t seems as though the issue of bullying is constantly in the news. There are times when other issues are in the forefront, but after a lapse, there is a new development.
Perhaps after being such an integral part of culture, there has been enough tragedies to make people feel like it’s time for intervention. Or perhaps with all the attention in TLGBT and minority rights, people are starting to think the EVERYONE should have the right s if life liberty and pursuit if happiness without interference from anyone.
Recently, a group of mayors felt there was enough of a problem to take action (http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/entry/view/id/371253). It is estimated that 13 million children each year suffer from bullying.
As part of the initiative, mayors from around the country are teaming up with “Bully” director Lee Hirsch as part of an initiative to find permanent solutions. In their cities, these mayors will screen the movie along with educators who will make presentations.
Others are taking matters a step further. Within the past few months, a father took out a restrainng order against a 9-year-old boy who was bullying his 10-year-old son at school (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2014/05/14/father-files-re…).
He became frustrated at what he felt was the lack of effective intervention by rhe school, and the judge agreed with him that thwre was enough evidence to warrant the action.
In a similar recent situation, a Wisconsin father took out a restraining order against a kindergarten classmate of is daughter (http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2014/05/16/dad-gets-restraining-order-agains…). He states that he boy threatened to slit her throat with a knife.
Bullying transcends age, gender and social groups, but there arms to be a oatern to its prevalence (http://nobullying.com/bullying-statistics-2014/). Bullying is seen mostly in middle school, and targets are typically those that are considered weaker than the aggressors. Part of the problem is that those who bully are sen as “cool” by their peers.
The generally accepted definition of bullying is that it is intentionally aggressive, often repeated, and seen as a power struggle (http://www.stopbullying.gov/news/media/facts/).
The fact that it is so widespread has led some to contend that it is a.normal part of growing up. In fact, recently, a mayor of a central California town, in the midst if a proposal to create a bully-free zone in the schools, exclaimed that people just needed to “grow a pair” (http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/21/us/mayor-bully-comment/).
The big problem with that presumed solution may be be addressed by a line in a popular movie. In “Back To The Future”, a victim was asked why he let some peers bully him. His response was that “they’re bigger than me”.
Two key words in that responses: “they” and “bigger”. The victims.of bullying will typically target people who are easy. After all, if it was just a matter of blowing off steam, why not just join wrestling or take up martial arts? Of course, there you are matched up by size and ability, and victory is not a sure thing.
Bullying by itself is not illegal. But if bullying involves aggression and physical contact, then there are issues of assault, battery, slander and libel, each of which are either illegal or available for legal remedy.
Perhaps these obtuse views are what drove those fathers to go beyond attempts at anti-bullying campaigns are seek a viable solution. While anti-bullying campaigns can reduce bullying by 20%, for some that is just not enough.
Considering that many victims of.bullying end up killing themselves or others, more attention needs to be on a solution.