Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Bullies And the Zero Tolerance Policy by B.L. Hamilton

I know Konnie already commented on this last week, but I’d like to say, “I told you so!”

Okay, back when they first started this policy I didn’t have any way to make the powers that be listen to me, so they never heard my words, but I said them. I said it often because I know one major thing about bullies from sad experience. They’re favorite method of intimidation is to goad and harass their victim to the point that the victim lashes out, physically.

And given this knowledge, I knew, the zero tolerance policy would backfire, big time, because it would be punishing the victim and still avoiding or ignoring the real problem, which is of course the bullying. (Something they have been doing for a long time.)

I would go on to say I’ve been saying, “If you’d have listened to me, this wouldn’t be happening,” when the outcry over kids committing suicide over bullying started. Let’s face it, folks, if they can’t lash out at their abusers, how else are they going to get out of that untenable situation? And who could these poor victims have turned to for help?

After all, Adults have been ignoring schoolyard bullying for probably a whole lot longer than my school days, let alone this disastrous “Zero Tolerance” rule, but with said rule in place, the kids couldn’t do what the authorities wouldn’t do, and punish the abuser.

(By the way, for all those who take exception to me using the word abuser instead of bully, please look up the meaning of the two words. They are the same thing. And having been on the receiving end of a bully’s treatment, and having compared that to what officials say a spouse abuser does, I’m bound to say they are the same thing. )

Now back to the schools, even when I was a kid in school the teachers and other adults in authority ignored bullying. Why my sister and I got behind one year in school because we ditched so often we missed too much school, and we did it partly because the teachers did nothing about the fifth and sixth graders pushing around the first and second graders on the playground. Those kids literally would shove us out of the swings or off the other playground equipment and the teachers did nothing. If we complained, they told us to stop being such babies.

And that doesn’t even address the fact that through most of my junior high and high school career I was the victim of repeated propositions from the boys. Though the worst part of all of that is those boys were never taught the difference between a proposition and actually asking a girl out! And I’m afraid that situation is worse today. (I’ve actually addressed this topic in more than one of my stories.)

Back in my day, it was bad enough when guys wolf whistled or cat called when I walked down the hall, but I’m told now-a-days boys actually try to cop a feel in the hall! And no one does anything about it, but when the girl lashes out at her tormentors, she gets suspended! Outrageous!

All of this has to stop! We need to lay down the law, starting with name-calling; it’s unacceptable. We shouldn’t be allowing it, ever. If I had children, I wouldn’t allow name-calling in my house. I know how bad it is, and I know that is where bullying starts. I would also ban just touching someone without their permission, ergo, poking is not acceptable behavior. I’d teach everyone to respect everyone else’s personal space as well. And I’d discipline violators, so they actually learn it is not acceptable behavior.

And that is what I have to say about this deplorable situation.


  1. You don't say how you would discipline violators.

    I'm trying to think of an apt punishment.

    Vigilante Justice?

    Poke their eyes out so they can't look. Cut their arms off so they can't touch. Slit their throats so they can't speak.

    Then of course you have to deal with the parents of these newly disabled offenders.

    The court system may want to give you an atta boy but they have been bound.

    When you are sitting in a prison pod with hardened bullies you will become a martyr.

    Yes, it is deplorable, but other than talking about it, what can really be done?

    In my experience, adults bully just as much as children, they are just more sophisticated about it.

    :) Just sayin'

  2. The problem is, it has to start at home. Though I realize that some kids are being raised by bullies, or others have parents who just don't teach their kids manners and respect, so the teachers have to be trained to curb it, to not accept that behavior in the classroom, but I honestly think teachers already have at their disposal appropriate disciplines to use, they've been using them for hitting, they just have to change it, and suspend the abuser not the victim.

  3. But suspending the bully/abuser will only send him back into the environment (i.e., home) that formed him, plus now he will become depressed and even more angry. There has to be a better solution than that or corporal punishment ("I, an adult, can hit you harder than you can hit anyone."). Teachers have enough on their plate with just teaching. Dealing with school bullies has to come from school staff other than the teachers. And interventions in the bullies' homes.

  4. You have a point, but the solution should be in the home, it shouldn't be the job of teacher to "teach" and "raise" the kids. The parents should be raising them, not abdicating their responsibility.