Showing posts with label zero tolerance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label zero tolerance. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Zero-Tolerance Bullies by Konnie Enos

The headline read, “Zero-tolerance policies ineffective”, as if it was something new.
We’ve all seen far too many stories of kids, bullied for years, finally “snapping” and either taking their own life or trying for a mass shooting. This zero tolerance system punishes them for their actions, but is ineffective in stopping those who picked on them.
Why? Because zero-tolerance doesn’t stop bullying. It encourages it.
Zero-tolerance tells bullies the authorities will help them pick on and humiliate their victims since the victims of bullying will get punished more often than the bullies will. Newsflash! Bullies like it when they have that much control.
Zero-tolerance tells victims they have no recourse. In fact if they say anything they will get punished before the bully will. That’s what zero-tolerance tells kids.
That’s what I see happening far too often in the stories I see in the news. Innocent victims either never fight back and take their own lives or finally snap and fight back only to have the authorities FINALLY notice, but they come down on them harder than they do the bully.
In all cases the bully’s get their way. The victim is humiliated, isolated and feeling lower than dirt. So why should the bullies change if the authorities are helping them?
And the problems of zero-tolerance go way beyond not punishing the bullies.
We have real problem when authorities are so concerned with violence that they have to expel a kid from school because he nibbled his pop tart into the shape of a gun or drew a picture of one. They focus so much on the harmless that they don’t address the class full of third graders calling a classmate fat every chance they can. They don’t address that boy poking that girl every time he walks past her, or that girl insisting on playing with that other girl’s long ponytail. They punish that girl for finally slugging that boy to make him stop snapping her bra, attempting to undo it in class but shrug at the boy’s actions. They suspend a tiny first grader because he fought off five fifth graders who were picking on him. (Fortunately for the first grader he had a black belt.)
Zero-tolerance policies dictate in often minute detail what a girl can and can’t wear to school but often the more detail they give on the girls attire, the less they give on the boys, i.e.: t-shirt and jeans compared to shirts must cover the collar bone and pants/skirts must cover the knees and nothing can be skin tight.
I’ve read dress codes where the girls’ guidelines were a full page and the boys’ were one paragraph.
And what does such policies do?
They just make it easier to pick on people thereby furthering the environment that bullies thrive in. No wonder zero-tolerance policies don’t work.
You can’t stop bullies by being bullies.
Let’s put some sanity back into our society and start teaching people to respect one another.
I’ve been facing down bullies since I was a tiny first grader. The best solution I came up with was in second grade. I showed the class bully some respect and befriended him. Not only did I not have a problem with him after that, but it also protected the kids in our class who were the usual outcasts.
Some bullies refuse to be befriended. That’s when you have to stand up, look them in the eye and tell them you’re not scared of them. It’s time to tell supporters of zero-tolerance that we’re not running from them anymore.

So I’m borrowing this phrase today, “Stop the insanity”.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


Ever since the first time I heard of school district passing a zero tolerance for violence policy, I’ve wanted to say just one thing. It won’t work. It in fact will backfire because it gives bullies leverage and victimizes their targets two times over.

How did I know this up front? Simple; the first time I heard of this policy, I flashed back to time in my life when a certain bully would pin me in the corner then call me every filthy name in the book to my face until I, in an effort to get away, would punch him in the stomach and or kick him in the shin. At that point, he’d go running to our mother crying that I kicked him in the groin for no reason at all.

Our mother insisted to there was no reason for me to damage my baby brother in such a vicious manner and refused to listen to my side of the story, so she spanked me. Nothing I said managed to get through to her, not even saying repeatedly I didn’t get him in the groin, not by a long shot. This continued until the time I managed to point out that my younger brother was quite a bit larger than I was which had the unfortunate results of the next time I fought back that he trounced me instead of running to our mother.

And while I know this zero tolerance school policy wouldn’t be between siblings, it was still the same situation where the adults in charge would not accept any reason for one student to hit the other. I knew right then, the bullies of the world would figure out pretty quick all they had they had to do was avoid touching their victims and they wouldn’t get into any trouble.

Better yet, for them anyway, the system would further victimize their targets the second their targets fought back.

It was a disaster waiting to happen without adding in internet, cell phones, and texting. (Those additions make it a nightmare.)

But I seriously doubted anyone would listen to a college dropout, so I kept my mouth shut back then, and now I’ve read a story of a mother who fought back, and I applaud her.

Not too long ago I read a story on the internet about a mother who got called into school because her daughter had slugged a boy (a much bigger boy) a couple times in the face, and her reaction was fantastic and about time!

First, she actually listened to her daughter’s reason (unlike anyone else) and second she turned the tables on the principal and teacher present. If you haven’t read the story, here it is in a nutshell.

The boy in question had been repeatedly snapping the girl’s bra. When she told the teacher, he did nothing about it. (Please note the teacher was male.) So she resorted to slugging the pervert, whereupon the principal called her mother as his first step toward expelling the girl. (Please note the principal was also male.)

This fantastic mother boldly accused the boy of sexual harassment (a form of bullying I also endured during school) and promised the principal she was going to the school board because the teacher did nothing to protect her daughter from a boy who was considerably larger than her daughter. Hurrah! Well done. And it’s about time someone did this.

When I mentioned this to my twin, she told me of woman she knew who got called to school because her small for his age, black belt, second grader used his skills on several fifth graders who were bullying him. This mother informed the school her son had that black belt to protect him from bullies because the school wouldn’t. Again hurrah!

And it’s about time the school boards, principals, and teachers of this country actually started to protect the small, weak, and female students from the taunting and degradation heaped upon them by the bullies and perverts also attending their schools.

If you’re going to inforce a rule of zero tolerance, make it zero tolerance for name calling, harassing, and bullying, and let’s not forget to include in that snapping girl’s bra’s, groping, and or making sexually suggestive comments and remarks to or in the hearing of persons of the opposite sex.

And let’s send out one more hurrah to all those mothers out there standing up for their victimized children!