Enough, already. The term bullying is being thrown around in ways that have completely stripped the word of its meaning.
I was getting this feeling while analyzing the extraordinary case of the five students booted out of Burnhamthorpe Collegiate for using FaceBook to allegedly "bully" a teacher. What gives? We don't know the exact contents of the postings but we do know that they weren't sent to the targetted teacher herself, so where exactly is all this bullying action? Disctionaries define the term as the actions of the strong and powerful over the weak. Teachers in this case are the ones with the power. They can be threatened, harassed, assaulted and libeled. But bullied? I don't think so.
Then in a silly op ed piece in last Sunday's Star, Anna Morgan reported that a teacher had reneged on teaching a unit on the Holocaust because she had been "bullied" out of doing so by Muslim students. This is another ridiculous use of the term. Turns out, a rise in the visibility of Muslim students raising their own issues had spooked the teacher into worrying that there would be a backlash from the Muslim students were the subject of the Holocaust raised. The subject had actually never been brought up, she had no reason - other than her own prejudices - to suspect there'd be a reaction and, in the end, by not teaching the unit, demonstrated her own incompetence more than anything else.
Bullied? Get over it. Things are seriously getting out of hand when students who have stated their issues assertively become confused with bullies. It's gotten to the point where just disagreeing with somebody can get you the bully label. Expressing strong opinions in situations that can create conflict is not the same as bullying.
The word is going the way of the word safe, as in "I don't feel safe enough to talk right now." Puh-lease - people who use the word that way don't know what danger is.
Schools are currently committing to a formal policy against bullying - let's keep an eye out and make sure they get the definition right.