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#1 of 22 Old 07-27-2013, 01:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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watched the documentary 'bully' today. some of the things i observed:

1) there's a boy being bullied on the school bus, and the kid who is verbally abusing this boy has his face blurred. but the bullied boy, the one whose privacy and respect is being violated, is exposed in all his raw vulnerability. WHY is the bully's identity hidden? the pendulum has swung the other way in this society- the vile and the corrupt are protected.

2) The principal is talking to a young child about what's going on during lunch time. the child responds that he's being called names like faggot, etc. lame principal- how does that make you feel? child: it makes me feel bad. lame principal: what do you want to do about this? so, now you, the SCHOOL PRINCIPAL, adult in charge asks a bullied child what he wants to do? anybody see what's wrong with this picture?

3) in another clear instance of bullying, lame principal asks the offender and the victim to shake hands.what is this, kindergarten? lame principal even uses pre-school words like 'get along". guess what, these kids aren't in kindergarten anymore. there is a history of serious bullying here, no amount of shaking hands or just asking to get along has worked or will work.



there are young, promising kids that are taking their own lives, commiting suicide. while the overgrown jocks live to get knocked in the head by a football for as long as they can and provide entertainment for someone's beer.

what concrete efforts are being done to rehabilitate the bully?

why are the schools not suspending these bullies once there is a known, established history of such behavior?

why are adults turning the other way in the face of uncivilized behavior?

you could not treat your fellow passengers like this on a commute bus without facing serious consequences. you couldn't get away with such behavior at your workplace without facing serious consequences. so why are vulnerable children not similarly protected?

my heart broke when i saw the parents of these children who took their own lives. bullying is a school issue as well as a community issue. don't fail these kids.

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#2 of 22 Old 07-27-2013, 03:54 PM
 
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It is possible that the child who was bullied's parents gave permission for the tape to be shown or signed a release and the child who was bullying's family did not.  Also, when videos have gone viral, people do go after the attackers, no matter what their ages are, so it could be a liability issue as well.  I doubt that it has anything to do with "the vile and corrupt being protected" so much as real safety concerns (I'm sorry, but I do not believe that because a child bullies it means that they should be made a target as well by the world at large.  I'm sure many will agree with me, but being destructive back doesn't really do much of anything, IMO, and perpetuates the problem) as well as the legal necessities of media production.

 

I also don't have a problem with the principal asking the victimized child what sort of things they would like to see happen, as well as support for young children in naming what has happened to them.  Of course, if that's the ONLY thing being done, that's one thing.  But empowering the child to speak up for what they think would be a just resolution to the problem is important.  I do not believe it is ever too early for kids to learn how to solve problems;  especially if it is in the context of a safe and trustworthy adult helping them work through it and talk through it and learn what to ask for and what works for them.  If the victim is prevented from having a voice once the problem is acknowledged then I think that's a lost opportunity and may invite more violence as it never gives them the opportunity to feel in control/part of the solution.  This act happened *to them*.  They should have a say in what they think should happen.  The bullied child has a right to give input on what should be done.  It doesn't mean it's appropriate for them to decide, but I think sending them on their merry way with a demeaning "don't worry sweetie, we'll handle it" is degrading.

 

IME many victimized children (myself included) move on to being abused as adults as well.  My abuse stopped when I was finally given the structure and tools to talk through the situation, give my input, define my boundaries, and learn how to navigate how to deal with authority figures.  Allowing the adults to "solve" (lamely) the problems for me as a kid did me no favors.  I should have been given a voice and taught how to use it.

 

IME (I have a 6th grader and two 5th graders so thus far my parenting experience is limited to preschool to late elementary years) how well bullying is handled largely depends on the school.  Even if the district has great/stinky policies, if you have an excellent leadership team on this subject in the schools, things can be handled excellently.  Frankly, *especially* when they are in the K-3 years, I am absolutely opposed to any suspension of children unless it's an extreme circumstance (no, my kids never bullied anyone, and one of them in fact was bullied, and I would not have supported that other child being suspended.)  At our school intervention happens for both children and the observers as well, because they are *all* part of the dynamic, and if you want bullying to stop you need to work on bully/victim/bystanders.  This means that you cannot dehumanize the bully and do tit for tat.  This concept seems to be lost on many people, especially in the younger years.

 

And I wholeheartedly disagree with you that bystanders do not turn the other way on a commuter train or on the street.  I'm sorry, but it happens *every single day*.  People have been murdered while other people do nothing.  People are assaulted in public and bystanders do not get involved.  It is a very very common crowd effect. I also disagree that bullying doesn't happen in the workplace.  That's not been my experience, though with adults it's verbal/sexual/emotional harassment rather than fisticuffs, and you better believe people do get away with it...because other people look the other direction.  This is why I think that *bystander* education/intervention in childhood bullying is even MORE important than intervention with the bully (though all three sides need intervention).  Maybe if this happened, this kind of behavior would be less tolerated, but it happens all the time all around us.   Just even reading these boards--look at stories of family interactions, moms' groups interactions, ect.  And yes, the workplace.

 

I think the first step in changing bullying is a willingness to see it as a dynamic, with more people than just the bully needing "treatment".

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#3 of 22 Old 07-27-2013, 05:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i don't think the bullies' identity is a state secret in their community, people know it's happening and nobody is doing much about it, much less going after these bullies- it's mainly a liability issue like you said. you protect them to protect your behind.

if you watch the documentary, you'll see the principal is just mouthing platitudes and being ineffective. i agree with you, it is important to give a voice to the bullied and have a collaborative and empowering approach to the problem. however, when real changes are not happening on the ground, much of it remains unsubstantial talk.

the adults have an obligation and responsibility to safeguard a child's wellbeing and personal safety. ensuring that is NOT lame. there is an issue and making sure it's solved while empowering the child and holding the bully responsible are not mutually exclusive actions.

the problem with bullying is that, while the bullied are being 'dehumanized' it has become very non PC to hold the bully responsible and take effective action. suspension should not be the first line of response- my post makes it clear, there has to be an established and escalating history with the bully.

i applaud your school for factoring the total dynamic into the larger solution. but how many schools are doing that? if they were, kids would not be comitting suicide.

while by-standers might look the other way. if a victim chose to seek legal recourse, there are laws that will punish the offender. is that the case with a child being bullied daily on the school bus?

at your workplace, HR has rules and laws against sexual/physical/verbal assault- how does it work in the school system?

i see the onus being placed on the bullied much more than on the bully.

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#4 of 22 Old 07-28-2013, 01:00 AM
 
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I don't think it has anything to do with being "non-PC". If we were being "PC" then it would be the victimized party who was given the benefit of the doubt, not the stronger seeming one.

The problem of children committing suicide is more complicated than going after bullies. There may be a ringleader, but really IMO it's the bystanders who do nothing that are also culpable. When bystanders step in, that helps eliminate bullies as well. And considering how quickly the focus and targeting of bullying can shift, I think it's even more important to heal the environment as it is to eliminate one threat. It's the community of kids who do nothing that amps up the isolation.

You can have laws and rules at the workplace and school, but IME trying to bring action is intimidating even as an adult--and the people around you can have a huge effect in either isolating you or eliminating the bad behavior. Have you ever had to report someone to HR or deal with a harasser on a bus? I have. The resolution or lack thereof left a great deal to be desired. So again, this is a pervasive and cultural problem that is not limited to schools--though I think there is a unique opportunity in schools to shift that thinking elsewhere and amongst adults as well.

I agree that more should be done, I just disagree that getting rid of each individual who bullies will eliminating the problem. I feel that it's the elimination of bystanders remaining uninvolved that would have the most impact.

However, it's a tougher sell. People would rather focus on bad kids as the genesis of the problem, rather than viewing it as a more complicated dynamic that their kids as bystanders might have participated in.

Having attended quite a few trainings/presentations/lectures on bullying (again, mostly focused on upper elementary and jr high), my mind has really been changed in regard to the importance of coming at the problem equally as proactively from all sides of the dynamic. My personal experience has been on the bullied side of things, so my focus was always on the bad kid/bully; but wow, when I started thinking about the bystander side of things...huge paradigm shift.

I think it explains even more than bullies why our society acts the way it tends to. As well as why we in general so easily ignore/don't see suffering or decide its not our business.
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#5 of 22 Old 07-28-2013, 01:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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so, let's use the mothering site as an eco-system to test out the by-stander hypothesis. hypothetical scenario: poster A, is bullying poster B. it's been on going, B has been reporting it, but mods are waffling around, deleting an offensive post or two at best. meanwhile, some posters have been discomfited by A's behavior and call her out on it. A couldn't care less and continues in ever subtler and sly ways. to me, an intervention is needed at this point. mods will issue an account suspension and posting privileges will be revoked for a time period. if A wants to continue being a part of the community she has to play nice and follow the guidelines. so, 1. there are guidelines/rules. 2. they are being monitored and enforced.

and yes, i have been in touch with HR before. on a bus, the driver has pulled over to let the offending passenger out. it's a matter of apathy or action.

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#6 of 22 Old 07-28-2013, 09:26 AM
 
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Subbing here to learn...

 

My kids are nearly grown, and were mainly homeschooled, so I have no experience with bullying. As a child myself, I never knew directly of bullying (there was one kid in the neighborhood who, in retrospect, was probably a victim, but I was not aware of it at the time). Now I am in the certification process to become a foster parent, probably of tweens/teens, and want to catch up with current issues.

 

Is bullying becoming more common, are we speaking about it more, or have we raised the standards of what is acceptable behavior? I think in general, this is a cultural shift in the right direction, but I have a nagging concern that kids are learning to define themselves as victims; that they are losing the skills to handle minor problems themselves. The idea of bystander dynamics makes a lot of sense to me.

 

This is a subject I have not given much thought to yet, so please don't jump me if my questions/comments sound insensitive.
 


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#7 of 22 Old 07-28-2013, 11:03 AM
 
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Is bullying becoming more common, are we speaking about it more, or have we raised the standards of what is acceptable behavior? I think in general, this is a cultural shift in the right direction, but I have a nagging concern that kids are learning to define themselves as victims; that they are losing the skills to handle minor problems themselves. The idea of bystander dynamics makes a lot of sense to me.
[\quote]
I dont think bullying has become any more common than it was. My sister and I got a big dose of it, twenty to thirty years ago. And we sure weren't the only ones, many of my friends made similar experiences. Back then, mostly the blame was put on the victims, stating: 'The child does not want to integrate.' And parents and teachers were discouraged from intervening, because children were supposed to figure things out for themselves. My sister had been asking for help and was told: "Since you are so smart, you can deal with it." - It is incredibly refreshing to me to see how much the bullying problem is verbalised and brought to public attention these days. And I'm glad that bullying victims are not getting the blame anymore in public opinion.

From my personal experience bystander dynamics were extremely important: Victims of bullying were mostly the children who were not popular, thus the other children were not too eager risk their status by intervening on behalf of an outsider. I was very lucky to have a girl in my class, who was generally liked and admired, who stepped up for me a few times, that made things so much easier.

Thinking about it afterwards, many of the kids doing the bullying did have problems at home, though not all of them. I guess, it made them feel better about their situation, if they found themselves powerful enough to make somebody else miserable in turn. Considering how unsecure most teens are about themselves, feeling better by putting down somebody else, simply might be a tempting strategy. And that's were the bystanders come in: If ridiculing somebody improves or doesn't affect the perpetrator's social standing, it will go on. If the bystanders disapprove, bullying doesn't bring the hoped for reward of feeling better, and it will stop.

I often heard the notion, that adult intervention only would acerbate the problem. I doubt that is right. At least educating children, that bullying is not okay, and that bystander need to step up to the bully, could substantially change things.

 
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#8 of 22 Old 07-28-2013, 11:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Is bullying becoming more common, are we speaking about it more, or have we raised the standards of what is acceptable behavior? I think in general, this is a cultural shift in the right direction, but I have a nagging concern that kids are learning to define themselves as victims; that they are losing the skills to handle minor problems themselves. The idea of bystander dynamics makes a lot of sense to me.

 

This is a subject I have not given much thought to yet, so please don't jump me if my questions/comments sound insensitive.
 

your concerns are unfounded. when i talk about bullying, i don't mean a scenario where some teasing and sensitivity collide. i mean outright mean, exclusionary and cruel behavior with an established pattern. in the documentary, the father talks of his son having to walk naked because the bullies took away his clothes during a shower, barging in while he is in the toilet, violent verbal and physical  abuse in the school bus. we send our kids to school, the minimum is to assure their physical and mental safety. it is unacceptable that children are losing their lives over this while the perps walk away scot free.

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#9 of 22 Old 07-28-2013, 11:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
I dont think bullying has become any more common than it was. My sister and I got a big dose of it, twenty to thirty years ago. And we sure weren't the only ones, many of my friends made similar experiences. Back then, mostly the blame was put on the victims, stating: 'The child does not want to integrate.' And parents and teachers were discouraged from intervening, because children were supposed to figure things out for themselves. My sister had been asking for help and was told: "Since you are so smart, you can deal with it." - It is incredibly refreshing to me to see how much the bullying problem is verbalised and brought to public attention these days. And I'm glad that bullying victims are not getting the blame anymore in public opinion.

From my personal experience bystander dynamics were extremely important: Victims of bullying were mostly the children who were not popular, thus the other children were not too eager risk their status by intervening on behalf of an outsider. I was very lucky to have a girl in my class, who was generally liked and admired, who stepped up for me a few times, that made things so much easier.

Thinking about it afterwards, many of the kids doing the bullying did have problems at home, though not all of them. I guess, it made them feel better about their situation, if they found themselves powerful enough to make somebody else miserable in turn. Considering how unsecure most teens are about themselves, feeling better by putting down somebody else, simply might be a tempting strategy. And that's were the bystanders come in: If ridiculing somebody improves or doesn't affect the perpetrator's social standing, it will go on. If the bystanders disapprove, bullying doesn't bring the hoped for reward of feeling better, and it will stop.

I often heard the notion, that adult intervention only would acerbate the problem. I doubt that is right. At least educating children, that bullying is not okay, and that bystander need to step up to the bully, could substantially change things.

 

 

thank you for sharing. i think the point you made, in bold above, is very important. a three point approach is a sensible and effective way to work on the issue of bullying. empower the bullied, make bystanders part of the solution and hold the bully accountable. nobody gets to make themselves feel better by making someone miserable. the younger they learn that the better it is for society.

 

the point you made above, the girl naturally stood up for you. i think the school can encourage and make kids with cachet part of an internal think tank where they learn how to use their popularity and cool in a positive way. 

 

eta: english is not my main language, so please understand if some of my points are not very clear.

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#10 of 22 Old 07-28-2013, 12:14 PM
 
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You cannot approach life and people like a message board. Mothering is a private entity and posters have no right to its services. Children in theory in the US (and other places I'd think, though of course not everywhere) have a right to a basic education. Accused criminals have a right to a trial. You don't just boot them out of your community. Mamarhu's concerns are *not* "unfounded". Well intentioned no-tolerance policies have led to young children being kicked out of schools for one offense with no services offered to anyone. Of course, then you have the right to and education thing, there are lawsuits, ect.

This is why I say it is a complicated situation that if we were smart we'd approach in a multipronged way.

I'd also like to state that we do not know that the girl "naturally" intervened. Had she had experience being bullied (or someone close to her) that led her to ID with the victim? Did her family have an expectation that by standing was not ok? (I have taught my children this, from am early age.). Some kids are natural protectors, but I think that like many victims and bullies, a lot of those roles have learned elements to them. Hence the importance of bullying education for everyone.

I have to say I do not think that bullying is more prevalent, but it is more talked about. However I feel that the intensity is also more severe. I had my clothes dumped in the toilet at gym in jr high, today if that had happened someone could have taken a picture of me too and put it up all over the Internet/texted it to the whole school. Intent and spirit are the same, technology enables thing to go ever further in a way that really scared me. But it makes the bystander ever more important. Don't pass on the picture, report it to the authorities, speak out that it's wrong.
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#11 of 22 Old 07-28-2013, 12:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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while the user may not have any right to it's services, mothering still has an obligation to keep the site safe and respectful for its users, which it does via policies/rules/guidelines. and enforcing them when a situation arises that places users at risk. users themselves might (or not) protest unsavory behavior. this helps to quell the offender and if it does not the mods step in and do what's needed for the community. a school is also a community so it is not entirely an unrealistic application to the physical world scenario.

 

i note that while you support a multi-pronged approach, most of your emphasis so far is on on the bystander. i think empowering the bystander is an important and ongoing effort in the solution process, but in a world where some adults won't stand up for another in a prickly situation, it might be a tad unrealistic to place the onus on children/teens to provide support and resolution in a bullying issue.

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#12 of 22 Old 07-28-2013, 01:02 PM
 
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I think this is a very interesting conversation.

The answer to #1 is probably just that the parents of the bully didn't agree to allow a photo of their child in the movie. In most cases, you have to get a parent's permission to put a photo of a minor on TV, in a movie, etc.

But I agree with you about a lot of this bullying issue. Adults are too afraid to act on bullying, or don't recognize when it's happening, and just don't do enough. I think they must not be getting adequate or effective training on what to look for and what to do, and also some schools have bad ratios of adults to children, and it is easier for bullies to be unnoticed in those situations.

Adults can't just assume that someone is bullying someone else because a child tells them so though. I've heard of cases where bullies use anti-bullying systems to their advantage. They accuse the person they're bullying of doing some bullying behavior or another, and it becomes an issue of which child the adult believes. If the adults are paying attention, IMO they should know who the bully kids are. If they aren't paying attention either because they don't care or because they're stretched too thin due to a low teacher to child ratio, then it can be really difficult to sort out who is the bully and who is the victim. It seems obvious that if there's one kid on one side and five on the other that the one lone kid is probably the victim, but what if the other five all swear up and down that the victim is actually the bully and lie well?

Bullies have to be dealt with more strongly IMO and I agree that it's the job of the adults supervising to pay attention and do something about it, but I do see how it can be difficult for the adults depending on the circumstances. I wish there were a good and reasonable way to force the bully's parents to take control of the situation, but then you have to first of all identify the bullies and find some way of forcing the parents to do something. There was an article in the News And Current Events forum here about the parents of bullies being fined $100, and people had some mixed responses.

I am going to post this and then try to find that and I'll edit this post with a link.

Edited to add that I can't find that it was discussed here. Maybe I'm wrong. I know I read about it in our local online newspaper site, and maybe I'm thinking of the comments there. But here's a link to a story about it. What do you think about this? http://shine.yahoo.com/parenting/should-parents-of-bullies-pay-for-their-kid-s-actions--wisconsin-town-thinks-so--192525499.html
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#13 of 22 Old 07-28-2013, 08:15 PM
 
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I have mixed feelings about fining the parents. First, to a wealthy family, $114 is nothing and nearly meaningless, but to a poor family, it might mean taking food from the table, or not paying the electric bill. In either case, it would hardly solve the problem. But engaging the family, by force if necessary, is probably a good idea.

 

In my area, they have an policy allowing the school to fine the parents of truant kids. My son was "truant"  - 83% attendance last year - so I got a nasty letter, threatening me with court, $165 fine, and mandatory parenting classes. What they did not get, was that YoungSon has extreme social anxiety and autism. Until two years ago, he literally could not attend school at all. 83% attendance is phenomenal for him! Besides that I cannot spare $165, it would in no way change his anxiety. Besides that, I teach parenting classes for families with high needs kids! I sort of doubt I would gain much from their mandated program.

 

I know I am wandering OT, but I can't start that story without the conclusion...

 

I made the tactical error of showing that letter to YoungSon, then 16. He was insulted and furious. He took the letter to the truant officer on campus, told him it was his responsibility, and not his mother's fault. Then he made the truant officer call to apologize to me! He made an agreement with the school to at least show up every day; that he would leave early if he needed to. Way to self-advocate, YoungSon! Thank you for the momentary proud mama brag...

 

Anyway, I don't know if fining the parents would help anything. It seems to me the competent, involved parents would just need to be made aware of the problem and resources for support. The families who are either negligent, don't care, or lack the skills to improve the situation could still be offered support, classes, whatever resources are available; mandated if necessary. If they don't take advantage, then I guess it is on the school to find a solution. But fines won't give parents the skills they lack.
 


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#14 of 22 Old 07-28-2013, 09:45 PM
 
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It is possible that the child who was bullied's parents gave permission for the tape to be shown or signed a release and the child who was bullying's family did not.  Also, when videos have gone viral, people do go after the attackers, no matter what their ages are, so it could be a liability issue as well.  I doubt that it has anything to do with "the vile and corrupt being protected" so much as real safety concerns (I'm sorry, but I do not believe that because a child bullies it means that they should be made a target as well by the world at large.  I'm sure many will agree with me, but being destructive back doesn't really do much of anything, IMO, and perpetuates the problem) as well as the legal necessities of media production.

I also don't have a problem with the principal asking the victimized child what sort of things they would like to see happen, as well as support for young children in naming what has happened to them.  Of course, if that's the ONLY thing being done, that's one thing.  But empowering the child to speak up for what they think would be a just resolution to the problem is important.  I do not believe it is ever too early for kids to learn how to solve problems;  especially if it is in the context of a safe and trustworthy adult helping them work through it and talk through it and learn what to ask for and what works for them.  If the victim is prevented from having a voice once the problem is acknowledged then I think that's a lost opportunity and may invite more violence as it never gives them the opportunity to feel in control/part of the solution.  This act happened *to them*.  They should have a say in what they think should happen.  The bullied child has a right to give input on what should be done.  It doesn't mean it's appropriate for them to decide, but I think sending them on their merry way with a demeaning "don't worry sweetie, we'll handle it" is degrading.

IME many victimized children (myself included) move on to being abused as adults as well.  My abuse stopped when I was finally given the structure and tools to talk through the situation, give my input, define my boundaries, and learn how to navigate how to deal with authority figures.  Allowing the adults to "solve" (lamely) the problems for me as a kid did me no favors.  I should have been given a voice and taught how to use it.

IME (I have a 6th grader and two 5th graders so thus far my parenting experience is limited to preschool to late elementary years) how well bullying is handled largely depends on the school.  Even if the district has great/stinky policies, if you have an excellent leadership team on this subject in the schools, things can be handled excellently.  Frankly, *especially* when they are in the K-3 years, I am absolutely opposed to any suspension of children unless it's an extreme circumstance (no, my kids never bullied anyone, and one of them in fact was bullied, and I would not have supported that other child being suspended.)  At our school intervention happens for both children and the observers as well, because they are *all* part of the dynamic, and if you want bullying to stop you need to work on bully/victim/bystanders.  This means that you cannot dehumanize the bully and do tit for tat.  This concept seems to be lost on many people, especially in the younger years.

And I wholeheartedly disagree with you that bystanders do not turn the other way on a commuter train or on the street.  I'm sorry, but it happens *every single day*.  People have been murdered while other people do nothing.  People are assaulted in public and bystanders do not get involved.  It is a very very common crowd effect. I also disagree that bullying doesn't happen in the workplace.  That's not been my experience, though with adults it's verbal/sexual/emotional harassment rather than fisticuffs, and you better believe people do get away with it...because other people look the other direction.  This is why I think that *bystander* education/intervention in childhood bullying is even MORE important than intervention with the bully (though all three sides need intervention).  Maybe if this happened, this kind of behavior would be less tolerated, but it happens all the time all around us.   Just even reading these boards--look at stories of family interactions, moms' groups interactions, ect.  And yes, the workplace.

I think the first step in changing bullying is a willingness to see it as a dynamic, with more people than just the bully needing "treatment".

I absolutely agree with all of this. Well said!!

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#15 of 22 Old 07-29-2013, 12:36 AM
 
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My emphasis is on the bystander because they are literally the largest part of that dynamic, and because they are forgotten. Also that educates all children and adults that bullying is *everyone's* problem, not just a minority of people that none of us like to view ourselves as (perp/victim). If you want to shift things in a community, then you should emphasize the 80% proactively right away, and hit it early, instead of dealing with the 20% after the fact.

Think about it. If you must punish a bully it means that the attack has already occurred. Why would you not want to have high emphasis on *prevention* and *mitigation*? If a child is bullied, we have *failed*. I wish to make it so that we do not fail as often in the first place, and I believe that will only happen when people know how to step in and head things off. That only happens when bystanders see and step in before it escalates. Bullying never happens in a vacuum, there are signs. And children are often times better at spotting those warnings than adults, even, with the proper education and because there are more of them as witnesses and observers in a school environment.

Punishing bullies feels good and righteous. Preventing bullying requires more, but is far more rewarding. And ultimately, my goal is the wipe out bullying. Relying on deterrence is not very effective. Get the while community involved and you help kids to not become bullies in the first place.

So why would you *not* wish to emphasize prevention and bystanders, instead of getting people disengaged with "oh my kid/I would never bully so I don't need to worry about that, we're not contributing."
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#16 of 22 Old 07-29-2013, 12:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My emphasis is on the bystander because they are literally the largest part of that dynamic, and because they are forgotten. Also that educates all children and adults that bullying is *everyone's* problem, not just a minority of people that none of us like to view ourselves as (perp/victim). If you want to shift things in a community, then you should emphasize the 80% proactively right away, and hit it early, instead of dealing with the 20% after the fact.

Think about it. If you must punish a bully it means that the attack has already occurred. Why would you not want to have high emphasis on *prevention* and *mitigation*? If a child is bullied, we have *failed*. I wish to make it so that we do not fail as often in the first place, and I believe that will only happen when people know how to step in and head things off. That only happens when bystanders see and step in before it escalates. Bullying never happens in a vacuum, there are signs. And children are often times better at spotting those warnings than adults, even, with the proper education and because there are more of them as witnesses and observers in a school environment.

Punishing bullies feels good and righteous. Preventing bullying requires more, but is far more rewarding. And ultimately, my goal is the wipe out bullying. Relying on deterrence is not very effective. Get the while community involved and you help kids to not become bullies in the first place.

So why would you *not* wish to emphasize prevention and bystanders, instead of getting people disengaged with "oh my kid/I would never bully so I don't need to worry about that, we're not contributing."

 

i take exception to the statement: "Punishing bullies feels good and righteous". by that token everytime someone gets a rightful consequence for their wrongdoing, we are being righteous in ensuring that a consequence is meted out. so you can abuse somebody, but it's wrong to take you to task for doing so. it's not about righteous, it's about accountability, responsibility and sending out a message that this behavior has no tolerance in our community.

 

emphasis is fine, reliance on bystanders to be the main solution is not going to be very effective. my idea is to have checks and balances when the bystanders fail. why would you not wish to ensure that?

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#17 of 22 Old 07-29-2013, 12:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for the link, mamazee. like, poster mamarhu, i am not sure about using monetary fines as a deterrent. sadly, there are families that could care less about their children bullying someone, perhaps the threat of monetary loss might be the only incentive to get them to rein their kids in. i think the application should be based on socio-economic conditions. it makes me uncomfortable though. some of the bullies come from already difficult conditions, i think this could only serve to get them in more trouble.

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#18 of 22 Old 07-29-2013, 12:45 PM
 
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I have the belief that most of the time punishment does not work in preventing a problem. Bullying is a societal problem, and that's why I believe involving everyone is what will ultimately change things. We need to be asking ourselves why bullying happens and what we can do to change the cause of the behavior. Punitive measures, in my opinion, only serve to make the perpetrators sneakier. The key is making the bully want to act different. We can begin doing this by looking for the root of the behavior, just like we would in very small children.

This may be a hard one to swallow, but I believe the bully and the victim are actually both victims of something that has gone wrong in our society. I'm not suggesting zero consequences, but suspension or expulsion don't seem to be a solution. The child will simply find another victim until the desire to bully is addressed.

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#19 of 22 Old 07-29-2013, 03:57 PM
 
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I work in an elementary school. My job includes helping monitor behavior plans for children whom could be labeled as "bullies."  I also helped monitor at recess, keeping a special eye on special needs kids and kids with a history of problematic behavior toward other students. (we try to avoid the word "bully" because we don't believe that telling a child they are a bully will help them evolve past that, which is our real goal)

 

 

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your concerns are unfounded. when i talk about bullying, i don't mean a scenario where some teasing and sensitivity collide. i mean outright mean, exclusionary and cruel behavior with an established pattern.

 

I haven't seen the documentary. I think that the line between where teasing and sensitivity collide and BULLYING is a lot more fuzzy and grey than your post implies. I suspect that in every single case where a child is physically or sexually bullied, verbal abuse started first. I think that to discount verbal abuse puts children in situations where they are not emotionally safe, and allows the perpetrator to escalate rather than being taught better.

 

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You cannot approach life and people like a message board. Mothering is a private entity and posters have no right to its services. Children in theory in the US (and other places I'd think, though of course not everywhere) have a right to a basic education. Accused criminals have a right to a trial. You don't just boot them out of your community.

 

Totally agree. The kids in our school who have the more difficult time with their behavior toward others are also the kids with the most challenging home lives. I work in a Title one school with a challenging population. We have one kid with serious behavior. He only has one parent, and she has been in prison since he was 3. A year ago, she was moved to another state due to overcrowding in prisons here. So he has very serious behavior problems, and we, the school staff get it. We care about him. We want to reach him. We also want to keep all the other kids safe. We have lots of kids who have a parent in prison. We also have kids who are refugees from wars (the middle east and sudan). People work at this school because they have a passion for being of service to children in challenging situations.

 

No one wants to boot a child out of the community. We do have in school suspension, which gets used pretty liberally. But only under the most extreme circumstances are children removed from our school, and when they are, they are placed in a program in our district that is setup for kids with serious behavior problems.

 

BTW, the notion to me that the answer lies in getting the parents of the bullies to do something seems extremely misguided and shows a lack of understanding of what is going on for kids who end up bullying other kids.

 

 

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But I agree with you about a lot of this bullying issue. Adults are too afraid to act on bullying, or don't recognize when it's happening, and just don't do enough. I think they must not be getting adequate or effective training on what to look for and what to do, and also some schools have bad ratios of adults to children, and it is easier for bullies to be unnoticed in those situations.

.... If the adults are paying attention, IMO they should know who the bully kids are. If they aren't paying attention either because they don't care or because they're stretched too thin due to a low teacher to child ratio, then it can be really difficult to sort out who is the bully and who is the victim. It seems obvious that if there's one kid on one side and five on the other that the one lone kid is probably the victim, but what if the other five all swear up and down that the victim is actually the bully and lie well?

Bullies have to be dealt with more strongly IMO and I agree that it's the job of the adults supervising to pay attention and do something about it, but I do see how it can be difficult for the adults depending on the circumstances.

 

It's harder to monitor the children than it looks like it is from the outside. We had a little girl with a genetic condition that caused all of the bones in her body to be misshapen, including the bones in her face. A little boy in the class would lean over to her occasionally and whisper, "you are so ugly," and then lean back. It went on for quite awhile before she told anyone, and then she told her mom, who contacted the teacher. There were other times, as well, that parents would write in notes about things that their children said had happened and *even with two adults in the room really trying to watch the kids,* we were surprised what we were missing. I find that your post shows a lack of understanding about what is going on in schools with teachers, aids, and monitors. It's harder than it looks because sometimes bullying is very subtle and yet very destructive.

 

Sometimes its hard to sort out the truth from the lies, and I'm sad to say that I'm less likely to believe everything a child says to me after working in school, but I do feel that *often* we get it figured out and come up with solutions. (Eventually.)

 

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My emphasis is on the bystander because they are literally the largest part of that dynamic, and because they are forgotten. Also that educates all children and adults that bullying is *everyone's* problem, not just a minority of people that none of us like to view ourselves as (perp/victim). If you want to shift things in a community, then you should emphasize the 80% proactively right away, and hit it early, instead of dealing with the 20% after the fact.
 

 

I somewhat agree with you. I absolutely agree that working with bystanders is imperative. I also think it is important to teach children to deescalate, and not get all wrapped up in what someone else says to them. Part of the dynamic is that some kids get picked on because of their response to getting picked on, so they get picked on more. Without blaming the victims, I believe that we can help children develop confidence, and that bullies can't get far with a kid who with true self confidence.

 

I don't think that getting rid of bullying is realistic because every year more children get old enough to play with others but are so damaged by that point that they don't know how to do so in a positive way. I don't feel like a failure about it, but then again, I do spend part of my day during the school year working with and talking to children and trying to help them grow to the next level. There were moments last in year talking to kids, both bullies and victims, that I could tell I was getting through to them and making a difference.

 

 

 

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The key is making the bully want to act different. We can begin doing this by looking for the root of the behavior, just like we would in very small children.

This may be a hard one to swallow, but I believe the bully and the victim are actually both victims of something that has gone wrong in our society. I'm not suggesting zero consequences, but suspension or expulsion don't seem to be a solution. The child will simply find another victim until the desire to bully is addressed.

 

 

Honestly, sometimes we KNOW the root of the behavior, but that doesn't make it possible to fix it. I wish it did.

 

I agree that the bully is almost always a victim, often of something at home. Our school tends to use in-school suspension, so the child is very well supervised and still doing their school work, and is talked to about their behavior. We also use behavior plans so those children with the hardest time controlling themselves can earn rewards that are meaningful for them for behaving in appropriate ways towards others.

 

As far as something going wrong in our society, I guess I don't see it that way. I see people being kind and polite to each other ALL the time, both children and adults. Even in our most challenging students at school, every single one of them had moments of kindness, of humanity. We need to work with them to help them make those parts of themselves bigger, but we have to do so while keeping all the children safe.

 

And this is mostly the job of public schools, because it is mostly kids who are not getting what they need at home. (I'm sure in some homes kids are getting plenty of stuff, but not getting the real time and parenting they need)


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#20 of 22 Old 07-29-2013, 04:10 PM
 
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Do not put words into my mouth, Chys. Nowhere did I state that there should be no consequences. Just that for change and prevention, one cannot rely on that. I get that you are focused on the punishment and justice. I just disagree that that approach will effectively prevent bullying from occurring or deescalate things that are heading that direction.

As another poster mentioned, there are far more children than adults in school. When children/observers are empowered to know what to do, like informing an adult even if it doesn't involve them, it means adults are aware more quickly and consequences can be dealt more quickly. So frankly, even in a punitive situation, bystanders are *still* imperative.
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#21 of 22 Old 07-29-2013, 05:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Do not put words into my mouth, Chys. Nowhere did I state that there should be no consequences. Just that for change and prevention, one cannot rely on that. I get that you are focused on the punishment and justice. I just disagree that that approach will effectively prevent bullying from occurring or deescalate things that are heading that direction.

As another poster mentioned, there are far more children than adults in school. When children/observers are empowered to know what to do, like informing an adult even if it doesn't involve them, it means adults are aware more quickly and consequences can be dealt more quickly. So frankly, even in a punitive situation, bystanders are *still* imperative.


and nor am i stating that bystanders should be discounted completely. i think we are talking around in circles but trying to arrive at the same point! i am focused on looking at the problem of bullying as being on a continuum. in other words, maximizing options/solutions that deal with the level/stage at which the bullying problem exists.

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#22 of 22 Old 07-29-2013, 06:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I haven't seen the documentary. I think that the line between where teasing and sensitivity collide and BULLYING is a lot more fuzzy and grey than your post implies. I suspect that in every single case where a child is physically or sexually bullied, verbal abuse started first. I think that to discount verbal abuse puts children in situations where they are not emotionally safe, and allows the perpetrator to escalate rather than being taught better.

 

 

 

 

No one wants to boot a child out of the community. We do have in school suspension, which gets used pretty liberally.

 

BTW, the notion to me that the answer lies in getting the parents of the bullies to do something seems extremely misguided and shows a lack of understanding of what is going on for kids who end up bullying other kids.

 

 

 

on the contrary, i feel verbal abuse is even more insidious because it can be subtle, hard for the child to pinpoint when he/she needs help. i was getting at those situations where extremely sensitive kids perceive regular teasing as being a bigger issue than it is.

 

i talked about suspension, too. not booting a child out of the community. after all this is also a child, there is so much room to work on than abandon! how effective is the suspension system- do you feel it works well?

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