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Monday, March 24, 2008


This makes me sick. I think most parents/children will experience bullying at some point in their lives. In my opinion, it is best to attack it head on and immediately. Getting the school involved is key. Of course, that assumes the school administration isn't part of the problem.

My heart goes out to Billy and here's hoping all the attention will get the school and his parents to behave in a way that is best for Billy.

All the best

Thanks. I hope you're right; Billy has been tortured for 4 years now.

Okay, I was bullied for being the smart kid, and I have lasting self-esteem issues. Especially since my brothers also taunted me and said unbelievably thoughtless and even cruel things. There was literally nowhere I could go--home and school were both hazardous.

This boy's parents must change his school, yes. But my first thought was "why don't they get him Judo or Tai Kwan Do lessons?" The kid doesn't stand a chance if he doesn't learn to fight back.

It's be cheaper than whatever they're paying their lawyer.

Yeah, I keep coming back to the parents. I just don't see how they could tolerate this for so long.

I tolerated a lot of abuse when I was a kid, and I fought/planned/avoided/out-thought my various tormentors for years (and this was in a prestigious private school - I can only imagine how much worse it is in the public schools) until there were none left.

I know that I will be very involved (and I ask careful questions of my two elementary-age kids) in my kids' schooling to both keep them one step ahead of such bullying, and to make sure they never conduct, or through inaction condone, such intolerance.

I was mentally scarred by several years of junior high bullying.

Letting your kids get bullied, even a little bit, has no positive outcome. My father-in-law once told me that it "toughens them up." That's probably what these administrators are thinking.

Will we be surprised when Billy brings a gun to school and starts shooting the place up?

Philip: Sorry to hear you've been through it too. We also keep close vigil over our kids on this issue.

Phil: I always hated that "toughens them up" line, especially when it comes to bullies. (For those of my readers who don't know, Phil wisely home-schools his kids.)

I try to keep tabs on the Princess' situation at school. I was bullied a bit in junior high, so I know how it feels to be on the 'receiving' side of things.

It's not easy, that's for sure.

I was bullied a handful of times by kids in grammer school and jr. high. But I fought back. I didn't get teachers, principles or parents involved.

Some incidents escalated from some verbal abuse or teasing, to threats of them fighting me. In each case, what I did was ignore it for a short while, but ultimately I "took control" and got into a fight with the kids that were bulling me.

My understanding of bullies is that most of them are really cowards. When confronted, they will back off.

I don't think I saw anything about Billy that says that he every confronted the bullies. Sounds like he gets hit and then he's waiting for somebody else to stand up for him. The Principle, his parents, who knows. Is anybody advocating that this kid stick up for himself and give these kids a fight?

After I've confronted my bullies by taking control of them, they backed off complete and treated me with respect.

Sure, I got a couple of detentions or in-school suspensions, but my parents talked to the principle and me, I'd say, "Am I in trouble?". "No. You're OK. Just do the suspension and move on."

When Billy was 12 and this started, had he managed to punch one of these bullies squarely in the nose, it might have ended then.

What if Billy were to come up behind one of these kids, in a classroom, or in a hallway, and without the kid seeing it, whale one of them upside the head and follow it up with a stern warning of "I'm not going to take your crap. Got it!"

It could make the difference instead of expecting somebody else to protect him. And when Billy is an adult, who's going to protect him from the bullies then.

I actually worked for a bully boss once. If you didn't stand up to him, he walked all over you. If you did stand up to him, he'd back down and treat you with respect. (No I never had to punch my boss in the nose, but as an adult, you have a wider range of options to deal with bully bosses.)

Opie and the Bully, was a good episode from the Andy Griffith show. Andy as the sheriff could have gotten involved, but he realized that it would not teach his son to stand up for himself and to deal with his problems head on. His advice, give the bully a bit of his own right back and then some. Opie does, and the bully now respects him and knows not to mess with Opie anymore. And Opie no longer feels powerless and at the mercy of the bully.

I'd rather see Billy resort to physical defence against his bully aggressors and put an early end to this, because I think the alternative could be letting rage build up in him and him bringing a gun to school and taking it out on a lot of innocent people in a far worse way.

Mark, I think you make great points. Most of us had to learn how to deal with bullies on our own terms.

But, this boy is learning disabled. He may not have full capacity to respond. That wasn't fully addressed in the story.

Also, many kids won't fight back if their parents taught them not to, or if they don't feel they have the support of their parents. I've known children who were taught peace at all costs, which as you say, may be the wrong choice but very hard for a child to change if it is a lifelong lesson.

Ya, not sure how his disability comes into play either. Could be the case. Thanks for pointing that out Brett.

But your last paragraph kind of brings it back to the idea that maybe bullying does come back to just two parents and one child.

If parents are raising child with a "peace at all costs" core belief that revolves around pacifism... well... The kid will be ill-prepared for the real world. As I pointed out, bullies just don't exist on the playground or school bus. They're in the work place, at the mall, some become cops, many become spouses, and some even lead nations.

For the record, I'm totally a "peace at all costs" person. I just realize that some of the costs might involve my kid punching another kid in the nose and him having to pay the price of a few days suspended from school. :-)

I've told my kids that the should first resort to other means of resolving the issue and to warn the person to stop, but if the bullying continues, that they are entitled to defend themselves physically. I've also made it clear that I would never tolerate them being aggressive or hitting in any other non-defensive situations.

Bullies suck.

That's pretty much the same policy we follow: find other means. If they don't work, well...

My daughter had some problems last fall with three guys. Big, tough guy that threatened her.

Now for the feelings part.
I feel like I would like to damage these guys' self esteem.
I feel like I would like to inflict mental scarring.
I feel like a lot of other things too.

Unfortunately, since I'm divorced I only found out about it after the school handled it. They handled it. The did not fix it.

These asswads don't give her grief any more. But they have moved on to easier targets. One day and I hope soon they'll pick the wrong one. And where I live it probably won't be resolved in the parking lot with fists.

It's too bad our schools fail to deal with bullies up front.

Great info on school age violence at Http://www.dictionaryfordads.com

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed. Really a nice post here!

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