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#127089 - 04/08/12 11:53 PM Bully
Lori H. Offline
Member

Registered: 05/26/07
Posts: 982

http://www.buzzfeed.com/hgrant/documentary-bully-trailer-will-break-your-heart

I have not seen this movie yet but I am hoping some of the teachers and parents in our small town will see it, especially the ones who think there is no bullying problem at our school.

A relative overheard me telling another relative with young children about the documentary and she told me there was no problem with that where we live. When I and other relatives gave her numerous examples--personal experiences, friends' experiences, she then said that it doesn't just happen here, it happens everywhere especially with kids she described as "artsy". They seem to think most "artsy" people are gay and since they believe that is sinful it is perfectly reasonable to shun them and verbally bully them. My kid is considered artsy because he does musical theater instead of sports. My relative says shunning, verbal abuse by kids and adults, shunning, etc. happens everywhere. We are just supposed to accept it. It is just the way things are.

My son is homeschooled so he doesn't have to deal with the small town attitudes every day, but it bothers me when I hear about kids being bullied or shunned. My son says the internet has desensitized him because all the trolling and that people insult each other all the time.

I was bullied as first grader in a different state and I think that is when I developed social anxiety. Is it really that bad everywhere else?

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#127093 - 04/09/12 05:43 AM Re: Bully [Re: Lori H.]
fwtxmom Offline
Member

Registered: 03/07/12
Posts: 148
Loc: N. TX
We live in a town of 750,000 with our greater county being 1.8 million, Lori. A metroplex, as it is described. My son attends a small private Episcopal school that preaches tolerance and attracts some of the "nicest" families in the area, very educated people. And yet, sport is King here also, the artsy kids get harassed and my son was bullied at school because he is little, immature and not any good at sports. He was told by two boys at recess that he didn't get to join the reindeer games because he wasn't any good.

Bullying is just part of the human condition. I do think it's worse in small towns though. When I told my son's school they most certainly did not advise acceptance of bullying.

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#127094 - 04/09/12 05:58 AM Re: Bully [Re: Lori H.]
DeeDee Online   content
Member

Registered: 04/16/10
Posts: 2026
No, it's not everywhere; or rather, it is being combated effectively in some places and not in others. All children experiment with their social power (that part seems to be human nature), but they can be guided in their growth to make good choices.

Our elementary school administration works very hard to teach kindness. We have seen instances of bullying, but they have been effectively solved through reasonable discipline. I think the children are learning that if they are unkind, the negative outcome isn't worth it to them. It's not perfect-- some children manipulate, some are taught to be unkind at home-- but overall, the atmosphere is really positive.

What has mattered most is that the principal decided to make this a focus, and got the teaching staff on board, so that everyone understands what they are watching for and what to do about it.

DeeDee

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#127095 - 04/09/12 06:36 AM Re: Bully [Re: Lori H.]
Beckee Offline
Member

Registered: 07/19/11
Posts: 332
Loc: Hawaii
I once visited a campus where bullying was not supposed to be a problem. We asked a focus group of students to close their eyes, and then raise their hand if they had been bullied. Out of 20 or 24 kids, one raised his hand. There are schools where you hear about bullying all the time. And then...there are the schools where the bullying is very rare and buried deep, but if you are one of the rare targets, the situation is pretty heinous.

Sadly, one of the big issues with bullying is that it rarely happens where teachers can see it. Once, a parent asked the school what they were going to do about the bullying. When we called the student in, I asked, "Where is the bullying happening?" It was happening at the bus stop nearest the student's home. The principal said she'd talk to the bus driver, but I'm not sure how much that helped.

At the beginning of my teaching career nearly 10 years ago, I heard on NPR that the bullies in upper elementary school are often the most popular kids in school, that those kids bully in order to fit in, to be part of a group, to define themselves as insiders. The report said that teachers often dislike the victims of bullies, since they tend to be withdrawn and moody.

So a year and a half later, I had to wash my hands in the girls' bathroom (the sink in the teacher's bathroom wasn't working), and I found a new immigrant cowering in the corner. With the help of another student who spoke Spanish, I learned that one of our soccer stars, a good student, had passed the new girl a note (in Spanish) threatening to get her when she left school. When I learned who the bully was, I was shocked! I never would have found out about it if the sink in the teacher's bathroom had been in working order. Telling a teacher what's going on is usually the last thing a victim wants to do!

It's because bullying usually happens when teacher's aren't around, because kids usually won't tell, and because bullies tend not to pick on kids that have a social support system that one response is to encourage kids to get more involved, in the hopes that it will lead to them making friends. Personally, I think we should encourage kids to have a social support system so that they're not miserable.

There are several programs that specifically address the problem of bullying in schools. A more global approach like Tribes also seeks to create a supportive school and classroom environment in which students feel free to take risks and share an answer in class that may be wrong. A side effect of such a program is that students are more likely to tell teachers what's going on (if someone is planning to bring a gun to school, for instance).


Edited by Beckee (04/09/12 06:37 AM)
Edit Reason: grammar cleanup

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#127101 - 04/09/12 07:37 AM Re: Bully [Re: Lori H.]
jack'smom Offline
Member

Registered: 01/02/10
Posts: 685
Bullying happens everywhere. At our public school, there is little b/c the principal doesn't tolerate it. My son has never been (obviously) bullied even though he wears a hearing aid. I think that is partly b/c he is on the swim team nd has some muscles.

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#127102 - 04/09/12 07:51 AM Re: Bully [Re: Lori H.]
JonLaw Offline
Member

Registered: 07/29/11
Posts: 1759
Loc: The Sub-Tropics
The guy who bullied me in elementary school ended up gunning down his parents and killing himself.

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#127112 - 04/09/12 08:48 AM Re: Bully [Re: Lori H.]
JonLaw Offline
Member

Registered: 07/29/11
Posts: 1759
Loc: The Sub-Tropics
My point was that some bullying is tied into antisocial personality disorder (the psychological term for "thug") rather than a need to belong.

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#127115 - 04/09/12 09:16 AM Re: Bully [Re: Beckee]
Grinity Offline
Member

Registered: 12/13/05
Posts: 7201
Loc: Connecticut
Originally Posted By: Beckee
I the bullies in upper elementary school are often the most popular kids in school, that those kids bully in order to fit in, to be part of a group, to define themselves as insiders. The report said that teachers often dislike the victims of bullies, since they tend to be withdrawn and moody.

I was shunned in 4th, 5th and most of 6th grade. It was pretty clear to me that one way (not the only way) to be popular was to bully other kids. I finally found a friend in 6th grade, and it was like heaven on earth. Those were long years, but I learned so much about being strong, relying on myself and being compassionate, that I wouldn't trade a minute of it.

I remember that when I was pregnant with DS, I tried to talk myself into believing that it is normal for upper elementary kids to not yet have enough compassion for others to resist the 'low hanging fruit' of the short term benefits of bullying other kids, and if my future kid chose to be 'popular through meanness to others' that I would have to find a way not to despise him for it.

Then he was born, and I saw within the first few years that he had the capacity to have compassion for others, and I knew that there was no way I could be ok with him doing that set of behaviors. I didn't know what 'gifted' was, or that he was 'different' than other kids his age, he just seemed 'human' to me, in a way that my peers in upper elementary school didn't.

As it turned out, he's had his ups and downs socially,his moments of kindness and his moments of cruelty, but he was pulled to try out that social power thing on adults, not his agemates, for which I am grateful.

Grinity
_________________________
Coaching available, at SchoolSuccessSolutions.com

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#127116 - 04/09/12 09:23 AM Re: Bully [Re: Lori H.]
Beckee Offline
Member

Registered: 07/19/11
Posts: 332
Loc: Hawaii
That's true--as long as you use the qualifier "some". Since it is unethical and unprofessional to diagnose a middle school student as having Antisocial Personality Disorder, that insight is of little use to schools.

My point is that sometimes it can be difficult to tell the actions of a fairly typical middle school student who thinks they won't get caught from that of someone who will later be called a psychopath or sociopath by the press.

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#127117 - 04/09/12 09:45 AM Re: Bully [Re: Beckee]
Grinity Offline
Member

Registered: 12/13/05
Posts: 7201
Loc: Connecticut
Originally Posted By: Beckee

My point is that sometimes it can be difficult to tell the actions of a fairly typical middle school student who thinks they won't get caught from that of someone who will later be called a psychopath or sociopath by the press.

Isn't that remarkable? To me that is the miracle of synchronous development. We complain about asynchronous development all the time, but synchronous development has it's ugly side.
Grins
_________________________
Coaching available, at SchoolSuccessSolutions.com

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