SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A psychologist, who signed onto a political ad aimed at bullying the Penn-Harris-Madison school district into adopting a mask mandate, made an anti-bullying video for the PHM School Corporation.
Dr. Peter Barnes, a staff psychologist at the University of Notre Dame, was one of a few hundred Michiana healthcare providers to sign onto the political ad, which ran in the South Bend Tribune on August 19, 2021. The full-page ad called out school board members by name, attempting to shame them into adopting a mask mandate for the school system. Barnes has also called for prioritizing healthcare based on political beliefs. He has a history of bullying conservatives on social media, including claiming they have low IQs. You can read more about that here.
While no child in St. Joseph County has died from the corona virus, the healthcare professionals used fear mongering to make their argument that area schools needed mask mandates. “At worst- children will be hospitalized, on ventilators, and some may even die. The PHM school board has an opportunity to help avert a crisis and should consider that the avoidable health consequences or death of even one child will be on their conscience.”
A child has a 99.995 percent chance of surviving a Covid infection. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data published in the The New York Times, children are more likely to die from vehicle accidents, cancer, homicide, cardiovascular disease, drowning and the flu.
The text of the doctors’ political ad called out any medical professionals who disagreed with them: “We are also aware that a few physicians have been speaking at school board meetings throughout Indiana advocating against established guidance, vaccines and masks. However, much of what is being said by those individuals is false, misleading, and dangerous to the public. These individuals do not speak on behalf of the thousands of clinicians across the nation and those represented by this letter.”
In Barnes’ anti-bullying video for PHM, he talked about differences between people as “beautiful,” and noted how varying viewpoints are an essential part of a strong community: “Most importantly, our differences allow us to be much better together, with our combination of different strengths, abilities, and ways of looking at the world than we could ever be alone.”
The video and a full transcript can be seen below:
Hi, I’m Dr. Peter Barnes. I’m a psychologist who has worked at the University of Notre Dame counseling center, counseling hundreds of Notre Dame students over 10 years. And I’m also a parent of two PHM students. My job involves understanding how people think feel and act so that they can better deal with the world around them. Id like to introduce you to a topic that you’ve probably heard a lot about already: bullying. Bullying can take many different forms, such as teasing, name calling, hitting, gossip or rumors. It can be face-to-face, behind someone’s back, or online. Bullying hurts. And in my work as a psychologist, I’ve seen how much pain it can cause, and how that pain can last, not just when you’re a kid, but also long after you become an adult. Some kids bully bc they are just copying what they see others do. Some bully because they’ve been bullied themselves. However. a lot of kids bully without really realizing it. They may think they are just kidding or having fun, not realizing that they might be really hurting another person, and making their school life pretty miserable. Bullying is based on a really bad idea, that we have to be better and more powerful than others in order to feel good about ourselves. And one way to try to make us feel more powerful is to bully others, to hurt them, to knock them down, to leave them out, to make fun of them. Often times, it involves trying to hurt others because of the ways they might seem different, whether it is how they look, how they talk or how they behave. But wouldn’t it be really boring if everyone was the same? How would it be if we only had one kind of bird or tree? Or all the houses everywhere looked exactly the same? Or we only had one kind of food, like hotdogs? Or one kind of music? What if everybody liked all the same thigs and had the exact same personality? That would be pretty boring. Differences are beautiful. They make life much more interesting and add color to our experiences. Most importantly, our differences allow us to be much better together, with our combination of different strengths, abilities, and ways of looking at the world than we could ever be alone. It is important that all kids feel safe and free to be who they are so that they can grow into healthy adults. So let’s talk for a moment about how you can be part of the solution. One of the best way that we can fight bullying is by being a friend to kids who are being bullied or who are different than you. Be curious and learn to appreciate each others’ differences as well as ways that you are similar. We can look for ways to get to know them, to understand them, to invite them, and to include them. Whatever you do don’t encourage it. Don’t laugh. Don’t participate in some way, because doing that tells bullies that you think its ok, and that makes you part of the problem instead of part of the solution. There are many other ways, but I just wanted to give you a brief introduction to what you’ll be covering in the upcoming lessons, and how you can begin to help make your school a healthier safer and more positive learning environment for you and your classmates. Thank you.
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