This news story really hits home for me.
I was bullied as a kid. I think most of us get a taste of bullying at some point (even bullies, I bet, get it at home or from other kids). I don't advocate rolling over, though that's what I was taught ladies do - we ignore bullies and internalize the taunts and try hard to avoid actual physical tussles.
We're in California, which is largely one of those freakishly no tolerance zones, so even if you hit someone because he's trying to choke you in the hallway between periods, you'll get bounced for fighting, too. We're in NoCal, in the Bay area, which means we're surrounded by advocates of peace and compassion and granola. I'm a total fan of all of these.
But I'm also a fan of not being a victim.
We're about to head back home to the South, where we know the rules are different. Our wee ones have been so indoctrinated into the Run Away As You Turn the Other Cheek mentality that they're bound to be even bigger bully targets when we get to Virginny this summer.
My elder kid was bullied last year and again for a while this year. He got in trouble for fighting back, for pinching or hitting or kicking a kid who was doing the same to him (he didn't tell on the bully b/c his speech delay made it impossible to convey to the teachers what was happening), and we spent more time coaching him on how to tell the teacher when he was being smacked around than we did on matters of self-defense and when and how to fight back. Plus, there was the issue of him spending hours in the principal's office. As a Kindergartner (horrible teacher syndrome what?).
My younger sprog hid and played away from other kids when one little shit ran up behind him and kicked him in the thigh, leaving a bruise. This was not at school, but he's got the California lessons down pat. Don't stand up for yourself. Don't fight back when someone is clearly going to keep molesterating you because he knows he can. Just run away and hope you don't stay on his radar.
Another lesson they've learned here is that teachers and other adults will not help you if you're being bullied. They'll have stern words for the other shit, but nobody's going home unless there's still an obvious mark where the pinching/hitting/kicking/biting/scratching occurred. And mean words? Well, those don't mean anything to a kid, do they?
Though I have reservations about this (and we've already had issues because of it), we have started with the Don't Be a Welcome Mat lessons. I'm waiting for it to backfire here in California (we already had a minor skirmish because of them, but I hope we've caveated the kid enough that he knows when self-defense is actually self-defense), but I'm hoping it helps alleviate any issues the boys might have when we return to real civilization.
As for the kid in the CNN story, I'm shocked at how far he went to defend himself, but I do applaud him for standing up for himself. I hope everyone--the school staff and parents included--have learned a lesson, but I don't hold out much hope that the little shit who was hitting him won't find another target. After all, that little bully says he's not sorry for his behavior.
Here's the video one of the bully's minions took. Be warned: it's pretty graphic, and the little shit who brought this on is lucky he's not in the hospital.
The long one about failure.
4 days ago