My son is bullied at school, and now a lot is done to take violence out of school, which is great. My son is six years old, and imaging him turning around when he is bullied and say: please stop! I don’t like it! If anybody has lived anywhere at all, you know the kicking [bullying] is just going to get worse. Emm, kids need to be shown what happens. Em, the schools in Edinburgh run a programme, I am not sure if they still do it. But they used to have it long ago, where the older kids use to go round and taught the younger kids, about the behaviour you should have to promote non-bullying activities. But it seems to have vanished. Parents don’t want to get involved because they don’t want to be accused of favouritism. Em, I am ready to do it because if my son was harassed or being bullied, I am not willing to step aside and say nothing. The police don’t go in schools as they used to talk about bullying or things like that. They go in, but to talk about road safety, and cycling proficiency and things like that. Well, they need to come and sort out where the kids are suffering – they suffer from bullying, they suffer from peer pressure at and out of school. You need to talk to kids at there level, to understand what you are talking.
So, what I do is just take my time, just take out some time and get my son, who is being bullied, to play football with a group of other kids – Polish kids. You see, what you do is, made yourself understood by just mocking about in football. You learn how to speak whatever language they speak because you might not understand them fully or you might not understand them. So you can converse between yourself and make yourself understood. So you start learning a different language. You start breaking down the barriers, whether be it [skin] colour, race, religion, whatever. So it is a slow process but that is the best way to do it [combat bullying and break barriers]. That’s how I learn so much. I mean we have Chinese, Japanese, Indians, everybody. There are so many different nationalities around me. But, now kids don’t have that opportunity to learn about this racism bullying.
I mean it is so easy to do. We had cones set up. Patrick and I were just running around and kicking round the cones, which was fine, and the Polish boys were watching. And I said: “Do you want a shot? The cones are there and if you want to show me how skilful you are, then join in”. But the boys said: “We want to play for a team”. I was like: “Well you’ve got to start to show me how you do that in training. So let’s go”. And the boys do it once. And I said: “That is not actually good, but I will show you what to do”. He is like, “well, I can’t do that”. And I said: “Well, have you tried?”. And he said, “No!”. And I said: “Well you as might well try. You might do it ten times and not get it, but the eleventh time you will do”. And they done it three or four times. And I said: “Enough of that and let’s just play football. Some body go in goals. I will be a defender and you try to pass me and score”. And they said: “This is fun”. And I said: “That is what sports is meant to be”.
And Patrick fell, and the youngest one came running over to him saying: “Are you alright, are you alright, alright”. And he [the Polish boy] was like screaming. And I said: “Look he is fine. He has got low muscle tone, he has got learning difficulties, he gets tired and sometimes he just collapses because he is tired. He is fine”. Well, they were all saying to Patrick: “You are cool. We want to play with you more often”. And I said: “Well if you want to play with my son, that’s the problem he’s got, that what he needs. Don’t make fun of him. Because he won’t tell me that you’ve made fun of him, but I will tell”. I said: “He won’t make fun of you. But you look after him. But you trust me if something happens to him, I will be able to tell. So there is no need to bully each other. If he does not know how to do something, you show him how to do it. Be patient. And he might as well as get it. And I said might have to show Patrick what he has to do ten thousand times and he might not get it. But he might just surprise us and be really, really be good at it”. So they learn that in any situation you have to be patient. That people bullying at school is not really fair and I am saying you don’t bully at school.
And guess what? I saw them after that at the shopping centre at the weekend with their mum and dad. And they said: “That’s Patrick’s dad”, and they came running to me. And their dad was surprised. And their mum said: “I have never seen them running to any body else other than a Polish person before in my life”. And that’s one barrier broken down. And I looked at their dad and said: “As for you, why not come and kick about with us and kids? And he said: “I don’t play football, and can’t be bothered”. And I said: “If I can be bothered, then you are being bothered”. And he said: “Yes, why should Brian do all the work, I will come along”. Well, that’s two dads and a group of kids that have managed to break a barrier down. So it sounds complicated, but it is easy to do.