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HomeHealth & BehaviorBullying

Ask the Experts

Should I Teach My Child to Defend Himself?

By Dr. Michelle Alvarez, Consulting Educator

Question:

My son just received three days in an alternative school for defending himself in a fight. What is upsetting me is that if he did not defend himself, he would be bullied. So what is a parent to do? What is right? Teach your child to defend himself or teach him to allow bullies to pick on him?

Answer:

I would assume your son is in middle or high school. I will also assume that by using the term "alternative school" you are referring to a program within the home-school that is "in-school suspension." Regardless of the terminology and grade level, you bring up a legitimate issue as to what to tell our children about defending themselves when physically attacked.

In most cases a student is aware there is a problem before it gets physical. Did your student talk with his counselor, assistant principal, school social worker or another adult in the building prior to the incident to indicate there was a problem? Did you know about the disharmony ahead of time and inform the school?

Educators are trained to deal with bullying and other types of issues. Many schools have peer mediation, where concerns are addressed prior to escalating into a physical confrontation; however, an adult in the school must be notified there is a problem. Being proactive is always better than being reactive. Students have choices; they need to learn there are alternatives to violence in most cases.

As a parent I would want to know what really started the altercation in the first place? Did my child say something inappropriate or was he totally innocent of any wrongdoing whatsoever? It takes two people to fight. Was there an adult witness to the fight?

Most schools provide a student handbook or a copy of student conduct rights, responsibilities, discipline policy and student rules at the beginning of each school year, or when a student enrolls in a new school. Violation of any rule can result in disciplinary action. Discipline helps to keep and ensure order and safety in schools. In most schools when students fight, they are suspended from school or placed in an alternative setting. This time is used not only as a "cooling off period" for those that fought but to also let all students know there are consequences to fighting, fighting is unacceptable, and fighting will not be tolerated.

You did not state your child had been bullied but "he would be bullied" if he did not fight. If your child is a victim of bullying, it is imperative that school officials be notified immediately. In some instances bullying is a cry for help. By notifying school officials, you may be affording him the counseling and help needed to change inappropriate behavior.

But we have to treat everyone equally, victim and aggressor alike.

What you can do is learn more about the discipline policy of your son's school and become active in advocating for any changes that need to be made. Some schools have committees that address school issues and this might be your opportunity to participate and provide parent input. A clear code of conduct that is consistently implemented among the school administrators is an important first step. A schoolwide bullying prevention program might be another step or you may want to talk with the administration about the procedures that are in effect in the school for bullying. You may also want to volunteer to serve on a committee to help initiate a policy if one is not in place. Make no mistake. Bullying is not a laughing matter and requires attention.

Editor's note: Because of the volume of comments we received about this article, we asked the authors to respond. Here's what they had to say:

Should I Teach My Child to Defend Himself? A Follow-Up Response

What is apparent in the responses to this question is that many parents are frustrated when they feel that they have contacted school personnel and "nothing is done about it." Bullying is very traumatic for the victim and it is essential that the bullying be addressed immediately. Many respondents felt that their children should have parental permission to defend themselves. However, this is not a recommended response in research published on bullying. In fact, the opposite is true. Teaching children to respond with calmness and confidence is suggested.

Early intervention is the first key to a good outcome for the student, parent and school. What was stated in the original response to this question was that, "Being proactive is always better than being reactive." The response also suggested the student tell an adult at school. To provide further resources on the topic of what the student can do in reaction to bullying, please see the following Web sites:

Stop Bullying Now

Pacer Center's Kids Against Bullying

Many Web sites provide ideas for what parents can do to help their children who are being bullied. Most sites advocate for empowering children and youth to learn to handle the bullying and put a stop to it early. In this way they learn the skills they need to prevent it from happening in the future, even if an adult doesn't listen to their report of bullying. Some of the resources include the following:

Back Off Bully

Mental Health

We noted a frustration with schools that do not respond to student/parent reports of bullying. The following two Web sites offer some good ideas about gathering data to present to the school to support your claims. Ideas included in these sites include learning about the chain of command and following it (teacher, principal, superintendent); identifying a reasonable response time to know when to move up the chain of command; contacting other parents to see if they have reported bullying and received a response; and when to get the police involved. These two resources, from the National Mental Health Information Center are:

What Can Parents Do?

How to Talk With Educators at Your Child's School About Bullying: Tips for Parents of Bullied Children

Prevention programs beginning in early childhood help create a school culture that does not tolerate violence and sets a standard for expectations when bullying occurs. Some examples of research-based programs include:

Second Step: A Violence Prevention Curriculum

Get Real About Violence

The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program

Prevention programs can be funded by grants from local business (perhaps your employer) and local foundations. You can help the schools access programs for which they currently do not have funds. Much of education funding (as noted in the reader comments) is targeted to academic instruction due to increased accountability being placed on the schools. This does not mean that school districts do not address bullying nor does it mean they do not want to employ a research-based program to address bullying. With limited funds, schools must leverage all resources available to them.

Addressing bullying is the responsibility of the community, schools, parents and youth. Bullying occurs in many settings and must be addressed in an organized and purposeful manner.


Dr. Michelle Alvarez is an adjunct professor at the University of Southern Indiana and project director of Safe Schools/Healthy Students for the Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation. A former school social worker in Pinellas County, Florida, she is co-editor of School Social Work: Theory to Practice and chair of the National Association of Social Workers, School Social Work Section. She is also the parent of a special needs child.

Advice from our experts is not a substitute for professional diagnosis or treatment from a health-care provider or learning expert familiar with your unique situation. We recommend consulting a qualified professional if you have concerns about your child's condition.


Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

06/27/2012:
"Apparently, Dr. Alvarez thinks that if you're being attacked, you should just curl up into a ball and try to "talk it out" with your assailant while you're getting your head kicked in. People out in the street have the legal right to use reasonable force to stop a physical assault, yet for some reason students inside a school are not given this same right. Furthermore, this "doctor" doesn't even realize that there's a difference between fighting and self-defense. "Fighting" involves a mutual dispute where both parties are willing participants. "Self-defense" involves a perpetrator who's intent on harming another person, and a victim who merely wishes to avoid being harmed. "
05/3/2012:
"My child has had an incident today where a kid punched him in the face and pushed his head down and kneed him in the face over a soccer game. My child did not retaliate because he knew he would be suspended if he hit back so he copped 20 hits to the face, bruises are showing. The repurcussion for the child is 4 days suspension. The school can't do anything more until he does this again. My fear as a parent is that he will pick my child to hit again because he knew not to retaliate so it is a safe situation for him to choose my child as the victim. How do I justify to my child that it is best not to hit back. I feel like I give bad advice when I say that I am proud of him for not hitting back. Great advice Mum but he said he can't be hit that much again, it hurt. What do I do?? How do I make my child feel safe in this environment so that he can trust my judgement again. Help "
03/29/2012:
"After reading this article, it is really clear why problems exist. Dr. Alvarez, you are an educated and accomplished woman, who CLEARLY has a skewed view of what is REALLY going on in our local schools. It is NEVER alright for bullying, harassment, threatening to take place, EVEN if "something inappropriate was said". It doesn't ALWAYS take two people to fight. My daughter was recently attacked from behind by a student who had harassed and threatened her. All of this happened on the school campus and was captured on video on an accomplices cell phone (which was later loaded to Facebook). My daughter had previously brought these issues to the school administration. Instead of protecting her, she was made to sign a "harassment contract" and was disciplined for Defiant Behavior under CA Ed Code 48900(K). I spoke directly with the school administration when this incident happened and I was told something completely different than what my daughters discipline record repo! rts. When my daughter was attacked, she too was suspended from school, because she "fought back". Even though the previously mentioned video shows her being stalked for 30 second prior to the attack and CLEARLY defending herself. For "participating" in the incident, my daughter was Suspended under CA ED Code 48900 (a)(1) and (k). And by the way, my daughter suffered a Closed Head Injury and nose injury. I have to agree with the previous comment that was made, that we are receiving "lip service" from those who are in charge and while these policies represent a great effort and look GREAT on paper, they are failing! "
03/29/2012:
"Educators are not trained to stop bullying. They have training in something, but that training has no effect. It perhaps could, but that takes effort to use. "Drive-by" bullying prevention doesn't work and by 2nd grade the kids are smart enough to fool the teachers and can even cause their victims to get into trouble instead of them. The reason is educators have a complete lack of knowledge about young human beings. Moreover, they respond not by using conscious thinking applying training, but by the same part of the brain these children are driven by. They become part of the crowd. Ask any child who is bullied and they'll tell you the teachers don't do anything and often make it worse. Bullying exists in K-12 because of the training the educators get - because of the environment they set up. Ask any of them why kids bully and they'll cite causation that has no empirical basis. In short, they have no clue. I've heard educators cite social immaturity of the victim. A! re you kidding me?! That attribution is the most obvious evidence educators do not have any relevant training - their education completely omits most of the most relevant science related to their jobs. The education they have about children is so outdated or based on original theories long outdated and irrelevant that they need a complete paradigm shift. No, educators are not trained to deal with bullies. You can cite theory to explain practice all you want, but the reality reveals that when it comes to K-12 education, theory and practice are two very different things. The problem is with the education curriculum and academe and their insistence at blaming the victims and the parents. And with teacher unions there isn't much anything can be done about it. If you want to stop bullying, you need to educate the educators, get rid of the damn teacher unions and fire bad educators. "
03/12/2012:
"I disagree completely as a fresh out of high school student I know why type of bullying there is . Many of you adults believe its still the same as it was in your time but truth is it is not! Technology is very advanced ad well as other things. Most teachers, counsalers, etc. do not do anything or they do not do the right thing ! What schools need are real professionals that care about what they are doing. If not which I doubt will happen means more kids will be bullied and this affects them forever( as many of you will remember ) . "
03/6/2012:
"Schools need to wake up! Bullying is real and it is dangerous. The schools and your column are merely giving lip service. When a bully attacks a child, schools expect a child to just sit and get pummeled into the ground. My daughter was attacked after school on a vacant playground. She was attacked from behind, punched in the back of the neck and dragged to the ground by her hair. She fought back. Both of them got suspended. My daughter's neck is still terribly sore 1 week later. Equal treatment for victim and bully is stupid. I think anyone who advocates this equal treatment should be taken out and beaten senseless. You are a enabler and a moron, Dr. Alvarez. "
03/6/2012:
"I cannot BELIEVE that you just said "you may be affording him the counseling and help needed to CHANGE INAPPROPRIATE behavior." You just blamed the victim!!!! Shame on you Dr. Alvarez. "
02/24/2012:
"What do you do when a guidence counseler calls foul play ....competitive play..even after my son suffers a concussion after the "bully" jumps up and elbows my son in the back..knocking him to the ground? Then even after the complaint, the "bully" continues to elbow in the back and trys to trip my son during a game, and still.. this is considered competitive play??? Also, Ive went to the principal and it seems like the guidence counseler later alters the principals response,.....after the principal agrees he doesnt see this as an accident or competitive play... "
01/23/2012:
"As someone who was bullied in school and had her parents step in, it made it worse. Children are vicious. If it's not in school, they'll do it whenever they see you.... I'm not above fighting back and when I finally did knock down the boy who kept harassing me, it stopped. All of his followers quit also. Sometimes fighting back is the only option and when kids see that this nation retaliates to being attacked with war, how can they legally say that it's wrong to fight back? "
01/11/2012:
"Like the first story my son also had to attend a alternate school for defending himself and another friend, The school is calling it assault, can somone please help me understand why our children canot defend themselves without be accused of such a terrible crime as assault. The juvinile officer also told me that in the state of missouri if you see somone getting hurt/raped you have to retreat if possible but if you could not and faught back that you would find yourself with assault charges. REALLY please explain this to me. "
01/10/2012:
"this is BS! why should a victim be treated the same as a bully!? the victim did nothing but defend himself! The U.S school system is whack! "
12/12/2011:
"I think that a child who's chronically the victim of physical bullying because s/he has a developmental/neurological disability really should be taught how to protect him or herself in the event that the bullying persists, and doesn't stop, no matter what is tried. All too often, school authorities and teachers just simply sit back and do or say nothing to stop bullying, so what choice does a kid who's constantly under physical attack have sometimes? Besides, there's nothing wrong with a kid sticking up for him or herself if necessary. "
11/28/2011:
"I spent 28 years as an educator, 4 as teacher, 13 as a building administrator, both elementary and secondary, and the last 8 as superintendent of schools and I firmly believe children should be encouraged to defend themselves even if they lose the fight. Bullies do not pick on those who fight back so a one time fight might saves years of future abuse. For those simply too small or overmatched to defend themselves I took on the task and I could and would be just as mean and violent as the bully I was dealing with. In those years I never involved in a full blown fist fight but on several occasions I left bullies with the option of taking a swing at me or backing down and I always manipulated the situation so they would have to swing first. That way if they in fact whipped me I would take them to court for assault and so win or lose they were punished for their bullying tactics. "
11/28/2011:
"WOW! just... WOW! Dr. Alverez if that is the advice your giving then you need to lose your job as an "Expert" immediately! That is some of the worst advice Ive ever heard and you information about what the schools know and are trained in is WAAAY off. "
11/17/2011:
"And why exactly do we "have to" treat the victim and aggressor equally? The article states this as if it is a given, but my first thought was "And why exactly is that someone we have to do?" Since there is no other area of life where a victim and an aggressor are both treated the same, I would like a good explanation as to why it should apply in this situation. "
11/2/2011:
"Wow... This article is ridiculous! My son has been bullied at school for years and the bullies never get punished. When my son reacts or tries to defend himself, he gets in trouble. The boy who called my son "gay" did not get in trouble. My son who replied with "jerk" got detention. It's been like this for years and there is no improvement in sight! It's very frustrating and I am so sick of the victim taking all the blame and getting all the punishment! "
11/1/2011:
"my child was put in out of school alternative for trying to defend someone being bullied, and the bully swung at him and he fought back now i just wanted to know if i could do anything about this? "
10/7/2011:
"The statement that "t we have to treat everyone equally, victim and aggressor alike," is one of the most ridiculous statements I have heard regarding this issue. Bullying is a crime. Physical, sexual and emotional intimidation and harassment is not acceptable in the workplace, and it should not be tolerated in our schools either. Ms. Alvarez--if you were the victim of a crime I'm sure you would appreciate the fact that the law does not treat the victim and the aggressor equally. A victim is supported, and a criminal punished. To suggest otherwise is ludicrous. "
10/6/2011:
""To say that it takes two to fight is a cliche that is simply not true. It only take one individual with the wrong attitude to prey on the innocent." "
10/4/2011:
"My son has been choked,(had to be taken to the emergency room),also jumped on by a group of kids,each time he did not fight back.Police, School Staff,School District was notifed and nothing was done,the same kid that choked him ,hit my son in the face and this time my hit him back and was suspened.I have had all I can take.Enough is Enough "
09/27/2011:
"I love how it says "it takes two to fight." Wrong. It takes one to whoop your ass. Teach your son to be a man, stand up for himself, and if he has to spend a week in "in-school" suspension so be it. He'll never get picked on again. "
09/19/2011:
"This is the type of liberal BS that "educators" come up with. If your theories worked then the problem would fix itself. If schools condoned/taught defense then we would have much reduced bully problem. The #1 thing to reduce bullies is from bystanders. Check out what the 2 HS kids started with the pink shirt group. Its amazing. But on a smaller scale if your kid has one word said to him, they they say STOP, if they hear a 2nd word its ATTACK time, bullies attack because they have no fear of you attacking back. Thats why they chose to attack you. If my son gets suspended for "defense" then were taking that school given "time off" and going to disney world. I love worthless professors like you who couldnt hack it in the real world then do "research" that does not involve real world situations. See I attacked you and if you return with "words" it doesnt matter because I already attacked you and made you feel worthless. You may say otherwise but you know I hurt you. See thats what a bully does. BTW kids lie in your "studies" just a lil FYI, it makes for good articles and research but no real world actiions. The school Bully Proff gives kids real tools to help "
08/17/2011:
"I have always been told 'if they hit first, you're allowed to hit back'. I firmly believe that this is fair. The old saying is 'sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can never hurt you' is very untrue. I've been called stupid, fat, and ugly before, and it hurts. Never let a bully keep you down. Treating the aggressor the same as the victim is absolutely ridiculous. "
03/14/2011:
"This is BS. My kid is going to defend himself. He will grow into adulthood knowing that he has the right to defend himself, and the school doesn't have the right to tie his hands behind his back. Further, there are no magic adults to fix his problems, who will put his rights and interests before their own, other than his own parents. Jacksonville, FL is a military town - there are a lot of military families in our schools who feel likewise. "
02/28/2011:
"you should bring up a zero tolerence to bullies "
10/5/2010:
"Another child had been bullying my son for a month on the school bus then one day he hit my son in the face now the school sees my son as a problem because he gets picked on by others and the school feels my son should go to another school.My son had reported the bullying to the school befor he was hit in the face. The school is not getting rid of the problem by pushing my son out of the school. The problem will still be there and it will be someone elses child that will be getting hit by the same child that hit my son."
09/7/2010:
"I'm one of those students that was bullied. I went to school everday from fourth to sixth grade and put up with verbal bullying until I could handle it no more an fired back. I was then told by my parents that they were pulling me and my sisters out of school to homeschool us. And thank god they did. "
03/3/2010:
"my son just got kicked out of school this morning for fighting. He had no prior problems with this student. The boy had been held down and burnt with a glue gun. He lied and said he done it his self my son and another student reported it to their teachers. This made the boy mad and he hit my son. my son fought back ended up getting knocked on the ground and kicked in the forehead. No I have a $135 doctor bill my son looses his grades for 4 days and has to attend Saturday school. He should not have to stand there and let some kid beat on him with out defending his self nor should he be punished for defending his self. "
12/1/2009:
"I am a parent my daughter is in 6 grade, there was a situation with her and some of her classmates. Couple days later the matter was brought to a counselor's attention because a parent went to the office and reported it. The report wasn't brought to my daughter's teacher attention. The parent who made the first report that day still came to my daughter's class. Called the teacher out first then the teacher called my daughter out of class. That parent pointed to my daughter and said yes that's the girl that's the girl right there, then went on to point her finger moving it up and down telling my daughter I don't like the idea that your threating my daughter and that you can have the boy because my daughter doesn't need to be bothered by boys, and that she's here for here education. While this conversation was going on my daughter was scared on top of that she was crying. The teacher stood there and did nothing. When the conversation was over the teacher's only words where go! wash your face in the bathroom and when your ready come back into class. The parent who told my daughter these things didn't even belong there, or had the right to talk to my daughter and the teacher did nothing. What would you do, would you consider this to be some form of harrassment and intimidation, and if I could take this matter further in some kind of legal procedure. I would really be interested in your opinion and advise. Keep in mind that my daughter didn't threaten her daughter or is involve with this boy. Thank you for takeing the time to read my comment."
11/17/2009:
"My jr. high daughter has been a victim of bullying for the past 3 years. just recently she fought back against her attacker and received a 7-1.2 day suspension and the assistant principal is filing charges against my daughter for assault and battery. This occured on fri. the 13th at 9:00 am and we were not notified until 2:00 pm. Our daughter suffered a contussion, bruising on her chest, a bloody nose which was concealed by the assistant principal, bruised ribs, dizziness, and aches in her neck from her hair being pulled out. We took her to the emergency room where she received treatment and a cat scan was performed to rule out a concussion. The hospital staff contacted authorities who filed a complaint and we were urged to file a complaint. The bullying has been going on for several years and our daughter has been living a nightmare. She finally fought back . We have always told our children to speak up for what is right and to defend themselves if need be. We are at thi! s point prepared to take legal action against the school as well as the perpetrator. We are disgusted and angry that this school has adopted the zero tolerance policy but has failed to apply it and analyze this problem. Three fights have already broken out over the past 2-1.2 months and we live in a very affluent community and pay an exhorbant amount of school taxes.The assistant principal displays anger when dealing with students, irrational behavior, and lacks compassion, humility and integrity. She displays no self control and uses intimidation and scare tactics to humiliate and degrade the students. Her character is less than desirable and this continued behavior is unacceptable. Our daughter has never displayed acts of violence nor has she ever been accused of acting out in a violent manner. But the perpetrator has already been suspended for hitting another student and making derogatory remarks to a mentally challenged student. What was my daughter suppose to do? Lay ! there and get beaten? What if the girl had a knife? And to all! ow my daughter to sit at the school for 5 hours without any medical attention and without notifying us is against family rights. We are extremely unhappy. "
07/7/2009:
"What a wonderful world it must be, to live this fantasy. Perhaps the police should treat victim and aggressor alike, as you do--that would solve as many problems as your 'solutions' claim to. "
05/26/2009:
"I find the concept of treating the bully and the victim 'the same' a bit sick. My child, who is martial arts trained and could defend themselves well was so disheartened after sixth grade, I pulled this child out and home-schooled them. My child chose not to use violence in any form (abhored the concept of even verbal violence and yet was getting so angry that they were considering being as verbally and physically abusive as they were being treated out of sheer frustration). What a great year of discovery and relationship building we had. It was a challenge, but we chose a homeschool curriculum and learned lots. In sixth grade my child was failing math. When my child returned to school in eighth grade B's and A's became the norm. Still the school sought to bad-mouth our home-schooling efforts. Before leaving school, this child's posture was a perpetual C-curve. After a year of home-schooling, I could see the proud, upright stance had returned. I know many, even most pa! rents can't afford a year off to homeschool, but if you possibly can, it just might open up a new world for child and parent. We found bullying simply wasn't taken seriously at our school, an 'award-winning' school. Academic Test results only give one view of a schools profile. How they treat the kids and how they implement their supposed 'no tolerance' policy is a big part of your child's overall educational experience. Apparently some schools do it better than others. Sadly for the kids and their emotional scars. Schools are in one sense a holding pen for kids while their parents work. With the high salaries received by veteran teahcers and administrators and the tremendous school taxes being paid out by home-owners, schools should return our chldren to us in the same or better shape than when they eft home. Bullying should not be tolerated. Social education should not be a fringe topic, but a major course of study. "
03/12/2009:
"thank you for the information on your web-sie , however i still am having a few unanswered questions. my daughter is in the 3rd grade and she was attacked today by a boy in her class. Ive told her to defend herself if someone trys to harm her and that is just what she did. She is a very well mannered kid and has never had an incident like this before. because of the fact that she stood up for herself she lost recesses, and had to do detention time, I was not notified of the incident until she came home with a write up report. I have had issues wih the school recently with kids bullying and still nothing was done. Even when she was sexually grabbed in the chest by another child at the school... still nothing was done. Im not sure what to do. I feel as though I want to transfer her to another school however im not sure if thats the best thing to do in the middle of the year. Please Help....... "
12/3/2008:
"I 100% agree with 10-6-08, my daughter was kicked by a boy in her class who is 10' taller than her, she kicked him back(because we told her to , we were tired of her being bullied) they were both suspended and got the same amount of time, I thought this was ridiculous, this kid admitted to kicking her first. We decided that the next time an incident occured we would not hit back we would give the school a chance to settle it, she was attacked in the locker room by a girl who started screaming and yelling in her face she used the back of her hand against her face to keep the breathe and the spit out of her face the girl than bent her hand back,my daughter pushed her to get her off of her hand the girl then started slapping her in the face several times until she fell on the floor and her glasses were knocked off, as she went for her glasses, the girl reached down and picked them up and bent them,my daughter ran to the school police who did nothing but send her to the office ! where she was made to feel because she put her hand up she probably made the girl mad.she was sent back to the locker room to gather her things(alone) which had been ripped and thrown around the locker room and some things stolen.The investigation said that my daughter lied people who were not in the locker room stepped up to say my daughter was lying. No one will tell on a bully and no one will tell on their friend. I took my daughter to the ER and gave them the report she had facial contussions they disregarded this and made me feel like my daughter and I were lairs. "
12/3/2008:
"We have a bully problem at middle school Evansville,In.Ours is a new student,the same boys take pencils get in his folders dump things,tried to block him in bathroom he pushed out, put garbage on table at lunch,poked in hall.I have called school 5 x and still calling this is now Dec.this a partial list,we told him time to take his part,the school is not doing there job.the supt. office is the next call."
10/6/2008:
"This answer is completely academic and has little practical value. I'm surprised you say 'it takes two people to fight' as this shows a real lack of understanding for what bullying is. The bottom line is that we should not punish a child for defending themselves. Furthermore, how exactly are we preparing the child for life beyond school? Bullies can appear at anytime in life. Who then should the child turn to for help? We need to support children in developing their own self-esteem. They should have the faith to rely on themselves, first and foremost, in difficult situations. We should not teach them to be victims. Natural self-esteem is often all that is needed to disarm potential bullies. Posted by a former 'victim'. "
07/9/2008:
"punishing a kid for defending himself against a schoolyard bully/aggressor and giving him the same punishment is ludicrous and it is liberal. you who wrote this article pretty much state that a kid DOESN'T have the right to defend himself. Should a person be prosecuted and sent to prison for shooting a violent intruder in his home? punishing a kid for defending himself by giving him the same punishment as the aggressor quite frankly doesn't teach kids the difference between right and wrong. "
03/20/2008:
"well, ok. i believe you said he shouldnt have defended himslef, because it was probably against the school rules, or implied it. but bullying is probably against the school rules too, but the bully was bullying. you forgot to mention that. if it were me, i would have defended myself. i would rather take a kid out in self defense than get my face smashed in by a bully. "
03/5/2008:
"Hi my daughter is in the 6th grade and she has been taunted and teased and bullyed by the same 3 girls to the point of i'm ready to lose it..i decided to get a job at the school, to have the girls to bully me (an adult)i tryed going to the principle before, but nothen was getting done..so i thought i would work there to protect her, to get fired cause the girls would go to the principle office and say i was calling them bad names, to be told cause we have just moved to the area 7 months ago that we didn't have any rights cause we are new, not to complain and should just pretty much say and do nothen..we tryed everything to resolved this issue we tryed the principle's and tryed talking to the parents and even tryed killing them with kindness..so finally i told my daughter whom i have always told to walk away ,to fight back now..she needs not to be vitamize any more and i am thinking of inrolling her in some kind of marcial arts too...but we feel like vitaims from the school t! o not only from the students..cause they are letting it happen! now i can see why kids go and shoot up the schools..they really need more inforcments when it comes to these kinds of sineros..and i do belive that the kids doing the bullying have not good home life. I did everything right...went to the priciple's tryed the parents and ect..so what else can my child do to stop them...i love my kids and i will put my boxing gloves on and someone is going to go down..cause what kind of mom would i be if i let this continue!!"
12/3/2007:
"My son is 6 and in 1st grade. I am considering private school for him. He will not defend himself or tell the teacher when someone does something. I think he feels embarassed when something happens and he does nothing about it and I am concerned about his self esteem. I think this is something that he will grow out of. Until then, I think a with smaller school and class size there will be fewer things happen. I hope."
11/7/2007:
"I have one little issue with the suggestion that a child should tell an adult about a 'problem before it gets physical'. My son is 6.5 and has a few issues at school. We have always counseled him to use words first (i.e., if someone is picking on him or hitting him, to tell them loudly, to 'STOP'.) BUT, if telling someone to stop doesn't work, I tell him to push them away from him physically. (Not to hit them, just to push them away if they don't listen to his 'STOP'.) At 6 years of age, in a new school, my son simply is not willing to talk to an adult he doesn't know. (He's moderately shy.) Unfortunately, his first attempt to tell a teacher of a problem ended with the teacher (a female) telling him to 'Shhhh'. A female student hat hit him, pushed him down and then kicked him. His school is taught almost exclusively by women. I have a feeling they just don't deal with boys very well. I'm reading every 'boy-based' development book I can find ('Real Boys', 'Raising Cain! ', 'The Minds of Boys', and 'Why Gender Matters' to name a few.) I'm hoping to better understand how his mind works so I can educate his teachers (who seem to have no clue...)"
10/30/2007:
"I have sat and watched my child fall apart - I am at my end with it! My child has respect for others and their belongings recently my son has been choked on the playground, thrown litterly out of a classroom against wall, had a frozen water bottle hit the back of his head almost knocking him unconcious, glasses broken 2 times now (which he needs being he has strabismus-of course school wont see this being I am not low income or the right creed!) Teacher accusing him of stealing a backpack in class - when in actuallity the students were harrassing him by knocking his books off desk and taking his backpack! I have filed several complaints and now it is worse! My son feels hated by everyone on campus, being harassed by students and acutlly crying in class in 7th grade! Its obvious we are not wanted! "
10/25/2007:
"A true bully will end up where he/she belongs...behind bars. Bullies beget bullies beget bullies. Parents of bullies were most likely bullies themselves. It's ridiculous. People, teach your children right and they won't become bullies. People, teach your children right and they will know how to handle bullies. Call the police if they threaten your child!!! Don't wait until it's too late."
10/24/2007:
"I am a parent of a 15 year old boy, and I had always taught him to defend himself if bullied. Now, I'm eating my words. My son overheard people talking about a boy that 'wanted' to beat him up, so my son acted first by punching the boy in the face. His explanation was that he was too scared to wait to see what the other boy would do, so he decided to strike first. I am trying to un-do a lot of things I have told him. This doesn't really teach our children anything; it puts fear into them that they must always be on the look-out for trouble."
10/18/2007:
"A true bully will not back off with intervenion. As a last resort I would let my son work over the school bully. All bullies stop when anyone gives him one in the chops."
10/12/2007:
"Hi i have been suspended from school for fighting on the bus after i was hit in the head twice and the first time i was hit i told the girl to stop ands she hit me again and i fought back now i have am suspended what i did was right some adults these days don't understand how just one little hit can just ruin you the whole time in school if i hadn't hit the girl back i would have been pick on and beaten up almost everyday I'm not a trouble maker at tall i receive A's and B's and i don't even curse or do drugs i just know when to draw the line they can say whatever they want to me but when u touch me its a different story."
07/13/2007:
"I completely and wholeheartedly agree with the statement made on 06/27! I can't believe you would make such a statement, either."
06/27/2007:
"'But we have to treat everyone equally, victim and aggressor alike.' You have got to be kidding! Thank goodness our justice system does not work this way. I can not believe you would make such a statement."
05/30/2007:
"MY SON USES HIS WORD POWER TO GET THOUGH THE MINOR SCRAPES WITH BULLIES IN THE HALLS AND ON THE PLAY GROUND. HE'S A BIG GENTLE BOY...BUT I'VE TOLD HIM, IF SOMEONE LAYS THEIR HANDS ON YOU YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO DEFEND YOURSELF PHYSICALLY. AS I HAVE HAD TO DO IN THE PAST. WHEN YOU TALK TO THE TEACHERS ABOUT THESE BULLY KIDS, ITS REAL CLEAR THAT THEIR PARENTS ARE ABUSIVE AND ITS SUPPOSE TO BE REPORTED BY LAW. GET SOME GUTS, PEOPLE. NOTHING'S GONNA CHANGE UNTIL WE CHANGE IT. "
05/30/2007:
"I would like to learn more about this particularly for preshoolers. My daughter is 4 years old and has, on numerous occasions, told me of a boy in her school who is 'mean', and hits the other kids, etc. Also, she has told me that no one likes her and that worries me too. How do I help her to have high self esteem?"
05/30/2007:
"My grandson has always been taught not to fight but after getting assaulted 6 times since starting middle school I am thinking of enrolling him in martial arts. "
05/25/2007:
"It's funny but the law for adults is that you can defend your person or your property from assault with equal force. How is it that teens are not afforded the same rights. You are assuming that an adult was available or present or willing to intervene. This is not always the case. "
05/25/2007:
"What do you do in the case where your child is acosted then you notify the school administration (principal) and they take no action? What is the escalation protocol? Should I involve the police if the fight resulted in my child being hospitalized?"
05/24/2007:
"It is amazing that teachers fall for the nice girl to them who intimidates and is MEAN to other girls. My daughter had an issue with a mean girl at dance and I had a friend who teaches at the girls school who said she has such a nice personality - yet when my daughter asked a boy who went to her school why she was mean to her, he said she is like that to the girls at school as well. Girl bullying is very different from boy bullying"
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