Monday, May 23, 2011

Bullies, Bad Guys, and Buffoons

As I sit here in my comfortable little space and drink my nectar of the Gods (do I really need to describe my coffee once again?  Let's just call it, "candy bar in a cup", shall we?), I'm listening to my son watch Bugs Bunny cartoons on TV.  Bugs Bunny was the ultimate bully.  I suppose if everyone left him alone, he wouldn't retaliate but even still he thrived on making his hunters look as foolish as possible, didn't he?  I often found myself rooting for Elmer Fudd.  Poor little feller.  He just wanted to get rid of the rabbit in his garden or have a nice rabbit stew for dinner.  There's no crime in that.

Growing up, I didn't have too many problems with being bullied.  I was the big, athletic, good natured girl in a Catholic grade school and junior high.  For the most part, I fit in pretty well with the rest of my class mates.  I did hang out; however, with girls who were teased.  The overweight one, the painfully shy one, the one who wore green plastic glasses, the clumsy one, and the odd one with the high, squeaky voice.  I remember on picture day when the camera broke with one of my friends in the room.  Oh my goodness, the other kids were brutal.  It was all her fault.  They said she was so ugly, she broke the camera.  Now remember, this was a private school.  Where was our religious education?  Awful brats.  It doesn't matter.  Kids are kids, no matter what faith, no matter what generation.  We never change.

So now my own boys are going through junior high and high school.  They're adopted and different.  They fall into that category where they're going to get teased.  But now things have changed on school campuses.  There's a "Zero Tolerance" for bulling.  That's nice.

The other day my son was walking home from school and another boy heckled him.  Words were tossed, punches thrown, and the next thing I know my son could have been suspended for five days and missed his final exams.  My son mentioned the fight to one of his teachers because his chest hurt.  It was just a passing comment.  Phone calls were made, William was called out of class, and a referral was written up for something that happened a few blocks from school and around the corner from our front door.  The bully, the bad guy, the buffoon?  William has no idea who he is.  The "Zero Tolerance" policy is working well.  Where does the power of the school district draw the line and why does Elmer Fudd always get the short end of the stick?

Food for thought...


Leigh Ann said...

Ron & I recently attended a Bullying Prevention Lesson Class that our local school district provided. There are approx. 17,000 children in our district...there were 100 people attending this seminar. Half of them were teachers, counselors and school board reps who were on hand to answer questions. At best 65 students out of 17,000 were represented at this meeting. There was a lovely little powerpoint presentation that we 'followed the bouncing ball' as it was read to us. Talk to your children, the school will do all it can for the 'target' and the 'offender', etc. How the school district has to go by all the steps to take care of a problem that is preventing a child from attending school. That parents need to fill out forms that will be followed thru in a maximum of 5 days, etc. That they can only do what they can w/the staff that is afforded by the state, etc. Basically stating that we need to be our own student advocate. As soon as the Q&A period started, it was apparent that Ron and I were the ONLY parents present that DIDN'T have a child currently having a bullying problem. Kids as young as 1st grade were having issues w/bullies. One sophomore aged girl had been jumped by 10 seniors...the parent was told that if he wasn't ageeable w/the result of the handling by the school district, he could 'appeal'. Privacy issues do not allow the district to reveal what 'punishment' the bully was given, so he asked exactly what he was supposed to appeal? It's all so very PC and pathetic. They can't step on any toes, or go outside of protocol at any point for fear of being sued by the parents of the bully. How about the parents of the 'target' (they explained to us that they don't like the term 'victim')? Keep us informed, they said, let us know if the problems continue. Boy, oh boy...they better hope one of my children doesn't have any bullying issues. They want a squeaky wheel, they're gonna get one. In fact, that's what I stood up and said during the Q&A. That's the only thing I got from the 2 hours I sat in that auditorium...that it's up to us. Very sad, very unfortunate, but very true.

Pat said...

Bullying is serious. In the age of the internet, kids can reach out through the internet and continue harassment of another, weaker child to the point where they become socially isolated, then depressed, then suicidal, then...
FL passed a no-bullying law a few year back based on a parent's crusade over the suicide of her son.
I don't even think that that law goes far enough.

While I agree that kids need to be taught to have a thick skin and deflect bullying, the punishments of the bullies, need to be ramped up. If ridicule is their goal, then we need to bring back the stocks and public humiliation. To heck with being PC. Bullies will continue to bully until the risks outweigh the rewards.
I agree with my wife about this. If my son's victimization gets bad, we're going to be putting a hidden camera on him. We will catch the vermin at their game and we will demand action with the proof or we will legally go after the bullies themselves.

LadyDreamer said...

And you can bet your bottom I will be in that office Every. Single. Day. being a pest until something is resolved. If the bullying continues, I continue. A kid who bullies has bad parents, and I am not afraid of a law suit. Bring it on. I will in detail describe their kid's behavior in front of witnesses and their total lack of concern or action. Of course, a little hidden camera footage provides the slam dunk. I'll take the fine for secretly videotaping another person without their consent. Whatever. This is the safety of my son, I will not mess around.