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Author Topic: Satisfying or tragic?
Sa'eed
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link
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Kwea
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Both. I think the little punk deserves to be suspended too.
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MattP
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Seriously. How in the world do you not suspend the instigator of a fight that's caught on tape?
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Sterling
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I had heard that the bully was suspended as well, and for a longer stretch than his victim. But that "report" came from someone on another message board, so it may not be accurate.
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BlackBlade
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The bullied kid showed so much restraint. He was pressed against the wall, punched in the face, and then he swatted the kids fist away, which only prompted the bully to escalate things. I'm sure this is after enduring a long period of systematic abuse from these boys.

I don't believe violence is the answer, but I have so much sympathy for the bullied kid, and absolutely none for the bully. I won't lie, part of me felt good when that body hit the ground.

It's tragic, that this stupid dance has gone on in just about every place since the beginning of the human race.

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Rakeesh
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The usual caveats in place (we don't know the context, specifically if any violence directly preceded the footage shown), I'm astounded the instigator wasn't suspended as well.

I'm not surprised the much larger kid was suspended, if Australian rules are anything like some American school rules for fighting which is basically to say 'anyone fighting for any reason, defense or offense or in defense of puppies being kicked' will be suspended. But from what's shown, it doesn't seem right at all.

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BlackBlade
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There's video of the bully's mother saying her son got what he deserved. The bullied kid's parents indicated that those boys had been tormenting him for a period of time.

The fact a small kid was picking on a boy so much larger than him seems to lend itself to the idea that this group of boys were ganging up on the bullied kid. You can also see one of the larger bullies start intimidating Casey right after he backs away from the fallen bully, and he is told to back off by a girl passing by. It appears at the end of the video the large bully is trying to catch up with Casey.

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Rakeesh
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Ahh, I wasn't aware of the other stuff, corroborating that the bigger kid had been targeted for quite some time. I will say that I'm disinclined to take the input of a parent who had that happen to their kid (that is, the body slam), and/or who did what the kid was supposed to have done-systematic taunting right up to and past the line of serious violence.

It's really not enough to go on, but the picture that paints, the information as we know it, well, I'm dubious if the bully's mother has many good ideas what her son deserves.

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Samprimary
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It's all just sad anyway because the school environment is so corroded that the big kid could get picked on like this constantly while other kids just unabashedly film it.

By the time the video has started, it's already tragic.

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
It's all just sad anyway because the school environment is so corroded that the big kid could get picked on like this constantly while other kids just unabashedly film it.

By the time the video has started, it's already tragic.

Exactly right.
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:

I don't believe violence is the answer, but...

I'm not saying anything about the specific situation here, but I think that there are times and situations where violence is the best answer available.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:

I don't believe violence is the answer, but...

I'm not saying anything about the specific situation here, but I think that there are times and situations where violence is the best answer available.
Absolutely. I think the bully should get expelled, and the larger kid should get a medal.
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AchillesHeel
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Good for that kid, the only way he could of been treated that way is if he followed societies rules of pacifism and non-confrontation but in the end he defended himself and didnt go for the coup d'etat. He was in that situation becuase of his peaceful nature and that little brat wasnt hurt worse than he was for the same reason.
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Parkour
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Bullying is a complex situation. The correct answer is not for a 16 year old to slam a 12 year old into concrete.

I don't condemn casey for his action, but it certainly is not something that should be encouraged, since establishing any viability for violence in schools goes both ways and empowers the aggressors more than the nominal victims of bullying.

Blaming the situation as it stood on 'his peaceful nature' rather than the neglectful environment of the school is a great way to miss all of the important lessons that could be gleaned here.

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AlphaEnder
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This nagging thought keeps popping in my head...it's saying something like "Ender and Stiltson"... [Wink] I know, the scenario's not the same, but all the same. I'm a big guy myself, and during elementary school and a little bit into middle school, I was teased about my size. I took one kid's verbal abuse for four years before I snapped. One punch, dropped him, had no more problems with bullies, and it drew all his "victims" to be friends with me. Hopefully I'm not painting myself as the new bully or gang leader here; that was one of the three fights I've been in during my entire life (spats and wrestling matches with brothers don't count).

Now, as much as it sounds like I'm trying to talk myself up, I'm not (what could be the possible endgame for me there?). The point is that I bore it, and when it got too far, I defended myself with finality, ending the bullying forever (or at least from that person/school). Was I a little extreme? Maybe. Was this kid a little extreme? Maybe. But no one ever stepped in for me, and no one stepped in for this boy. He was bullied, and like Samprimary said, he was bullied so far that someone was able to film the bullying without fear of repercussions. He was left on his own to solve his problems, and because schools are scared of lawsuits, they suspended him for his solution. Of course, it could have been all avoided if the school was better equipped/prepared for bullying.

Final Verdict? Tragic that it had to come to that, but satisfying to see justice dealt to a bully.

Can you tell I dig the EG/ES series?

Alpha

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Ace of Spades
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It reminded me more of Marcao Ribeira.
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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
since establishing any viability for violence in schools goes both ways and empowers the aggressors more than the nominal victims of bullying.
How does *reciprocation* of violence empower the initiators of such? It seems to me that reciprocation of violence *threatens*, not empowers, the aggressors.

Now if you argued against preemptive violence, I'd certainly agree with your point.

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mr_porteiro_head
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The policy that any and all fighting of any sort, including defending when somebody's already beating you up, to me sends one of two messages:

1. It is completely unacceptable for you to attempt solve your own problems of this nature. This, presumably, is because that's the school's job, and carries with it the implicit promise that they'll take care of you, and they'll make sure that you're kept safe and protected. Try as they may, schools are simply unable to continually provide this level of protection.

2. Those in charge can't be bothered, don't have the manpower, or for some other reason simply aren't going to respect the needs and rights of the students. Were you in the right? Frankly, it doesn't matter. It's too difficult to ascertain whether or not you were, so in order to maintain order (or at least the semblance of it), you get punished regardless.

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Amanecer
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quote:
How does *reciprocation* of violence empower the initiators of such? It seems to me that reciprocation of violence *threatens*, not empowers, the aggressors.
Because it's hard to prove who initiated things most of the time. In this case, with clear video proof, there's no question. But if the punishment goes one way, what bully wouldn't claim to have been the victim?
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Swampjedi
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MPH, agreed. The combination of those two things (powerless to respond, and we're not going to fix the issue) is explosive. It scales, too.

I'd never encourage the violent reponse. I'd encourage playing by the rules, if my kid were being bullied. However, that doesn't mean I'd not cheer inside if my child took matters into his own hands in a similar situation.

One life lesson is to not be a vigilante. Another is that sometimes, you have to be.

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
I'd never encourage the violent reponse.
Never?

If so, how do you reconcile that with the last sentence of your post?

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Swampjedi
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It's like with a pet. If your pet is sick, I encourage you to take it to the vet. If it turns out that your prospects are exausted, and the pet is suffering, I'd not "encourage" you to euthanize. I might suggest it, though.

I think that it hinges on the word "encourage". To me, encourage implies that I think the choice is GOOD. What's a good word for "regretfully take the sub-optimal choice of last resort"?

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mr_porteiro_head
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If something is the best available choice, regardless of it being sub-"optimal" or of last resort, I'd just call it the best choice, and encourage you to take it.

[ March 18, 2011, 02:46 PM: Message edited by: mr_porteiro_head ]

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Parkour
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quote:
Originally posted by Amanecer:
quote:
How does *reciprocation* of violence empower the initiators of such? It seems to me that reciprocation of violence *threatens*, not empowers, the aggressors.
Because it's hard to prove who initiated things most of the time. In this case, with clear video proof, there's no question. But if the punishment goes one way, what bully wouldn't claim to have been the victim?
Also important -- the people who bully are usually going to be the more physically capable and have more advantages in numbers. The reciprocation of violence only helps those who are lucky enough to be physically capable enough to handle the situations they are constantly put in. For anyone else, the more violent the environment gets, the more it helps those who would bully them.
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Swampjedi
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
If something is the best available choice, regardless of it being sub-"optimal" or of last resort, I'd just call it the best choice, and encourage you to take it.

That clears things up then. In that case, yes, I can't say I'd never "encourage" the violent option.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
If something is the best available choice, regardless of it being sub-"optimal" or of last resort, I'd just call it the best choice, and encourage you to take it.

I agree with Porter on this, even if violence isn't the answer, as in the optimal answer, sometimes it is the only one available, so for all intents and purposes it's the answer.

I do believe though if a school always punishes the bully and the bullied when it comes to blows, then the school has a responsibility to take the safety of its students seriously. A teacher observing for five minutes the interactions I was having with boys while trying to play wall ball would figure out pretty quick something was wrong.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Parkour:
Also important -- the people who bully are usually going to be the more physically capable and have more advantages in numbers. The reciprocation of violence only helps those who are lucky enough to be physically capable enough to handle the situations they are constantly put in. For anyone else, the more violent the environment gets, the more it helps those who would bully them.

Ding ding ding. The idea that the educational system should turn a blind eye to (or even encourage) the violent response is incredibly stupid. The more commonplace and unenforced the incidences of violence — even those claimed in retribution — the more miserable a school gets for the oppressed. The people who bully are more often than not working from a position of physical superiority and greater numbers. How often, you might ask, is it going to be a 16 year old provoked by a preteen half his weight?

That said, questioning the justification or deservedness of the individual act is like picking nits off the surface of the issue. It's all unfathomably less important than what the school seems to be derelict in, in terms of maintaining a safe environment for kids there. This is what happens when you put kids in a prison-rules environment for eight hours a day.

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Geraine
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I was bullied twice in school. Neither lasted long because I didn't put up with it. Honestly going to a teacher to notify them simply did not work. Sure, the teacher would get after the bully, but that just made it worse later.

One bully's name was Leo. We were in the same grade but he was about a foot shorter than I was. On my birthday he said he was going to punch me once for every year old I was. His two friends held me while he started punching me in the arm. After two punches I decided I wasn't going to take it so I got an arm lose and punched the guy right in the nose.

He went and cried to a teacher who dragged us both to the principles office. I explained the whole situation to him which was backed up by a friend as well as by one of the bully's friends. I got a day of in-house and he got a 3 day suspension.

He never tried to bully me again. We even became friends in middle school [Smile]

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richd
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>Alpha Ender- I was hoping someone else would think of Stilson. You're right though, the difference is that this boy was not surrounded, but had simply had enough and snapped. The outcome is the same though, he will not be bullied anymore.

A body slam was not the best response, but nobody is going to judge a child who hasn't yet had the experience to learn how to control one's outputs. In Ender's case, it was a well calculated strategy.

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Rakeesh
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My personal belief here is that the problem isn't a policy that punishes someone who uses clearly defensive violence in response to aggressive violence (though that is unjust, most would agree). The problem is the attitude that either spawns or is spawned by (or both) such zero-tolerance policies, in which students simply aren't well-protected from themselves or from adults. Zero-tolerance policies being one means by which people can think the problem is solved-because if violence is so frowned upon that even someone defending himself is punished, there's probably not going to be much violence at all, right? Because of a policy that harsh?
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mr_porteiro_head
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The great thing about zero-tolerance policies is that it doesn't require administrators to think, use their judgment, or take any responsibility for the consequences of such.
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Stone_Wolf_
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I was horribly teased all throughout school. I was picked upon, bullied, ridiculed, beat up, etc.

It all stopped when I started standing up for myself. Because no one else was doing it.

If administrators want to have a no violence policy, that's great! As long as they create an environment where children are safe from teasing and bullying.

There is no other time in our lives that we are so vulnerable and ill equipped to deal with problems like bullies as children are in school.

At work none of these behaviors would be tolerated.

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Lyrhawn
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When I have kids and they tell me they're being bullied, I'll tell them to try the non-violent way, once. If the school doesn't do anything, then I'll tell them to defend themselves, within reason. Obviously I wouldn't tell them to fight back it that means getting the crap utterly kicked out of them, sometimes discretion is the better part of valor.

I think it's a great time to teach judgment to kids. Fighting might not be preferred, but you can't talk your way out of every situation. I guess this works differently depending on how old the kid is, but I guess I'll cross that bridge when I get there some years from now.

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Teshi
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I just dealt on Friday with a violent reprisal to sustained verbal bullying (happening, unfortunately, quietly so I couldn't catch it before exploded right in front of me, sigh).

Obviously, violence is not condoned by the school, but I remember my brother was bullied in school because he was a bit unusual (much like the child who is a target at my school). In Assembly once he snapped and stormed out-- at the time I was so embarassed I cried but now I'm epically proud of my brother having the strength to do all kinds of things in primary school-- like refusing to pray-- while I was effortlessly fitting in

The thing with reprisals/retaliations, as I tell my kids, is that unfortunately-- however much the bully is to blame-- the reprisal has to be dealt with. In the case of the incident at school, the bully was injured and could not be disciplined immediately.

I was once a bully but I remember what I did today and how I immediately regretted it. I don't think I was raised to have the heart-- I wasn't in that place in my life.

Bullies have power socially among children. I see that in class when nobody tells on them when they do something wrong-- meaning there's very little evidence for the wrongdoing.

But there are three kinds of bullies-- the more obvious in status who are kings of the classroom and they change the dynamic of the classroom when they walk in. Then there's the quieter bully-- and the more dangerous-- who doesn't modify the room because he's much less powerful, who's faster at getting back to his seat, quieter at bullying and fades from the group. He holds similar power, though. And he's more manipulative, because his friends are more desperate than him and want to keep him.

(I'm using 'him' because I teach all boys).

I feel quite horrible that I didn't catch this incident before it happened. It's my responsibility as a teacher to sort out these issues before they get to violence.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
When I have kids and they tell me they're being bullied, I'll tell them to try the non-violent way, once. If the school doesn't do anything, then I'll tell them to defend themselves, within reason.

My father did much the same thing, but in a manner designed to force the school's hand. He said to tell them that if they weren't going to put an end to it, there was going to be a physical confrontation. This worked well enough for me that when there was finally a physical confrontation, it was off school grounds.
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AchillesHeel
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In the second grade on my walk home two boys would harrass me a bit, one on a bike who would speed up to catch me no matter how early I left school and walked fast and his friend would catch up. I was massively undersized as a young boy and knew I was out-matched, so one day I scavenged a stick from a yard before they showed up and as the one on the bike first came up to me I thrust it into his wheel, it snapped in two and he didnt even fall but he was freaked out and got away from me. Now on the defensive I picked up the biggest rock I could find and stared the two of them down, they turned around and I went home. For the next week I took the only other route home (twice as long) to keep from being in thier chosen altercation instead of mine, and when I went back to my route they went right past me.

I cant say that I made them my friends, but they did fear me enough to no longer infringe upon my rights and even say hello as they passed. I was smaller and outnumbered but without hurting anyone I made two boys much bigger than me afraid to harrass me and possibly anyone else who fit that same profile.

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Blayne Bradley
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http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:

There is no other time in our lives that we are so vulnerable and ill equipped to deal with problems like bullies as children are in school.

Samp said this earlier but it bears repeating: There is one other time in some of our lives where bullying occurs in a similar pattern that it does in school.

It's called prison.

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dabbler
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I think I was lucky that I didn't get bullied or picked on much at my school. I had some enemies, sure, but nothing like what many experience. I think it was tempered with a bit of a reputation for not putting up with it. In 4th grade or so, we were playing wiffle ball and the school 'bully' taunted me by not throwing the ball at me when it was my turn. I got annoyed at him and ran up to him and hit him with the (plastic) wiffle bat. I think everyone thought it was kinda funny and he never gave me as much trouble after that.
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Dobbie
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quote:
Originally posted by Teshi:


But there are three kinds of bullies-- the more obvious in status who are kings of the classroom and they change the dynamic of the classroom when they walk in. Then there's the quieter bully-- and the more dangerous-- who doesn't modify the room because he's much less powerful, who's faster at getting back to his seat, quieter at bullying and fades from the group. He holds similar power, though. And he's more manipulative, because his friends are more desperate than him and want to keep him.


Then there's the most obnoxious kind, the one who makes fun of people who can't count.
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Raymond Arnold
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quote:
Satisfying or tragic?
Yes.
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Samprimary
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I'm trying to figure out which is the majority pool from my high school:

group A is the people who were problems for me that I could have successfully chased off/disincentivized with violence

group B is the people who were problems for me who ran in packs and would have loved if I had taken a shot at them, because they could have subsequently taken me down and kicked my teeth in

(group B, of course, would have loved to see a 'stand up for yourself' solution proffered)

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C3PO the Dragon Slayer
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
The great thing about zero-tolerance policies is that it doesn't require administrators to think, use their judgment, or take any responsibility for the consequences of such.

I think I would like to frame this quote and hang it on my wall.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
The great thing about zero-tolerance policies is that it doesn't require administrators to think, use their judgment, or take any responsibility for the consequences of such.
I wouldn't put it quite as harshly as that, or at least not exactly. That's because I think many people really do think things like zero-tolerance policies, on all sorts of things (drugs, violence, and sex being the big ones that come to mind) really are enough. So they feel they have taken responsibility, used judgment, and thought, etc. Of course the truth is they haven't, not really-which is why they can be so dangerous.

I'm reading The Gift of Fear right now (fascinating stuff), and one of the things the book talks about is how potentially dangerous a poorly trained guard or inept policy can be when they're put in place and then everyone thinks the problem is solved, no need to consider it anymore. Worse than no policy at all, potentially. Another interesting thing in the book is a recurring theme, the ideal about seeking safety over justice for the purposes of the topics under discussion. Is it just that someone bullied for months on end, even violently, can be punished equally or more harshly than those bullying him? Of course not. But then the policy isn't in place primarily for justice, and the problem with the policy isn't that it's unjust-it's that it's poorly enforced.

Or basically what several other folks are saying, I was just reading something and thought it was interesting.

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PSI Teleport
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*laugh at Dobbie*

School policy seems to have been born from lazy parenting, the kind where punishing everyone in the room is the best way to deal with every squabble. Once in a while you do have a squabble that needs to be punished like that, the kind that's escalated to the point where everyone is flailing and whining and taking shots at each other. But approaching your kids this way as a rule makes me think parents have forgotten what it was like to be a kid: usually there is one aggressor, one child that's irritable or over-excited or bratty and decides to pick at the other kid until they snap. I rarely see moms and dads make the effort to root out that child [based on culminated experience as a child, a babysitter, and an adult]; I'm not sure how we can expect more from teachers who aren't even related to them.

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Rakeesh
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Well, I may be imagining it's too simple but I think the way we expect more from our schools with regards to this sort of thing is to in a straightforward, public way expect more from them. That is at some open meeting ask pointed questions about school policies concerning student safety, put concerns into the minds of administrators in a way they can't just forget about or minimize it, and also put them into the minds of other parents so that they help with oversight too.

Another of the book's ideas, but a common sense one-especially since many of the policies in place aren't bad, just badly applied.

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AchillesHeel
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Casey Heynes interview.
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mr_porteiro_head
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(speaking of situations where parents are disciplining their kids, not bullying/fighting situations at school)
quote:
usually there is one aggressor, one child that's irritable or over-excited or bratty and decides to pick at the other kid until they snap.
This is not my experience. Rather,when I find out exactly what happened, usually both children are very much at fault, rather than one being the primary aggressor.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by PSI Teleport:
School policy seems to have been born from lazy parenting, the kind where punishing everyone in the room is the best way to deal with every squabble.

Fortunately, most schools have dropped out from zero-tolerance approaches that punish instigators as much as their victims and refuse to make any distinction in appropriate response.
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Teshi
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quote:
I'm not sure how we can expect more from teachers who aren't even related to them.
Teachers often know exactly who's to blame. After all, they spend a heck of a lot of time with the children and they are paid to pay attention.

I would consider suspending a violent retaliation like this, but I wouldn't otherwise punish him. The bully would get far worse.

Schools can't usually overlook violent reprisals, however justified, because it sets a precedent for this kind of violent response. Many bullies don't punch first, which makes a violent response difficult to ignore. The response is-- as this video proves-- almost always far more obviously violent than the bully's initial aggression. Something has to happen.

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