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Question of the day

Wednesday, Feb 29, 2012

* From the AP

The Illinois Human Rights Commission is endorsing legislation that would require a statewide bullying-prevention policy.Commission chairman Martin Castro said Tuesday the panel also voted to join the Prevent School Violence Illinois Commission.

The legislation is sponsored by Chicago Democratic Rep. Kelly Cassidy. It would require school districts to adopt guidelines to prevent bullying and cyberbullying by the start of school this fall.

It would require schools to regularly update the policies and require collection of data on bullying incidents.

* The Question: Were you ever bullied in school? Tell us the story.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


60 Comments
  1. - WhoKnew - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 12:21 pm:

    As a large 7th grader I was shook down a couple of times by 9th graders for my lunch money — Punches were optional. Thankfully another 9th grader put a stop to it. Now I try to pay it forward & protect the little guy!


  2. - Commonsense in Illinois - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 12:30 pm:

    A statewide policy against bullying…yep that’ll solve the problem.


  3. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 12:31 pm:

    Not at school, but I had my own version of Nelson Muntz who lived a few doors down from me in the neighborhood. That kid was an archcriminal before high school. On the other hand, the only physical bullying I ever endured came from my older brother. I think I still have some bruises from him.

    Thankfully I wasn’t a target of any real bullying and I always did what I could to stop bullying whenever I saw it. Still do.


  4. - 3rd Generation Chicago Native - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 12:39 pm:

    Bullying was common everywhere, at school, in the neighborhood. Always some kid with an attitude that had to make themselves look tough.

    But seriously, so a law is passed teachers have so much to do, teach, teach manners, keep the class under control….they just can’t watch everything and be everywhere. The same with bus drivers, how can they drive a bus full of screaming kids and watch everything that is going on? Driving a bus is hard enough, then add all the kids, and all the people who can’t drive out there.

    I understand it is so much harder now with all the cyberspace, and it is harder on kids because of this. There just aren’t enough monitors out there. Parents need to do what they can as well, the schools can’t do it all.


  5. - Mark - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 12:49 pm:

    in 7th & 8th grade i had my lunch money stolen by some high schoolers plus we used to fight on the school bus-once took a seat belt to the head and then my HS school had a tradition of pegging freshman with pennies…but that’s about it


  6. - Plutocrat03 - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 12:51 pm:

    No bullying in my past.

    This is how government grows. We need a commission, to form a committee, to come up with a plan to be implemented by yet another entity.

    If this is what is on the top burner of the Illinois Human Rights Commission we should plan on winding down their activities.

    Bullying and its variants should be addressed by the local school officials. The current policies of neutering the teacher’s ability to enforce discipline are a part of the problem.


  7. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 12:54 pm:

    I was a shy, quiet kid with serious asthma problems, so, yeah, I was picked on. I don’t want to into the still painful details.

    But, the experience helped me recognize and fight against bullying since my career in education began. Our high school introduced a curriculum to instruct students on the forms of bullying and the great harm it can cause victims just last year. It was successful in making students aware they have great power in stopping bullying amongst their peers by refusing to stand by and watch these behaviors taking place. Our administration is also cracking down on aggressive children through stiffer penalties. No child should be afraid to attend school.


  8. - Maggie M. - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 12:59 pm:

    It was always there and I was picked on (small chest, skinny) but it has gotten worse. Possibly adding to it is the larger number of parents now who pretend like their kid can do no wrong and won’t hear of it any other way. I talk to my kids about it a lot and they know there would be serious consequences if I find they do it.


  9. - SgtSchultz - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 1:01 pm:

    Sadly, I was a bully (verbally) to person in particular during my senior year. Looking back, I see that it stemmed from serious issues at home and my lack of self-worth. Ironically, growing up (and including my senior year), if someone else was bullying, I stood up for the weaker person.

    A “policy” to prevent bullying may be a good thing if it includes professional counseling for the abuser.


  10. - Retired Non-Union Guy - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 1:02 pm:

    If you’re talking about as a kid, yYes. Two occasions I can remember.

    Once by the neighborhood bully. When I finally had enough and punched him once, that was the end of it.

    Second time was high school in on class. Teacher didn’t see it / didn’t stop it. After enough of it, I backhanded him (he sat directly behind me). Again, that was the end of it.

    Most bullies can dish it out but they can’t take it themselves …

    Now if you want to talk about the intimidation process attempted by certain people within State government, that was a whole different kettle of fish …


  11. - TCB - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 1:06 pm:

    As a freshman in HS I got a couple “pink bellies” from upperclassmen on my various sports teams. That was pretty much the extent of it.


  12. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 1:07 pm:

    ==A “policy” to prevent bullying may be a good thing if it includes professional counseling for the abuser.==

    Extensive social work always comes with any punitive action against children with a history of bullying in our schools.


  13. - Excessively Rabid - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 1:09 pm:

    Yes. Wasn’t everybody? A state law is going to fix this? It’s part of the human condition. You can’t outlaw evolutionarily-determined aggression. OK, you can, but it won’t do any good.


  14. - OneMan - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 1:10 pm:

    Yeah by a big chunk of a summer school class and a teacher actually…


  15. - Jake From Elwood - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 1:18 pm:

    I was called a bully after I beat up a bigger stronger & older neighbor kid who regularly picked on me. There was no zero tolerance in my school district for fights at school. Both of us got the rest of the day off and a writing assignment if I recall. Things would be different today.


  16. - Don't Worry About the Government - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 1:20 pm:

    Kick a bully in the privates during the act and they will experience the most humbling moment in their lives as their peers laugh at them while they lay writhing on the ground. That experience for the bully and bullied will be well worth the school suspension.


  17. - fisher - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 1:22 pm:

    I only had a couple of minor incidents growing up and can’t say I was really bullied.

    A couple of weeks ago my son was dealing with a kid who was bullying him. My son ended up punching him in the chest and made him cry. The kid went straight to the guidance counselor and told on my son, who ended up getting a day and a half of in-school detention. The other kid did, too, as the whole picture came out, but it was idiotic for my son to get equal treatment as a known trouble-maker who is in and out of detention all the time. My son was treated as an equal offender because he defended himself and didn’t go tell on the kid. Of course if he did that, the kid would still be hassling him.

    The school has a strong anti-bullying policy and is very vocal about it. But, bullying goes on all the time because adults in the school don’t pay attention (not that they can see everything) and kids don’t narc. And, if my understanding is correct, until it gets physical, not a lot happens.

    I do think schools should have strong anti-bullying policies, but it will in no way solve the problem.


  18. - How Ironic - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 1:24 pm:

    @ those that lament another ‘policy’.

    Unfortunatly there is a certain segment of society that prefers to either do nothing, or the bare rock legal ‘minimum’ to stem any host of problems.

    One need not look further than the most recent case at Penn State. I suppose we should all relax and be glad that the Coach did the absolute bare minimum (legally) to prevent the abuse of the children?

    If tighter rules cause those that prefer to operate at the very friges of legality to stay within the laws I have no problem with it.

    For those that don’t engage in these types of anti-social behavior I don’t think there will be consequences. For those that break the rules, I would be glad to have some recourse against them.

    I do not think it wrong that we try to teach our children to be better than we were at the same age.

    Nor do I think it a problem to punish those that choose to act in a bullying fashion.


  19. - In 630 - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 1:36 pm:

    I had my share. 7th grade was hell on earth because of a couple of kids. The name Mandy still evokes images of a cruel person in my head.

    What I’d be curious about is if there are school districts in this state so backward that they don’t have meaningful policies on bullying and harassment? There are enough districts there may be a few that don’t, but this has been a big subject for the last decade. In my experience school administrators, being serious professional types, tend to stay current on this kind of thing, as do many teachers. This feels like a proposal that’s behind the curve to me.


  20. - James the Intolerant - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 1:49 pm:

    I wasn’t, but my daughter went to a Catholic school in the city and was being cyber-bullied by some wonderful young girls. When I brought it to the dean’s attention she said the school couldn’t do anything becuase it happened off school grounds. After I exploded out of my chair the Dean said she would talk to the parents and fortunately after the parents were spoken to it never happened again.


  21. - D.P. Gumby - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 1:55 pm:

    yes.


  22. - Franz - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 1:56 pm:

    Who wasn’t bullied? And who hasn’t bullied at least a tiny bit?

    Let’s all just promise to try to raise compassionate children and then get back to work on the budget and pension reform.


  23. - Peggy R/Southern - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 1:59 pm:

    Yes. The worst thing actually was at the hands of my own siblings. I picked on other kids too. Bullying is life. Is it not already illegal to physically harm some one at school? Do schools really need more legislation to know how to deal with jerks at school? There is no common sense in discipline in public schools. We parents have to be tough on our kids too and teach them compassion and respect for human life.


  24. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 2:09 pm:

    Heck yeah! I was always the chubby kid who sucked at sports and did well in school. That three-pronged set of “flaws” didn’t get me beat up but it got me picked on and ridiculed. It finally stopped when I became an upperclassman and discovered the job and benefits of weightlifting. I was surprised to find how prevalent it was at the colleges I attended, although it wasn’t nearly as serious or out-in-the-open as it was in elementary, middle and high schools.

    My oldest son is in an all-day private preschool program and I already see the crappy attitude and lack of respect from many of the kids. But one thing that it is effective is threatening parents. Telling a parent that his or her kid could get kicked out of preschool has worked wonders for my son’s school. Something similar needs to be done. Unless you will give teachers the right to institute real punishment, I can’t imagine that some loosy-goosy requirement for a school to adopt “guidelines” will have much teeth.


  25. - ChicagoR - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 2:12 pm:

    Sure. As a budding gay kid in a small Illinois town in the 70s, I was slammed into lockers, called “sissy” and “queer” and otherwise bullied a bit. So I have some sympathy for those who want to make sure schools at least have a policy that says this type of behavior isn’t acceptable.


  26. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 2:20 pm:

    I meant joy of weightlifting. I guess it could be a job, only I’m not that lucky. :)


  27. - Just Observing - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 2:31 pm:

    I wouldn’t be opposed to some sort of further education among the students related to identifying and preventing bullying, and the impact it has on other children, but I would be very concerned with a very detailed mandate — especially one that extends the right’s of schools to poke around in cyberspace after school hours, off school grounds — schools are already going to far in trying to punish students for things that happen off school grounds.


  28. - Solomon - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 2:32 pm:

    Bullying made me a better person. I can’t say the same for the kids I picked on though.


  29. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 2:36 pm:

    Without sounding pretentious, in the neighborhood I grew up in, girls who were smart and others who thought they were “pretty” and “rich” (as IF), got bullied all.the.time.

    Kindergarten, went to the circus, dropped my change purse as we were sitting down, and told my teacher I had lost it. She found it, and gave ALL the money away to her pets as the “change she owed them for milk money,” while I was trying to explain to her in my “broken English” that the purse was mine. Then she handed the empty purse back to me, and everyone bought popcorn and cotton candy except for me. (My very first encounter with corruption.)

    Fifth grade, a boy named Donald just talked to me one day and not only did his “girlfriend” Debbie beat me up after school, but her older sister and MOTHER came to the playground the next day to beat me up again because Donald “liked me”. Kid you not. FIFTH grade; and I couldn’t have cared less about “dating”.

    The FIRST day of seventh grade, a big eighth grader and her two sisters who just arrived from a foreign country, decided they didn’t like the way I “looked” and because her sister thought I was a “show off” in class because I had the ability to answer questions and little sis didn’t. They chased me home for months after school. (Luckily, I was a faster runner, too. lol) A neighborhood cop found out about, and he made it stop. Then he sat me down, had a long talk with me about what I should do if someone ever tried again. Someone did, I followed his advice–and no one ever bullied me again.

    That’s why while I can understand the pain of bullying–especially in instances where the “cause” is something you can’t change, I know you can survive, too–on your own or with the help of friends.

    However, I still believe that legislation to stop it, is not the answer because it doesn’t teach you what you need to know to be able to defend yourself.


  30. - RetiredStateEmployee - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 2:48 pm:

    I have had a recent experience with my son and some of his friends being bullied in middle school. My son finally brought this to my attention and I contacted the school principal. Basically I was informed that if my son retaliated, he would be punished. After the principal talked to the bully, he stopped bothering my son but continued to bully other students. I again contacted the principal. The only way I got their attention was to make other parents aware of the situation and contact the school as well. My word wasn’t sufficient, even though I followed the instruction in the student handbook. It’s clear that those schools that have “policies” really don’t. A local Martial Arts Academy doesn’t have any problems signing up students for their bully-proof seminars and classes. Unfortunately, they can’t beat up the bullies to solve the problem! That’s were I have a huge problem with the bureaucrats getting involved. They have only made it worse so far.


  31. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 2:55 pm:

    BTW, I should mention that in addition to the cop, I had a “pet pigeon” that used to fly from house to house as I walked (sometiimes ran) to and from school. One day, when the three sisters were kicking and trying to pull my hair out, the pigeon began swooping down to attack them.

    Spooked the hell out of them, and while they didn’t stop completely, they decided to attack with less frequency whenever they noticed her on a roof top.

    My buddy. Had her for years, and still miss her.


  32. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 3:02 pm:

    I brought the pigeon home one day just after she hatched and her mom (I guess) had been run over by a car. She was walking around our garbage cans near where the other bird laid squashed on the street, couldn’t fly, and looked hungry. We took her in, and my Dad and Grandma fed her. She moved with us from our old apartment to the first house my parents bought, where the bullying began.

    I guess she thought she owed me one. Strange, but true.


  33. - Shore - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 3:03 pm:

    No.

    This is anti-bullying agenda is a waste of time. Will we next start passing laws on the size of scissors that can be used in 3rd grade classrooms?


  34. - Jim - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 3:14 pm:

    Great pigeon story. Love it.


  35. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 3:21 pm:

    My “air force,” and she was pretty darn effective, too.


  36. - Hopalong Cassadeech - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 3:32 pm:

    Solomon’s last post actually made me laugh out loud in an “appreciation for black humor” kind of way.


  37. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 3:39 pm:

    I always smile and cheer when I think of her as I watch our BIG birds fly at an air show.


  38. - Danny - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 3:44 pm:

    I, too, was bullied in school. I think most LGBTQ folks were. Maybe ones that weren’t came out significantly later than the rest of us for fear of what might happen. Kids were awful, called me terrible names, pushed me around, etc. I was extremely tiny until high school and that made it that much easier for them to wail on me. Teachers saw it happen every day and did nothing. I was very into martial arts when I was a kid so I could take on the bigger guys, but it was so ingrained in my head that you shouldn’t hit people from my teachers and parents that I was too scared to do it. But the only thing that ever made them stop was getting in a fistfight. Works instantly almost every time. I, too, found that when you hit back a bully, no matter how many times you’ve complained about them and no matter what awful names they called you, you get exactly equal punishments. It’s ridiculous.

    I didn’t realize it until years later, but the bullying never made me sad or gave me low self esteem. It just made me a complete jerk. Kids were mean to me and I didn’t want to talk to a lot of them.

    It’s utterly ridiculous that this needs to be addressed at the state-level. Clearly this is a job for local school districts. But it is equally clear that after decades of inaction individual school districts are not all doing their part. Something else needs to be done.


  39. - JustaJoe - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 3:46 pm:

    Sure. But I still don’t support the proposed measure. Leave it up to the locals. The state has other problems.


  40. - Stooges - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 4:06 pm:

    Yeah, legislation and more government regulation (a new industry in state government) - that will solve the problem. Why not let each individual school district deal with their unique problems in ways that provide the best solution for them?


  41. - mark walker - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 4:12 pm:

    How about this: No bills or resolutions on any subject, are allowed to reach the floor, until the overall outlines of the budget plan have passed through approp committees, and the pension and medicaid reforms are ready to move.

    The 5000+ plus bills should be winnowed down, and legislators should all work on fiscal solutions first. Other bills should be handled if there is time at the end of session, rather than holding budget issues until the last moment. Other committees shouldn’t even be meeting right now, and non-fiscal-solution bills shouldn’t be brought to the floor unless they are necessary to get bi-partisan agreement on proposed fiscal bills.

    We can dream can’t we?


  42. - Tom Social Worker - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 4:37 pm:

    A reason for bullying that we will be hearing more and more about is kids who torment other kids whose parents are listed on public sex offender registries. There are cases where these kids are under such stress that their hair falls out. It is a lot for anyone to bear the stigma of the registry, but for kids and teenagers, it defines their lives.

    This has been coming to our attention more and more, and Illinois should do a study about it.


  43. - Shore - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 4:42 pm:

    But does this need to be a statewide issue?

    No.

    back to work.


  44. - Kasich "wimpy" Walker, Jr. - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 5:06 pm:

    While a senior in high school I was repeatedly punched throughout a semester by a Sophmore. He asked me to fight him by the busses after school. Though I might have “won”, I refused.

    The kid probably thought beating me in a fight would somehow help him . I refused to participate.

    There were other incidents that I avoided.

    I doubt that, as a high schooler, I would have sought out “help” with a guidance counselor, but kids who want that support should get it.


  45. - zatoichi - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 5:17 pm:

    I was a slightly larger, uncoordinated kid and my parents insisted on walking away from fights. I got picked on endlessly by the ‘tough guys’ who thought it was great fun to trip and push people. Then sports, particularly football, came into my life. Turned out those tough guys were pretty wimpy by themselves. After crushing 3-4 of them during a tackling drill, and leaving two on the ground, they never bothered me or the people I hung with again.


  46. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 5:30 pm:

    This has churned up some memories.

    My junior year, I got in a fight in gym class with a dude who was picking on one of my little buddies.

    As punishment, the next day, I got all-day, in-school suspension — very ominously called “Control.”

    Basically, you had to sit in study hall all day and not say a word. No sleeping. No head on desk. Book open.

    You got half an hour for lunch. Of course, instead of going to the cafeteria, I ran across the street into the woods, where all of the Usual Suspects could be found smoking cigarettes and getting high.

    I passed the time getting pretty baked myself.

    When it was time to go back, I went to light up a cigarette. Little did I know that my oldest and best friend (to this day) had mischievously turned up my lighter to its highest flame.

    I had a Greg Allman hair thing going on back then, so when I torched the lighter, the flame rose up and burned off all of my bangs, my eyebrows, my eyelashes and my pathetic attempt at a beard.

    Everyone thought that was pretty funny. I might have, too, except I had to go back and face the dean for another four hours of detention — with a head full of weed, no eyebrows, no eyelashes, no bangs and stinking of burnt hair.

    Fortunately, the dean (a great guy; had beers with him back home over Christmas) was pretty used to stoners in all-day detention. He looked me up and down, shook his head, and chalked it up to boys will be boys.

    Yeah, that’s how we rolled in high school back in the late 70s in Farm Country, GOP-bedrock Illinois, lol.


  47. - DRB - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 5:33 pm:

    I was bullied by one individual who now happens to be an insurance agent. Bet you can guess which agent does not get my business. Guess I got the last laugh.


  48. - stateandlake - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 5:58 pm:

    I was bullied in grade school by an oversized kid who just like to terrorize people by cornering them in the bathroom. In middle school there was a kid who walked into speech class everyday and reared back and punched me in the shoulder as hard as he could, then sat down like nothing had happened. And there were neighbor kids who chased me off the bus and tackled me then did some things I won’t mention. The main problem in all of this is that I did not think I had the right to defend myself, nor did anyone else stand up for me. That’s more of a parenting issue than anything else.


  49. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 5:59 pm:

    Don’t want to bore everyone to death, but decades later, I watched this video with my little one and everything in my life just seemed to fall into place. Life is good now, but I still watch this whenever I feel I need to be comforted.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6I9msnGWFBY


  50. - Cuban Pilot - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 6:14 pm:

    I got bullied all the time. I was a nerdy, tall, uncordinated goof who loved politics as a young kid. So, yeah. I got picked on a lot. A lot of “gay” slurs were directed my way. You want to know the best way to make a bully mad: after he makes fun of you, blow him a kiss in front of his friends, wink at the bully, and call the bully handsome.

    I guess since I was a geek, I could verbally run circles around most bullies. They hate that. When I turned the tables on one bully verbally, he dressed up as a ninja and jumped out of some bushes and kicked me in the nads by suprise. Lost that one. However, a few months later he started making fun of me at the park in front of everyone before my baseball game. In response, I went all ralphie (from x-mas story) on him, and I took my baseball glove and wacked him. The initial blow knocked him down, and while he was down I kept wacking him with my ball glove until my own mom came and saved the bully from a probable, broken orbital bone.

    As I look back at my own experiences, I realize that being bullied actually maked me stronger and more confident. I learned to work through it. So, that is why I feel that anti-bullying legislation is misguided. Bullying sucks, but instead of teaching the kids how to stay strong, we as a society are now showing them how to be victims rather than survivors. Further, bullying never stops. As an adult, I encounter other adults who bully other adults in the workplace, ect. Thus, we dont do our kids a favor by this bullying legistlation b/c these kids will still encounter bullying (although, a different type of bullying) as they enter the workplace as adults.


  51. - earl - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 8:26 pm:

    Yes-do we need the state legislature to make it their project to correct? NO,NO,NO.They’ll spend millions “fixing” it.


  52. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 8:46 pm:

    Thanks Wordslinger. That’s a great story that brings back some good memories.


  53. - CWS - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 9:16 pm:

    I was horribly bullied as a kid in high school by the jocks because I was kind of a dork and was perceived as being gay (which I didn’t figure out until college was also true). It was so awful I sometimes cried as I drove to school because I wanted to stay home so much. I complained once to the Dean and his response was that I should “be a man and grow up.”. The only reason I didn’t take drastic measures is because my parents assured me college would be better; and they were right. However, I protested by skipping my high school graduation and cussed out the school’s superintendent when he confronted me about why I was skipping the graduation rehearsals.

    While I typically don’t like the State getting involved in the operations of local schools, I am a classic example of perhaps sometimes school administrations need a little prodding to do the right thing. Those four years traumatized me for the rest of my life, and not in a good way. I still shudder at the mere thought of my high school years.


  54. - Past the Rule of 85 - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 9:47 pm:

    In high school the school bully started in on me in shop class. On the day I had enough I used the acetylene torch to heat up some metal I then tossed to him and waited for the beating. Nothing happened then or thereafter. I saw him again a few years ago at a class reunion. Still a jerk.

    I’ve had to deal with a lot more bullies working for the state than being in school. Like most bullies, once you stand up to them they back off. My favorite story was a friend being bullied by his boss. He told the boss his cousin was a lawyer who would make his life miserable pro bono. After that no problems.


  55. - Name Withheld - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 10:07 pm:

    I was bullied as a Freshman by two Seniors for several months. It was extremely frustrating, but the only teacher that was witness to it, on a daily basis, refused to intercede ( a real schmuck).

    Finally, one day, a substitute teacher saw what was going and went the principal immediately. I was called to the principals office, where I tried to pretend nothing was going on, but finally with tears in my eyes told the principal what had been happening.

    The principal then got on the speaker system and called the two seniors to the office and brought them into the same room where I was. I was absolutely terrified.

    The principal then explained, in rather loud and tough language, that what the seniors were doing was harassment. AND that he was going to personally call my parents and encourage that they bring legal action against the two seniors and their parents.

    FURTHER, the principal said that if he heard of anything further, he was going to have the school lawyer file a civil action against the seniors and their parents.

    The two seniors did a 180 that day and never touched me again. By the end of the year we were relatively friendly with each other.

    It all occurred more than 30 years ago, and I have gotten the chance to thank the principal on the several times that I have run into him.


  56. - Soccertease - Wednesday, Feb 29, 12 @ 10:55 pm:

    I was bullied in 7th grade (late 60’s) and ended up being the bully. After being pummelled on my way home from school, I tackled and held the bully in a headlock until be apparently passed out or faked passing out. I ended up being suspended from school for supposedly almost killing the bully. Funny how the worm turns.


  57. - southernillinois - Thursday, Mar 1, 12 @ 6:42 am:

    One of the problems is that schools many times turn a deaf ear and blind eye to bullying putting it down to just kid stuff. I probably get 5 calls a month from families all over the state where this is going on. And now with Facebook and Twitter it is even worse.


  58. - Meanderthal - Thursday, Mar 1, 12 @ 9:11 am:

    I wish Kelly Cassidy would focus on the fact that people in this state feel bullied by a political class that can’t pass a balanced budget and taxes and borrows too much.
    I got bullied but I had a great big brother who usually took care of the offender for me.


  59. - Anonymous - Thursday, Mar 1, 12 @ 9:26 am:

    A law requiring that each school district HAVE an anti-bullying policy, and clear protocols to deal with reports of bullying, is not an overreach of government. A few folks here seem to have the impression that the state is going to spell out very specific consequences, etc., for bullies. Nothing at all unreasonable about the state saying, essentially, that just as every school needs to have an emergency evacuation plan (common sense, right?), every district must have a policy to deal with behavior that is so problematic that it can, in extreme cases, lead the victim to contemplate suicide. I’m glad Illinois is looking at this.


  60. - Still Haunted - Thursday, Mar 1, 12 @ 5:36 pm:

    Truthfuly? Just about every day of grade school and until senior year of high school. It was hell. Being socially ostracized was one thing. There were often fights and beatings, usually 2 or 3 on 1. I got very good at riding my bike fast and zig-zagging to avoid thrown rocks. Took different routes home nightly. Learned karate - didn’t help, they just double-teamed me. I lived every school day like a hunted animal between classes. One day the science teacher left for five minutes during class and a bully threw a lab stool at my head from across the room. Nobody dared say a thing when the teacher came back and saw damage. And no one would back up my story.

    Even now, decades later, it rushes back to me like PTSD. You’d try to play by society’s and the school’s rules, do what they said, tell a teacher. Teachers never did squat. The other kid’s parents invariable were in denial, one of them even threatened to hit my DAD during the discussion. Coaches thought even bringing it up was unmanly. If you got heard at all, the “solution” was to call a meeting and tell the kids: “fighting is bad”. I would get hit twice as bad the next day, “for being a snitch”.

    Some jocks out there will say they were bullied and it was no big deal. To them I say it’s a matte of degree.

    The other popular trope is to say: “confront bullies - they are cowards and will back down if you hit them good just once”. That is Hollywood fairy tail BS. Stand up to a bully and hit him a good one, and he is going to go psycho on you and escalate his violence, to rescue his status and re-assert his dominance. That means getting jumped the next day by him AND his 3 friends, or him using more potent weapons than fists and boots.

    And they can do huge damage without being physical. My kid’s 6th grade was ruled by a playground gangster who’s every move was exactly like what you see in adult prison gangs. He started by picking on the weakest boy, calling him the f-word in front of everyone every day, until no other kids would sit with him. That kid would capitulate and become the bully’s thrall, just to avoid the treatment. Now the 2 would run the same gag on another individual. Inside of a month, the bully had every boy but one basically taking orders from him, just to avoid being ostracized from the group. Yet you couldn’t point to any physical violence in the classroom that a teacher could see and report, except “name calling”. On the playground, this pint sized thug would assign a couple of his minions to distract the supervisor, who was always an unpaid volunteer and not especially attentive, while the bully enjoyed physical hitting and intimidation of his victim(s) and controlling what the other kids could do, for his entertainment. Any kid that tattled would get the same treatment.

    This bully then began escalating his physical violence to sexually-provocative things like punching victims in the groin repeatedly. And still nobody saw anything.

    This went on most of a year. My kid wound up seeing a therapist over the stress. The therapist was astounded and sent reports to the principal, who of course was unaware and could confirm nothing.

    I finally challenged the principal to get out of their office and spend a day in the class and on the playground observing, to see who in fact was actually running the school. Three days of observation confirmed all I have written. Even then, the bully was given another chance to reform and quit. He lasted 24 hours and lashed out again, this time, in class, full view of the teacher (with the principal listening in on the intercom) and he was expelled an hour later.

    The boy was shocked that after all his years growing up, someone finally for the first time had laid out a consequence and actually backed it up with a punishment instead of another chance.

    Afterwards, the entire class spontaneously apologized to my kid, each one saying they only participated in his shunning and etc. out of fear of themselves being victimized. We stuck it out, but this issue only got the principal’s attention when several families pulled their kids out over the semester and I threatened filing a police report.

    Our schools allow kinds of violence between kids that we as adults put other adults into jail for. The kids are shown the lesson that the strong rule the weak and there is no real law but numbers and force, and that authorities are clueless, weak, and useless. Is it any surprise that a desperate victim might try to bring a knife of gun to school for self-protection, or to consider suicide as their only escape from the daily torment that shows no sign of ceasing?

    I believe in strong zero tolerance policies, you betcha. But that’s not enough, if administrators and teachers don’t apply the rules with common sense, and are not trained to observe this behavior and nip it in the bud. They have to take it deadly serious.

    Sorry for the wall of text but you opened a dark door with your question, Rich.


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