Three Ways Trump Is Setting Back Anti-Bullying Movements in Schools and at Work
With increased access to technology and the internet came increased bullying in school and at work. As bullying increased with the internet, so did awareness of the severity of bullying and the damages it causes - and anti-bullying movements have swept the nation through social media.
In fact, this month is the 10-year anniversary of National Bullying Awareness Month, started by PACER.org’s National Bullying Prevention Center. What started as a week-long event took the world by storm, and schools and communities around the world spend October educating and raising awareness of bullying prevention, both among kids in school and adults at work.
Ironically, the focus is not on ending bullying this month, but instead it is on whether we should vote for a bully or not in the upcoming presidential campaign.
Despite the gains made in our anti-bullying initiatives so far, if Donald Trump is elected he will surely set back the clock, if he hasn’t already.
According to Catherine Mattice, subject matter expert in workplace bullying and President of Civility Partners, a San Diego consulting firm focused on eradicating bullying in the workplace and building a positive workplace culture, here are three ways (at least) Donald Trump sets anti-bullying movements back:
Furthering a culture of “locker room talk.” Recently a tape of Trump talking about women was released, where he, putting it mildly, claimed he made advances towards women whether they approved or not. Trump is attempting to mitigate his talk by claiming it’s standard “locker room” talk.
While pro athletes and coaches reject that Trump’s talk emulate anything happening in their locker rooms, imagine what teens everywhere are thinking. It may be something like, “Our Presidential Candidate talks about this stuff, so we can too and it’s okay.”
In fact, I served as an expert witness in a court case regarding sexual harassment in a city fire department. After locker room talk was allowed to continue, and after HR ignored a requirement to provide sexual harassment training, a woman found male ejaculate in her coffee cup.
Trump claims it’s all just innocent words… but locker room talk turns into bad behavior.
Furthering a culture of harassment, cyberbullying and violence. Consider what a schoolyard would look like if children or teens were mocking each other they way Trump mocks people.
Kids and teens in schools, and adults at work, are never be allowed to mock people with disabilities as Trump mocked reporter Kovaleski, who has arthrogryposis, because schools have zero tolerance policies for this behavior, and workplaces know it would result in a harassment lawsuit.
Threatening to punch someone would result in automatic suspension for any kid or teen, and would be labeled as Level 1 violence at work. Any smart employer would immediately conduct a threat assessment.
Insulting people on Twitter is called cyberbullying, and most kids and teens would also be in trouble for this at school.
Trump engages in behavior that gets everyone else in trouble. Unfortunately, it gives other people permission to engage in these behaviors when someone famous is doing it so easily. Imagine how easy it would be for this behavior to become more rampant if Trump is our President.
Furthering intolerance: Trump lacks respect for people who do not agree with him, calls them names and tries to belittle and intimate them. He openly calls Hillary Clinton a bigot, crooked, unstable, and incompetent. He called a former Latina Miss Universe “Miss Housekeeping” and “Miss Piggy.” He claimed Obama is the founder of ISIS. He called for a ban of all Muslims. He stated that Mexicans are rapists… the list goes on and on.
Kids bully those who are different than them, and furthering intolerance of differences only fuels bullying. Witness this phenomenon in action - every time Trump opens his mouth he offends someone. He cuts people off, shuts them down, and with his tone makes people feel small. He displays bullying behavior regularly on television. We’re kidding ourselves if we think kids, teens and adults aren’t learning to bully from the best.