
it is the responsibility
to look out for one another.
Failure to act in certain circumstances can find you on the wrong side of the law. If you witness an illegal situation as it evolves and do not report it, you can face up to a $1,000 fine or six months in jail. Some states have mandatory report laws that require you to say something if it involves the abuse of a child. Safety and security is really the job of all individuals, not just those in uniform. While first responders are usually the ones that call-in an emergency, any useful information you have, no matter how small, can be critical.
Now it’s time to ask the obvious question.
.... If a person sees a crime, then why do they not report it?
Sadly, there is an option that, all-to-often, enters in the minds of the masses: “Someone else will handle it.” Too many crimes are never reported, and countless criminals slip through the fingers of law enforcement simply because a key witness saw the crime and said, “somebody else will surely take care of this, it’s not my problem.”
Seeing something and saying something are the first steps to stopping incidents large and small, from bullying to international terrorism. If something seems off to you, speak up but don’t jump the gun too quickly. The second step to seeing something is not the “say something” part, it’s proper analysis of the situation. In recent years, the moniker “Karen” has been used to describe an individual who sees something and says something but for the wrong reasons. Some individuals make nuisances of themselves by calling law enforcement on others for things that are not crimes. Children selling lemonade, families barbequing, or even individuals casually walking around in their own neighborhoods have fallen victims to Karen’s who dwell in ignorance and lack all forms of common sense.
A great way to avoid being a "Karen" is to ask yourself: “What is the threat?” Threat assessment is the core of analyzing a situation. You can make a pretty quick determination with most cases, but a few extra seconds couldn’t hurt in certain situations. You can probably tell the difference between horseplay and a child being mercilessly beaten. However, if you see someone at the hardware store checkout buying fertilizer, PVC piping, and fuses, you might want to get that person's license plate number and inform the authorities.
Now for the tough job,
...How do you translate all of this to your children?
Children really want one thing as they grow up and that is to fit in at school, and nobody likes a snitch. Children who are bullied or assaulted in any way may feel hesitant to approach an adult for fear of retaliation, or worse, being ignored.
The sad fact is that they have a right to think this. Too often those put in charge of children have done nothing to resolve serious situations or have swept it under the rug.
Creating a system with your child that ensures them of anonymity is a great start to getting them on board with “see something say something.” If your child is the victim of bullying or abuse at school, then ask them if it is happening to other children and inform their parents. If your child is the one solely being targeted, then get as much information as possible and take the necessary steps to safeguard your child. Helpful tips would be to enroll them in martial arts or to teach them basic psychology (verbal judo).
“When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just you have to speak up. You have to say something; you have to do something.” – John Lewis