Lois M. Collins: Bullying will end when young folks take a stand

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  • John C. C. Payson, UT
    Feb. 27, 2013 2:21 p.m.


    Improving adult behavior is still best solution. We can't just pass a law, but we can each choose to change our own behavior for starters.

    I like all your ideas about how to help students in the meantime. I'm not against doing what we can at school.

  • raybies Layton, UT
    Feb. 27, 2013 7:06 a.m.

    John CC: Unfortunately your solution is to do nothing. Most educators have access ONLY to the children, they cannot do anything about the parents. Therefore the only outlet they have is expertly training counselors, teachers and administrators to look for this stuff, or to make the student body aware of the problems.

    Most kids can be taught to recognize bullying and even to stand together with their peers to find ways to work it out. It is not impossible to teach healthy debate strategies and problem solving skills to even younger kids, though at extremely young ages that can be daunting. Still, They are not fragile little victims, sure some have deep-rooted domestic challenges, but even those can be mitigated with continual engagement.

  • John C. C. Payson, UT
    Feb. 26, 2013 9:16 p.m.

    Quit pressuring the kids. Most bully in response to problems of their own. The only ones mature enough to be accountable are the adults in their lives. Bullying doesn't begin at school, it begins at home and in the neighborhood.

    Adults need to culture peace among themselves first--be models of conflict resolution. Having taught school for 31 years I can't tell you the number of times I've talked to parents of both the bullies and the bullied (sometimes the same student). Often the sources of the problems were apparent, considering the adults in their lives. Try a little quasi-interrogation to get to the bottom of a playground incident, and you'll find some kids so skilled at faking alibis you would wonder where they got all the practice. Or why they fear the truth.

    Educators are in no position to investigate what's wrong in the homes. I'm not against doing what we can at school, but such efforts are doomed to be little more than band-aids--better than nothing. The true solution is both indirect and long term. We must be more civil and supportive of each other. Children will follow.

  • raybies Layton, UT
    Feb. 26, 2013 12:44 p.m.

    Great article Lois. Too often the kids are seen as something to be controlled, but engaging children in the effort really is the only effective way to manage it.

    Not only do kids need training about this, but as they get older, teens need to be taught to recognize the signs of depression and suicide among their peers. They need to understand there are serious consequences to contentious behaviors like bullying, and how to recognize the victims.

    Too often kids, like adults, get caught up in assigning blame, and never really get to the core troubles facing the kids that are both bullies and victims. Counsellors and administrators are not only poorly equipped to handle this sort of thing, but they are often not trusted enough to be helpful.

    It's the peers that matter. Kids don't want/need more adult friends, yet too often that's how counselors attempt to solve the problem... and inherently they will feed into many of the habits that make the "popular" kids loathesome to other kids... Kids in school want to have peers they can trust and work with and be their friends. The power of a peer can be immensely positive.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Feb. 26, 2013 12:13 p.m.

    Read the book Ender's Game to see how to deal with bullies.

    You can't tell you kids that it will go away. You and your child need to be pro-active and stop it in a way that the bully is afraid to act again. (Don't go to Ender's extreme) If you child is being physically bullied either pull them or put them in a self defense class so that the bully will think twice. If they are being verbally bullied you pester the school and the bully's parents to stop it.

  • B ob Richmond, CA
    Feb. 26, 2013 11:00 a.m.

    Physical, sexual, and social harassment (often lumped together with 'bullying') are much more difficult to stop than the situation in this article. If you know of someone who is being harassed - basically judge this by asking, "If this behavior was between teacher and teacher in the staff room - would there be legal action?" the following steps will make a big difference:

    1. DO TELL the victim it may never end it very well can get more violent/exploitive/dangerous.

    2. EMPOWER the victim to minimize the damage. You can do this by a. removing him/her from the situation, b. seeking real counseling, c. having the victim report -in the newspapers, social media - expose them...do not hide it, d. giving the victim lots and lots of physical activity to work out the frustration and feel physically powerful, and e. letting the victim serve others - to focus on those who need more help than she/he does.

    3. WARN When girls are harassed real creeps show up and promise them love (although tacitly) if they are willing sexual partners. The girls may think that having a boyfriend will ease the pain or prove that they are of worth.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Feb. 26, 2013 8:37 a.m.

    Mater and matter are two different words. No one promised me a rose garden. The long line that you would have to stand in and wait for God to help is infinitely long. The second [t] in the word matter. Time to start doing something. God helps those who help them self. Bad things happen to good people. Forgiveness isn't forgetfulness.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Feb. 26, 2013 6:25 a.m.

    Children in schools ought to recieve an orientation where it is explained to them what bullying is and that it is wrong and that it will not be tolerated. Those children wanting to attend the school should then sign a pledge that they will not bully and they will not tollerate those who do, i.e. they will remind them of the pledge and if they ignore the reminding they will turn them in.