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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Bullies and Bullying

I've been thinking a lot about bullies and bullying. The topic came up when a girl from Ireland recently committed suicide in response to bullying. There was a great outcry.

Is it okay to fight back? Will fighting back make us just like the bullies? Should we instead remind ourselves that bullies are busy people and that they will soon tire of us and move on to somebody else?

Somebody on the Hubpages forum stated that if we follow a policy of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth then all the world would be eyeless and toothless. But that's only if you go after the wrong persons, don't you think?

The difference between justice and injustice is just that: getting the right person for the right reason at the right time in the right way.


  1. Having been bullied in school, I would say that the answer for bullying is for authority figures to take it seriously and enforce a "NO BULLYING" policy rather than telling the victim to "ignore it". Bullying is a real and serious problem that should be met with zero tolerance by responsible adults. Victims of bullying should be believed, supported, and protected from bullies.

  2. JustmeSuzanne, thanks for your comment. I agree. I would also add that we should encourage our children to show solidarity with classmates who are bullied rather than turning a blind eye if they don't happen to be themselves a targeted victim. Ostracize the bullies, not the victims.

  3. Unfortunately Aya, most kids are scared and stand by the bully rather than the victim. Yes, whichever way, bullies need to be ostracized - that is perhaps the only way to try to minimize it.

  4. This topic is a hot one these days. Here in our household Kaela is experiencing it first hand with a number of other 7th grade girls all ganging up on her -- all of a sudden no one has room for her at the lunch table (among the girls) and no one will pass the ball to her at PE. She's ever popular with the boys and therein lies the problem.

    I currently have a contract with a publisher on a book about a boy who was terribly bullied at school, that includes the real story behind the bully, which I think understanding why a kid would bully in the first place is at the heart of solving this esculating problem.

    Cell phones, facebook, etc. all all adding a new dimension to bullying -- as kids who wouldn't dare before, can now do it safely from their bedrooms. Words can hurt. We need to teach our children that.

  5. Shalini, you're right. Too often other children who would never themselves have started the process join the bully or at least appear to support him by their silence. But it's important to change that when they are still children, because when they are adults we are all counting on these same people to stand with us against government bullying of minorities and other less represented individuals.

  6. Jerilee, how ironic that actually being popular (with the boys) can lead to bullying (by the girls). Are they segregating themselves by gender at lunch or elsewhere? Is it possible for Kaela to have friends among the boys who are not "boyfriends"?

    It's very exciting about your having a contract to publish your novel! Keep us posted on developments with that!