Bully Culture in American Schools

Wow.

Obviously you teach kindergarten differently than you would high school. I acknowledged that schools already socialize our children. My point is how far do you want that to go? It's a lot different when your kid is 12 and they are telling them who to vote for and how to (or how NOT to) think critically than when your kid is 5 years old and they have to be told to not eat the paste.

As sh*tty as it is I'd also like to point out that we have no right to tell someone that they can't teach their children to be racist and homophobic. It is someone's right to be racist and homophobic. They aren't allowed to act on that and certainly we can all agree that those people are assholes but it is their right to believe what they are going to believe.

What about less black and white matters? What about schools teaching your children consumerism, passivity to authority, American exceptionalism (har!), obedience to the state. That's what you will end up with if you let the government tell your children what to believe and how to act. Maybe that doesn't bother some but it is pretty fricken scary to me.

TheArtOfScience wrote:

Wow.

Obviously you teach kindergarten differently than you would high school. I acknowledged that schools already socialize our children. My point is how far do you want that to go? It's a lot different when your kid is 12 and they are telling them who to vote for and how to (or how NOT to) think critically than when your kid is 5 years old and they have to be told to not eat the paste.

As sh*tty as it is I'd also like to point out that we have no right to tell someone that they can't teach their children to be racist and homophobic. It is someone's right to be racist and homophobic. They aren't allowed to act on that and certainly we can all agree that those people are assholes but it is their right to believe what they are going to believe.

What about less black and white matters? What about schools teaching your children consumerism, passivity to authority, American exceptionalism (har!), obedience to the state. That's what you will end up with if you let the government tell your children what to believe and how to act. Maybe that doesn't bother some but it is pretty fricken scary to me.

I agree that it is everyone's right to be a bigoted ass if that's what they want to be, but governing someone's behavior is not the same as governing someone's belief. Being a bigot is belief. Being a bully is behavior.

The entire purpose behind kindergarten is to teach children proper behavior prior to entering an academic curriculum. This includes not bullying others. Clearly some folks need constant reminders and, frankly, if someone needs remedial instruction, I don't have a problem with a high school teacher or county policeman doing the instruction on my tax dime. I'd rather he do it than leave it to my kid to kick him in the liver.

TheArtOfScience wrote:

Obviously you teach kindergarten differently than you would high school. I acknowledged that schools already socialize our children. My point is how far do you want that to go? It's a lot different when your kid is 12 and they are telling them who to vote for and how to (or how NOT to) think critically than when your kid is 5 years old and they have to be told to not eat the paste.

How about when you teach a 5 year old to share the toys? If the teacher enforces sharing or just dumps the toybox out and encourages survival of the fittest, that's teaching two different sets of values.

As sh*tty as it is I'd also like to point out that we have no right to tell someone that they can't teach their children to be racist and homophobic. It is someone's right to be racist and homophobic. They aren't allowed to act on that and certainly we can all agree that those people are assholes but it is their right to believe what they are going to believe.

Yet you said we shouldn't allow racism and homophobia in school. Then why should we allow bullying?

What about less black and white matters? What about schools teaching your children consumerism, passivity to authority, American exceptionalism (har!), obedience to the state. That's what you will end up with if you let the government tell your children what to believe and how to act. Maybe that doesn't bother some but it is pretty fricken scary to me.

You seem concerned with things I would associate with, to be extreme, fascism. I am concerned with those things too: I too want to turn out artists and musicians.

So let me ask you this: why do you think sending kids to an institution where they are under the discipline of the authorities and must respect that power, but are free to bully those that are weaker than them isn't instilling exactly the kind of values you fear so much?

TheArtOfScience wrote:

Maybe that doesn't bother some but it is pretty fricken scary to me.

I'm not sure that was in the curriculum when I was in school. I've got a pretty broad sample size of schools, as well. (I moved a lot. Incidentally, always the new kid. Do the math on that one.).

It's also not really anything they've been teaching Kannon Jr, either. Mostly he's bored.

FFS, half of american history in 7th grade in a small-town school (Seriously. sh*t school.) was about the utter and horrible flustercluck that was Vietnam, and the lessons to be learned from it. (Namely, sometimes we're better staying out of stuff like that. I'd imagine the teacher took up drinking when the Iraq thing kicked off.)

TheArtOfScience wrote:

Wow.

Obviously you teach kindergarten differently than you would high school. I acknowledged that schools already socialize our children. My point is how far do you want that to go? It's a lot different when your kid is 12 and they are telling them who to vote for and how to (or how NOT to) think critically than when your kid is 5 years old and they have to be told to not eat the paste.

As sh*tty as it is I'd also like to point out that we have no right to tell someone that they can't teach their children to be racist and homophobic. It is someone's right to be racist and homophobic. They aren't allowed to act on that and certainly we can all agree that those people are assholes but it is their right to believe what they are going to believe.

What about less black and white matters? What about schools teaching your children consumerism, passivity to authority, American exceptionalism (har!), obedience to the state. That's what you will end up with if you let the government tell your children what to believe and how to act. Maybe that doesn't bother some but it is pretty fricken scary to me.

Man, you get irked when people compare bullying to rape, but then you go and equate schools preventing bullies with telling kids with who to vote for?

How does punishing bullies equate to telling parents they can't teach their kids to be racist? It doesn't.

Yep, I'm wrong.

I'm obviously having a different conversation than the rest of the topic. Carry on.

I was bullied badly in middle school and I didn't learn a damn thing. I learned how to stand up for myself and not be pushed around later in life through positive sources. The idea that bullying is a useful tool in society is absurd.

TheArtOfScience wrote:

So, would you guys be okay with martial punishment in response to bullying behavior?

I've yet to see anyone offer any concrete means of battling bullys.

When you take the kind of hardline Biological deterministic stance you've taken then it's very unlikely anyone will ever offer solution that you'd find acceptable or real. And when you think of it that way it is indeed an insurmountable problem.

But...

Bullying is a process and series of learnt behaviours, it's no more biologically inevitable than learning to speak english rather than chinese. I've never worked somewhere where bullying was an issue and it certainly isn't a factor among my large friend network, so it seems anecdotally that we can set up environments that either minimise or remove people's propensity to bully others. After all, the Stanford Prison experiment is an object lesson in the powerful role situation and environment have on behaviour. So, if bullying is a learnt behaviour then it likely emerges as a consequence of the environment that we raise children in and as adults we are actually free to change such environments.

As far as I can tell bullying among children likely emerges because as adults we don't provide a very complete and fair social structure for them. Lots of things are often mandated in their lives but we usually leave if up to them how they structure their social interactions; who they are friends with, who they exclude from groups etc... Left to their own devices they will literally set up a system which is ripe soil for bullying to emerge. Some kids are cool, some kids are desperately excluded, and it sure ain't the cool kids who feel the brunt of the bullying. It's little surprise that some microcosm of Lord of the Flies usually appears; they're kids, they literally don't know better. But take V.G.Palley's case study 'You Can't Say You Can't Play' it presents an object lesson in what happens when you intervene in kids lives and mandate how they structure key parts of their social lives. You can restructure their environment to remove/minimise bullying. But you don't get their by throwing up your hands and decrying bullying as biologically inevitable (or necessary)

SixteenBlue wrote:

I was bullied badly in middle school and I didn't learn a damn thing. I learned how to stand up for myself and not be pushed around later in life through positive sources. The idea that bullying is a useful tool in society is absurd.

Did you not learn that some people can be utter c***s?

Maybe I'm stuck in a cynicism-spiral here, but I consider that to be useful information for navigating the world.

Jonman wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:

I was bullied badly in middle school and I didn't learn a damn thing. I learned how to stand up for myself and not be pushed around later in life through positive sources. The idea that bullying is a useful tool in society is absurd.

Did you not learn that some people can be utter c***s?

Maybe I'm stuck in a cynicism-spiral here, but I consider that to be useful information for navigating the world.

My guess is you'll figure that out soon enough with or without the help of bullies.

CheezePavilion wrote:
Jonman wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:

I was bullied badly in middle school and I didn't learn a damn thing. I learned how to stand up for myself and not be pushed around later in life through positive sources. The idea that bullying is a useful tool in society is absurd.

Did you not learn that some people can be utter c***s?

Maybe I'm stuck in a cynicism-spiral here, but I consider that to be useful information for navigating the world.

My guess is you'll figure that out soon enough with or without the help of bullies.

Actually you can learn the opposite of that from bullies. This is again something I learned from positive sources. Bullies teach you that there's something wrong with you, not them. Positive people (whether parents, teachers, friends, writers, whatever) teach you that there's something wrong with the bullies.

It's not like the bully is telling you "It's nothing personal, I'm just an asshole" while he's hurting you.

SixteenBlue wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:
Jonman wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:

I was bullied badly in middle school and I didn't learn a damn thing. I learned how to stand up for myself and not be pushed around later in life through positive sources. The idea that bullying is a useful tool in society is absurd.

Did you not learn that some people can be utter c***s?

Maybe I'm stuck in a cynicism-spiral here, but I consider that to be useful information for navigating the world.

My guess is you'll figure that out soon enough with or without the help of bullies.

Actually you can learn the opposite of that from bullies. This is again something I learned from positive sources. Bullies teach you that there's something wrong with you, not them. Positive people (whether parents, teachers, friends, writers, whatever) teach you that there's something wrong with the bullies.

It's not like the bully is telling you "It's nothing personal, I'm just an asshole" while he's hurting you.

That's sort of my process at realization as well. It took a while to stop internalizing the crap and listen to what my Shotokan sensei had to say.

SixteenBlue wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:
Jonman wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:

I was bullied badly in middle school and I didn't learn a damn thing. I learned how to stand up for myself and not be pushed around later in life through positive sources. The idea that bullying is a useful tool in society is absurd.

Did you not learn that some people can be utter c***s?

Maybe I'm stuck in a cynicism-spiral here, but I consider that to be useful information for navigating the world.

My guess is you'll figure that out soon enough with or without the help of bullies.

Actually you can learn the opposite of that from bullies. This is again something I learned from positive sources. Bullies teach you that there's something wrong with you, not them. Positive people (whether parents, teachers, friends, writers, whatever) teach you that there's something wrong with the bullies.

Very true: it's easy to focus on the question of whether bullies teach 'valuable lessons' while forgetting how many horrible lessons they teach. For every kid that learns a useful way to navigate the world from a bully, there's the question of how many learn a maladaptive strategy for dealing with the world from their experience. My guess is the ratio would be ridiculously skewed.

Seriously. The whole "oh i got bullied and turned out stronger for it!" story is nice and all but that doesn't happen for everybody. Some kids turn out with crushingly low self-esteem, depression, and suicide. To say that since some people have a positive experience counters out the huge negative experience is such bullsh*t I can't even wrap my mind around it.

The problem isn't that it's human nature and there is no solution, the problem is that there is a problem and people don't want to accept that there is. There will never be a solution if everybody believes there is no problem or that the solution is impossible.

As the person who is almost certainly most recently out of highschool here (for once being young actually gives me more experience than you old farts), Paleo has hit it right on the head.

There was a kid in my school who never had any friends. Not because he was gay, not because he was black, not because he was an asshole, it was because he came in one day with a sweatshirt that smelled like spaghetti-os. He was made fun of for as long as I can remember and nobody wanted to talk to him except for myself and another girl. And I barely even talked to him. He was cast out because of the total lack of respect from the kids. They had no respect because they were never taught how to respect other people and not judge other people. Wanna know where I learned to be tolerant and think about things? A combination of the f*cking internet (GWJ specifically) and the small amounts of time I got to talk to my dad.

I've seen more cases of that too, luckily for most kids they sort of get into the "outcast" sort of groups so they at least have friends but, again, that doesn't make up for the kids that do not.

You can call that human nature or whatever the hell you like, it doesn't matter. It's awful and needs to be dealt with. How we deal with it? I'm not sure but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. This thread has been so much of people arguing about if there is a problem or not, we should be talking about how to deal with the problem THAT DOES EXIST. School is supposed to be about preparing kids for the adult world. Part of the adult world now is respecting others and being tolerant, at least in the US. How is teaching them that not relevant?

Can we please either move the discussion to solutions and discussion of solutions or make a new thread for it?

I'm sorry, I'm not much of a debater or anything and I don't post much in P&C, I don't know how to mince words that well, or format my arguments. Like I said before, Paleo has a good understanding and explanation of the actual issue. I just couldn't say nothing for any longer without losing my mind.

edit: oh I took forever to post this and there are more repsponses, my post was intended to be a follow up to SixteenBlue's post about being bullied. I guess the positioning of it doesn't matter that much though.

Honestly, every kid that learned something good from bullying probably learned something good from a parent or teacher and not the bully. It's your parent (or whoever) that taught you to stand up to the bully. The bullying didn't teach you sh*t, a positive influence did and that's ignored far too often.

@Fedora: That's why we carry big knives.

The underlying issue Fedora is that kids are immature. With immaturity comes lack of respect. You can try to fix the problem, and from everything I read I think everyone agrees that effort should be made to fix the problem, but I don't see bullying going away until the human race becomes extinct. Bullying even happens in the animal kingdom (a runt for example not getting any food because others push the runt away).

FedoraMcQuaid wrote:

Seriously. The whole "oh i got bullied and turned out stronger for it!" story is nice and all but that doesn't happen for everybody. Some kids turn out with crushingly low self-esteem, depression, and suicide. To say that since some people have a positive experience counters out the huge negative experience is such bullsh*t I can't even wrap my mind around it.

The problem isn't that it's human nature and there is no solution, the problem is that there is a problem and people don't want to accept that there is. There will never be a solution if everybody believes there is no problem or that the solution is impossible.

As the person who is almost certainly most recently out of highschool here (for once being young actually gives me more experience than you old farts), Paleo has hit it right on the head.

There was a kid in my school who never had any friends. Not because he was gay, not because he was black, not because he was an asshole, it was because he came in one day with a sweatshirt that smelled like spaghetti-os. He was made fun of for as long as I can remember and nobody wanted to talk to him except for myself and another girl. And I barely even talked to him. He was cast out because of the total lack of respect from the kids. They had no respect because they were never taught how to respect other people and not judge other people. Wanna know where I learned to be tolerant and think about things? A combination of the f*cking internet (GWJ specifically) and the small amounts of time I got to talk to my dad.

I've seen more cases of that too, luckily for most kids they sort of get into the "outcast" sort of groups so they at least have friends but, again, that doesn't make up for the kids that do not.

You can call that human nature or whatever the hell you like, it doesn't matter. It's awful and needs to be dealt with. How we deal with it? I'm not sure but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. This thread has been so much of people arguing about if there is a problem or not, we should be talking about how to deal with the problem THAT DOES EXIST. School is supposed to be about preparing kids for the adult world. Part of the adult world now is respecting others and being tolerant, at least in the US. How is teaching them that not relevant?

This all comes down to parenting (or the lack thereof) both the good and bad sides of the equation.

kazar wrote:

The underlying issue Fedora is that kids are immature. With immaturity comes lack of respect. You can try to fix the problem, and from everything I read I think everyone agrees that effort should be made to fix the problem, but I don't see bullying going away until the human race becomes extinct. Bullying even happens in the animal kingdom (a runt for example not getting any food because others push the runt away).

Perfect Solution Fallacy

I don't understand why this keeps being said. Is anyone saying we'll eradicate bullying?

SixteenBlue wrote:
kazar wrote:

The underlying issue Fedora is that kids are immature. With immaturity comes lack of respect. You can try to fix the problem, and from everything I read I think everyone agrees that effort should be made to fix the problem, but I don't see bullying going away until the human race becomes extinct. Bullying even happens in the animal kingdom (a runt for example not getting any food because others push the runt away).

Perfect Solution Fallacy

I don't understand why this keeps being said. Is anyone saying we'll eradicate bullying?

But murder is in human nature. See how long we've had it?

I think one area to start with is for the teachers to at least try to give the bullied kids the impression that they have somebody in their corner. Part of the problem at the Catholic grade school I went to was either the teachers didn't care, or certain kids were virtually "untouchable" because their parents were big supporters of the school.

The other problem you run into is in some conservative communities, the teachers and parents are all for condoning and even supporting bullying of GLBT kids. Rolling Stone did a great piece on the rash of suicides in Michael Bachmann's hometown, and how extreme bigotry played a major role. In cases like these, I honestly think we need federal involvement akin to protection of minority kids in all-white schools in the mid-60s.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics...

To address a question in the original post, I don't know that bullying is actually worse now than in my day, but there's 2 things that have been added to the equation that bring more attention to it: school shootings and the electronic trail left behind as clueless bullies do their dirty deeds through IM, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Quintin_Stone wrote:

To address a question in the original post, I don't know that bullying is actually worse now than in my day, but there's 2 things that have been added to the equation that bring more attention to it: school shootings and the electronic trail left behind as clueless bullies do their dirty deeds through IM, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

I think you could argue that social networking allows bullying to happen more often. When I was young once I was home I was fairly safe from bullying. I could even go and hang out with the friends I did have without having to worry too much. Now though, social networking is ubiquitous and gives bullies a way to reach victims outside of school/public.

In general, I'd say it's a lot harder to hide in 2012 than it was when we were young.

Bullying of any sort in a school environment should be dealt with swiftly and severely. Assault and battery is a criminal offense, and while I'm not suggesting we throw a grade school student in juvenile detention for a threat there should be a disciplinary system which is swift and severe.

Parents whose children are bullied excessively should be able to receive funds to transfer their child to another school, or make easy the option of home schooling/support groups. You either remove the bully, or remove the victim.

Luckily for me it seems that my kids are rather popular in their school, I was a pretty big nerd growing up and was bullied quite frequently for it, and frankly it was my biggest fear sending my kids to school that they would have to put up with the crap I did. If I find out my kids are bullying anyone, there will be hell to pay at home. >:)

I agree that disciplinary action should be swift and it should be decisive, but I don't agree that it should be punitive. Punishment and "justice" are far, far less important than rehabilitation and training.

An elementary school bully that's proven to participate in bullying actions obviously has social and behavioral problems. Therefore, the correct response is more intensive surveillance and more training. He could be assigned as a "teacher's assistant" and assigned to do school tasks determined to be helpful to his social development. It's essentially all-day everyday detention except he's made to be useful, and the point of it all is not to punish but to instruct; specifically to ingrain in him the sorts of interpersonal interactions that are deemed appropriate in school. Presumably this comes with a lot of positive reinforcement - if he's assigned to rake leaves, the student body at large will be instructed to praise his efforts and compliment his successes sincerely (lest they befall the same fate, natch).

We are taking the long view, the realistic view here. You only have so many years to train these kids before their neurons freeze into place. With a bully, you have even less time because you have to undo all that damage. We can't keep them in school forever. Punitive measures or isolation measures only serve to satisfy feelings of vengeance in the school body (itself not a good thing), without actually training the bully how to socially succeed.

An elementary school bully that's proven to participate in bullying actions obviously has social and behavioral problems.

I agree. It's important to remember that we are talking about children whose moral senses are still developing. A kid who's a dick at 9 years may go on to be a very nice person later in life--though sticking the kid in juvie is about the best way to prevent progress that I can think of.

I always feel like this is a much more complicated issue than people make it out to be. Every time I hear that teachers, parents, or principals should do anything, I think about just how hard it is for those people to achieve all the things they must do already, but that they can't do because of all the should-based legislation (and lack of proper funding).

I think what is at issue here is the conflict between nature and context. Folks mention the whole "lord of the flies" effect, but half the point of the book was not that folks inevitably fall into those sorts of behaviors, but that changing the context can drastically change the bounds of acceptable behavior. And in a school setting, it isn't the students' jobs to define that context. That responsibility resides with teachers, administrators, and in some cases county police liaisons.

The idea that we should throw up our hands and say that the kids should be able to decide the bounds of acceptable conflict resolution without input or correction from people in authority is not only wrongheaded, it's maladaptive. In real life, you have the ability to contact an attorney and sue, to contact the police to report a crime, and to contact the press to expose a bully in a position of authority. You can also tell someone to go fornicate with themselves and never have to deal with them again. Should an employer fail to properly deal with workplace harassment, at least here in the State of Maryland, one has the ability to make their HR department extremely uncomfortable with a combination of civil action and complaints to state employment authorities. Try doing the equivalent in school and you'll likely receive a beatdown for "snitching".

Currently, the ONLY effective method I have identified in dealing with bullies in a school context is to respond with overwhelming, asymmetric, and disproportionate force. Someone deliberately knocks you into a locker, you hunt him down at a time advantageous to you, break his jaw and continue pounding until your knuckles are raw and take the suspension with pride. Bullies rely on intimidation and often get indignant and respond with disbelief when their actions result in violent response. How many times have you ever heard "I was just kidding around"? BS. They were enjoying watching you be humiliated and intimidated. They were entertaining their own sadism and now they are pissed that it has come to an end. Fortunately, this sort of response is entirely unnecessary anywhere else outside of prison.

The system is broken from what I have seen and experienced. Administrations have largely surrendered their authority to provide meaningful context. And opining about "human nature" doesn't help.

jdzappa wrote:

I think one area to start with is for the teachers to at least try to give the bullied kids the impression that they have somebody in their corner. Part of the problem at the Catholic grade school I went to was either the teachers didn't care, or certain kids were virtually "untouchable" because their parents were big supporters of the school.

The other problem you run into is in some conservative communities, the teachers and parents are all for condoning and even supporting bullying of GLBT kids. Rolling Stone did a great piece on the rash of suicides in Michael Bachmann's hometown, and how extreme bigotry played a major role. In cases like these, I honestly think we need federal involvement akin to protection of minority kids in all-white schools in the mid-60s.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics...

That piece made me realize just how dusty this room is. Damn dust.

Paleocon wrote:

The idea that we should throw up our hands and say that the kids should be able to decide the bounds of acceptable conflict resolution without input or correction from people in authority is not only wrongheaded, it's maladaptive. In real life, you have the ability to contact an attorney and sue, to contact the police to report a crime, and to contact the press to expose a bully in a position of authority. You can also tell someone to go fornicate with themselves and never have to deal with them again. Should an employer fail to properly deal with workplace harassment, at least here in the State of Maryland, one has the ability to make their HR department extremely uncomfortable with a combination of civil action and complaints to state employment authorities. Try doing the equivalent in school and you'll likely receive a beatdown for "snitching".

Currently, the ONLY effective method I have identified in dealing with bullies in a school context is to respond with overwhelming, asymmetric, and disproportionate force. Someone deliberately knocks you into a locker, you hunt him down at a time advantageous to you, break his jaw and continue pounding until your knuckles are raw and take the suspension with pride. Bullies rely on intimidation and often get indignant and respond with disbelief when their actions result in violent response. How many times have you ever heard "I was just kidding around"? BS. They were enjoying watching you be humiliated and intimidated. They were entertaining their own sadism and now they are pissed that it has come to an end. Fortunately, this sort of response is entirely unnecessary anywhere else outside of prison.

The trouble with thinking about the problem like this is that it's entirely reactive; Bullies exists and we need a "coping" strategy. Whether that is hitting back, intensive surveillance, significant punitive actions, more training or whatever. We definitely do need those strategies and likely will do so for the foreseeable future but when you're addressing the problem at that level you're kind of closing the door after the horse bolted.

If you want to reduce the actual amount of serious bullying then you need to also go back much earlier and seriously restructure the school environment from day 1. From the moment kids arrive at school they are learning what they can and can't get away with, who is cool, who can be excluded, who can be picked on. And if you don't address it aged 4 and 5 then you've put in place and environment that in 10 years will produce some really vicious bullies.

tl;dr: reactive strategies need to be combined with early preventative measures.

DanB wrote:
Paleocon wrote:

The idea that we should throw up our hands and say that the kids should be able to decide the bounds of acceptable conflict resolution without input or correction from people in authority is not only wrongheaded, it's maladaptive. In real life, you have the ability to contact an attorney and sue, to contact the police to report a crime, and to contact the press to expose a bully in a position of authority. You can also tell someone to go fornicate with themselves and never have to deal with them again. Should an employer fail to properly deal with workplace harassment, at least here in the State of Maryland, one has the ability to make their HR department extremely uncomfortable with a combination of civil action and complaints to state employment authorities. Try doing the equivalent in school and you'll likely receive a beatdown for "snitching".

Currently, the ONLY effective method I have identified in dealing with bullies in a school context is to respond with overwhelming, asymmetric, and disproportionate force. Someone deliberately knocks you into a locker, you hunt him down at a time advantageous to you, break his jaw and continue pounding until your knuckles are raw and take the suspension with pride. Bullies rely on intimidation and often get indignant and respond with disbelief when their actions result in violent response. How many times have you ever heard "I was just kidding around"? BS. They were enjoying watching you be humiliated and intimidated. They were entertaining their own sadism and now they are pissed that it has come to an end. Fortunately, this sort of response is entirely unnecessary anywhere else outside of prison.

The trouble with thinking about the problem like this is that it's entirely reactive; Bullies exists and we need a "coping" strategy. Whether that is hitting back, intensive surveillance, significant punitive actions, more training or whatever. We definitely do need those strategies and likely will do so for the foreseeable future but when you're addressing the problem at that level you're kind of closing the door after the horse bolted.

If you want to reduce the actual amount of serious bullying then you need to also go back much earlier and seriously restructure the school environment from day 1. From the moment kids arrive at school they are learning what they can and can't get away with, who is cool, who can be excluded, who can be picked on. And if you don't address it aged 4 and 5 then you've put in place and environment that in 10 years will produce some really vicious bullies.

tl;dr: reactive strategies need to be combined with early preventative measures.

People actually think that bullying can be prevented? Minimized to a degree sure but i dont see how it can completely be eliminated.