Apparently no amount of educating the public about bullying reaches the bully, the person who most needs to be so educated.
Come on, folks! There have been enough horror stories and enough talk about this subject to have made a big dent in this kind of behavior by now, but I think we can all see that this issue needs more than “education”; it needs some real action. And since most bullies live in the world under the jurisdiction — so to speak — of their parents and/or school authorities, bullies can be made subject to some very special rules just for them!
It is not always so easy to identify the “problem” that seems to be at
the root of certain situations, so if one cannot even do that, how can
one possibly then come up with a solution? Therefore, it seems only
logical to put such a bully-identifying mechanism into place.
We shall start with a somewhat expanded view of what it means to be a
bully, keeping in mind that often individuals do not see themselves as
bullies. If a person does not identify with the label and the role, he
or she will pay no attention to what follows (kind of like spouses who
do not see themselves as abusive and refuse counseling because there
is no physical attack of any kind; or racists who do not see
themselves as racist because they mingle, in one way or another, so
they say, with those from a different race).
So let’s just see who might be a bully.
Identifying Bullying Behavior: Is this you? Is it someone you know?
Here’s what a bully might say.
1. I like to make certain students cry
2. I like to make certain kids or even adults be afraid of me
3. I like to show my power and position to those beneath me
4. I like to show my power and position to anyone
5. I like other kids to look up to me because of my power and position
6. I like having a “posse” around me
7. I like using my posse for intimidation of others
8. I like to terrorize those I intimidate
9. I like being “important” and identify with those in movies like
The Godfather or such
10. I like kids to hang around me for “protection”
11. I like to take advantage of people because I can
12. I like knowing that I can get things by demanding them
13. I like having “a reputation”
14. I like to use my reputation to get my way
15. I like that people are afraid to do anything about my behavior
16. I like disrupting my classroom
17. I like creating situations on the bus or in the hallway
18. I like being able to say whatever I want to anyone, especially [sissy?] kids
19. I like being able to do whatever I want
20. I like it when I can get away with what I do
21. I feel that it’s fun to annoy others
22. I feel that kids need to learn how to “toughen up” and I’m just helping them
23. I feel if a kid can’t stand up to me then he or she deserves what they get
24. I feel that if what I do is that bad, somebody would have stopped me
25. I feel that everybody makes too much of “bullying”
26. I feel I’m just acting like other kids want to act, but they don’t
have the nerve
27. I feel that what I do adds some interest to an otherwise boring
situation or day
28. I feel there are two categories of people: the weak and the strong
29. I feel if you want to be strong, you have to assert yourself right
from the start
30. I feel that my parents will stand up for me, so I won’t get in
that much trouble anyway
31. I feel that teachers, parents, and the authorities let me get away
with things, so…?!!
32. I feel that most kids exaggerate what I do to them anyway
33. I feel I’m not really hurting them as much as they say
34. I feel that I’m just expressing myself, just as the [nerds or
sissies?] express themselves
35. I feel that I’d quit school if I couldn’t have a little fun doing what I do
36. I feel none of this will even matter years from now
37. I feel that what I do is just part of the school experience
38. I feel that what I do is to be expected
39. I feel that what I do is not all that bad
40. I feel I’m not really that much of a bully
That’s just the first part. All of those involved in the bullying
situation need to be proactive, and that has a “look,” not just an
intention. I would suggest an anti-bullying document (below), for
every single student, teacher, and parent/guardian to sign, as part of
the registration of the student into the school, and possibly even as
part of each new year’s “renewal of vows” (so to speak) reminder. And
I would also strongly suggest that each student get a copy of the
above 40 items to keep in their notebook for constant or future
reference, and sign another copy for the school to keep on file,
indicating that the student knows what (at least partially)
constitutes bullying so they cannot disavow knowledge of what it is
they have been doing, when it comes to actually dealing with the
bullying situation. Here is my suggestion for the anti-bullying
OFFICIAL ANTI-BULLYING POLICY DOCUMENT
As a student at [name the school], I agree that I do NOT want my
property or my belongings stolen, destroyed, defaced, mutilated, or
tossed around, all of which is not only forbidden under the
anti-bullying policy at this school, but also is against my personal
wishes. I agree that such behavior on the part of a student, whoever
it might be, will have severe consequences, not the least of which
will be the replacement of all damaged or stolen property, including
any extorted monies, for whatever reason.
I agree that I want to attend this school free from harassment,
intimidation, threats, scare tactics, terrorist acts, and physical
abuse at the hands of the other students, singly or in a group; and
should I or another student be so bullied, I agree that I will report
all such acts that I personally experience or observe to my teacher
and the principal of the school, in writing, with a copy going to the
supervisor of the school so it will be documented as to what was
reported and when.
I further agree that I will remind such bullying students about the
school’s anti-bullying policy and that should they be caught and found
guilty of such behavior, they will be dealt with swiftly and in
accordance with the offense, with no leeway shown other than one — and
only one — warning.
I not only agree to refrain from bullying others and to report acts of
bullying that I personally observe, but to follow through on such
reports and not let the school authorities let such incidents just
“fall through the cracks.” They will be obligated to tell me what was
done about the bullying situation, in writing.
In addition to my agreements above, my teacher [or school principal] is also acknowledging this document by signing below and agrees to
take action when such bullying incidences are brought to his or her
attention the first time. Such action will include — but is not
necessarily limited to — having the accused bully and one of his
parents or official guardians meet with the accuser and one of the
accuser’s parents or guardians, along with the principal of the
school, as well as the school’s guidance counselor or someone who can
serve in that capacity, and to record both sides of the story, as well
as to review at that time the 40 points of bullying that are part of
the school’s registration process.
Further, I acknowledge that this document will be read and signed by
one of my parents or guardians in addition to my own signature and
that of the school principal, and will be placed in my school file, to
remain throughout my years as a student.
Parent or Guardian
Signed on this ____________ day of __________________, 20___
It’s safe to say that not every child believes in God, but I’ll bet
every child believes in some version of The Golden Rule, which more or
less states that IF IT”S OKAY FOR SUCH A THING TO BE DONE TO YOU, then
and only then can you even consider doing it to another. (If it’s okay
for someone to steal your stuff, push you down, call you hurtful
names, threaten you with physical abuse or embarrassment or even
death, then perhaps you’ll want to have a talk with a counselor before
you really do turn that Golden Rule on another.)
Bullying: It is the way of the coward and much more than risky
business for the bully who will finally get his comeuppance; it can be
a situation that leads — as it already has, far too often — to severe
problems or even death for the one so bullied.
Schools: Please take a stand now!
Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune. She
writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Maramis, email
her at firstname.lastname@example.org.