Bullying–Then and Now Part II

If you read my previous blog on bullying, then what I am about to say may be of some surprise to you. Yes, I do feel that forgiving others enables us to move forward, but what about those that are broken and can take no more? I have my own ideas on this.

We have different types of bullying–but in all cases I feel that there are common threads in all.  Some bullies go after anyone they perceive to be different and/or lesser than themselves. I feel that they gain a false sense of empowerment at someone else’s expense because either they themselves have been bullied and now this is an outlet, or they simply feel that they are above anyone else. I also feel that all bullying can stem from resentment or hate.

Bullies are EVERYWHERE. They are in school and in the workplace. If you don’t believe me, look at all the lawsuits. Bullies all use different tactics. Some use physical violence (especially in schools) and others use either cyber bullying and/or they use a position of authority they have in the workplace to exert their will over those they perceive to be beneath their station. I also feel that bullies look at their victims as a step below the species of mankind on the evolutionary chain.

The abused tend to become abusers–but not always. Now substitute the words “the bullied” and “bullies” in that sentence. Bullying is a learned behavior–not an instinct or a mental disease. If you want to stop this in our society, then it has to be stopped at the schoolhouse first! To stop it in the schoolhouse, there are many ways–mediation, sensitivity training, etc…I think the best way is for school districts to hit the parents where it counts–their wallets, especially when it is a severe case and/or a repeat case. I am also willing to bet that  if a study were done, those conducting it would find out that the children who are bullies also had parents who were bullies when they were in school. Parents who were like that tend to dismiss their own children’s actions as “kids being kids”. Today this is simply false. As I have  stated  previously, “kids being kids” will get people harmed physically and psychologically nowadays–if not killed.  It is important to hold parents accountable even if it entails parenting classes and/or going to school handcuffed to their darling boy or girl  for a few days. 

If districts could impose fines (like $25 per offense) on parents whose children are out of control, the money could be used to do many things–fund classroom supplies so teachers won’t have to pay for it–etc…Face it–parents often don’t buy the kids what they need, so use the fines for “bullying” to provide things like pencils, paper, crayons, map colors, etc…Also parents love their pocketbooks enough that they will eventually control their children when they get tired of paying fines for their ridiculous behavior.

Kids who are bullies and get caught should also be suspended from extracurricular activities and sports for at least three weeks after each incident. For severe cases of physical bullying, charge the kids with assault because that is exactly what they are doing on school grounds! Some districts and state laws already allow for this, others do not.

It should also be mandatory for victims of severe and/or repeat bullying incidents to see a crisis counselor as soon as possible  after the incident is made known to school officials in order to try to ensure that there are no suicidal thoughts (or thoughts of harming others) developing. Also, in less severe cases, transfer the bullies–NOT the victims. In fact, find out if the bullies are running in a clique and split them all up into different schools. When the cliques see that their buddies can’t go to school with them anymore, then they will back off of everyone else nowadays. If there is one thing a group hates it is having their social lives monkeyed with for someone’s actions.

It just seems to me that unless the case is extreme, transferring the victim should be a last resort–with the PARENTS, not the administration making that judgment call. Why should the bullied child be punished? It would be more of a punishment to the bullies to separate their groups into different schools. It would also send a strong message to other students that there would be no tolerance for THEIR behavior. To me, transferring the victim is virtually equivalent to punishing the victim. However, in the case of severe physical assault, and/or sexual assault of any kind, then I say move the victim to a new district to lessen psychological trauma and lock up the assailants in a juvenile facility.  I do not think many will object to this for the simple fact that removal of the worst types of bullies from the learning environment in a regular public school would only ensure a more positive and cooperative learning atmosphere in the classrooms, and thus the entire school.  

Being bullied does not justify the victims taking the situation into their own hands and they need to be taught this. That is why it is important to get the victims to a counselor. When a person cannot take any more, they can become irrational and they can do things the normal person would not normally do–like harm others and/or themselves. I believe that we have to be proactive and not reactive when it comes to this subject. There are lives at stake and the last thing I want to hear about is another school shooting or bombing by some kid(or kids) who were victims of bullies (and/or abuse) who were themselves out of control.

 The handling of bullying cases should be treated with no difference as to the reason behind the bullying. A bully is a bully and whether the victim is gay, straight, pretty, not pretty, athletic or whatever (insert your own word here)  is not important. All are created equal and should be treated no differently–whatever the reasoning behind it. This is true for the victim and the perpetrator. All bullying is equally horrifying and I do not want to see it continue. I worked for 4.5 years as a corrections officer and spent over a year of it as a sergeant. Anyone can draw a parallel between the bullies who beat up kids for stepping into “their corner” of the playground and the offenders who will beat up other offenders for sitting at “their” tables or simply playing handball on “their part” of a recreation yard.

I also am a certified teacher. The same behavior exhibited by bullies in the school yards is also exhibited in the prison systems. IF you don’t believe me, then do a study. I’ll bet my last $10 that if a study is done comparing this behavior in the school with the behavior of the offenders who do this in the prisons, they will find so many similarities that it will shock them–especially when they find out how many of the schoolyard bullies are in families where one or more of its members are behind bars for violent crimes.

 Our public schools should be a safe haven in America for these children, but to me it seems that they are growing in similarity to correctional facilities. At some schools, there are armed guards, fences, gates, etc…Is it any wonder that such a comparison can be made? What has happened in our culture that has made this so? I won’t go deeply into this subject here, but part of the problem lies in the devaluation of Education in America. We now have a culture that doesn’t view education as being necessary and important. Until power is given back to parents and educators to stop this ongoing problem, schools will continue to evolve into something reminiscent of correctional institutions. After all, it is teachers who try to instill social values into these children and they when grow up and get to the prison system–it’s up to the officers to do that. Am I right or wrong? I really want somebody to prove me wrong on this. I challenge anyone to do a study on it.  The children who visit family members in prisons can easily make comparisons to their own schools–right down to the high fences and such. 

I have seen grown offenders where I used to  work who felt “fated”, and young people who now feel “fated” to end up in a correctional facility because it appears to be somewhat akin to a family tradition.  A whole lot of offenders will tell you openly that their dads, grandfathers, moms, grandmothers, etc…had all been in prison and saw it as their being headed down the same path early on.  Trying to inspire young people to take a different path is challenging for any teacher, but it can be done, and it HAS been done.  The teachers who influence children in such a positive manner deserve medals.

America really needs to start thinking and re-thinking. The clock is ticking and our childrens’ futures are at stake because of what society has done to them. The school system has to be changed. I think we should seriously take a look at overseas educational systems and find out what makes theirs different. What makes them work? Something is working well for them because you don’t see nearly the problems there that you see in our country right now–especially school shootings and such. What are they doing right and what are we missing as a nation?

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Tweets that mention Bullying–Then and Now Part II « kadja2 -- Topsy.com
  2. Michael G.
    Jan 15, 2011 @ 11:47:54

    Absolutely brilliant post! I deal with school and cyber bullying a great deal on my blog as it is a strong area of interest. Thank you for your thoughts on this critical issue.

    Reply

  3. kloppenmum
    Jan 16, 2011 @ 08:00:09

    I think you are right, and I take a different approach. I believe the bullying issue is huge, simply HUGE. So, I don’t work with changing the bullies…in the first instance…I work with giving information to the parents of the victims on how to make their children resilient: there are simply some children who bullies don’t go near – every wondered why?

    Reply

  4. Dawn Christensen
    Jan 17, 2011 @ 12:49:11

    I love your thoughts.
    Are you a professional speaker in this area?
    I have a School Enrichment Program that offers many programs on anti-bullying.
    Check us out. http://www.lorettalarocheproductions.com
    Dawn Christensen
    VP

    Reply

    • kadja2
      Jan 18, 2011 @ 05:22:59

      I have not done public speaking, but am willing to do so. This is an issue that must be addressed because there are so many forms of it now. It is EVERYWHERE. It doesn’t stop with the school yard anymore–or even the telephone. These bullies use technology to torture others now. Some adults do this others too, but I do wonder if we should label it according to what it really is–psychological abuse, physical abuse and harassment. I say that because when someone says “Oh they were bullying another kid.” in the teacher’s lounge in this day and age, it seems as if that word actually downplays the problem instead of putting emphasis where it should be. Thank you so much for your kind words.

      Reply

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