Bullying

<p>Here's the article I referred to in another thread. <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/24/us/24land.html?_r=1&ref=education&oref=slogin%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/24/us/24land.html?_r=1&ref=education&oref=slogin&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>This story just tore out my heart and made me very angry. It even made me cry and I'm not known to be a particularly warm person. I wonder what kind of community and school this is. I was also wondering where the girls are because I can't imagine my daughters or their friends standing by and letting this go on.</p>

<p>That is a very, very sad story. I had the exact same thought as you about the girls, but somehow I suspect that if the bullying is that endemic that girls are involved, even if they're not doing to actual punching or scribbling on textbooks.</p>

<p>Great topic, glad you started it, Zoosermom. I identified with a lot of it, particularly the part about getting hit so hard in the face that the inside of my cheek got stuck on my braces (It doesn't take that much impact for that to happen, btw.) I was one of very few white kids in my elementary school in NYC, and I was often singled out because of my race.</p>

<p>The good thing that can come from growing up with bullies is that you learn that all it takes is a punch in the nose to make them run away crying. Yes, sometimes their bully friends defend them, but my playground experience taught me that once you've shown that you can "bell the cat" the rest of the kids become empowered, too. Great article, thanks for posting it!</p>

<p>Oh, and girls can absolutely be the most vicious bullies of all.</p>

<p>I'm not a litigious person, but I hope this family wins its suit.</p>

<p>"I identified with a lot of it, particularly the part about getting hit so hard in the face that the inside of my cheek got stuck on my braces (It doesn't take that much impact for that to happen, btw.) I was one of very few white kids in my elementary school in NYC, and I was often singled out because of my race."</p>

<p>My younger daughter was hideously targeted in sixth grade for the same reason. This deeply resonated with me.</p>

<p>There are many laws governing battery. Many of those laws does not require cooperation by school officials, they just require criminal prosecution following a victim's complaint. I am not sure why the bullies not been put in jail for battery.</p>

<p>Bullying is absolutely horrible in our society and has been for years. We have already seen too many cases where the bullied students "react" that we really need to be more pro-active in stopping the bullying. I believe it starts way back in preschool with teaching kindness to our children. I volunteered in our elementary school and was shocked at the behavior of many students towards each other, and the teachers seemed to just ignore anything short of a physical attack. Teaching kindness and respect starts at home and must be reinforced at school.</p>

<p>Sidenote: I am not blaming the parents at all, however, as a mother, I could never continue to send my child into that environment day after day. He would not be at the bus stop or any where else that was not monitored as long as this continued.</p>

<p>I really am all for teaching kindness. It's the way I live my own life. However, it's a terrible mistake to make kids think that others will respond in kind. There are bad, bad people out there.</p>

<p>They understand being punched in the nose or being kicked in the crotch, though, it's the universal human language.</p>

<p>I read that story yesterday, and it made me sick. I had the same reaction as you did, PA Mom. I don't understand how the parents could keep sending this boy into that situation. I would have gotten him out somehow. I started to type this before, but did not submit because I am reluctant to criticize the parents. But I can't help thinking that they are more focused on extracting justice from the school system than on protecting their son. The calm discussion of which event resulted in which injury upset me.</p>

<p>One of the main reasons we have so much bullying is because of lazy school administrators who will punish both participants of any fight, regardless of context or circumstance. There's no reason a kid who's being bullied should have to ignore it or should have to complain to a principal or a teacher who's not going to do anything about it.</p>

<p>Anyone being physically harassed should have the right to either sue for assault and battery, or to defend themselves without getting in trouble with the school. Its amazing that schools will expel kids for drinking on the weekends, but will turn a blind eye to bullying. A lot of smaller kids are afraid to try it, but the only way to stop bullying is to fight back. Even if you lose, you'll most likely no longer be a target.</p>

<p>My daughter is doing the play, The Laramie Project, at her school. As a couple of characters say, (paraphrasing) Laramie is the type of place where these things don't happen. Except that they do happen . . .</p>

<p>In a couple of cases that I know of, the bullying thing has been stopped cold when the boy who was being picked on threw a punch. It looks like in this case it may be more complicated. Billy may not be capable of standing up for himself effectively. Which is probably why he is being picked on. And it appears from the article that no one, other than his parents, is standing up for him. It appears that some are justifying the bullying. Maybe the light shining on this situation and the community (doesn't make the community look very good, does it?) via the article in the paper will help change things. One can hope.</p>

<p>And, yes, in the cases that I am familiar with, all of the kids were suspended from school, bullies and victims. You throw a punch in a fight and it is automatic suspension, even if the punch was clearly thrown in self defense.</p>

<p>zoos....I had the same reaction after reading your link. So mad, I could cry. </p>

<p>Regarding btm's suggestion that a good punch in the nose or kick in the crotch is the solution, I would advise caution. There is no automatic respect awarded for answering violence with violence. It would be wonderful if it were that simple, but oftentimes, it just reinforces the victim's status as someone who is not accepted. </p>

<p>Fortunately, my kids have never been on the receiving end of such vicious treatment, but they have witnessed this level of bullying. ldgirl especially is no follower and has taken heat for shutting down bullies in action. (Like she really cares what anyone thinks of her anyway.... ;)) </p>

<p>I do remember one instance where a boy in her class had just had enough and struck back physically at one of his tormentors. The end result was he was still the butt of jokes, still physically abused...but after that incident, also considered to be 'crazy' for getting into a physical fight with the 'popular jock' bully. A whole new reason to pick on the poor kid.</p>

<p>I used to get annoyed at the kids that didn't stand up for other kids against the bullies, but was told that they are all afraid if they do they might be the next target. It is easier for them to go along with it or ignore it. All the more reason the adults need to step in- children cannot raise themselves. ( visions of Lord of the Flies.....)</p>

<p>Lord of the Flies, indeed. From what I have heard, the prevailing culture in middle schools and high schools is appalling.</p>

<p>I was bullied as a kid. Not quite that badly, but enough. I always tried to stick up for the bullied kids.</p>

<p>Most of it was psychological, though, and to the extent that it was physical (which was unusual), it was nearly always one person. There was a little group in middle school that ganged up on girls and sexually harassed them, but they let me be. The ones they went after were the ones who were too afraid of being suspended for fighting to fight back, which goes back to Vyse's point.</p>

<p>The one time I remember being ganged up on and physically attacked, it was three or four other girls, and it was about me being an atheist. I think I was in...5th grade? I don't think they had actually intended to do more than shove me around a bit and yell about me going to hell, but we were on the stairs and I was caught by surprise and fell...I wasn't hurt, luckily, just shaken up.</p>

<p>I read the piece and felt so sorry for the boy but I have to say that the mom sounded a little off to me. She called the parent of the boy who was trying to get her son interested in a sex toy. Dumb! My kids went to a very tough school system k-8 and every parent who was not really crazy would know that if a kid is doing weird stuff the parent probably condone or look the other way and they are really the last entity to try to communicate with. The mom in the piece almost seemed like one of those parents with the disorder where the mom enjoys her child's illness. She was just a bit too into the whole bullying thing. Of course, I don't think this excuses the bullies. I wish they would prosecute parents of bullies and I dearly wish they would kick them out of our tax-supported public schools by the third or so offense.</p>

<p>Lots of mean girls(7th and 8th) at my daughter school too and the school is in a rich neighborhood. These mean girls called a lot of kids fat, even the ones with BMI=20. You can't blame it's all on hormones.</p>

<p>For the life of me, I do not understand why we allow children to be physically assaulted in school. Is it because we have been culturally conditioned over hundreds of years to believe that, "kids can be cruel", and that bullying is "just one of those things", or that learning to stand up to bullies "builds character?:rolleyes:</p>

<p>If a man or woman was punched in the face by a co-worker in the workplace, there's no doubt that the assailant would be arrested for Assault and battery. Why do grown ups have more legal recourse against being battered than a child?</p>

<p>I was bullied mercilessly (both physically and verbally) for two years during junior high, which marked the beginning of a life-long struggle with periods of acute clinical depression. I attempted suicide in 9th grade because of the constant torment, which only ended when we moved to another school district. Through it all, my teachers and the administrators had all acted deaf, dumb, and blind---though there's no way they can't have seen what was going on, as the perpetrators were all quite brazen. </p>

<p>As an aside, I vehemently disagree that the mother was in anyway "off" when she called the mother of the boy who had the sex toy. This incident apparently occurred at the start of the bullying, when she had every reason to believe that she might get cooperation (you know, the "mature adults working together" to resolve an issue between their children line of reasoning) from the other child's parents. There's no reason whatsoever to jump to the conclusion that she has something akin to Muenhausen's By Proxy.</p>

<p>I feel for you poet.</p>

<p>I never had it that bad, but I did get picked on a lot by the resident bully. By junior year he was already under the microscope for years of inciting violence, so he decided to get more stealthy and taunt me with words and more subtle jabs. One week he decided that every time he got up at lunch he would sneak up behind me and poke me in the ribs and look over to his friends and grin. After awhile, I issued him a stern warning. Of course, he immediately did it again, but unlouckily for him, he was holding a pizza he'd just microwaved for a bit too long. I grabbed his wrist as he reached in to poke me, and twisted it sideways until the pizza got all over his arm and his shirt. Initially he just cursed me out, but when he went back to sit with his friends, they were all making fun of him and asking if he was going to take that from me. Out of the corner of my eye I saw him get up, and the next thing I knew, I was feeling dizzy. He'd punched me in the cheek with the fullest force he could muster. After about 3 seconds though I completely recovered. I was still sitting at this point though, so I decided not to fight back unless he threw another punch because:</p>

<p>1.) I was in a disadvantaged position, and any sudden moves likely would have resulted in another flurry of fists
2.) I knew our backward school policy would lead to the both of us being suspended. With me being an ambitious AP student and him being a bum, I had more to lose in an exchange.</p>

<p>So I just snickered and told him my sister had thrown better punches. I expected this remark to land me another one, but I think he reconsidered based on the fact that he'd almost certainly get expelled for doing it again. Amazingly, not a single school administrator was even close enough to hear any of the ruckus, and absolutely nobody responded. One of his friends complimented me for taking the punch so well, but I also heard rumors that he attempted to tell people that I cried afterward.</p>

<p>The best part though is that he never so much as even looked at me after that. A month or so later though, he started doing the same sort of physical taunts on my best friend. My friend took it a step further and gave him a pre-emptive warning slap. The dude flipped and connected right on my friend's nose (he needed stitches it was so bad). Surely enough, the school gave them BOTH a 3 day suspension. My friend's dad called and went ballistic and called the school, and they changed it so that both of them were given a saturday detention, saying that equal punishment was the policy. (And the geniuses had them clean the SAME gym on the same day at the same time, completely unsupervised). After that though, he never so much as even batted an eye at my friend either. (If anyone's wondering what happened to him, we got a new principal senior year, who just so happened to be an old teacher who this kid had once mocked for being color blind. The new principal hated him so much that he literally suspended him just for talking back once. Karma.)</p>

<p>It may just be anecdotal evidence, but it made a strong believer of me in standing up for yourself. Bullies can impress their friends more effectively if their victims offer up no resistance. And plus, they cant stay in school forever if they're always getting in a fight. So a victim that refuses to ever engage them in one is perfect fodder to keep them from getting expelled.</p>

<p>That made me physically sick to my stomach. I cannot believe that my peers can be so heartless and mean. </p>

<p>Sadly, I can only hope that some of us would have the courage to speak up were this happening at my school. I feel like I would, and yet you never know until it happens, do you?</p>