While we applaud General Hospital for tackling the sensitive, important, and extremely topical subject of bullying, something rubs us the wrong way with how it’s being portrayed.
First, the school’s reaction to what’s happening to Aiden (Jason David, who is doing an AMAZING job) is typically not how a school handles this going on in its halls. Willow not telling Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst) who is doing this to her son makes little sense.
This writer had a child who was severely bullied and as soon as her school realized what was going on, they called and did not keep the bully’s name a secret. While the bully wasn’t slandered by the school, I knew what the school knew in an effort to help my daughter.
That was a red flag right away that this well-intentioned story may go far off the rails and quick.
Then, there’s Nina (Michelle Stafford), who bears no legal responsibility for Charlotte (Scarlett Fernandez), yet is dictating how the child should be treated despite what she’s done.
Rather than Lulu (Emme Rylan) tolerating this woman who is no longer Charlotte’s stepmother, she should be telling her to sit down and shut up so SHE can handle her daughter.
And, where are Charlotte’s consequences? Sure, she apologized to Aiden, yet acted like the victim in front of adults when Aiden hesitated to accept her apology. For that, she got rewarded rather than punished. Apologizing is the right thing to do. It’s not a punishment.
However, when Charlotte does it she is praised and taken for ice cream. Of course Charlotte feels like she can do no wrong when she gets gelato and the ballet with Nina, despite her parents knowing what she’s been doing at school.
We also worry about where GH is going to take this story. Will it shy away from the realities of bullying? We are not sure yet whether Charlotte is the ring leader in this or just a group participant, but clearly the tale is not over.
Aiden received that horrible message on his laptop, crushing the little boy and helping destroy his self-esteem. While being bullied often leads to suicidal thoughts or actions, will GH go there with a third grader? Or will this story be neatly resolved without addressing the horrors that go along with what happens to Aiden? Time will tell…
General Hospital (GH) airs weekdays on ABC. Check your local listings for airtimes.