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Posts Tagged ‘Joe Paterno’

Harassment Intimidation and Bullying, Sexual Abuse at Penn State, and a Culture that Does Not Tolerate Silence

Friday, November 11th, 2011

First they came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn’t a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

Rev. Martin Neimoller


I had almost finished writing my latest blog entry when I flipped on the television after coming home from a very informative meeting on the Anti-Bullying law.  I was thinking about something one of the speakers said: In most instances even when people (not just kids) see something wrong, they don’t speak up.  I flipped the channel to ESPN to see if there was a college basketball game on when I saw the press conference announcing the firing of the legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno.  It was then that it hit me how much our society is changing and that silence is no longer an option, not even for legends.

While school administrators, board members, and teachers are all fretting over the implementation of the anti-bullying law, it should not be lost on us that silence is considered an offense in itself, especially when it involves not reporting incidents that victimize children.

That thought brought to mind the Rev. Neimoller’s quote, which I opened with.  It was written about Nazi Germany, but its lessons are timeless. It was a quote that my father had hung prominently in our house as a reminder to not be afraid to speak up when others are silent in the face of injustice. (more…)