Is there a solution to bullying?

image courtesy of photobucket.com

Recent media reports have once again brought the nation’s attention to the age old problem of bullying. It’s nothing new, it just seems the consequences for the victims are so heartbreaking and severe these days. There are cries for new laws and legislation and for better education of our kids about the consequences of bullying.

My 13 year old son came home last week and informed me everyone at his school signed a “No bullying” contract. He also said it was a worthless piece of paper. Kids signed their papers and went right on being horrible to one another.

To exacerbate the problem, we have a generation of kids who have been raised on the self-esteem bandwagon. They’ve been told by parents and teachers that they can be anything they want to be. This is nice in theory, but it’s simply not true. When you teach a child they are entitled to anything they want, their needs and desires become their priority. Is it any wonder so many think so little of their peers? Especially the ones who they deem of no value to them? So those who bully feel entitled to bully and those who are victimized feel entitled not to be victimized. Please don’t misunderstand–I am not blaming the victims of bullying, only suggesting that their tolerance level may be lower because they’ve been taught that respect is something to be given and not earned.

So is there a solution? The short, unfortunate answer is no. There will always be bullys and those who are bullied. But I think the kids that are rarely mentioned in these scenarios are the ones who can help change the tide–the kids who are neither the bullys nor the victims. We need to encourage our kids to stand up for the underdog, to stop minding their own business and get involved.

The following clip is my favorite scene in “A Few Good Men”. I think Lance Corporal Harold Dawson has the best line in the entire movie:

At 1:40 in the video the following exchange takes place:

Pfc. Downey: What does that mean? Hal, what did that mean? I don’t understand. Colonel Jessup said he ordered the Code Red.

Lt Commander Galloway: I know…

Pfc. Downey: Colonel Jessup said he ordered the code red. What did we do wrong?

Lt. Commander Galloway: It’s not that simple…

Pfc. Downey: What did we do wrong? We did nothing wrong!

Lance Corporal Dawson: Yeah, we did. We were supposed to fight for people who couldn’t fight for themselves. We were supposed to fight for Willie.

May we all find the courage to fight for Willie.

“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises maintain their neutrality.” 
~ Dante

Thanks to my buddy Mike Ellis, whose post Bullying Sucks inspired this post.

« « Previous Post: Keep your focus (Repost) | Next Post: Top 10 Reasons I didn’t grant you the courtesy refollow » »

17 Responses to “Is there a solution to bullying?”

  1. Louise October 14, 2010 at 7:27 am #

    “to stop minding their own business and get involved.”

    You rock!

  2. Frank October 14, 2010 at 8:56 am #

    Good post, serious problem. Your son sounds like he has a solid head on his shoulder to see all this for what it really is.

  3. Candy October 14, 2010 at 9:17 am #

    “…worthless piece of paper.” He’s right. But now the school gets to have documentation that they’ve done their part, and wow, are they awesome (on paper). Meanwhile, we need to encourage those who stand up for the bullied and practice the “do unto others” rule in order for the tide to change, one bully at a time. Thanks, Kathy. Your son comes from good stock.

  4. Mike Ellis October 14, 2010 at 9:38 am #

    I am so proud to call you my friend. Thank God there are people like you who are willing to speak the truth. I remember being one of those kids that everyone picked on when I was young. Keep fighting the good fight.

  5. Annie K October 14, 2010 at 10:19 am #

    A non-bullying contract IS a worthless piece of paper but it makes the school look like they are doing something. And now they can all pat themselves on the back while throwing out some high-fives or exploding fist bumps (because those are really awesome).

    Or, maybe the parents of the bullys could actually do something about their kids behavior – like *gasp* discipline them. Because that just seems like common sense to me and whatnot. (Whoa, I feel really sarcastic today. I should probably be banned from making comments on blogs.)

    • katdish October 14, 2010 at 10:27 am #

      I’ve actually talked to a parent directly about his son bullying on of my kids. It never happened again after that. But I’ve also seen parents of bullys and observed that often the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

  6. Maureen October 14, 2010 at 10:35 am #

    Excellent post, Kathy.

  7. A Simple Country Girl October 14, 2010 at 11:25 am #

    And I reckon this sage advice applies not only to school age kids, but to adults in their many arenas of life. This clip shows that Downey lives and breathes submission and obedience–if only we continually were able to do the same to God Almighty.

    Blessings.

  8. jasonS October 14, 2010 at 11:54 am #

    Great thoughts. People need friends they can turn to so life doesn’t seem so overwhelming. Otherwise, terrible things will happen. Bullying isn’t going away. It’s sad, but true. Somebody has to step up and make a difference.

    Thanks Kat.

  9. Jason October 14, 2010 at 11:55 am #

    I had a weird, uncomfortable thought when I read this:

    “When you teach a child they are entitled to anything they want, their needs and desires become their priority. Is it any wonder so many think so little of their peers? Especially the ones who they deem of no value to them? ”

    Considering I see every day adults that ignore other adults simply because they don’t help them raise their social standing, can we really expect children to do any different? If adults don’t model it they have no reason to aspire to it.

    • katdish October 14, 2010 at 12:09 pm #

      You’re absolutely right, Jason. The problem extends far beyond kids. I have no control over how other adults choose to act, I can only model the behavior I want my kids to have. And what you said about people being ignored because they don’t help raise someone else’s social standing troubles me as well. I find people like that fairly transparent, and I often wonder if more folks see through them like I do.

  10. @Aspree October 14, 2010 at 2:03 pm #

    We had a horrible experience with pack-mentality bullying when my son was 12. After all of the documentations, doing all the “right” things and endless meetings with the principal, the injuries continued. My solution was to pull him out of the district and send him to a district with a zero-tolerance bullying program. We’re happy as clams.

  11. Richard F. Sterling October 14, 2010 at 2:21 pm #

    Near end of 1967 at age 11 at start of 6th grade, I was shortest kid in class bullied by tallest kid in class, but I wasn’t the weakest kid in class. At first, it was just words. I reported it to the teacher and was told to ignore him. By the way, the teacher was guilty of contributing to the problem via discrimination. She would for some events have students line up by tallest or largest kid first down to shortest or smallest kid lit. Those who get to go first are perceived to be best, and so it caused the bully to believe he is one of the best students. Of course, ignoring him didn’t work. It got worse when it went from words to shoving me into lockers to cause me to drop my books, and I got bruises. Again I did the right thing, turning to a proper authority to put a stop to it, but the teacher failed to take effective action. Finally, I was in a situation that could cause serious injury, him trying to push me off of the auditorium stage. I’d never hit anyone before, so I didn’t know what it would take to stop him. Thus, I put everything I could into one punch to his face, figuring I might not get a second punch in. I knocked him of of his feet. He never bothered me again after that. I expected to be punished for what I did. Instead, I was praised by the teacher, principal, parents, and friends. Lesson learned? Violence it the answer, or so it would appear based on that experience. What we need to do is to find out what causes them to be bullies, and put a stop to the source. I believe some learn it from parents, older brothers, older or other students who are already bullies, like a virus that gets passed on.

    • katdish October 14, 2010 at 2:35 pm #

      I think most bullies are essentially cowards. My son was bullied last year–shoved into lockers, his books knocked out of his hands, etc. My husband told him that if he fought back he would have our full support. One good shove back from him was all it took for the harassment to stop. But sadly, I’m guessing the bully just moved on to another target. Bullying is like most anything else–it doesn’t form in a vacuum. Kids learn it somewhere.

  12. Sandra Heska King October 14, 2010 at 9:01 pm #

    Sigh. This brought back memories of my son in second grade. His teacher was the verbal bully. Once she kept him in from lunch recess and had a “discussion” while he ate his lunch in the room. He never missed school unless deathly ill, and one time when he was home, she said stuff to the class like, “I don’t know why you’re friends with him.” He is the most disciplined and hardest worker ever. But also has ADD and OCD, both of which are a lot more under control. It was a horrible year. My husband went to the superintendent.

    His high school years were a dream. She is still teaching second grade.

  13. V.V. Denman October 14, 2010 at 10:42 pm #

    Great post. Thanks for making me think!

  14. Dusty Rayburn October 15, 2010 at 9:50 am #

    Thank you!

    It is time to fight for the Willie’s of this world. It is time to love and not just talk about it. We can make a difference…and we are needed to make a difference.

Leave a Reply:

Gravatar Image

XHTML: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>