Tag Archive: bullying

Wisc. city to fine parents of bullies and why it won’t work

Shawano

The city of Shawano, Wisconsin, recently enacted a new ordinance that would fine the parents of students who are deemed bullies.

Under the new ordinance, parents and guardians will have 90 days after they’re informed by a police officer of their child’s behavior to intervene.

If the parent doesn’t stop their child from acting as a bully the parent will be fined $366.

If there is a second offense within one year, the parent will be fined $681.

I’ve always thought that the parents of bullies should be held responsible for the actions of their children since they’re usually in denial about their kids being bullies, however, this legislation is not the answer and may only make things worse. Think about it for a moment: bullies thrive on two things, intimidation and escalation. If a kid’s parents get fined that kid is only going to make things worse for his/her victims and these fines will do nothing to curtail bullying. Let’s not also forget that schools often have a hard time actually identifying bullies. In too many cases kids who are identified as bullies are actually the victims of bullies who try to defend themselves.

In a perfect world these fines would cause the parents to admonish their kids for being bullies but in reality their parents will continue to deny their kids’ behavior and their kids will lash out at their victims in retaliation.

Instead of trying to combat bullying we should be teaching our kids not to be victims. My biggest regret from all my years of being bullied in school is not standing up to my bullies. A little bit of self-confidence can carry you far.

The bullied school shooter myth still needs busting even in 2014

questionmaksign

In the wake of the Marysville-Pilchuck High School shooting Vox.com looked into the bullied school shooter stereotype. What did they come up with? I think the title of the article kind of gives it away.

“Think school shooters are usually bullied and unpopular? You’re wrong.”

It makes me wonder if people will read it with an open mind or just dismiss it so they can continue to live with a comfortable lie.

Anyway, friend of the site, and Columbine author, Dave Cullen was interviewed for the article and once again brought his A-game to the discussion when it came to discussing the Columbine cowards.

“Everybody knows who commits these kind of murders. They’re outcasts, typically goth or other sorts of kids that dress funny and live on the fringes,” Cullen said. “That’s well known. It’s also wrong.”

“It’s complete nonsense,” Cullen said. Both shooters had a healthy circle of friends. Their social calendars, which were released to the public, were “packed.” They went bowling every Friday, and they typically occupied four lanes — enough for 16 people.

There’s also “no compelling evidence,” Cullen explained, that the shooters were bullied more than anyone else or that bullying drove them to the shootings. “We have their journals and videos,” Cullen said, adding that they “never mention bullying” directed at the shooters.

The article goes on to state that depression and mental illness are the main causes of school shootings. It was suggested that schools should hand out questionnaires to students to monitor for signs of depression. I’m afraid that while it may assist in getting some kids some help there are definite flaws by doing this. The first that a lot of kids with problems at home will lie so their parents won’t be notified by the school. Another problem is that any kid with depression will be labeled a potential school shooter and that doesn’t help anyone. Lastly, I don’t want to see depression become an excuse at trial for criminal behavior like bullying and Asperger’s have become in the years since Columbine.

Getting back to the bullying aspect I also wanted to add that this article is a great example of how school shootings have actually done a disservice to the victims of bullying. As I’ve said before now people are more concerned about finding the next shooter than actually doing anything about bullying.

The Arapahoe High School shooter was either bullied or held a grudge. Which one was it?

Arapahoe High School ahooting victim Claire Davis

Arapahoe High School ahooting victim Claire Davis

I originally posted about the Arapahoe High School shooting in Centennial, Colorado here. That’s when, back in December of 2013. 18-year-old Karl Pierson stormed the school with a shotgun, shot and killed 17-year-old Clare Davis then turned the gun on himself. At the time of the shooting his motive was said to have been that he held a grudge against his debate team coach and was actively looking for him in order to kill him.

Recently the Arapahoe County Sheriffs Department released their report on the shooting. In the report it says that Pierson hoped the school shooting would start a conversation about bullying because Pierson claimed he was bullied in middle school. Too many people are willing to take that statement at face value. If you do you’re taking the word of a self-admitted psychopath. Let’s not forget that Pierson was said to have had this obsession with the need to always be right. You don’t develop that kind of personality trait overnight. While Pierson may have seen it as bullying it sounds more like that other people thought he was a jerk. Not to mention that I doubt Claire Davis was his bully. She probably didn’t even know him. And once again the conversation does not turns toward bullying. Every article I’ve read from about the report talks about identifying the next shooter before it happens. If anything school shooters just make the bullying problem worse.

Pierson was just another narcissistic, ego-maniacal coward who blamed everyone else for his own failings. To excuse his actions in any way is reprehensible.

ABC News gets the Columbine effect right, then gets it very wrong

abcthisweek

Please watch the following video from ABC News in its entirety. You can also watch it at their website.

This was a segment by correspondent Pierre Thomas for ABC News’ This Week With George Stephanopoulos. I thought Mr. Thomas did a great job at first discussing the copycat shootings that were inspired by Columbine. It said all the right things without glorifying the guilty. I greatly appreciated how it was pointed out that a lot of the shootings had to deal with mental illness. I wish they would have said something to make seeking mental health treatment less stigmatized but it’s a start. Then at about the 4:12 mark it goes completely off the rails.

At that point Mr. Thomas interviews one Dillon Cossey. Cossey pleaded guilty in 2007 to plotting an attack against Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School at the age of 14. At this point in the interview the bullying trope is brought out. It’s like there’s a mandate for all American media that if you’re talking about school shootings you have to mention bullying in the piece whether it’s factual or not. If Cossey was bullied it didn’t happen at the school he was attending at the time because Cossey was being home-schooled at the time of his arrest.

Another thing that should have been brought up about how to stop some of these shootings is parenting. I would say just about all the shootings that were committed by juveniles could have been prevented if the parents just paid closer attention to their kids, stopped trying to be their friend instead of their parent, and having a modicum of common sense. If your kid has an unhealthy obsession with mass murderers it’s not ‘just a phase’. It means they are in need of psychiatric help. As an example of what not to do we’ll go back to Dillon Cossey. His parents were both arrested after his arrest because they were the ones who bought him a .22-caliber handgun, a .22-caliber rifle and a 9-millimeter semiautomatic rifle.

You get an E for effort ABC News. Maybe next time how about a little more fact checking and a little less dissemination of misinformation?

Study says bullying not the cause of school shootings

questionmaksign

You know, I was going to do this long drawn out post on this but what’s the point? I’ve been over this so many times and now there’s clinical support for my assertions.

Anyway, researchers at Freie Universität Berlin conducted a study of 126 attacks against schools in 16 different countries and do you know what they found was at the root of most attacks?

The biggest surprise for the researchers was that 43 percent of the perpetrators had problems, conflicts, or unjust experiences with teachers and school representatives before they went on the school shooting spree.

And since most school shooters are narcissistic ego-maniacs in my opinion the slights from teachers were probably not even slights at all.

Now can we please stop the bullied school shooter trope? Not only is it not true it really doesn’t do anything to stop bullying.

The bullying myth gets a boost from NBC News

nbcnews-logo

Bullied Students Sneak Thousands of Guns Into Schools:

That’s a headline guaranteed to get your attention isn’t it? ‘Thousands of bullied kids take weapons to school’ Now too many people these days will only scan the headlines and maybe the first paragraph and take whatever information they skimmed as gospel. If that’s all you’ll read you’ll believe that hundreds of thousands of kids are taking guns into schools everyday getting ready to shoot the school up. This is how what I call the bullying myth gets spread.

Now that all the people who only read the first paragraph are pissed off please allow me to explain. What I call the bullying myth is the myth that bullying causes school shootings. It doesn’t. This started with Columbine when it was believed early on that the cowardly shooters were bullied. They weren’t. It turns out that they were the bullies themselves. Do I believe bullying exists in schools? Of course I do considering that I’ve received several concussions from my bullies at school but as I am apt to say I got over it.

So in the light of the recent school shooting plot that was foiled in Minnesota, Bill Briggs of NBC News decides to bring us this article with the clever attention-getting headline. In the article it says that the CDC has determined that at least 200,000 bullied kids have brought weapons to school. Those weapons include firearms, knives and clubs. It says that the victims of bullying experience four different kinds of bullying…

— being verbally tormented, sustaining a physical assault, suffering personal property theft or damage, and cutting school due to safety concerns —

The study or at least the way it’s being reported is very vague and leaves a lot of open questions. What kind of weapons are we really talking about here, pellet guns, pen knives, etc. And what do the kids they ask really consider bullying? Do they consider physical assault having their books knocked out of their hands? However buried deep in the article the study even says it’s hard to determine that if any of the kids that claim to be bullied aren’t bullies themselves.

They also might as well throw in some outright misinformation in there as well…

Alex Hribal, 16, is accused of a stabbing spree at a school near Pittsburgh that left 20 students and a security guard wounded. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that Hribal had received an online taunt the night before.

What they neglect to mention is that not only did the police say that they have no indication that was directed at Hribal but that Hribal made threatening phone calls the night before his attack.

All that articles like this actually do a disservice to bullied kids. Instead of trying to correct the bullying problem schools are going to be more worried about finding the next shooter instead and will look to the bullied kids for their potential killers. The problem is that the attackers are usually entitled brats who feel the world owes them everything and use violence to deal with their own inadequacies.

News outlets don’t care about reporting facts anymore. It’s all about ratings and pageviews. The general public are idiots and will believe the first thing they here. Combine those two and it’s a recipe for ignorant disaster.

Hammer attack at Columbine

Hammer did hurt 'em.

Hammer did hurt ’em.

If you follow any of my social media profiles you may have caught me saying that I wasn’t going to post about the hammer attack at Columbine High School. Yes, that Columbine. The reason that I was going to abstain is because of course the media made a big deal about this because of Columbine’s previous history. Then I read the following headline.

Mom Claims Teen in Columbine Hammer Attack Was Bullied:

Before I get ahead of myself here’s the details. A 14-year-old female freshman is accused of attacking two other students with a hammer. She allegedly struck a 15-year-old female on the hand. The female was said to be the target of the attack. The suspect is also accused of allegedly striking a 16-year-old male student on the hands and ribs when he came to the aid of the first victim.

If this had happened at any other school it wouldn’t have even made a dent in the national news but I digress.

Then the mother of the suspect came out and said that her daughter was bullied…

The girl’s mother said bullying recently had her daughter looking at herself in the mirror and crying. The girl recently asked her, “Mom, do you think I’m ugly,” she told the station.

“I’m upset about the fact that they claim that there’s a no tolerance bully policy, when that’s a big Littleton lie,”

However the devil is in the details.

First it’s not uncommon for teenage girls to be insecure and emotional about their appearance. I hate to sound harsh but that’s reality. Secondly the girl was said to have transferred into Columbine from another school. Were there discipline issues at the previous school? That’s a contributing factor in a lot of school transfers. Next, police say there was no evidence of bullying against the suspect. And lastly the suspect may have been the bully herself…

The 16-year-old student, told KDVR that prior to the attack the accused teenager threatened to beat him and his friend with a bat.

And again I’m not saying bullying doesn’t exist in our schools. Nobody knows that better than me. I have the x-rays of broken bones, dislocated joints and concussions to prove it. However bullying has been used as an excuse like this in cases so many times that it’s basically become the boy who cried wolf. Also as I’ve said before anytime one of these school attackers claims that they were bullied it does nothing to help the victims of bullying as schools come more concerned about identifying the next attacker. Not to mention the fact that the proper response to bullying is not a premeditated assault with a hammer.

The Answer?

The answer to bullies:

I almost passed this article by because I thought it was going to be just another “feel good” article about bullying with no real solutions. I was wrong…

In this post-Columbine, zero-tolerance world, Izzy Kalman is something of a revolutionary. He agrees that bullying is a big problem. But he contends that getting rid of bullies is not the solution (and, in fact, is not even possible). What we have to do, he says, is get rid of victims.

“People have a knee-jerk reaction when they hear that,” said Kalman over lunch last month, while he was in West Palm Beach leading a seminar for school counselors and other mental health professionals. “They say I’m blaming the victims. I’m not blaming the victims, but I am saying that they are the ones who have the problem. Bullies don’t have the problem. They aren’t the ones committing suicide and shooting up schools. Those are the victims, and those are the ones whose behavior we need to change.”

Kalman, who spent 26 years as a school psychologist and private psychotherapist, wants to make something clear. He is not saying bullying is good. He’s saying it’s inevitable, a natural byproduct of human nature. He’s also saying that, to the extent it helps teach kids resilience and self-sufficiency, it’s useful. And he’s saying that, unless it causes physical harm, it’s also legal, protected under the Constitution.

“Our Constitution guarantees the right to free speech,” he says. “And that means the right to tell someone they are a big, fat idiot if we want to. Kids today are growing up with the idea that nobody can ever say anything mean to them. We are raising a generation of emotional marshmallows. We’re promoting learned helplessness. And I am really concerned that when these kids grow up, they are going to be unable to handle adversity of any kind, because we learn to handle adversity from dealing with the fairly simple difficulties of childhood.”

Like being called a big, fat idiot by the class bully.

Read the rest of the article. It’s definitely worth it.

The Secret Service Proves My Point

Feds help schools identify dangerous students:

This is an article about how the Secret Service tries to identify students that are potential school shooters. I noticed that nowhere in the article does it state that the Secret Service is trying to identify bullies. What’s my point? My point is, like I’ve said before, that with each school plot that is uncovered the focus becomes less and less about bullying and more about threats of violence against schools. Do I support bullying? Of course not. Like I’ve said before I was bullied in school but I got over it. Armed retaliation is not a logical response. But don’t believe me. Listen to this kid who got busted for it…

Now in prison, the boy said he is in more pain now than ever. “You have to go day by day, remembering what you did,” he said.

Think. Is it really worth it? When you get arrested and land in jail you’ll find out a whole new definition of bullying.