I was bullied from 4-5th grades mainly, going through most of the standard comparatively less-severe experiences of it. It sure did feel awful though, and I remember having a hard time understanding why it was happening.
Also, looking back one of the things standing out is how I kept putting myself in situations where it could happen, b/c all I wanted was for those kids to accept me.
There were plenty of times where I was stuck with them b/c of school, but outside of that a kid's world is small, so we all shared the same neighborhood stomping grounds for playing on and if the bullies were there, I wasn't just gonna give up using our playground and go home.
So instead I kept coming back for more and was often bullied for it, though I did still get to play and had other friends there too.
The social dynamics of childhood is complex and challenging at best, so I don't know how other kids would respond to it but mine was to keep diving back in hoping that this time it would be better; just like someone might in an abusive relationship- which my own parent's certainly was.
The thing that shocked me most about this film was how incompetent almost everyone in it seemed to be at confronting the problem and discussing it.
The folks who tragically lost their boys seemed to be the only wise, honest and capable people I saw. Everyone else was just flabbergasted and confused, or downright full of lies, or incompetent.
It seemed clear that the only reason such action was taken to help Kevin was that the administrators were on camera.
And as for the parents, how could any of them possibly be surprised by what was going on??? Are they that out of touch with how kids are and what kids are like?
DID NONE OF THEM REMEMBER WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO BE A KID?
I was SHOCKED to see no PARENT-TO-PARENT conversations in this film. WTF were these people so clueless about?
Are we that out of touch with our own children? Are we that out of touch with our own civil rights?
Is there some reason we're not taking the parents of offending kids to court OR AT LEAST HAVING A TALK WITH THEM? Is there some reason we're not documenting everything, or sending our kid to school w/ a hidden camera, or taking the school system to court?
HOW PASSIVE CAN WE BE????
I hear parents say "I tried everything" when what all exactly did they try?
-Talking to kid
-Talking to school
-Talking to school again
-Talking to police (sometimes)
HOW ABOUT DOCUMENTING THAT SHIT AND CONFRONTING THE OTHER PARENTS???
THERE NEEDS TO BE MORE ACCOUNTABILITY AND CONSTRUCTIVELY AGGRESSIVE ACTION TAKEN BY ALL OF US.
Put simply, in many cases if the bullying continues, it's because you as a parent or administrator are too dumb or too complacent to stop it.
So let's start at home:
1. Make sure as a parent your example of treating others fairly and sticking up for being treated fairly yourself is non-negotiably AWESOME.
Read some damn philosophy about humanitarian justice and healthy communication, and grow up enough to set the right relationship examples for your kids.
2. GET ON EVERYONE'S ASS from the offending kids' parents to the school administrators about doing the right thing. AND FOR GOD'S SAKE BE RELENTLESS.
3. GET RESTRAINING ORDERS FROM THE POLICE, or at least warn the responsible parents that you're willing to get them.
4. DOCUMENT EVERYTHING. Nowadays especially, a hidden camera isn't too hard to pull off.
5. BE WILLING TO SUE IF NEED BE.
6. Get your kid out of unhealthy environments and TAKE ACTION to link them up with kids of like mind that can be true friends.
7. Finally, get your kid active in programs that encourage his/her preferences (natural talents) and that foster teamwork in the growth of those talents.
Now for school systems and legal change:
1. Kids have just as much rights in the schools as any adult has in society.
2. So the penalties for documented, proven bullying must be fair, constructive and humane, but also absolutely horrifying to a child; for instance a bully could be made into a pariah, just like any other physical offender.
3. There should be social campaigns in schools, neighborhoods and groups of kids with their parents against bullying.
4. Those penalties and campaigns should also include ways that any bully can redeem themselves to those they hurt and be re-welcomed by the community with open arms.
5. There could be a scholastic court or community hearing system or something similar, where any accused bullies and their families can both stand in accountability and defend themselves and their own rights.
6. There should be far more valuable rewards given to kids who treat others the best.
7. Anyone who seems socially isolated should be constantly encouraged to talk and be fully honest, and be substantially rewarded for doing so.
8. The reaction to any observed mistreatment of others must be immediate and severe, BUT FULLY AND ACCURATELY INFORMED.
For instance, the bus should have been stopped and the bus driver should become outraged upon seeing anyone on the bus punched in an unfriendly way.
However, the administrator who admonish the hurt kid for not reconciling with his bully, while failing to punish the bully or at least first learn more about the situation was also an idiot who made the problem worse.
Any lack of disciplining the kids is unforgivable, as is lacking the insight to know whether or not you as a school authority figure are well informed.
So in closing, my story about bullying is that I've always thought that laissez-faire parenting, bad relationship and communication examples at home, and overwhelmed, sometimes just plain dumb or dishonest school officials are to blame, within the greater dysfunctions of our school systems and society at large.
In short, our kids are being bullied or are bullies b/c we are all too stupid, complacent, or overwhelmed to bring them up otherwise.
Fixing the problem starts with a hard and truthful look at ourselves, and teaching our kids that real power comes from the law and how it works in an honest community. Do you know of one?
By writing some words below, you are showing your support and letting everyone know they're not alone.