Just a question: When you were a kid, did you have to deal with bullying every time you looked at your phone, or logged onto your computer?
Were the bullies able to spread the ridicule amongst hundreds of people with the mere touch of a button?
Actually more on the order of thousands of people with the reach of the social media and it is expanding daily.
In the "good ole days" it was messages scratched on the walls of public restrooms. As you say no real comparison.
And fighting back against bullies as a common prescription posted here seldom is a realistic solution particularly with anonymous nature of the messaging. The response must come from one's peers as group, school officials, parents and where necessary the police so that any discipline is publicly seen to the bully support group. A good start would be suspending the most egregious bullies when it occurs within a school and transferring the bully away from her/his clique.
One problem is fighting back may result in the bullied youth being punished along with the bully based upon the schools strict application of no violence for any reason at school as occurred here:
When it comes to bullying, Lara Fominoff has always preached the same message to her young son: Never bully or be mean to the other kids. And never start a fight. But if someone starts a fight with you, you have the right to defend yourself.
It was this right that Fominoff says her six-year-old son exercised last week when he was confronted by a bully in the schoolyard of White Rock Elementary. After words failed, she says her son responded to the physical aggression he faced by striking back.
His decision to do so earned him a punishment equal to the other boy’s, something that has ignited a local debate over one’s right to self-defend when confronted by bullying versus the local school district’s zero tolerance policy on violence.
Doug Strachan, communications manager for the Surrey School District, which covers White Rock schools, says violence of any sort is unacceptable within district schools. That includes students striking back against someone who has hit them.
“If someone was pushed or even hit, that individual can get up and report that or they can kick and hit back,” says Strachan. “And we are saying they should be reporting it and not escalating it.”
But Fominoff can’t understand why her son received equal punishment to his tormentor, who was three years her son’s senior, when he didn’t initiate the confrontation and he had only been trying to defend himself.
She disagrees with the district’s blanket policy on violence because it colours the complicated debate of bullying black and white. Within such a framework, a student who defends themselves from a bully’s attack is punished rather than supported.
“I’m never going to punish my son for defending himself in a fight,” Fominoff says. “I’m not say that every time someone does that [gets physical] that you should hit back. But if someone is hurting you, you have a choice to do a number of things. And fighting back is one.”
It’s a position likely shared by many parents at a time of intense public debate on bullying sparked by the recent suicide of 15-year-old Amanda Todd, the Port Coquitlam girl who killed herself after enduring years of online and face to face bullying.
Fominoff said she was initially accepting of her son’s punishment — he was reprimanded by the school’s principal and made to apologize — but later changed her mind when she learned the full story and the extent of her son’s injuries (swollen knee, limping).
She was told during a later meeting with school district officials that the policy on violence was not going to change. But they did tell her they would look into the issue of schoolyard supervision, another point Fominoff took issue with.
While she described the meeting as productive, she maintains her view that the district’s policy is wrong.
“He got thrown to the ground, how do you walk away from that?” she says. “It not right [for the policy] to be applied without discretion. They can’t just have a blanket policy and apply it everywhere.”http://www.theprovin...l#ixzz2AQll5rIP
A Burnaby mom who moved with her seven-year-old son to Port Moody last year after he was relentlessly tormented by older kids, has launched a blistering attack on "don't hit back" school district policies she says are pandering to young bullies.
Catherine Adam said Tuesday such soft-soap policies are the main reason why bullying of the kind her son endured at Douglas Road Elementary - including being thrust into a school toilet - is increasing in Lower Mainland schools.
"The punishing of both the victim and the bully when caught empowers the bullies to escalate and makes the victims reluctant to come forward," she said. "It happened to my son for over two years prior to getting shoved face first into a toilet."
The information-technology specialist spoke out after reading The Province story about White Rock mom Lara Fominoff, whose six-year-old son fought back when confronted by a much older bully, but received the same punishment.
As reporter Cassidy Olivier noted, Fominoff told her son never to start a fight, but if someone started one with him, he had the right to defend himself. A Surrey school district official, however, was quoted as saying violence of any kind is unacceptable and that, if kids are pushed or hit, they're simply supposed to report it to the appropriate authorities.
Adam told me this policy was unrealistic and ineffective. Indeed, she reminded me exactly why she and her son moved away from Burnaby last August, quoting directly from a column I wrote then about their plight.
"I refuse, in eight or 10 years, to be a grieving parent of a teenager who just committed suicide like so many others that have been in the news recently and regularly," she said.
Adam added that the recent high-profile suicide of Lower Mainland teen Amanda Todd, after prolonged bullying, showed she was absolutely right in refusing to accept the "pap" she felt she was being fed by Burnaby school officials.
"That to me is the absolute root of all this bull, that if the kid who is the victim fights back or even reports it, they get punished, too," she said. "And that teaches the bullies right from the age of six that they can get away with this crap."
The defiant single mom said she doesn't buy Lower Mainland school districts' fondness for mediation sessions and "restorative justice" programs in which perpetrators are encouraged to take steps to restore damaged relationships.
Children instead should be encouraged to stand up for themselves. Otherwise, they could wind up being taken advantage of both by the bullies and the school bureaucracy.
I agree with her. School authorities need to give these punks a dose of their own medicine, not hold hands and let's-all-be-friends sessions.
Neither acting Burnaby school superintendent Heather Hart nor assistant school superintendent Kevin Kaardal could immediately be reached for comment.
But there should be no moral ambiguity here. Bullies should be the ones who have to move schools and otherwise change their ways, not their victims.
Occasional a bully does target the wrong person as I experienced personally back lo those many years ago.Years back (mid-1960's) I had transferred school districts part way through Grade 8 so I was an unknown as I arrived at my new junior secondary school. I was not tall but I was a tad on the stocky side. And I appeared to be "nerdy". However I had a reputation that was generally unknown at my new school for rough play in hockey except by a few of my hockey buddies and teammates who also attended the school. I was the penalty minute and fight leader on my rep team and in the top in those categories in my league. I had learned early on not to get pushed around as I was smaller than the average player.There was a well known bully at my new school who delighted in pushing kids (particularly smaller kids around and as I was smaller and new kid I was fresh meat for him) - he was on his second or third go-round in Grade 8 and was as we called them in those days a "greaser".I was getting my phys ed clothes squared away for my first class when he came in the locker room and began bullying me and pushing me around. I warned him to stop and he laughed and continued... big mistake -for him. One shot to the solar plexus doubled him over and an upper cut sent him a$$ over tea kettle sprawling over a bench... just as the phys ed teacher walked in. It so happened that the phys ed teacher was also a local minor hockey coach so he was familiar with my hockey rep.He stopped and took it all in as the bully got to his feet and began whining about me punching him out. The teacher told him that in future he should not be so clumsy to fall over a bench and that he probably did not want to be telling a unfounded stories as it would make him a laughing stock at the school. Oh yeah and the teacher gave him a detention for not being properly attired for phys ed class. The bully put his tail between his legs and slunk away.The teacher told me I should watch myself as this guy had a few friends of like attitude. And sure enough a couple of days later on the way to another class I was threatened that he and his friends would see me on the way home after school.And on the way home that day he followed me with a couple of his friends and began to taunt me. I again warned him and asked him if he had told his buddies how I had dropped him earlier - obviously he had not and they were a little shocked and somewhat wary all of a sudden. As they were screwing up their courage and verbally escalating things I repeated my warning. That provoked the common response of "Yeah you and whose army"? My response was "How about these guys?" A couple of my hockey teammates who were well known jocks at this school and one was a year ahead of me in Grade 9 as well as being my defence partner on the hockey team had also followed a bit behind me as I had told them what was likely to go down. My partner was nicknamed "Big Bad John" as he was about 6'4" and over 200 pounds and in Grade 9 already had 5 o'clock shadow by noon unlike most of us with peach fuzz - he was an imposing physical specimen. Of course what the bullies did not know was that John was pretty much a gentle giant (unlike myself who was a mean SOB when provoked) and it really took a lot to get him riled - his parents had been on him for years to "not hurt the littler kids" due to his size differential. Our hockey coach was constantly on him to use his size and strength to better effect. The only time I saw him lose really his temper was when I was slashed across the face cutting me open for stitches (no shields or face masks in those days)... John really tuned that guy up as I was being taken off the ice.My teammates stepped in and separated the bully from his buddies - leaving me alone to deal with him. Of course he backed down when it was one on one. But before he left John came up to him and clamped down on his shoulder with one of his huge hands telling him that if he bothered me in any way in future the bully would have to deal with him. I thought the bully was going to void his bladder on the spot.For the rest of that school year any time I saw this guy bullying other students I intervened and he would back off. It did wonders for my rep at the school. The next year the bully was gone from school and the last I heard he had gone on to a career of petty crime and spent a good deal of time incarcerated over the years.
Edited by Wetcoaster, 26 October 2012 - 11:35 AM.