As a teen back in the late 80’s and early 90‘s, I use to watch Degrassi High on the PBS network. Then we entered the 21st century and a network called The-N started airing Degrassi The Next Generation which was the same school and the next generation of kids like Spikes daughter Emma. This show has been alive since 2001 and I have watched episodes like Spike and Snakes wedding and a school shooting. Since then I have seen maybe a handful of episodes. Someone tipped me off to one this weekend that aired on The-N. Oh man, was it one humdinger!

There is a character on there by the name of Holly J Sinclair. I did some research on this character and found out she was not only a female bully but she manipulated her best friend (Anya) into cheating on an assignment for a class and proceeded to turn Anya in for cheating. Not only that, she was appointed head cheerleader and Student Council President by the Principal without auditions or elections. If that does not beat all, she gave a tabloid some bad gossip about a fellow cheerleader named Mia who is a model and has grabbed a bit of fame as a result. Her fellow cheerleaders kicked her off the squad as a result. Finally, she is getting some comeuppance here! This girl has taken Queen Bees to a whole new level. One would think she learned something from this, right? Wrong!

On this episode, it begins with a girl named Ali and a friend walking down the hall at school. We see Holly J watching the cheerleaders practice and see Ali tell her friend that someone seems bitter for not being on the squad any longer. Holly J turns around and says something smart in return. A somewhat bitter exchange takes place between the two girls which leads Holly J to approach a boy that Ali has liked but because he is a senior and she is in the 9th grade, he will not go out with her. He denies knowing Ali when Holly J questions him and we see him tell Ali that they cannot be together. This angers Ali who rants that she “hates Holly J!”. Holly J, showing no remorse, keeps on like nothing happened. Ali decides to take action since nothing can be done to stop Holly J. Ali creates an online group entitled “I Hate Holly J” and over 400 students sign up. It starts with insults but leads further with comments like “I want to strangle her with my bare hands” and someone else says “I will bring the rope.” Needless to say, this leads Snake to talk with Ali and her father at school and we learn Holly J will not leave her room at home as a result of this. Ali is suspended and Holly J’s parents go to the police. Ali gets a warning but now has a record, is suspended from school and is grounded for two months and has a loss of computer privileges. She also goes to Holly J’s home with Anya and apologizes. When she returns to school, she gives a public apology and says her lesson is learned after seeing what it did to Holly J. We learn she is also banned from the website where the group was created.

What occurred here was horrible. Comments such as strangling anyone and bringing rope are good reasons to involve not only the school but the police as well. Ali really crossed a line here and yes, deserved what she got. I would have done the same thing if it were me. What bothers me is that Holly J’s behavior has never been stellar either. Why she even started in on Ali is what puzzles me. Ali was not talking to her but her friend and stating an opinion when the episode started. Holly J then takes it further by confronting that boy and we see her later in the cafeteria talking to more people and Ali gets teased as a result. Some of the things Holly J has done have been horrific yet what did she learn from all of this? She never learned a lesson by being kicked off of her cheerleading squad. She got away with turning her friend in and doing other things. Who do I believe is the real bully here? The bully is Holly J and not Ali. Ali was angry and learned something from the experience. Plus, she showed and expressed remorse. Anger is a normal reaction and Ali found a way to stand up to this girl. She’s a 14 year old girl who is self centered but was remorseful and will probably not pull anything like this again. She was punished fairly as a result and Holly J has yet to express remorse for any of her actions. As a matter of fact, her sense of entitlement increased by being appointed cheerleading captain and school president. Again, a lot of this is being told to me via word of mouth and research but again, Ali probably came off as a bully but the real bully is Holly J. Manipulations, cheating, taunting, spreading gossip and hurting others is what she does. Plus, her sense of entitlement. This right here is what bullies are made of. I hope after this incident, she will learn something but I doubt it. I think she owes Ali an apology for even starting anything in the first place.

Folks, there is a difference in being angry and being a bully. A 14 year old girl who is angry is not left with many resources as to how to deal with this. So, she took the only way she felt she could to stand up to this girl and to make her stop her bullying. She was caught and punished and yes, what she did was wrong. She should have gone to an adult or listened to her friend who kept telling her what she was doing was wrong. Perhaps they could have found a solution in this. Bullies are angry but they keep problems going. They stir up trouble and manipulate. Also, they sell others out with bad gossip. Most importantly, they never seem to learn lessons nor do they show remorse for any actions. The key here is remorse and if a person never shows any, chances are they are your true bullies. Something to think about here…

Resource Cited

Elizabeth Bennett is author, consultant and speaker of Peer Abuse Know More! Bullying From a Psychological Perspective and resides in Los Angeles, California. To learn more, visit Peer Abuse Know More!

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