De Lima: Probe root cause of bullying before passing judgment

(Eagle News)–Senator Leila de Lima has urged the public to probe first the root cause of the behavior of a bully before passing  judgment.

De Lima made the comment days after an Ateneo Junior High School student, who was seen physically assaulting a schoolmate in a viral video after asking him to choose between “bugbog or dignidad,” received scathing criticisms from netizens online.

The student was also seen physically and verbally assaulting other schoolmates in at least three other videos.

He has since been dismissed from Ateneo.

“And that’s the important thing to investigate: where or why is a child so young exposed to such level of abuse? Is there abuse in the family? In his circle of relatives? At school? Among his peers? From figures of authority?” De Lima said, adding that parents have the responsibility to raise their children as “well-adjusted and productive members of society.”

For this, De Lima noted the case of a  “young, gifted athlete” who she said “turned from being a high school varsity hero, to a multi-million dollar professional athlete, to becoming a multiple murderer and, eventually a suicide victim.”

She said the history of the subject, which was shown in the documentary “Gladiator,” revealed an “abusive childhood, and an environment that was inclined to overlook his violent tendencies and psychological issues in favor of his athletic abilities.”

“If a child does something ‘bad,’ we have to ask where it is coming from. Especially when they do something this unthinkable. Ang hirap isipin kung saan mapupulot ng isang musmos na bata ang linyang: Bugbog o dignidad?”

“Clearly, he knows that a person’s dignity is important enough to be held hostage, and at least at par with a person’s physical well-being that it would be difficult for his victim to make a choice,” she said.

De Lima added that when we face incidents of bullying especially those involving children, there is “only one legitimate goal: to stop the bullying.”

“It is not to seek retribution. It is not to shame and punish per se..To merely pass judgment is counterproductive: society – especially social media – wags and points an accusatory finger, the child gets defensive, the parents get defensive, the victim might get some relief, but it doesn’t solve the underlying problem,” she said.