Today I called the principal. He gave me a touchy-feely response about how we must take into consideration the bully's feelings. After all, Mr. Principal said, Big Bully's mother died.Read the whole thing. This has also been posted by Rachel Lucas here, and there are lots of interesting comments in both places.
Yes, I say. I am aware that Big Bully's mother died four years ago. For how long will he continue to get a sympathetic pat on the back every time he acts up?
I mean, what is the statute of limitations on using your mother's death as an excuse for atrocious behavior?
Well, Mr. Principal says, we have tried peer mediation and peer review with Big Bully. I sent home a pamphlet that will help his father and step-mother go over the proper way to express anger.
See, that's the thing, I say. He has no reason to be angry at my son or my son's friend. If he wants to express anger, I suggest that the classroom is not the appropriate place to do it.
Oh, says Mr. Principal. When he expresses anger in the classroom, he gets sent up here to me.
And then what happens?
He has to sit on the bench for a few minutes while he thinks about his behavior.
And then he goes back to class.
I never had to deal with any substantial bullying in school. Minor pinching in gym class is all; and it certainly made me hate gym. My school did not tolerate this sort of thing. The teachers and principals governed the schools.
What does one do when governance breaks down? Mere anarchy (in its bad sense) is loosed on kids, who are least able to deal with it. Reading the comments there are a lot of people that understand that bullies must be reigned in, by force. And there is a lot of testimonials from people who dealt with their own bullying that way. But there are other ways suggested as well: redress in the legal system mainly. So the situation is more complex than simple anarchy; there is a superior force-system that might be involved.
I think both solutions can work. Apparently, so does Michele.