Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bullying is on the increase because adults are on the decrease

Warning: this article contains explicit language that may upset young children or naive adults

A child fakes illness for a week because a bully threatened to punch him in the stomach the next time he saw him.

Another child is told by the bully he'll cut his penis off. Another is told to go home and take a picture of his penis and bring it to school or his face would be bashed-in.

"I'm going to bring a chainsaw to school and cut your head off," says a seven-year old girl to classmate.

"Go home and sit on your couch and tell your parents you're going to commit suicide."

These are not stories from middle or high school.  These are stories from elementary school students bullied since the start of kindergarten.  These are stories from a district that has a policy about bullying.  Each of the threats is credible because adults hadn't proved able or willing to stop them.

But this article is less about bullies and their victims than it is about parents, teachers, and administrators.

There's a lot of talk about bullying lately.  But it's only talk, hand-wringing, and politicizing.  Children of all ages can be bully or victim.

The bully's greatest accomplice is a school system unable or unwilling to expel them for the safety of other students.  Bullies face few consequences at home because their parents aren't parenting.  Bullies are enabled by social workers and administrators more interested in experimenting with bullies to help them find "more productive" ways to express their frustrations than kicking, tackling, punching, touching the genitals of or threatening other children.

These adults may not enable the bullying, but they certainly prolong the victimization of other children.

And do you know what young children learn from adults?  They learn their parents are unable to protect them from daily abuse by other children.  They learn that telling teachers or lunch monitors about a boy touching little girls on the playground does nothing to arrest the behavior or remove the culprit.  It teaches them that sending the bully to the principal's office accomplishes nothing because the bully will return to class.

In short, the adults responsible to provide for children's safety turn their backs on the victims so they may trip over their platitudes about misunderstood or disadvantaged bullies.

Without specific punishment for either the bully or their guardians, a state-wide law requiring school districts to have a bullying policy will accomplish nothing.  Without the ability to remove bullies from the classroom adults have done little to protect their own or other children.

As much as you might feel for the victims or even the bullies, the problem is adults neglecting their responsibilities, even after it's too late.


  1. Jeffrey Haden in the Detroit News

    "In both the House and Senate debates on the legislation, many Democrats argued that the legislation should 'enumerate' special groups who should be singled out for extra protection against school bullying. But Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger, responded simply that "bullying is wrong. It doesn't matter who you are, who you are bullying or why you are doing it."

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