I have spent most of my teenage years in the U.K, meaning I have had the privilege of going through the secondary school system and eventually I made my way to University
They say your youth years are your best years as they mold you to become who you are, I feel as if this statement is true to me….however it got me thinking.
My origins are of black African, as a result in school I had my fair share of racist and bigotry statements. Which I never quite understood at the time. Why someone could hate you for simply being different. I’m not going to lie recall being frustrated at those individuals. I wondered if they knew if this was something beyond my control, that I was born this way. And my race did not define who I was. This is why I related in some ways with some of the pupils who suffered from learning disabilities. As they faced a lot of unwarranted hate and detest on a daily basis, on something they could not change or affect
In this story, I will speak to some individuals who work with some of these children regularly to uncover whether the issue of stigma and discrimination was an isolated case that happened in my school or if the issue is bigger and more wide spread than that, If so I will try to uncover the extend of the issue and the effects it has on its victims
Speaking to Loveness
Loveness Hook was the first person I spoke to. She has had more than a decades experience in social work, working with children in care homes, schools and even in their homes.
We dove right into the subject
ON: Do you feel as if the wider public stigmatizes your patients
LH: Unfortunately I do, these young individuals get treated as if they are not human on a daily basis and you can tell with some of them that it really has an effect on them
ON: Why do you think it is that produces this stigma
LH: I feel as if a lot of people are not educated on the matter, as humans we have evolved to value our mind more than anything. If they knew how devastating it would be to get your best tool taken away from you
ON: How have you seen this negative behavior manifest itself through out your career
LH: I work with children and a lot of them experience bullying in school. This can be in the form of verbal abuse, being segregated because the other children fear to be associated with them and the extremes are physical violence to some of these children.
ON: What is being done to combat such behavior in schools then ?
LH: You finished school recently right? What did they do to the naughty kids ?..Put them in detention obviously or some kind of punishment. I feel as if this is not the correct way to approach this. I feel as if children should start learning tolerance when they are in school. Punishing the children doesn’t help if anything it does the opposite. They begin to harbor ill will to the kid who got them in detention. Which is expected of children, as most of them do not understand the repercussions of their actions.
ON: So what effects does all this negativity have on some of these young children
LH: I feel as if they have been delt a terrible hand in life from the start and how people treat some of them really does take a toll. You get a lot of these young people suffering from depression, they become reclusive and in extreme cases you get some teenagers committing suicide
ON: Do you feel as if the attitudes have been changing over the years and are they continuing to change
LH: I would say, however it is not enough. Especially when it comes to the children. The adults are more intelligible on the issue now and they know not to behave in those manner of ways… unfortunately the children do not. The shame is most of the damage is done when they are children. Like I said schools should do better to educate these young children instead of just punishing them.
I decided to speak to another individual who also works in the mental health and learning disabilities sector to gain a second opinion on the matter click here to follow the story.