Bully Culture in American Schools

I think there is a clear solution to this problem: Hunger Games.

This is relevant - Openly gay teen is repeatedly bullied at school, administration does nothing. His mom gives him a stun gun for self-defence. He gets surrounded by aggressors and fires the gun in the air to ward them off. He gets expelled for bringing a weapon to school, his aggressors have yet to be identified. I'm sure the administration tried real hard.

So because schools are incapable or unwilling to deal with bullying, they ignore it. Instead, let's focus on a more obvious rules-breach without any consideration to the context. Absolutely disgusting. Whoever is in charge of that school should be fired.

Dysplastic wrote:

This is relevant - Openly gay teen is repeatedly bullied at school, administration does nothing. His mom gives him a stun gun for self-defence. He gets surrounded by aggressors and fires the gun in the air to ward them off. He gets expelled for bringing a weapon to school, his aggressors have yet to be identified. I'm sure the administration tried real hard.

So because schools are incapable or unwilling to deal with bullying, they ignore it. Instead, let's focus on a more obvious rules-breach without any consideration to the context. Absolutely disgusting. Whoever is in charge of that school should be fired.

it's the hilarious cognitive dissonance where everyone now accepts that almost every school schooting since Columbine was caused by bullied kids, yet there remains an invincible wall to protect the bullies. we don't want to stop the bullying, just the consequences.

Seth wrote:

we don't want to stop the bullying, just the consequences.

It's sad how true this is.

Dysplastic wrote:

So because schools are incapable or unwilling to deal with bullying, they ignore it. Instead, let's focus on a more obvious rules-breach without any consideration to the context. Absolutely disgusting. Whoever is in charge of that school should be fired.

I know that there are still "good ol' boys" schools out there, but I think that more often, it's a combination of inability (as you note) to properly address the problem, due to thin resources, and, from the same cause of thin resources, inability to even catch most of this stuff.

wordsmythe wrote:

I know that there are still "good ol' boys" schools out there, but I think that more often, it's a combination of inability (as you note) to properly address the problem, due to thin resources, and, from the same cause of thin resources, inability to even catch most of this stuff.

And you know, I could understand that, but there certainly seemed to be ample ability and resources to expel the guy for addressing the problem himself, in a way that didn't result in anyone getting hurt.

I don't have any sympathy for schools that don't address bullying due to lack of resources when they don't apply that same context when punishing kids who feel the need to protect themselves when the schools cant.

I'm not saying every kid should be allowed to come armed to school, but I think that a better solution should have been found, where the bullied teen could perhaps have been transferred. This strikes me as at best mismanagement and at worst racism/homophobia.

wordsmythe wrote:
Dysplastic wrote:

So because schools are incapable or unwilling to deal with bullying, they ignore it. Instead, let's focus on a more obvious rules-breach without any consideration to the context. Absolutely disgusting. Whoever is in charge of that school should be fired.

I know that there are still "good ol' boys" schools out there, but I think that more often, it's a combination of inability (as you note) to properly address the problem, due to thin resources, and, from the same cause of thin resources, inability to even catch most of this stuff.

Zero Tolerance policies also tie their hands on some issues where kids try to stick up for themselves.

NathanialG wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:
Dysplastic wrote:

So because schools are incapable or unwilling to deal with bullying, they ignore it. Instead, let's focus on a more obvious rules-breach without any consideration to the context. Absolutely disgusting. Whoever is in charge of that school should be fired.

I know that there are still "good ol' boys" schools out there, but I think that more often, it's a combination of inability (as you note) to properly address the problem, due to thin resources, and, from the same cause of thin resources, inability to even catch most of this stuff.

Zero Tolerance policies also tie their hands on some issues where kids try to stick up for themselves.

Curse those self-imposed zero tolerance policies that were totally forced on them by outside groups!

Has everyone seen the movie "Bully"? I think there are some places where tolerance towards gays will not happen and will probably get worse. I don't think you will see shed tears if a gay teen commits suicide. There will be only regret that the teen didn't repent for their sinful ways.

There needs to be consistent pressure that bullying is not cool. The social pecking order will not be tolerated. Even if a quarter of the parents can agree to encourage their kids to stand up when others are bullied or befriend the picked on, it should be enough of a barrier.

You don't need to go all cumbaya and hippie to show your kids the merrits of appreciating everyone for who they are. There are plenty of historical examples to choose from.

Kraint wrote:
NathanialG wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:
Dysplastic wrote:

So because schools are incapable or unwilling to deal with bullying, they ignore it. Instead, let's focus on a more obvious rules-breach without any consideration to the context. Absolutely disgusting. Whoever is in charge of that school should be fired.

I know that there are still "good ol' boys" schools out there, but I think that more often, it's a combination of inability (as you note) to properly address the problem, due to thin resources, and, from the same cause of thin resources, inability to even catch most of this stuff.

Zero Tolerance policies also tie their hands on some issues where kids try to stick up for themselves.

Curse those self-imposed zero tolerance policies that were totally forced on them by outside groups!

What do you mean by outside groups?

Dysplastic wrote:

This is relevant - Openly gay teen is repeatedly bullied at school, administration does nothing. His mom gives him a stun gun for self-defence. He gets surrounded by aggressors and fires the gun in the air to ward them off. He gets expelled for bringing a weapon to school, his aggressors have yet to be identified. I'm sure the administration tried real hard.

So because schools are incapable or unwilling to deal with bullying, they ignore it. Instead, let's focus on a more obvious rules-breach without any consideration to the context. Absolutely disgusting. Whoever is in charge of that school should be fired.

I agree that the lack of focus on punishing the bullies who caused this kid to come to school armed is terrible.

However, isn't expelling the kid who brought the stun-gun to school the correct response? Isn't bringing a weapon to school a worse offense than bullying, at least from the point of view of public safety? Doesn't the school have a duty of care to point out that there are no circumstances under which bringing a weapon to school is acceptable, including when you're being bullied mercilessly?

NathanialG wrote:
Kraint wrote:
NathanialG wrote:

Zero Tolerance policies also tie their hands on some issues where kids try to stick up for themselves.

Curse those self-imposed zero tolerance policies that were totally forced on them by outside groups!

What do you mean by outside groups?

I mean they don't exist. The zero tolerance policies which tie their hands are entirely self-created and enforced. To the best of my knowledge, state legislatures are not passing laws that require kids to be expelled for defending themselves or bringing aspirin. The school administrators and boards are creating them. Thus the hand-tying, and unreasonable behavior in response, is self-inflicted.

Standardized internet sarcasm tag still needed, to clarify.

Jonman wrote:

However, isn't expelling the kid who brought the stun-gun to school the correct response? Isn't bringing a weapon to school a worse offense than bullying, at least from the point of view of public safety? Doesn't the school have a duty of care to point out that there are no circumstances under which bringing a weapon to school is acceptable, including when you're being bullied mercilessly?

I understand this argument, but my problem is that it's just selective enforcement. Some kids, or groups of kids, are able to substantially harm people, both emotionally and physically, without the use of weapons. If the picked on are weaker, and are not defended by those with authority (the same people enforcing the rules), potentially the only way they feel they can defend themselves is by evening out the playing field.

In my view, if you're going to argue that there are no circumstances under which bringing a weapon to school is acceptable, you have to equally enforce the fact that bullying is also under no circumstances acceptable. The fact that bullying is more subtle and difficult to enforce is no excuse - you're just creating an environment where a certain type of people can get away with being a threat to public safety (bullies) and other types of people can't. If you don't do this, you have no leg to stand on, as you're essentially creating a set of rules that for all intents and purposes encourages bullying.

I look at bullying as an "emotional gun" which I think can be equally if not more harmful than a stun gun, and any zero-tolerance policy should apply to both, or be completely scrapped.

Perhaps it is a good thing I don't have kids and don't live in some bass ackward place like the South. If any kid of mine got bullied to the point that he took his own life, I think I'd have a very hard time not making those other parents feel the same pain as mine.

Jonman wrote:
Dysplastic wrote:

This is relevant - Openly gay teen is repeatedly bullied at school, administration does nothing. His mom gives him a stun gun for self-defence. He gets surrounded by aggressors and fires the gun in the air to ward them off. He gets expelled for bringing a weapon to school, his aggressors have yet to be identified. I'm sure the administration tried real hard.

So because schools are incapable or unwilling to deal with bullying, they ignore it. Instead, let's focus on a more obvious rules-breach without any consideration to the context. Absolutely disgusting. Whoever is in charge of that school should be fired.

I agree that the lack of focus on punishing the bullies who caused this kid to come to school armed is terrible.

However, isn't expelling the kid who brought the stun-gun to school the correct response? Isn't bringing a weapon to school a worse offense than bullying, at least from the point of view of public safety? Doesn't the school have a duty of care to point out that there are no circumstances under which bringing a weapon to school is acceptable, including when you're being bullied mercilessly?

You can do a lot of damage with your bare hands. Probably more than a stun gun, unless you _really_ try.

And besides, they've got it backwards. Next time someone does that, they'll just take someone out with it instead of firing a warning shot, if the punishment is the same. The answer is to make sure no one feels the need to bring a gun to school, as much as you can. There will always be crazy people, but you can make sure run of the mill bullying doesn't get that far.

Jonman:

However, isn't expelling the kid who brought the stun-gun to school the correct response? Isn't bringing a weapon to school a worse offense than bullying, at least from the point of view of public safety? Doesn't the school have a duty of care to point out that there are no circumstances under which bringing a weapon to school is acceptable, including when you're being bullied mercilessly?

No. It is the incorrect response because it does nothing to solve the problem, and in many ways, as has been stated above, it exacerbates the problem. The next incident could be a bullet gun with someone dead. That is no way to solve the problem at all.

There are many indicators and suggestions that the core problem is the bully culture at the school. While it is probably best to, er, relocate the weapon-carrying teen someplace more conducive to his studying, it should not be framed as punishment (and indeed, nothing should be). As a rule of thumb, adolescents and adults do not respond predictably to such punishments. Might is right stops being effective as behavior modification very early - maybe 5 or 6 years old at the latest.

I do not accept a bully culture as acceptable, nor can I accept that there are insufficient resources to stop it. If necessary, you could chain each adolescent to his or her table and demand absolute silence except in the service of education. That is extreme and represents a troubling lack of resources, but doable with a minimum of resources, and it stops bullying absolutely.

If you have gallbladder stones, we don't just remove the stones, because those only offer temporary symptomatic relief. We go to the heart of the issue and remove the defective gallbladder completely.

If a bully culture exists in a school, the its "zero tolerance" is not zero tolerance enough! Zero tolerance means that nothing even remotely impolite is permissible as spoken or written communique, and nothing remotely offensive or violent is tolerated. This comes at the cost of some freedom of expression, but that's the tradeoff, just as it is in adult society. It is justifiable to limit someone's freedom to kill indiscriminately for the sake of social stability.

Well it's awesome to see that one of our presidential candidates was an anti-gay bully who once held a kid down and hacked his hair off with a scissors. This is incredibly disturbing to me, although from a fiscal conservative perspective I think Romney is the better choice.

Am I the only one who thinks this is a big deal?

jdzappa wrote:

Well it's awesome to see that one of our presidential candidates was an anti-gay bully who once held a kid down and hacked his hair off with a scissors. This is incredibly disturbing to me, although from a fiscal conservative perspective I think Romney is the better choice.

Am I the only one who thinks this is a big deal?

I think this is a really huge deal. But even bigger is his determined failure to acknowledge it ever happened. If he showed remorse for it and some hint of human empathy, I might be inclined to think of it as boneheaded crap one did in the hothouse, Lord of the Flies environment that is school (and prep school no less). But the fact that he shrugs it off as a "prank" presents one more very significant data point in a pattern that reveals that he is out for himself and humanity can go stick it up its ass.

Paleocon wrote:
jdzappa wrote:

Well it's awesome to see that one of our presidential candidates was an anti-gay bully who once held a kid down and hacked his hair off with a scissors. This is incredibly disturbing to me, although from a fiscal conservative perspective I think Romney is the better choice.

Am I the only one who thinks this is a big deal?

I think this is a really huge deal. But even bigger is his determined failure to acknowledge it ever happened. If he showed remorse for it and some hint of human empathy, I might be inclined to think of it as boneheaded crap one did in the hothouse, Lord of the Flies environment that is school (and prep school no less). But the fact that he shrugs it off as a "prank" presents one more very significant data point in a pattern that reveals that he is out for himself and humanity can go stick it up its ass.

Right. What happened in 1965 is really not that big of a deal. What's happened in 2012 regarding it is pretty significant.

Yeah, the "Child is childish, wrong" isn't the headline. What's interesting to me is that politicians are so quick to jump to excuses, rather than admit that they could have done something truly wrong, even before they may have known better.

For conservatives, admitting error is a sign of weakness. If he admits he was wrong, he loses face in that community. And it doesn't matter how horrible the crime is, either, you simply don't admit you were wrong in that half of society, ever. If you're forced to, then it has to be a huge come-to-Jesus moment, with histrionics and hair-pulling.

Kraint wrote:

I mean they don't exist. The zero tolerance policies which tie their hands are entirely self-created and enforced. To the best of my knowledge, state legislatures are not passing laws that require kids to be expelled for defending themselves or bringing aspirin. The school administrators and boards are creating them. Thus the hand-tying, and unreasonable behavior in response, is self-inflicted.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/...

Looks like a chain of National to State to Local where at some levels of transition the intent gets warped and misinterpreted.

When a school administrator makes a policy, I consider that "self-imposed." When our school board makes a policy, I consider that "moronic." I know that the majority of the responses my immediate superiors make are completely prescribed. There are no decisions to make.

Malor wrote:

For conservatives, admitting error is a sign of weakness. If he admits he was wrong, he loses face in that community. And it doesn't matter how horrible the crime is, either, you simply don't admit you were wrong in that half of society, ever. If you're forced to, then it has to be a huge come-to-Jesus moment, with histrionics and hair-pulling.

Sure. Otherwise you're a flip-flopper.

Danjo Olivaw wrote:
Kraint wrote:

I mean they don't exist. The zero tolerance policies which tie their hands are entirely self-created and enforced. To the best of my knowledge, state legislatures are not passing laws that require kids to be expelled for defending themselves or bringing aspirin. The school administrators and boards are creating them. Thus the hand-tying, and unreasonable behavior in response, is self-inflicted.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/...

Looks like a chain of National to State to Local where at some levels of transition the intent gets warped and misinterpreted.

When a school administrator makes a policy, I consider that "self-imposed." When our school board makes a policy, I consider that "moronic." I know that the majority of the responses my immediate superiors make are completely prescribed. There are no decisions to make.

I stand corrected. My understanding, based on family/friends in the teaching profession, was that the school administrators and boards were the ones creating and applying the rules(likely varies heavily between states, so that may be true here vs. the cited examples). Hence my irritation with the concept of complaining about following the rules they themselves had crafted.

That irritation only makes sense to me if the administrators craft the rule. We are definitely at the mercy of the school board, and consider their decisions Other.

Necromancered thread arise!

I figured I would revive this thread as a new study has just come out showing that serious effects of being bullied (and being a bully for that matter) last well into adulthood.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/0...

Ive been reading some counter arguments to this study that it really doesn't do a good job of actually proving causation, so if anyone here is a social scientist or knows more about the study I'd love your opinion.

I'll say from my own experiences some of the nasty crap I dealt with in grade school has stuck with me. I guess though I should be glad that for the most part it sometimes makes me angry rather than causes depression/anxiety. Ive found that anger that has kept me from being victimized as a teen and later as an adult.

At any rate, I do hope this study is a big wake up call to adults that bullying isn't something that is a harmless part of childhood.

This video is particularly relevant. Brought me to tears.

That video has been making the rounds on facebook and is indeed awesome.

That was...wow...just wow.

That is an awesome video - the music is a little too overwrought but the poem itself is powerful. Unfortunately, I've seen some backlash among Facebook friends about how bully survivors should "just get over it." I hope one day bullying is seen as the same as parental abuse in that I doubt few people would say "just get over it" to somebody whose dad regularly came home from the bar and proceeded to beat them unconscious.