The one Solution to Bullying!
I wrote this bullying essay because if someone had asked me when I started a family if I thought my children would be victims of bullies I would have had to say no, because they were sweet and kind little boys and I thought no one would want to harm them. In actuality, one of them was severely bullied to a point where he was having nightmares and becoming physically ill. His classmates threatened to burn our home and our barn (we live on a farm), poison our water and one even threatened to shoot him. He was in the fourth and fifth grade while this was going on. His bus driver told us what was going on after a group of them held him down and stuffed paper in his mouth. We started meeting him at the bus and were appalled at the slurs that came out of those children’s mouths when he got off that bus. We tried talking to school administration about the issue, but all we got was that he was to blame! A teacher told us that it wasn’t the case at all, as if we didn’t know that.
After the shooting threat, we pulled our child out and opted to home school him. The school refused to loan us the books we needed for this and by law in Wisconsin, they are supposed to if they have enough books to go around. They claimed they didn’t, even though people were moving away and enrollment was declining. Rather than deal with them any further, we just got our own from the library which included the “What Every Child Should Know series. These books tell you what your child should know at different grade levels.
One can get a good free public education online or pay for programs or online education from private sources. Several very good sources for educational materials are now available online. Try the Kahn Academy at Kahnacademy.org. They have sections for students, parents or tutors, and teachers, as this program is now being offered in classrooms, and it is free.
I went to work for a counseling agency once my son was back in regular school in the ninth grade (in a different district) and one thing I learned from other victims of bullies is that, at least up here, the victim is always the one who is blamed for the problem, not the bullies. This perpetuates the behavior. The bullies think it is okay to treat others the way they do because it is acceptable to the school.
Schools used to blame the perpetrator and punish them; not the victims. When did that change? Why did that change? I think it started about the time schools were no longer allowed to punish students for bad behavior. Parents got all upset because their child got sent home and they had to figure out what to do with them so the schools stopped doing it and then, over time, they just turned a blind eye to the problem because essentially there was nothing they could do other than in-school detention. Kids don’t like in-school detention, but it has become somewhat of a joke to be sent there, so it is, in essence, useless.
Now that schools are being sued over the damage done to victims, they are changing their tune. It should not take being sued and losing money to force them to start anti-bullying programs. Also, since so many children have killed themselves over the bullying schools are stepping up their efforts in trying to change the attitudes of the students to find it unacceptable behavior. They want them to turn in other students they see doing this to their fellow classmates, or step in and say it is wrong. It is an uphill battle, but hopefully it will work and those same students who turn in the bullies are not targeted themselves.
It has to be more than the schools who tell these bullies the behavior is wrong. While peer pressure from their classmates is a good start, parents have to be involved. When we pulled our son from school, those children actually felt empowered by what they had accomplished, even though for our son’s safety we had no other choice. Some of the parents did get the message and passed along that it was unacceptable.
Solution to Bullying: Get Help
While dealing with bullying is not easy, there is help and support out there. Check out websites, such as nobullying.com, removingchains.org, and stopbulying.gov for help and support. I wish I had them when we dealt with it.
It is a shame more parents don’t have the option of removing their child from troubled schools, but if possible, I recommend doing so. It may save your child’s life.