Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Bullying the Bullies...or Not?

I heard an interesting snippet of conversation on the Benjamin Dover show today regarding a bill before the Texas House that would allow students who are victims of bullying to transfer to another classroom or even another school in the same district. (The bill they were obviously talking about is House Bill 283, whose text may be found here.)

Most of the callers pointed out the same thing: This bill would not really solve the problem; if anything, it would just empower the bully even more by having all of his/her victims (and yes, as some callers pointed out, there are female bullies) moved elsewhere. The general consensus was that this bill just skirts the true issue of dealing with the bully, with many people pointing out that the teachers can't do corporal punishment anymore, and now even the victims can't hit back, thanks to zero-tolerance policies in many districts that punish all participants in schoolyard fights (but that's another post for another day). Oh, and speaking of things that can't be done anymore, Dover related a great story about how he and some buddies ambushed a notorious bully on his paper route; they were pretty much left alone after that.

Granted, I never get a big chunk of time to listen to radio talk shows--it's pretty much limited to the ten minutes between schools--so I don't know if the Dover listeners ever discovered what I did in doing my research for this post: there's also a House Bill 243 (text here), which provides for the transferral to an alternative education program of anyone caught bullying on school grounds. These two bills in tandem make more sense...although one might wonder, if both the bullies and their victims are transferred elsewhere, who's left at the original school--the quiet kids in the back of the room who never say anything?

So let's open this one up to the commenters; here's the Musings Poll of the Day:

1) Were you ever on the receiving end of bullying in school?
2) Were you ever on the giving end?
3) Make yourself a legislator-for-a-day: What solution(s) would you propose to effectively deal with the problem of bullying in schools?

Powerful statements: Lots of interesting comments on the Tower of Power post from people who weren't as impressed as I was; there's also some first-class ranting about the overall quality of live-sound engineers at most big festivals.

6 comments:

Gary P. said...

1) Were you ever on the receiving end of bullying in school?

Of course as an elementary school student. Is there anyone who survived public schools anywhere who wasn't bullied at some point?

2) Were you ever on the giving end?

I don't think so. I'm a lover, not a fighter! By the time I started playing trumpet in 6th grade, I spent too much time in the band room practicing before and after school to bully or be bullied.

3) Make yourself a legislator-for-a-day: What solution(s) would you propose to effectively deal with the problem of bullying in schools?

Bring back the threat of the Board of Education. The small number of kids who cause the problems aren't afraid of their teachers or principals, much less their parents.

Matt said...

1) More than likely. I wasn't really the most outgoing kid in elemetary school.

2) Not that I know of, but I'm sure at some point I might have back in my younger days.

3) Get rid of the zero tolerance and let them fight it out. If the kid has the brass to stand up to the bully, let him show it. It makes the kid being picked on feel really bad when an adult comes up and handles it and he gets in trouble because it gives the sense that someone else has to do his dirty work. I say let the boy beat it out.

Kev said...

"Get rid of the zero tolerance and let them fight it out."

I'm with you, Matt, but I wonder how that would work once the lawyers inevitably got involved. School administrators tend to run like scared rabbits at even the mere thought of liability on their part...

But yeah, if that could be avoided, there's something to be said for "settling it like men," as far as I'm concerned.

Eric Grubbs said...

1) Were you ever on the receiving end of bullying in school?

Yes, but I was only threatened with physical pain in college. All the times in middle school were mental (as in, teasing).

2) Were you ever on the giving end?

Not intentionally.

3) Make yourself a legislator-for-a-day: What solution(s) would you propose to effectively deal with the problem of bullying in schools?

Teaching self-esteem and self-respect is the first step.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing how many teachers still side with the bully and feel that the bullied child somehow "brought it on himself."

We need to have understanding and be more loving to the "less esteemed" bullied and have harsher punishment for the bullies - yes the Board of Education would work just fine. If not that, then immediate removal from the school and enrollment in a very strict alternative education program off campus (jail school).

JP

Jazzy G said...

1) Yes

2) Yes; Bruised the face of a guy in the middle of the band hall in 7th grade. The shock and embarassment of being pummeled by a girl half his size kept him, his friends, and all who heard about it from messing with me for the rest of my public school days. :-)

3) I do think that you should be allowed to defend yourself, to a point, without fear of serious consequences. I completely stand behind my actions in the above answer. I didn't get into any trouble for it. I think the admin should have at least made us all sit down with the principal and have a little chat. A friend of mine got the snot beat out of him that same year. He stood there and took it. He didn't even raise a finger, and he was given ISS for 1 week!!! I found that to be very unjust. It would be like punishing someone who got hit by a guy who ran a stop sign.