There’s a sad story in today’s paper (A Boy the Bullies Love to Beat Up, Repeatedly – New York Times) about a kid 15 years old and his repeated experience with bullies in the school. I found the story to be triply tragic because the school has done little to stop harassment and physical violence over years and years, and also that the best solution is to suggest to the parents that they move out of the school district. This district in Fayetteville appears to be a modern day Lord of the Flies community where the weak suffer along at the pleasure of the big and strong, authority is neglected and parents are completely absent. At some level, I can understand the problem with kids and unbridled torture of those smaller and weaker. Kids are more primal, and while I don’t believe that man is born evil, we can all agree that some kids need boundaries and discipline or they will hurt others or themselves.
Unfortunately, in this case, the authorities seem to be turning a blind eye.
A quick look around the web tends to throw the blame at the victim. To avoid bullying, people say, “sit in the front of the bus,” or “stay out of empty bathrooms.” Kids probably instinctively know to do these things anyway. While some tips are helpful, bullying really is a community issue. The more we blame the children who are bullied because they talk differently, or “don’t belong,” or don’t fit in, the more we are sending the message that this behavior can be tolerated.
- Paul Banas