"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What To Do About the Bullies

The problem of bullying is age old.  I believe the realists would say it is endemic to the human condition. So long as we are not conditioned to rein in our jealousy of others, there will be those who lash out over perceived slights, inequities or the desire to make others feel small so that they can feel bigger.  Bullying often stems from fear and the belief that, if I get you first, then I will be safe. Bullying goes beyond the school yard scuffles or name calling.  It is the systematic and relentless targeting of a particular child for abuse (physical or verbal). Schools will forever deal with the problem of bullies because the ability to control those drives comes with maturity which children, almost by definition, do not have. The question for the adults is: What can/should a school do about bullies?  What would a realistic policy regarding bullies look like/contain?

We are developing a tool kit for school board candidates and one of the issues we want to address is the idea of anti-bullying policies. Certainly there are plenty of examples of bad policies (New Jersey comes to mind) but, what would a good one look like?  We'd like to hear from our readers what you would want a school board candidate to know about bullying.  Should it be a zero tolerance policy? (probably not) Should everyone involved in a fight receive some punishment (i.e. does everyone share some responsibility for the fight)? Should the school recognize the right of every student to defend themselves if attacked? (some don't) What tools can a school use to administer consequences for bullying?

We'd like to hear from our readers in the comment section, even if it's just to relate what your school does that doesn't work.


  1. When i was a kid 30 years ago, it was all about facing your bully, and whopping arse if necessary, it worked then and it should work now, and kids would not feel the need to bring a gun to school.

  2. I agree. They don't let the kids work these things out in elementary school which just means the powder keg grows as the kids do, so when they finally explode they can do real damage to each other which they couldn't do if they figured this out when they were younger and smaller. The biggest problem I have seen is schools who do not acknowledge kids have a right to defend themselves; who instead tell them they must find an adult if there is a problem. That teaches them that they are powerless and someone else needs to solve their problems for them.

  3. More detailed look at bullying http://biggovernment.com/kolson/2012/03/01/anti-bullying-teachers-unions-get-pushy-for-better-pay-and-benefits/


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