Read a blog yesterday by Stephanie Metz who basically calls any child who is bullied and feels bad enough to do harm to themselves a pussy. Ok, she doesn't use that particular word, but she is saying nearly that in a rambling nearly incomprehensible post that begins with her son deciding he shouldn't bring an action figure to show and tell because the drill it held looked like a gun. My own children are older than she is and when they were in school they couldn't bring guns for show and tell either. I didn't have a fit about it, I just made sure they didn't bring them to school. What is the big deal?
I'm still not sure how she got from show and tell to bullying. But bullying is of particular interest to me because I teach at an alternative high school and I have had more than one student sent to me because of bullying. Surprised? Oh, did I mention these students were sent to me because they were the victims of bullying? Schools have a difficult time dealing with bullying, especially when the bully is involved in sports.The victim stops coming to school to avoid the bullying and the athlete goes on to play sports.
We are not raising a population of wimps because we, as parents, come to the defense of our children when they need us to. My children never asked me to intervene preferring, I guess, to battle for themselves. Neither got suspended for fighting, but that is a good point brought up, not by Metz, but by someone responding to her post. The problem with not dealing out consequences to both parties in a fight is that if one gets off because of defending himself against a bully, then just about every fight from there on out will involve someone being bullied whether that is the case or not. So both get suspended, usually if the administration digs down, one less of a suspension than the other if bullying is involved. But the problem remains and bullying happens on a daily basis to some extent in every school.
Grit, tenacity, strength of character all must play a part in our children's education at home and in school. But our children must be able to feel comfortable going to someone for help and if they are witnesses to bullying feel safe in giving help.