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Required Reading.

For one of the first times ever, I find myself in the unusual position of disagreeing with Cracked writer John Cheese. It's a strange feeling, I must say.

That said, I wanted to reply to a few of the more... weird things I just found in one of his articles, but that can wait. This one is required reading for everyone. Especially fans of Tai's Story as this was one of the messages I tried to include in the story, but frankly a lot of people missed it.


I do disagree with one thing however. He speaks of the difficulty in "just ignoring them (bullies)." But he doesn't do it justice.

It is virtually impossible. Some people are just not mentally/emotionally equipped to handle being bullied, and will have difficulty enduring anything from mindless, cruel teasing, to theft, to random acts of violence. Why should the onus be on the victim?!
Everyone here must remember the clip of the Australian high school kid finally snapping and retaliating against his tormentor - slamming him knees-first into the ground (and good on him).

But here's a thought exercise. Read that entire article by John Cheese, then return to when he speaks of ignoring them. Now remember that clip.

What happened in that clip? A twelve-year-old was egged on by older students to walk up to an older boy minding his own business and punch him clean in the face, several times. Why? It was funny to see the teenager humiliated by a pre-teen dickhead - remember we don't have "middle school" here, and recently bumped seventh grade out of primary school, so we have 12-18-year-olds in our high schools.

British readers may be familiar with "Happy Slapping" and others may recognize it as well. It's just the little brother to the "walk up to someone and randomly assault them for shits and giggles."

This is bullying, folks. It happens in our kids' schools.

Are you going to "just ignore them until they go away?" Or until you lose a few teeth, rather? Oh, sure, the teen in that clip retaliated and fucked the other YOUNGER kid's legs up, but the older bullies almost moved in for the kill afterwards, stopped only by the timely intervention of a senior girl. What happened next? Has he been targeted again?
Then there was a massive national sensation about it, and the teenager was only lightly punished... because of the absolute shitstorm the internet raised. This was an unusual case.

So don't tell me you would just fight back. It won't necessarily be just a twelve-year-old. It might be older teens/kids. You might fight back and not only fail, but invite more trouble, AND be punished for "fighting" by idiot teachers. Can't always fight back, can't always ignore them and they'll go away.

Don't treat bullying lightly - whether we're talking about full-blown assault in the schoolyard or "mere" exclusion and taunting. There is only one way to deal with it, and it is judicious intervention by adults in power; and this is hard because youths don't often want to admit they have a problem, or feel involving adults would worsen the situation. There is often absolutely nothing the victims can do alone, and that's not me taking anything away from them. It's just true.

The pretty little phrases you heard from Peanut comics, bad kids movies and such are trite at best, destructive at worst.

Bullying is a truly devastating phenomenon, absolutely ruining young lives with depression, anxiety, and poor education... and suicide. Don't pretend this is nothing, don't talk bullshit about the media making suicide "cool." This is a national emergency, and we're busy pretending "sexting" even matters or that governments should be able to tell people who they're allowed to marry.

Can we get our shit in gear? Please?
Viewed: 43 times
Added: 7 years, 4 months ago
7 years, 4 months ago
You know, despite being the social loner in high school I don't recall being bullied at all. Perhaps the school was too small for that sort of thing to pass by.

Learning about bullying outside trite cartoons and such, it has always astounded me the extent adults in authority ignore it.
7 years, 4 months ago
I find it interesting that you post this as it is kind of what I was hinting at a long while back. It's hard to hug and correct someone who is outright punching you in the face.

What's worse about these destructive bullies is that, in some cases and at later ages, they lack any concern or respect for authority and are just as intimidating for Adults as they are for their peers. I can't begin to tell you how often I've seen chicken-shit teachers allow bullies to knock me around; and asshole teachers encourage them to do so when I was on their shit list, for that matter. I don't know what else there is to do in those cases, and I most certainly agree that the world just blowing them off doesn't do us any better.

These kids can't be disciplined softly, and I understand that returning hard discipline won't do much either, but what would we do with them?
7 years, 4 months ago
You ask a good question, but the answer terrifies the shit out of governments and schools. Tough punishments don't work, nor do weak-wristed soft barely-punishments; but a firm and consistent "rehabilitative" approach does. But that takes money and effort - and may not work either, if the bully/criminal's parents or home life or whatever are enforcing their bad behaviors.

As for a student in school, I believe we need to start telling them that they can contact the fucking police. If someone assaults or harasses you at school, they are committing a crime and even as a juvenile the police should do something about it - but, see, what I said above is the entire problem with juvenile crime.

Can't get tough on it. Doesn't work. Obviously can't be soft on it. But what ends up happening then is that nobody fucking does anything because the people in power are confused, lazy assholes. Punishment for these crimes has to be consistent and firmly enforced. Instead they do nothing whatsoever.

Believe me, I've had to put up with kids in school that I wish would have their teeth kicked out. Couple of them went to juvie. Nothing was done when they were there. Came back out just as bad.
7 years, 4 months ago
Serious bullying seems to often be ignored, and the widespread use of the term for things that are clearly not even close to bullying (at least where I'm from - kids are being taught that "Calling your friends a bad name is bullying" etc) diminishes the true impact it can have.

I think that "ignoring it" often works best in cases of verbal abuse, though I can understand how when the verbal assaulting becomes so great it constitutes "bullying", it can be rather difficult. I really don't have much experience with physical bullying - I come from a pretty upscale school where they just don't tolerate any of that sort of thing. It's sad to think that there are kids who are actually treated the way Tai was treated by schoolmates.

And I'm 100% with you about the "sexting" crap. What a rediculous way to get a criminal record.
7 years, 4 months ago
That's a good point, honestly. I was just talking to someone about this. Frankly, what a lot of us dismiss as "bullying" is actually crime, and the ones who perpetrate it have serious problems. We need to shake the preconceptions of bullying as mere teasing (which can easily get out of hand, by the way) off; it's harassment, assault, theft, vilification, etc., and the damage is extremely severe.

I probably shouldn't have used the example I did, but yeah, verbal bullying and such is easier to ignore. But that's not saying much. Some people (particularly emotionally sensitive youths) just flat out cannot handle it. It goes above and beyond merely ignoring jerks and thickening their skin against verbal insults - they get excluded, feel nobody likes them, fret because what they were teased over was actually a valid point that they're upset about and everyone else knows now, etc.
Verbal bullying makes kids go to school in the morning feeling miserable, lonely and self-conscious and they can't just ignore that.

Oh, yeesh, Tai is a particularly bad case. The glue in the hair thing, ugh. How far along in the story are you, for that matter? Has he told Mike about all the crap he endured at school yet?

There's a lot of f*cking stupid nonsense out there. People making a big deal out of kids looking at their genitals (they way they always have) and - gasp! - sharing pictures of it amongst themselves is just another distraction from the real issues. But the Religious Puritan lobby doesn't see it that way in their fight to hide children away from the sexuality they were born with. *doth spitteth upon them*
7 years, 4 months ago
I'm currently 8 chapters in, I'll probably read chapter 9 tonight.

Yeah, a lot of things are wrong with society nowadays. Even I, as a Christian, am annoyed at how judgemental and self-righteous so many other religious people seem to be. It's not anyone's place to judge people, in my opinion.

But I suppose it's always been that way. At least we're not having to deal with the actual Puritans in modern society :3.
7 years, 4 months ago
I was bullied in school for about six years. It really only ended because I got out of school. I rarely retaliated, and when I did it never worked. But just ignoring it is not the solution. It always pissed me off that no one ever did anything; parents, teachers, even me. I know that it changed me, and we as a people need to prevent that from happening to others. It needs To stop being a hush hush topic, and it needs to stop being something that just happens.
7 years, 4 months ago
Agreed one hundred percent.

The sad thing? That sounds pretty typical to me - unless the severity of the bullying was extreme and you chose to not mention that. The persistence and the long-term damage though, all typical. But we ignore the fact that thousands upon thousands of children suffer like this to cast the media limelight on issues of utter unimportance.
7 years, 4 months ago
At my middle and high schools the teachers would flip their shit over minor things like cell phones or ipods in class, but when a kid was in serious danger they'd just pretend they couldn't hear it.
Christ, when I was in middle school I was in in school suspension 60% of the time because I was getting bullied. Yeah, the punished the victim, not the perpetrator. The idea was to remove the victim from the bully, but it didn't work because once you got out they would just get you even worse. The one time I did complain they gave me a "sticks and stones" speech because it wasn't physical bullying. Which in turn lead me to a wonderful four years of high school wondering if everything the bullies said about me was true. Then I couldn't even threaten them to go away because I'd end up suspended or expelled. To this day I'm extremely paranoid about ruining my reputation with people for terror that they'll start rumors about me. D:

If the thugs would actually have to face consequences for their actions rather than a maximum punishment of detention maybe they wouldn't be so damn reckless. But no, instead my school decided to start handing out 200 dollar tickets to anyone who cussed.
So yeah kids, mentally and physically traumatizing another student is a-ok.
Just don't say 'penis' is class or you'll get a real $250 fine.
7 years, 4 months ago
Wow, and I'm sure that brilliant strategy was great for your education and social standing in school. *sighs*

But yeah, that does show their priorities. They'd rather protect their pseudo-moral, vaguely religiously derived standards than maintain the happiness and mental health of a young person. That piece of legislation (hopefully being mutilated in the senate) in Michigan is concrete, unequivocal proof of the existence of this attitude within the establishment.

And bloody hell, $250 for swearing? At that point, I would withdraw my kids and rain hell upon this school. That's far, far too severe a punishment and I wouldn't expect a parent or teenager to pay that much. Forget it, your "standards" aren't worth a pint of diarrhea, let alone the equivalent of a week's pay for an adult. Wow.
7 years, 4 months ago
Try reading an article about a state in the U.S. that protects certain bullying rights.
7 years, 4 months ago
Know about it. Want to hit some people about it. Very hard.
7 years, 4 months ago
I remember one time, I was in the gym with a bunch of other people (in middle school), and most person started talking shit about me, yet again (he was not the first, only the most recent at that time in a very long line.) This happened every day, so finally, I pushed him and knocked him to the ground. (It was worth noting that as annoying as he was was half my size). About at which point a large number of people agreed that I needed a "talking too" and decided to wait for me outside the gym.

When it was time to leave, I refused to.  The teacher who ran the gym suggested that next time I "take it outside ". I screamed at the top of my lungs that they teased me everyday and that I was sick of it. And all he said in response was "take it outside".

Honestly, if I hadn't experienced it myself, I would never have believed it. But bullying is met with a resounding apathy and the all to obvious fact (as so many have indicated) is that many of the so-called "authority figures" whose function is to prevent the continuance of things like this simply don't care. Disgusting, to be sure.
7 years, 4 months ago
Wow. That's awful. Honestly, been in a similar situation myself.

I don't even know what to say about it. Kids/teens are afraid to complain because parents/teachers make things worse or do nothing, or believe the bullies are the good kids. It's unbelievable, and either the entire system needs to be rethought (and it has been) or teachers need to really get a stick up their arse about fixing this - and I don't mean idiotic "zero tolerance" policies.

7 years, 4 months ago
I have to agree with what has already been said about bullying and how it seems to be either blown out of proportion or totally ignored. Many valid and important truths have been pointed out and I wholeheartedly agree something needs to be done do correct this serious and disturbing problem. There is however just one thing I have to sadly disagree with, there are some bullies who one simply needs to stand up to. Back in middle school I was that short, little, skinny kid who didn't look like he'd weigh more than twenty pounds soaking wet, now there was a certain boy who for some reason felt the need to slam my head off a locker whenever he passed me in the halls. Telling teachers or the principal didn't work, in fact it just made him push harder every time.

So with the wonderful advice of my family, which was and I quote " Even if you don't win the fight leave your mark and show them that it's simply not worth putting their hands on you unless they're prepared to walk away limping." This led to me and Eddy getting into several fights, getting sent to detention, chewed out in the principal's office and mainly just being followed by the "security" guards at the school. During this whole ordeal we actually learned a great deal about each other and our personal lives. Eddy's mom was a crack addict and he had to not only do the budget and pay the bills and rent but take care of his little brother as well. My home life wasn't nearly as bad, just dealing with my father's explosive temper and mental illness.

 So now here were two kids dealing with more problems than they should have had to deal with and both of them were just seething with anger over their lot in life, but now they had someone they each felt could understand them better than anyone else. By the end of the year we had become friends and everyone else who had bullied me had found a tiny nugget of respect for the kid who just didn't know when to stay down. I'm not saying that it's the way to deal with bullies or that it will never backfire, I'm simply saying there are times when it can help, and there are times when it takes standing toe to toe with a bully to change their opinion of you as an easy target into someone who deserves a bit of respect. Sorry if I ranted here but as someone who has dealt with both bullies and a seriously sickening school policy meant to combat bullying but that merely makes the problem worse, i felt the need to exprees my views. I do deeply apoligize if my words are either offensive or exasperating to anyone.
7 years, 4 months ago
No need to apologize.

The point is, yes, those things can happen and it can be true, as John Cheese already pointed out, that some bullies have bad home-lives and deserve a little bit of sympathy themselves. But my point was that not every kid is capable of fighting back, and not every bully will react like that - and also, as Dr. Peter Gray has noted on his column, only some bullies are deserving of sympathy. This is another stereotype that is actually dangerous - that all bullies are kids "acting out" their frustration at abusive parents etc.

Many of them appear as normal kids to the teachers, and are actually intelligent kids. They may have been struck by parents, i.e. spanked, but not all of them have sob stories like that (no offense to you or Eddy). Some of them are just dicks, or the victims are just shy, easy targets. Usually their form of bullying is just verbal or minor physical assault, but that can be equally as devastating over time.

If people are going to be honest and start talking about their lives, okay, fine: I once stood up to a pair of "bullies" in high school, and was accosted out the front of the shopping center nearby by older teens, roughly 19 or so. Had a knife pulled on me, took some fast talking and the fact I was in a public place to get away. There was never any "bonding" or "reconciliation" between me and the bullies - why would that happen? Unlike your friend, Eddy, they weren't loners, they were part of a group/clique like most bullies. I don't talk about it, but I've had to deal with my own share of experience in this area.

As for a "seriously sickening school policy meant to combat bullying but that merely makes the problem worse" - I know all about these sorts of policies. They are NOT what I mean when I say that intervention is the best solution.

In other words, it can happen, but almost never will, and while I think you should tell kids to stand up for themselves, that's hard for one who was abused at home and has been left timid, for example. It's also not good enough for an adult in a power to actually help to just tell the victim "oh, just stand up for yourself" and walk off. That's all that my point was.
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