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Monday, November 29, 2010

There Ought To Be A Law....

...Or should there? In light of some of the comments below in the Pecksniffian post, and in George Will's column to which it refers, I thought I would throw this out to the collective intelligence of our beloved Forumpians:

A Rapid City youth recently took his own life. His obituary made reference to a memorial being established to prevent bullying.

Bullying is different today than it was when I was a kid. I got bullied. I was the skinniest kid in school until about my junior year. Bullying then amounted to some kids picking on others. For me most of that stopped when I started hunting quail and pheasants after school and most of the bullies knew I was armed.

Today is different. It seems today that bullying is more of a sport than a social anomaly. The technology of the sport is found in texting and facebook and myspace. The ability to execute a saturation humiliation is devastating.

When I was bullied, only the bully and I took it seriously. Most of the other kids ignored it. Now, it seems, it's a pile-on, all-0ut community-wide attack on someone who is weaker and it is sometimes so unrelenting that a young person sees no way out.

Which brings me to: There Ought To Be A Law!

I don't personally think we can hold school systems responsible for what the children of adults do on their telephones, laptops and home computers.

In South Dakota, parents can only be held responsible for a total of $3000 damage done by their children.

My question for Forumpians is what is the answer? How do we stop kids from bullying other kids to the point of self destruction? Does the Legislature need to be involved? Can we compel parents to prevent their children from bullying others? We can compel dog owners to keep their vicious animals away from children. Can there be no such thing as a social "leash" law?


Bill Dithmer said...

Michael I will attempt to address your social commentary in a little bit but first let me tell a story.

My mom drove school bus for over twenty years. In that time she saw all kinds of things happen on the bus from yelling at one another to pushing and shoving, and outright fights. She had her little ways of dealing with the different things that went on at the time. From stomping on the brakes to taking the offenders home personally to their parents and having a talk that most of the time ended with home discipline.

Things might have changed now but back then there weren't any seat belts in school busses. At a time when everyone was pushing for seat belt use it always seemed funny to me that there were none in those busses.

Now don’t get your panties in a bunch but at the time I thought I had what would have been the best solution to the problem. I thought that if every kid had a seat belt on and there was an electrical connection to the front of the bus and that was fed to a panel that the bus driver could just reach over and touch a button of the offender and deliver a mild shock that might go along way toward fixing the problems. Mom always said if its happening on the bus its happening in school. Of course now I know I was wrong, the voltage would have to be much higher then I originally thought.

The Blindman

Bill Dithmer said...

This problem will never be fully addressed and here are the reasons why. First nobody wants to rock the boat. They all think if they can just get through the day without the problems they are seeing having any effect of them personally it’s a good day. Second, people will go out of their way to not see a jock do anything wrong to another person. Lets face it it’s a jocks world out there. Third, when have you ever heard of a kid with parents that are leaders of the community being disciplined? For that matter kids of parents with more money then sense? And we haven't even talked about the kids that are socially dysfunctional because of their own situations.

The one thing we do know is that bullies will be bullies unless they are stopped by someone, and without the backing of the community it wont ever happen. And you are right there should be a law with enough bite to make kids and the adults that are in charge think twice about what they are doing or not doing.

The Blindman

Bill Dithmer said...

THE FREEDOM OF SOCIAL EDUCATION ACT. First define the act of bullying. The act of interfering with a students right to self educate through intimidation either physically or mentally, in person, or through an electronic media device. Even if those students are not in school at the time of the attack they do go to the same school and what happens then will effect their time at school, and at home.

For the students. First verifiable offense is punishable by a weeks suspension. Second offense is a month suspension. And the third is semester suspension. All of these suspensions will be with the continued education paid for by the parents with test to prove that education is actually taking place somewhere other then the school.

For the teachers. If it is found that a teacher knew or knows that bullying is taking place they loose their tenure for the first offense. If it happens again they loose their job. If it is found that a teacher has participated in bullying themselves they loose their job.

For administrators. If it is found that anyone in administration has failed to correct a situation that resulted in continued bullying when given evidence that bullying had happened they loose their jobs.

Now you might ask who is going to make sure this law is handled in the right way. Simple, that’s why we have school boards, principles, and superintendents. Between those people there should be some way to form a “board of inquiry for a safe education.” There should be a transcript taken at these meetings and then turned over to local law enforcement not for the purpose of prosecution but just for the record.

Everyone should have the right to a safe learning environment, and no one should be able to infringe of that right. But folks without teeth a law is just another piece of paper that people will laugh at when they get caught bullying.

The Blindman

taco said...

Moving around a lot, I was bullied. At a certain age, however, depending upon the bully, I learned how to confront adversity. I made friends with a few of the people that bullied me. I also beat the hell out of some bullies. A few times I simply became so popular that the bullies wanted to become my friend. There were also periods of life where I used the bullying as motivation to get in better shape or even to study harder.

Learning how to deal with bullies teaches you all kinds of lessons. We don't need lawyers or cops getting involved. Those children who are misbehaving should have their parents made aware. If the parents do nothing, people should talk about what lousy people they are - after all - mean people suck!

I'm told that we will see legislation on this from Pierre, this year. What a nanny state SD has become; makes me sick to be around all of these unknowingly socialist pussies!

Bill Fleming said...

It's a good question, and it can be scaled up. Figure out how to handle bullies and you figure out what to do with guys like Kim Jong-il, Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Mamud Ahmadinijad, Idi Amin, etc, etc, etc.

For my money, I still think the non-violent activism of Gandhi is the best approach. Bullies are looking for power and control. We are accustomed by our culture (which is an extension of our biology) to respond to it in a certain, passive way unless we are a "contender."

It won't be easy for us to change ourselves into a community who refuses to tolerate the behavior. But we have to, if we want it to stop.

As per Gandhi, we have to "be the change we wish to see in the world." When it comes to putting up with bullying, there's no room for minding our own business. Hard to do, I know.

Anonymous said...
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Michael Sanborn said...

We don't allow anonymous posts here. There's nothing particularly wrong with your post, so please repost with some sort of moniker. I'll wait for you to do that prior to deleting your anonymous post.

abrakadabra said...

I wonder if kicking God out of the schools and daycares and homes has anything to do with it. Not that walking around draped in religious legalism is necessary, but just knowing it is good to be alive, or thankful instead of hateful. Kids come home to broken homes, parents resenting each other, you dont think they are learning selfish hate? How do we stop it? Seriously? Just stop it. Cant do it, then justify it.

Wayne Gilbert said...

It might be possible to make something like the protection order process available to victims of bullying. Of course there would be potential for abuse of that remedy but the fact is that the remedy gets abused now and then as it is, and it's still a good idea. It's limited to people who have lived in the same household within a certain period of time, I think. Perhaps that limitation could be removed, or perhaps legislation could be enacted to make it also available for situations involving school and workplaces.