Every school has at least one. Most are well known to the staff in the Principles Office . . . Bullies! Children are being bullied at school on a daily basis. Kids picking on other kids seem to be a right of passage for some, a devastating daily reality for others. As a youth I was always the smallest kid in my classes. Others thought that gave them the right to pick on me, shove me around, called me short and a myriad of other insults. It hurt! I fought back, not with my fist but my intelligence. I developed a stinging sense of humor that shifted the attention from me onto the bully. Eventually they tired of being the brunt of my jokes and left me alone. I vividly remember how some kids would not fight back, mainly girls. Are the rules for bullying different for girls than boys? Is it okay for a boy to brawl after being shoved?
Sadly girls have been carefully taught not to fight; some reprimands even suggest it’s not “Lady-Like” to fight. Boys on the other hand are cheered on by friends and family when they come home with a shiner on their eye. Adding insult to injury the child will proudly boost, “If you think this looks bad you should see the other kid!” A high-five usually ensues.
There are conflicting disciplinary measures taken for boys who are caught fighting compared to girls. Boys may need to perform community service, i.e. cleaning classrooms, picking up trash in the school yards; girls on the other hand may be suspended, lengthy detentions or expulsion.
However, the tide seems to have changed. Girls are now just as prone to vicious bullying and fighting. Recently, there was a news report of a Manatee County, Florida mother April Newcomb cheering on her teen-aged daughter while she fought another teen girl who had been bullying her. The mother stated that she was only there because her daughter had suffered a recent head injury. Some would defend the mother’s right to protect her child by supporting her quasi supervision over the fight; some would say she was perpetuating bad behavior by allowing her daughter to fight in the first place. To make matter’s even worse on-lookers recorded the event posting it on YouTube. The mother was arrested for child abuse. A judge bond set at $15,000. She was later released. Another Tampa Bay Floridian father James Jones boarded a school bus to confront the bullies that have tormented his 11-year-old daughter since the first day of school.
Bullying in any situation is unacceptable! The rules must apply all – no disparity. If you find yourself being a victim of a bully here are some things you should do:
Tell an adult: Immediately tell your parents or guardians. Or let your teachers, counselors, clergy know you are being bullied. Never think it’s your fault. Let then know exactly who is doing the bullying.
Stay in a group: Kids who bully like to pick on kids who are by themselves a lot. Remember there is safety in numbers.
If it feels safe, try to stand up to the person who is bullying you: If the person who is bullying you thinks you won’t do anything about it, they are more likely to keep picking on you.
If you are being bullied online, don’t reply: This may actually make the bullying worse. Instead, be sure to tell a family member or another adult you trust. If possible, block any more communications from this person.
Tampa Bay Online News