Monday, August 29, 2011

I'm A Bully

Sites like the one mentioned in this post on Joanne's site are trivializing actual bullying:
Nobully.com defines “eye rolling” as a form of bullying, Bader writes. “Relational bullying” includes disrupting “another student’s peer relationships through leaving them out, gossiping, whispering and spreading rumors.” It’s hard to imagine a school on Planet Earth in which everybody is friends with everybody else and nobody gossips, whispers or spreads rumors.

Leaving others out? I don't have to like you, and I don't have to let you play in my reindeer games. There are some limits to behavior that we can enforce in school, but this seems to be going more than a little too far.

Update, 8/30/11: Here's more from New Jersey:
But while many parents and educators welcome the efforts to curb bullying both on campus and online, some superintendents and school board members across New Jersey say the new law, which takes effect Sept. 1, reaches much too far, and complain that they have been given no additional resources to meet its mandates.

The law, known as the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, is considered the toughest legislation against bullying in the nation. Propelled by public outcry over the suicide of a Rutgers University freshman, Tyler Clementi, nearly a year ago, it demands that all public schools adopt comprehensive antibullying policies (there are 18 pages of “required components”), increase staff training and adhere to tight deadlines for reporting episodes.

11 comments:

Happy Elf Mom said...

No, I hear what you are saying, but sometimes this stuff can be taken to extremes. For example, there was a whole horde of dopey chicks in my son's third grade class who decided they would roll their eyes and use the -anna female form of his name when addressing him. Or sort of whisper and point when he came near.

He went up to the ringleader and said, "I'm not afraid of you, fat girl." And now guess which kid got into trouble?

I'm not saying my kid was NICE but stuff like that does need to be addressed. And to my mind? If it isn't? No way I'm instilling consequences for his hurting the fat girl's feelings. The teacher said my son's comment was very hurtful to her because... "well, you know." I was supposed to feel sorry for the poor blueberry, and I guess I'm the bad mom because I really didn't...

Anyway. We don't all have to be best friends with each other, but some of the really petty stuff should be stopped when teachers become aware of the issue.

Darren said...

As I said, "some limits to behavior". Harassing others is out, allowing me to eat lunch with whomever I choose is not.

Happy Elf Mom said...

Yep. But even eyerolling and whispering types of things in the extreme CAN be a form of bullying, is what I'm saying. BTW at the middle school children are assigned tables, so they never even get to eat lunch with their friends... they aren't even allowed to throw away trash or stand during their meals. Really.

Ellen K said...

I think some parents coach their kids into saying things. I remember in first grade my daughter was told she was going to hell because we were Catholic and therefore "not Christian." When I took issue with that I was met with blank stares because many of the teachers and parents attended the same church. Later on, because my daughter chose dance classes over cheerleading she was similarly ostracized. I would sometimes drive by and see her sitting along and my heart broke for her. The parents did nothing. The teacher did nothing. This is why as a teacher I will not tolerate that kind of behavior. Sorry, if you don't like someone, figure out a way to handle it or get the heck out.

Darren said...

I think kids should learn to work with others, even others they don't like. I will *not* extend that to socializing, though.

Again, we can limit some behaviors, but I can't see having to socialize with people you don't like. We also should differentiate between actual "bullying" and just being a rude douchebag.

DADvocate said...

Forcing others to associate with people they don't with to and to control their facial expressions to suit you sounds like bullying to me.

Learning to cope with adversity is an important skill. If you have groups like this, the only coping skill the whiny crybabies learn is to be whiny crybabies and demand the world change to suit them.

Anna A said...

May I suggest the book, "Odd Girl Out" It goes into detail about how many girls can be bullys, how it feels to the victims and some ideas about how to deal with it.

PeggyU said...

We had one situation where our daughter was bullied at school, so we got to see how effective our school's self-described "tough" bullying policy was.

She was in a split 5th/6th grade class, and one of the 6th-grade girls would kick, pinch, scratch, and pull hair when the teacher wasn't watching. Repeated calls to the teacher got us nothing but excuses for the offender. When our daughter came home with visible claw marks and bruises on her arms, I requested a meeting with the principal and the other girl's parents. Unfortunately, the parents didn't show up and all the principal could tell me was that the girl had had problems prior to this situation and they would remove her from class.

I found out what they meant by that was that the student was suspended for one day. The next day she was back to her old tricks. Before we had a chance to take our complaint up the ladder, however, our daughter decided to kick the perpetrator hard in the shins ... and the bullying ended promptly.

Darren said...

I'm surprised your daughter wasn't suspended for her violent attack on the other little angel.

MikeAT said...

Suspended Darren, I'm shocked CPS wasn't called, the girl arrested and the parents called in for reeducation

PeggyU said...

Darren - I don't think the bully girl complained to an adult. One of her larger friends made a verbal threat to our daughter, but nothing came of it.

I think what happened, unfortunately, is that they went looking for a softer target - since I heard more stories about this girl, but none of them involved our daughter after she fought back.

I was concerned when our daughter transferred to middle school that this girl might start it up again. However, I believe she ended up getting pregnant and dropping out of school. Obviously, she had multiple issues which needed to be addressed by someone outside of the school system.