I Hate Bullies

December 15th, 2011 at 2:00 pm | 34 Comments |

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In recent days, bullying in schools has been a hot topic for condemnation, with little in the way of solutions being offered.

While everyone deplores bullying, a sorry reality is that many people who oppose it are bullies themselves, without realizing it. And bullying takes many forms.

In differing ways, most have had experience with bullying. Looking back to my own childhood, I can’t recall being bullied, but I can recall schoolyard fights. My upbringing was a bit unusual, since my father was a soldier and that meant often changing schools as he was transferred around the country.

Arriving at a new school in mid-term meant finding one’s place in the hierarchy. In those days, that usually meant a recess fight with the class tough guy. I quite liked fighting – wrestling, because fist-fighting meant getting bopped on the nose.

I grew up despising bullies, perhaps because my father loathed them.

When I was nine or ten at school in Ottawa, I remember teasing a kid after on a winter day at the outdoor rink. A bigger kid came along to hassle the guy I was teasing.

I objected that I got him first, and wound up fighting the big kid, — and being thrown against the school wall and my head being cut. A teacher watching from the window saw the whole thing, and rushed out to take me to a doctor.

The teacher phoned my parents, fearing I’d be scolded for fighting (I never got scolded for fighting) and praised me for defending a smaller kid against a bully. When I got home, both parents lavished praise on me. My sister scowled at the attention I was getting.

I never fooled myself that I was defending the kid – I was fighting the interloper.

But ever after I tried to live up to what my parents (and the teacher) thought I was.

When attending Prince of Wales school in Barrie, I was never bullied but my younger sister was. She was being pestered en route to school. It was wartime, father overseas, and my mother paid little attention. In those days one never complained to teachers.

So me and my pal, Jim McConkie, would trail Robin as she walked to school, and when the bully harassed her, we were on him. It solved the problem. Afterwards, I tried to use Robin as bait to attract bullies, so we could beat them up. But the fish never bit.

When step-daughter Danielle was going to Toronto’s Whitney school in the 1970s – the public school I attended in the 1930s – she was plagued by a bully who made life hell for her and her friend Elizabeth.

I recalled defending my sister when she was that age, and Dani’s brother Guy picked up the theme. Guy wasn’t certain he could handle the bully, but his best friend in those days, Matty, was a natural, good-natured athlete.

Guy and Matty persuaded Dani to head for Whitney with them trailing, ready to step in if bullying occurred. I’m not sure what happened, but I think Danielle so enjoyed the outcome that she looked forward to her champions always on hand to protect her.

Teachers are the ones who should spot school bullying, but often they’re blind to it. Too often, teachers are bullies themselves. Kids who are bullied are often unpopular – even to teachers. But it’s part of growing up. Fortunately most learn to cope – even later, when bullying occurs in the workplace.

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34 Comments so far ↓

  • nhthinker

    Looking to channel violence and intimidation for the mental high of violence and intimidation under the guise of being chivalrous is better than doing it out of jealousy or boredom. And it can grow into real chivalry into missions of the soldier or the policeman.. However, the vast majority of individuals in western society today, have no capability to be soldiers or policemen- and not much understanding and respect for professionals than need to sometimes channel violence and intimidation.

    I doubt that most of the commenters here can relate.

    Philosophy from Teen Titans cartoon:

    Raven: If it wasn’t for that beast, I might not be here right now. Having that thing inside doesn’t make you an animal. Knowing when to let it out is what makes you a man.
    Beast Boy: Hmm. Maybe you should call me…Beast Man from now on.
    Raven: We’re having a moment here. Don’t ruin it.
    Beast Boy: Beast Dude?

  • TJ Parker

    Fortunately most learn to cope – even later, when bullying occurs in the workplace.

    Yeah, that’s fortunate, if true. I think the solution is to allow bullied kids to bring guns to class.

    Tragically there are few places in this country where a bullied middle-schooler can carry a concealed Glock.

  • Oldskool

    I used to enjoy beating up neighborhood kids who I thought mistreated any of my sisters. There was a lot of hostility in our family and it was how I “acted out”. Today I see Republicans as a party of bullies so I enjoy abusing them as much as possible.

    • nwahs

      Read a little on bullying, there are various types. There are in your face bullies. There are passive aggressive bullies, and there are the perpetual victim bullies. I think most of the perpetual victim bullies and passive aggressive bullies reside on the left. But I agree, perhaps under the guidance of frat boy Limbaugh, the Republican party seems infiltrated with childish schoolboy bullies.

      • LFC

        “I think most of the perpetual victim bullies and passive aggressive bullies reside on the left. “

        Really? Man, I see exactly the opposite. For years I’ve seen the right-wingers as biggest bunch of whining “victims” I’ve ever seen in politics in my life. They continually lie, bully, scream, attack, and point fingers (the Faux News business model) but the moment they’re called on their s*** they cry like a little kid with a skinned knee.

        “WAAAHHH! The mean old liberal media. WAAAHHH! Obama is mean to us so we can’t govern. WAAAHHH! People who disagree with our foreign policy hate America.” Heck, Sarah Palin turned it into a career.

      • Oldskool

        Who do Republicans pick fights with? The poor, women, gays, etc. They don’t pick fights with the big boys and that’s why bullies gravitate to their party.

        • nwahs

          Gota love passive aggressive bullying :)

        • paul_gs

          -delete-

        • paul_gs

          The Left doesn’t pick fights with the bullies, they pick fights with the successful. That’s why the left hates oil companies, multinationals, pharmaceutical companies, etc.. All contribute greatly to society and the Left can’t stand it.

          Instead of changing how they live their own lives first, the Left is always trying to bully everyone else to follow their crazed agendas, take a look at AGW for a perfect example.

        • Primrose

          So Warren Buffet and George Soros aren’t successful? Really? Fighting discrimination isn’t about fighting bullies?

          And the great contributors you are speaking of are the oil and pharmaceutical company executives? The people who exploit talent and resources, and make their yardstick of success money only?

          The lack of reality in this point of view is laughable.

        • paul_gs

          Pharmaceutical companies save more lives everyday then that useless left-wing twit Soros ever has or will. And oil companies are a major reason billions of citizens worldwide have a decent standard of living.

          Only the left would side with a shameless and unscrupulous speculator like Soros.

  • Ray_Harwick

    Part I:

    In the aftermath of yet another gay teen suicide last week in Tennessee, all five of these GOP f*g bashers running for the nomination did some MORE bullying. I’m talking about Romney, Gingrich, Santorum, Perry and Bachmann. The bullies used the national stage to boast about their intention to punish gays the moment they get the power to do so in their hands. I’m sick of having a bully like Romney rubbed in my nose.

    Yesterday, Newt Gingrich was the last of the five to sign National Organatization “for” Marriage’s pledge to support a constitutional amendment to ban gays and lesbians from marriage. There’s a terrific irony involved with Gingrich. But make this pledge he openly seeks to nullify his own sister’s marriage.

    I’ve have spent almost three years in advocacy work trying to convince school districts to take bullying serious. Why? I have a person history with being bullied and as a father, my own child tormented by classmates, their parents, her teachers and school administrator because she had two daddies.

    My daughter was shunned, attacked, and taunted from the 2nd grade until the end of her school years. Her first grade teacher started things off in spelling lesson in which “gay” was one words. The teacher explained that “gay means when you are really happy, or it’s when men hate women.” This teacher got a letter of repremand.

    2nd grade in a new school: My daughter outed us in an innocent way. It was Valentines day and the teacher used the ocassion to have an art project where kids made a valentine for their parents. My daughter did the standard valentine: she drew a big heart with an arrow through it and on that she wrote:

    “Dad loves Ted”.

    I still have that valentine, 26 years later.

    The teacher was a homophobe and she could not bear to be near us to discuss my child’s academic needs. My daughter, who was never very articulate, told us, “Mrs. Kelidgian doesn’t like me.” I dismissed it. But late into the school years another teacher approached me and told me that Mrs. K had openly talked about my daugher’s “f*g fathers” in the teacher’s lounge with other teachers and had a rousing banter of joking about us with the school principal.

    I fast forward a little. 5th grade was when kids starting calling my daughter a f*g and a lesbian. I went to the princpal and told him. Two boys suspended.

    • Ray_Harwick

      6th grade a boy attacks my daughter physically and verbally and my daughter knocked his took out. The happened within hours of my supervisings principal (was was a school teacher at that time) calling me in to tell me he had received an anonymous call from a man at my daughter’s school warning him that I was a homosexual and that I needed to be watched (my supervisor was gay, also). The boy was suspended and I went to Superintendent of County schools to complain about the ongoing problem and how I believed the principle and teachers were contributing to it. The Super apparently sympathized with us because we were informed that the principal had been councelled and had a permanent letter of reprimand added to his personnel file.

      Middle school: in two year, 4 boys were suspended for taunting and shoving my daughter. Her locker was broken into and her things were stolen. It was during this time that kids started coming by our house shouting insults and slurs. No, we didn’t live in a ghetto. We live in the *finest* area in our city and the school my daughter attended were the best in their region. These were the kids of the community leaders and most succesful businessmen. I follow a couple of boys home one day after the came by and screamed “f*g” at me and I reported their behavior to their mother. She slammed the door in my face. She apparently already know what they were doing.

      9th grade. This is the year kids started driving their cares onto our lawn and digging out. On New Year’s eve, two boys spray painted the word “FAGG*T” in 10 foot block letters on my driveway. I had lost my job because I was profoundly deaf and I was adjusting to that experience. My daughter HATED school but we could not move at that time.

      10th grade: A car came by our house one night and the occupants unloaded the contents of a gun into the side of my car and home. We called the cops. They could do nothing. I don’t really remember sleeping much from that time onward. I was terrified that my family would be harmed and I would creep around my yard with my camera in hopes of catching someone in the act of terroriing us. I never did catch anyone, but I found tire tracks in my yard one day where a truck and run over my plants and I matched those up with the pickup truck of two teenage boys who lived just down the street from us. About two weeks later that same thing happend to our neighbor across the street. Someone drove onto his lawn, peeled out and left damaged lawn in their wake.

      • Nanotek

        “While everyone deplores bullying, a sorry reality is that many people who oppose it are bullies themselves, without realizing it. And bullying takes many forms.” PW

        + 1

        like bigotry… whatever tune the bigot is singing —

        “supervising principal… received an anonymous call from a man at my daughter’s school warning him that I was a homosexual and that I needed to be watched” RH

        I kept thinking of bullies as my family listened to the GOP candidates, and the crowd cheering them, at last night’s FOX forum as they advocated for legalized discrimination against gay Americans as second-class citizens, abandoning any pretense for true equal rights, in favor of their shallow show of moral purity

        • Ray_Harwick

          Same page. In the gay community we keep talking about the end of gay culture: a time in which the stories and concerns of gay people will be right there on the front page of the newspaper or magazine along with the news about everyone else. I wish that were a reality right now because the gay news sources really never stops talking about bullying. We all go into raging grief when we hear about some kid being tormented by alienation or, worse, the kid who lost hope and killed himself. It’s part of virtually every news cycle and the pain the community experiences is just like having your family slaughtered one-by-one over the course of days, week, months and years. We are in a perpetual state of throwing fundraises for some kids funeral or we are writing to school districts in every corner of America to express our fears and worries that they aren’t doing right and the evidence is on the front page of their local newspaper.

          As a parent I am so deeply pained that my own child suffered because of me; because she loved us so much that she had no choice but to stand up for us and express her loyalty. The price she paid blackens my soul. I never thought I’d be a parent who said that I’m glad my daughter abandoned her education. For her, it was the most positive thing that ever happend to her. She went right straight into the world at age 16 and started working and, I swear, I could hardly believe the positive transformation in her. I didn’t know who she was. She SOARED. Twelve years ago her two fathers walked her down the aisle and today we are blessed with a grandson we love dearly. When 2008 came along and we had the narrow window of opportunity in California to marry, there was only one choice as to whom would give us in marriage. My daughter earned that honor. There were about 8 television stations covering our marriage and they spend most of the time ask my kid about her dads. I was never prouder in my life. She said, “It’s my special day, too.” I count her wedding and ours as the two happiest moments in my life.

        • Nanotek

          “For her, it was the most positive thing that ever happend to her… She SOARED… there was only one choice as to whom would give us in marriage. My daughter earned that honor… I was never prouder in my life.”

          Congratulations. I see people like her as our world’s best hope, heroic even before knowing what that means. Thank you for being one of her Dads.

    • Ray_Harwick

      Mind you, this is the nutshell version of what we endured. We had a great many more dealings with the schools and students that are just too numerous to tell. What happened in the end was that my child hated school so much, her behavior became awful. She begged me to allow her to quit school. I consented. That was the best thing that ever happend to my daughter. It was only then that I saw her blossom into the terrific young lady she was destined to be.

      People tell you to fight back. We fough tooth and nail. We were defeated and exhausted from the experience. We packed our sh*t and blew that town, never to return. That, my friends, was/is/ will always be the character of Fresno, California.

      So, yes, I’m pretty sensive it bullying and I haven’t even told you of all the ass kickings I took as a child who attended 13 elementary school, preferred to play jump rope with the girls and took many beating for my natural selection of preferred playmate. My experience is pretty typical of gay children in elementary school. You get whacked a lot because boys can’t stand it when other boys play with the girls. I was forced my my father to defend myself and I won a few fights but lost most of them. The thing I couldn’t do was go home and complain to my dad because he would punish me as well. I don’t know if any of you saw that story recently about a Texas judge who was filed beating his daughter with a leather belt. That was my punshiment from my dad for about 12 years. It was absolutely no different than that girls father. Naturally, when I began to understand what “gay” was, I would never allow myself to think I was gay because, when I was 9 years old, my family sat outside shelling peas in the late summer and my parents asked us whom we wanted to marry. I gave the stupidest answer, but it was honest. I told my dad I wanted to marry Joe Drew, the guy we rented our farm from. My father registered his discomfort with that by taking off his leather belt and beating me all around the front yard. That’s why i would not entertain the idea I might be gay, even when I was in love with someone, until I was into my adulthood.

      • Ray_Harwick

        This is my experence with bullying. I got it at home, at school, at my employer’s, my daugher suffered, my husband suffered, we all suffered. We still hurt over it at times.

        You people see me posting mostly my remarks her on Frum Formum on gay issues related to these candidates. That’s because those candidates, and the people who support and enable them, are no less monsters and bullies than the ones who sought harm me and my family.

        I thank Mr. Worthington for engaging this issue. I think everyone should hear “bullying” stories a whole lot more. I imagine all of you have had the experience of holding a child in your arms and wiping away their tears after they’ve been treated badly. I had too many of those experiences. We need to speak up about it because we’re the grownups.

        • budgiegirl

          Thank you. You have alot more class and courage than those losers who have tormented you out of their own insecurities. Hope your daughter is well.

      • TJ Parker

        Its a sad story, Ray, but in the end you seem to have come through it all well, and you’ve paved the way for the next generation. I grew up in So Cal, and in high school in the late 90′s/early 00′s it was nothing like this. My parents were completely comfortable with my sexual orientation (from the time I was 13). I was out at school and had a boyfriend from 15 (who is now my husband). Maybe we stick to certain parts of the country – I went to Berkeley, we live in Los Gatos and Manhattan – but a married male couple with 2 kids just hasn’t been an issue with the neighbors, friends. I hope there’s more of that in the future – although I often do fear that what happened in your past is out there waiting for us.

        I really do hope our next First Lady isn’t Marcus Bachmann. Those family values types can be brutal, and have no sense of irony.

    • paul_gs

      I don’t see the connection between supporting marriage by its traditional definition as supporting bullying. Bullying is rampant towards all types of young individuals (small, shy, different ethnicity, different religion, no reason at all) and suicide affects all types of young people.

      • Ray_Harwick

        You don’t? Really? I have to stifle a gasp over you not knowing that. The foundation of the anti-marriage meme is the anti-gay meme. I suspect you haven’t read a word of the transcripts from the Proposition 8 trial in which reams of evidence documenting that the Proponent’s campaign used every slur, insult, fabrication, condemnation and fradulent “study” to assert their evidence that gays would somehow be harmful to the institution of marriage. The great irony in the outcome of the trial was that Proponents couldn’t find **any** harm to marriage and all of their campaign focused on the standard fabrications they relied on to degrade gays and lesbians. That’s why they lost. At least since the mid 1990s the religious right has passed around the idea that goes something like, “If gays can marry, that will open the door to legalized child molestation, polygamy, bestality and incest.” Rick Perry adds that, in spite of the de-criminalization of military gays, “Homosexual will disrupt unit cohesion” on the back of the one actual holdout on ending DADT, the Marine Commandant, reporting the outcome of ending DADT was a HUGE success and that he “stands corrected”. On Friday at a Rick Santorum fund raiser in Iowa, the joke going around about gays was “Do you know why Barney Frank decided to retire? Answer: “He was offered the coaching job at Penn State.”

        This is the tone of the principle supporters of Perry, Bachmann, Santorum, Gingrich and Perry and they are using the national stage to rub it in to garner votes. These support have children in school who take that same sick attitude about gays into the classroom and hallways and pummel not just gay kids with their cruel remarks, but each other because, really, nothing is more brusing to a kid’s self-esteem than having “fa**ot” hurled at him or her in front of peers.

        You’re being deliberately naive. Those five GOP candidates are throwing red meat to their constituency with their anti-gay positions. They call it “protecting marriage” but when you get into the details, they are just saying they are proud to be Christians who hate f*gs. It’s the dog whistle of their speech and they children of their supporters are taking right straight into the classroom where they are demanding the right to condemn gay kids based upon their religious belief. And of course, these kids are being martyred for being stand-up Christians when they do it. Jerry Falwell’s Liberty Council is making a bundle in high schools these days defending the rights of Christian teens’ “First Amendment” rights. If you don’t know that, you’ve been in a cave for the past 30 years.

        Marcus Bachmann from *yesterday* in Iowa: ““I’ve decided my cause is not going to be happy meals,” he said during a stop at the Family Table Restaurant here, apparently a dig at Mrs. Obama. “We are going to be the message-givers,” said Mr. Bachmann, who runs a Christian counseling service that has been accused of trying to “heal” gays by persuading them to become heterosexual. “We are going to get this message across,” he said. “Marriage is between one man and one woman. We are going to promote families.”

        So, he makes his living as a mental health counselor who “heals gays” and his wife is running on a platform of “Protecting marriage” in a state that just removed three Supreme Court Justices who declared marriage discrimination unconstitutional which she praised in the last debate. What kind of grass roots discussion about “the gay agenda/lifestyle” do you suppose that position arose from? Image the idea, while you’re at it, that the dig at Michelle Obama’s campaign for healthy children would be dismissed as that “Happy meals” thing less worthy for attention than keeping gays from marrying. Sheesh! If Mrs. Obama gave away a kidney she’s get pummeled by the right for not giving away two kidneys.

        • paul_gs

          The foundation of the basis for traditional marriage had nothing to do with anti-gay sentiment and for the most part, still doesn’t.

          7,000,000 Californians voted in support of Prop 8, and there is no way you can know or infer their intent or motivation for voting as they did. The question I ask is why do you consider the majority of Californians to be bigots? Is that not a very presumptuous position to hold?

          Supporting traditional marriage is an ethical position and supporting same-sex marriage is an ethical position. The question is, which is the stronger ethical position to hold? Most Californians hold that the traditional view of marriage is the more valid and beneficial of the two. Who is one judge in California to say that 7,000,000 voters are wrong? Is this one judge such an expert that he can dismiss the democratic will of the people out of hand?

          This issue on marriage is very contentious but I do not subscribe to your view that traditional supporters of marriage are all bigots and homophobes. That view in itself seems unrealistic and intolerant itself.

        • Ray_Harwick

          Then you are dismissing reality, Paul. First of all, you’ve now inject the premise that if some votes did not employ anti-gay animus it somehow moots the point that others *did* employ animus. Don’t you even understand that the plaintiffs could not use the ugly anti-gay rhetoric that emerge for random people off of the streets to demonstrate animus? The had to show how the actual Prop 8 Campaign used animus – a strategy FORBIDDEN by law – to make the argument in favor of Prop 8. It was *easy* to show how the campaign, itself, used animus. They simple collected copies of the “voter guides” the campaign distributed to churches all over the state that showed dire warning about gay and lesbians RECRUITING CHILDREN. They also put Prop 8 director William Tam on the stand and to ward off charges of perjury, he had to testify about all the video and literture he distributed warning that kids would grow up wanting to marry someone of the same sex and become homosexuals. After doing that, Tam petition the court to be excused from testifying on the grounds that he feared for his life. When the court asked him to produce evidence that he was threatened, he DIDN’T HAVE ANY. Instead, he said “I don’t like people questioning me on my personal beliefs.” Kind of a double standard. He doesn’t mind damaging the lives of gays by telling people gays are recruiting children, but he doesn’t want any personal scrutiny of his life acting in his capacity as a DIRECTOR of Prop 8.

          You view is pretty typical of the arguments that came out *after* the trial. Those who argued their decision to vote in favor of Prop 8 what not basis upon animus were *equally* unable to find a legitimate harm to marriage that marriage equality for gays would bring. The trial happened in the same year that U.S. census data showed 40% of ***all*** births in the country were out-of-wedlock and, oddly, one of the aruguments used in court was that gay marriage would discourage child bearing that. The judge quipped, “Looks like these statistics say people are having children without the alleged encouragement that marriage provides.”

          That the “harm” Prop 8 cited in court but it bore NO relationship to the message the used in their campaign. In court Prop 8 repeatedly said they employed no animus, but when the plaintiffs started piling evidence to the contrart ot the ceiling of the courtroom, the pitful ploy of saying “people didn’t employ animus to make their voting decision” was exposed as the biggest LIE of the case. That’s not to say it was true for all voters on the Proponents side. It would be an absurdity to say that. It was simply irrefutable that Proponents had *no* other campaign than inciting hated or dislike for gays. That, Paul, what the crux of the trial and it makes you conjecture on the alleged wholesale innocence of pro-8 votes so much B.S.

          The entire force behind the “protect marriage” meme is founded upon anti-gay hatred and it is the sickness that gay-hater’s children take to school and inflict on their classmates, usually in the name of Almight God.

        • paul_gs

          Supporters of traditional marriage have been steadfast in their views for years and years, based on their view that traditional marriage is better from an ethical and institutional viewpoint so to suggest that 52.2% of California voters were motivated by animus in voting as they did is a fantastic overreach not supported by any evidence.

          Supporters of SSM legitimized Prop 8 by participating in it, but having lost to the will of the electorate, seemed determined to void a legitimate democratic vote by any means possible.

          If voters are not motivated by animus and still vote to maintain the traditional definition of marriage, would you then accept those results?

        • Ray_Harwick

          It’s really astonishing that you think this article is about Prop 8 and not bullying. I understand that you are busy defending the tyrany of the majority while that majority’s children heap degradation upon gay and lesbian teens in our schools.

        • paul_gs

          I trust and respect democracy enough that I’m willing to abide by the will of the majority. After all, if you can’t trust the citizens of a democracy to decide important issues, then you dont even have a democracy.

          There is a type of tyranny involved in this issue, but it certainly isn’t coming from the 52.2% of Californian citizens who voted in favor of Proposition 8.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    bullying in schools has been a hot topic for condemnation, with little in the way of solutions being offered.

    In China I have observed far less bullying than you see in the states, but I think this is due to a number of factors; a relentless push for conformity, saving face, and most significantly Chinese children don’t really have the time as their lives are far more regimented. It becomes a matter of having your will literally beat out of your system by the system.

    Obviously I am not advocating that, but American children have far too much free time on their hands. I would love to see longer school days, longer school years, merit based schooling (why do we have children who will be scientists in the same school as kids who will be truck drivers? In China from Middle school on where you go to school is based on ability not location, a class that is full of like minded students will not war with each other)

    • PracticalGirl

      I wonder, as well, if some of the difference is due not just to the extra time American children have vs their counterparts in other countries but what they’re able to do with it. Constant, often unsupervised access to social media (texting, Facebook and other social sites) and the Internet in general can make it impossible for a bullied child to escape even when at home.

    • Primrose

      Speaking as a child that was intensively bullied, nearly all of it was during school or on the bus, so a long school day would have made the matter worse not better.

      And putting aside for a moment what is wrong with people who share a community being part of the same community though their talents different, how soon are you deciding when kids are truck drivers or scientists? Tracking has been tried and is always class not merit based. The children of wealthy or educated parents will not be put in the truck driver category and the intelligent children of the poor will be put with truck drivers. Even if it is based on testing, wealthy parents will be able to game the system, poor will not.

      Indeed, there are studies that show that an impoverished environment represses the development of neNeurons (a change that is easily reversed, within 4 weeks in the story I heard) so further simplifying their environment makes them less smart.

      Additionally, Malcolm Gladwell’s book on the 10,000 hour rule talks at length at how easily small differences can get magnified once by preferences and prejudices. One kid has not learned to read as quickly so he is put in a different group, that means he is challenged less so he does less, so he is challenged even further down the line… (and of course vice versa, so small advantages in talent get magnified).

      The development of children is not linear so to decide about their future careers early is a simply a way to ossify our class structure.

      And fyi, it was never the more working class kids who were cruelest to me, it was my fellow smart kids who led, arranged and perpetuated the bullying.

  • nhthinker

    http://www.livescience.com/11163-bullies-bullying.html

    The study involved 666 students (ages 12 to 16) from 14 schools who had recently reported bullying others. The researchers compared the bullies with a group of 478 students who had not recently engaged in bullying.

    Participants completed a questionnaire on bullying behavior, including a question on why they bullied others, followed by a list of options. Other surveys assessed students’ mental health, substance abuse issues and demographic information.

    Bullies were more likely than non-bullies to live in families without two biological parents, such as living in single parent families, living with extended family members or with foster parents. Such situations may mean bullies, in some cases, do not receive as much attention at home, the scientists said.

    • Nanotek

      ‘most frequent’ seems weightier than ‘more likely’ …

      “The most frequent bullying involved picking on students they perceived to be gay or lesbian, a result that agrees with another recent study on bullying.”

      After watching the Iowa debate last night, now I wonder how many of the GOP candidates received little attention at home in their early years.

  • chephren

    I hate bullies, too.

    I was bullied a few times as a kid, but never so seriously as by a boy who was a friend in junior high school. He was a year older than me, a year bigger and stronger, and year ahead in school. Much of the time we got along well – we’d go to each others’ houses, ride our bikes and have fun.

    From time to time, his mean streak came out, especially when we were with his other friends. Then he felt need to dominate and push me around – I can only think this was because he was somehow embarrassed at having a younger friend. He would sneer at me and beat me up. He would say mean things about my family, sometimes behind my back, and boast to me of his father’s prowess as a lawyer (my Dad was a successful businessman and wealthier than my friend’s Dad).

    Eventually I stopped talking to this person. The funny thing was that he still tried to be my friend. To this day, I am angry and sad about the way he treated me.

  • NRA Liberal

    I was bullied as a youth by those above me in the primate heirarchy pecking order, and I in turn bullied others lower down.

    I’m sad that I didn’t stand up to the bullies, and I very much regret bullying the weaker.

    These days I try to side with the underdog, and do my best to avoid giving bullies any satisfaction.