A guidance counselor at Brighton Grammar School in Melbourne, Australia, is under fire for telling bullied children to stop playing victim. In an essay that has since been deleted from the all boys’ academy website, Melissa Anderson, A self-described ‘resilience coach,’ advised parents to ask themselves whether their tortured kid is bringing it upon himself.
“If your son is currently being bullied, in the spirit of cleaning up your side of the street … is he part of the problem? Even five percent?” Anderson wrote, according to News.com.au. “Is he a whiner, a complainer, self-absorbed, an exaggerator, loose with the truth, a passive doormat, displaying negative body language, an approval addict, a try hard, critical or a bad sport?”
The screed gets worse from there.
“Of course, you might say, 'But how can my son clean up his side of the of the street if he is the target of cruel taunts because he has buck teeth, acne, a disability or a lisp. That’s not his fault,'” Anderson mused. “Of course, it’s not his fault, but owning his part … may be learning to stand up for himself, developing grit, steely self-belief, strong self-esteem, choosing his friends wisely and reminding himself that the bullies are dealing with their own demons and that the problem lies principally with them and not him … Time to own your own part, and stop playing the victim.”
“Be the victor,” she urged. “Not the victim.”
After outraged parents flooded the school’s Facebook page, school headmaster Ross Featherston issued an apology on May 17. “As a result of publishing Melissa’s article, it is clear we have caused upset and distress to some people. We unreservedly apologize for that,” he wrote on the school’s website. “Out of respect for people who may have been victims of bullying, and in particular for those who were upset by Melissa’s article, we have made the decision to cancel her presentation tomorrow night at our school and will have further discussions with her about today’s response to her views.”
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