Defending the Bully by Merwin Severtson
The System Defends the Bully
"Well... what the heck did you think would happen?"
Or, said in my best "Myth Busters" voice, "Well, there's your problem right there!"
I mean, really... Both, school teachers, and Principles, know who the bullies are, and for a variety of reasons, cannot (or will not) do anything (or very little) about it.
So, these known bullies, who probably started after being bullied themselves, wait for the perfect opportunity to victimize and violate someone. And, because little can be done officially and.or authoritatively to stop the nonsense, the asylum ends up getting run by the crazies.
This, evidently, results in a catastrophic breakdown of the adolescent social structure to the point of physical power ruling the day. I used "day", because this power structure can turn on a dime, such as with Columbine. There, you had the victims utilizing what they had learned at the hands of the real "teachers" - the bullies - and took that "education" to its logical and tragic conclusion.
Those final, ultimate, (former victim) bullies had learned the curriculum of power too well.
A person may respond, "Well the Teachers and Principals of the school system, had (have) their hands tied regarding what could (can) be done about bullying!"
They have in place presently (and before) a system that is (was) at their disposal that makes perfect sense.
As mentioned the bullies are well known, repeat offenders that, at every opportunity have been exerting their power over others. They have been on the Vice Principal's (disciplinary officers) carpet repeatedly, but very little changes. After all, neither the Principals nor the Teachers can be everywhere at once, and discipline must follow specific guidelines.
The system that can and does work extremely well is the adolescent societal structure. They are the ones that obviously raise each other in school anyway, and if their structure is allowed to function properly, monitored and guided but not penalized for self defense, then you can see desired results.
Case in point... I know of a brave young lad who stood up to a notorious bully. The bully had earned his notoriety in the normal ways and was expressing himself in one of these ways, tormenting a room full of kids who were working on a project by turning on and off the lights.
One might say, "That is simply, boys being boys! Innocent in comparison to 'normal' bullying." Well yeah, one might say that, were it not for the fact that this is how intimidation works, incrementally. Small and large examples of abusing the rights of others, a preponderance of abuse that is relentless and very effective.
"The lad" (mentioned above) had, had enough, and preemptively went over and gave the bully a smack down. And was subsequently suspended for his valor.
Here is the "rub", as well as the solution.
And I understand there is zero tolerance for violence.
We have in place kids who are willing to stand up in their own defense and the defense of others. We have in place those who are willing to say, in language that is understandable in any society, "No... you can't do that, I will stop you, that is not right!" Those who are willing to stand between the bully and his easiest targets (the ones that react fatally in the end, if they get no relief from the bully) as a protector.
These are the ones who do not have a reputation in any given school as a bully, these are the ones who deserve some leeway when they step up and do, what the school system cannot do in protecting the innocent or weak.
Virtual inactivity by the School against the actions of the victimizer, while prosecuting the protector for his or her efforts, is in effect defending the bully.