Friday, February 25, 2011

Bully Pulpit

I just read an article in which three Downingtown Middle School students were "disciplined" for bullying another student on the bus and I had to laugh.  It was quoted that these incidents are not the norm and that bullying is taken very seriously.  Really?  I as a parent reported several incidents of bullying on the bus when my boys were in Middle School and MY boys were the ones counselled.  Rarely were any steps taken to take the trouble makers off that bus or any bus for that matter.  In fact for two years of the three that my boys attended DMS I drove them to school because the bullying was so bad.  I see it now at the bus stops young men calling other young girls and boys names and stepping in their way so that the kids have to walk in the street around them, kids walking home with tears in their eyes because they have been pushed around to an extreme amount and those are the minor occurrences that I happen to witness.

Then if the parents are called in for a "parent conference" it is plain to see where the offenders get their behavior.  The parents develop an attitude of  "Not my child" and  "My kid said he/she didn't do it so that's all there is to it and you better not discipline him/her."  It seems that this time there is video to back up the claims and the police were contacted so the district cannot squirm out of this one by just saying appropriate actions were taken.  Oh yeah bullying is taken seriously when a possible lawsuit is hanging over your heads, but don't try and delude the rest of us into thinking that it is taken that seriously by anyone in the district.  But most of all DO NOT hand any of the parents of kids who have been bullied the line., "Kids will be kids" because the kind of behavior that these little miscreants are displaying is way beyond being crappy to another student it plain bad seed material.


  1. The reason the school district got involved in this incident is because there's a video. "Not me kid" works both ways. Some parents always believe their children when they come home from school and cry they are "victims" of teachers, mean kids on the bus, mean kids at lunch. Don't get mad, just playing devil's advocate here. My parents didn't drive me to school in the 70's. There were bully's on the bus back then when I was in Downingtown Sr. High. Difference is, kids learned to stick up for themselves without Mommy driving them to school. Parents seem to coddle their children today. If there is anything unpleasant on the bus, or in school, parents will drive their kids to school, call the school principal, etc. and take their own children's version over the teachers, or other kids version in every situation. That's not doing your children any favors. In my day, parents generally took the teachers side. I have two children in Downingtown. One has had no bad teachers, never complains. The other has teachers who go out of their way to pick on her, all the kids pick on her (according to her.) See what I mean?
    There should be zero tolerance for a bully but I would not automatically drive my kid to school (especially a boy) based on just what my child is saying. Because "not my kid" works both ways. Your child might be exaggerating, or not seeing things clearly. Driving your teens to school seems to be giving in to the bully and doesn't teach your children how to stand up for themselves. It just teaches them they don't have to deal with life's challenges because Mom is going to coddle them and fix their problems with other kids. How are they going to handle these challenges when Mom's not around? There have been bully's and mean kids since the beginning of time, but today's parents don't give their children the opportunity to defend themselves or deal with problems on their own, like when I was a student at Downingtown and they aren't doing their kids any favors in the real world.

  2. Well first of all the kids that did the bullying, to my boys, are the ones who are still doing it to this day and live in my neighborhood so I think I can safely say that most of what my boys were telling me was true. Also the other kids DID pick on my boys simply for the fact that my boys have Aspergers and would not think to be as cruel as these others were. I didn't just up and start driving them either. I did all I could to help them deal with the situation, role playing so that they could handle it on their own, suggestions of strategies to defuse the situation AND calls and emails to the guidance counselors and principal. It wasn't a decision I made lightly. By the end of the year one of the young men who was by far the worst of the bunch wound up in an alternative school, so that might tell you the extent of this young man's attitude and actions, but it wasn't for being a horrible bully on the bus it was because he stalked and beat another child for no apparent reason. My boys ride the bus to HS now.

    It's not a matter of learning to stick up for themselves either. Because I have seen instances where the one doing the bullying AND the injured party are both punished in the same way if the one being hurt in any way sticks up for themselves.

    Yes there have been mean kids and bullys since forever, BUT there were more responsible parents than there are today. There is also a difference in the bullying it's more irate in it's tone and attitude. I was bullied when I was in 8th grade. When I finally had exhausted my resources I went to the the vice principal and she was punished....not talked to, no parent conference, PUNISHED. That doesn't happen today, therefore we are rasising a bunch of unruly, disrespectful, downright mean children.

    So what if there was video. If there was then that means that this has been going on a lot longer than what was caught on video. The district got involved because they saw the possibility of a lawsuit and public outrage, not because they "take bullying seriously"

  3. I'm sorry. Yes, if my children had Aspergers and were teased, I would drive them to school too. The most important thing my parents instilled is compassion for others and we should demand our children not make fun of others. I agree with you 100%. One thing that bothers me to this day is kids in Special Ed. were tormented like crazy in the hallways, (back in the 70's) in full view of the teachers and the teachers did nothing. Kids in Downingtown were just as mean back then, only I think the principals and teachers were even worse in looking the other way. They may have stepped in to defend a typical kid, but they didn't for the special ed kids. I witnessed that for myself and always thought if I had a child like this I would be outraged at the cruel treatment. I wonder in the back of my mind if the school is not stepping in because your children have Aspergers and the principal feels it's a losing battle to get kids to stop teasing a child with a disability. If so, shame on the principal.

  4. I think the biggest proponent of the bully is lack of real parenting at home. Teachers are not baby sitters, and should not be treated that way. More and more parents are expecting the teachers to train kids to have manners and respect towards one another. How wrong is that? I am stunned at the lack of respect and common courtesy that I see on a regular basis.

    The simple act holding of a door for a lady at the store. I watched as an elderly lady drop some coins on the floor in a WAWA store. 3 teens that were standing next to her laughed and never offered to help her pick it up.

    The outright rude way that adults and even parents are spoken too by these kids. If I had even came close to talking to my parents in this manner I would have gotten slapped and grounded.

    Not all teens are bad. Some are wonderful to know and talk to. Sadly they are now the minority and not the majority. In my day and age if I had bullied anyone at the bus stop, by the time I got home my mom had already talked to 2 or 3 parents and I was in for it. Knowing that there were people watching me kept me from doing many things that would not have been too good. There was always punishment waiting for me when I did something wrong. I have never had a “timeout”.


    1. Seriously? That is ridiculous. Elaine, I am so sorry that your kids were bullied and its so sad how the teachers and school officials dont do anything about it. Buy really Tony...the teachers would get picked on? Are you freaking kidding me? who cares? grown men and women...My brother is in this school district he says kids are always getting bullied and teachers see it and do nothing. Why do they get bullied? because they are quiet? and when my brother said something to his friends his friends said not to get involved. and this kid is a nice kid, but these kids are so afraid that they will be next and do not realize just how much power they have stop it. Teaching them to stand up for whats right is what teaches them compassion and teaches them to be great men. Dtown school district is one of the wealthiest school districts in the state, these kids are priviliged, blessed we pay ridiculous taxes to live them and our kids arent safe......unbelievable.