Using bullying to combat bullying: What could possibly go wrong?
A kindergarten teacher who allegedly forced students to strike a boy accused of being a bully will lose her job, according to the suburban San Antonio school district where officials say the actions took place. According to reports, as many as 24 students were ordered to strike the boy.
The teacher had reportedly been asked by a colleague at Salinas Elementary about the best way to discipline six-year-old Aiden Neely, after “other students had perceived the boy as being a bully,” according to the AP. That resulted in the boy being sat down in a chair, to allow students to file past and hit him.
Citing a Judson Independent School District police report, The San Antonio Express-News reports that “the second teacher took Aiden into her kindergarten classroom and told her students to hit him in order to ‘teach him why bullying is bad, instructing them to ‘Hit him!’ and ‘Hit him harder.’”
The incident allegedly took place last month; the story emerged this week as the boy’s parents spoke out, and the police report of the incident was submitted to the county district attorney.
And all of the facts are not yet clear: While the police report suggests that the slaps were halted after six or seven children struck Aiden, the boy’s mother says her son told her he was hit by all 24 students.
Life really is just a bad parody of great South Park episodes anymore.
“Lets all get together, and make bullying kill itself.”
About that Kindergarten teacher organizing an impromptu “Beat On The Brat” re-enactment to stop him from bullying: How does someone lose the plot this badly? I thought the point of this anti-bullying movement was meant to stop bullying, not just transfer the object of bullying from one set of kids to another. Wow, was I ever off-base on this one. Sorry, my peeps.
That reminds me. Remember when anti-bullying spokesperson and certified ethical genius Dan Savage started ranting and berating kids–at an antibullying seminar? Oh, irony. You’re not without a sense of humor.
Shocker: It turns out that when you give morally inept assholes a little bit of power and a healthy dollop of encouragement, it doesn’t change them into magnanimous peacemakers.
The other problem here is that for whatever reason, the folks behind the new anti-bullying movement want to take what is a local problem in some communities and treat it like a national crisis. I know this is going to blow people’s minds, but we’re not dealing with a pandemic disease or an invading foreign army. There is no Union Of Bad-Ass Bullies planning a massive purple-nurple campaign in the fall. Strategies for Operation: Get Nerdy Kids To Feel Like Shit About Themselves aren’t being contemplated by the nefarious Bully High Command.
The so-called bullying epidemic is actually made up of countless individual encounters between young people, each one caused by unique circumstances and generating its own consequences. Seen from a super-macro national perspective its really difficult to figure out whether something is bullying or just two children busting each other’s chops. Is Kid A beating up Kid B to take his lunch money, or because Kid B has been talking shit about Kid A’s mom and he’s sick of hearing it? Is WormySophomore SlackerDude getting picked on because he’s gay or because he threw a slice of pizza on Jocko McRockhead’s varsity lacrosse jacket? The soft-headed celebutards that support all these big anti-bullying campaigns—Colin Farrell, Sarah Silverman, Barack Obama–aren’t really in a position to quantify and determine what is and what isn’t bullying.
The best people to deal with a bullying problem are the people closest to the issue itself. School principals, teachers, parents and kids within their own communities can judge whether or not they have an issue due to bullying. They can then take steps to address the concern in ways that make sense for them. When we demand a national response to a problem that can’t be dealt with on a national level, we’re inviting trouble to make an extended pit-stop in our lives.
Furthermore: Here’s an example of a real problem that could be caused by misplaced bully hysteria. Lets say a town buys into the “OMG BULLYING THIS IS SO IMPORTANT!” stuff. The school and the municipality spend piles of money and loads of man-hours dealing with this supposed problem. That’s really great; meanwhile, the actual danger in the community is performance-enhancing drugs in the school’s athletics programs.
We’ve all been to various ‘awareness’ seminars during our school years. You file into the gym, sit in an uncomfortable seat, sneak glances at the girl you’ve been crushing in for two weeks and try to play God of War on your PSP without your pre-cal teacher catching you. Meanwhile some dorky nerdlington consultant the principal hired goes into an hour-long drone about…..ummmm……uhhhhhh….huhhhh……some shit….fuck, I don’t know.
Sure you’re stoked that you didn’t have to sit in class and solve twenty exponential functions, but if the program doesn’t address an issue that’s actually happening then it’s less than useless. Specifically, the community loses credibility. For the kids, the adult leadership looks even more out-of-touch than they usually do. For the adults, they can pat themselves on the back for ‘doing something’ but the real problems within the town haven’t been dealt with in a meaningful way.
Basically these national anti-bullying campaigns are like a typical liberal do-gooder project: Everyone involved thinks they’ve solved a problem without actually doing it while pissing away other people’s money on a hopeless cause. Other than that, it’s freaking awesome.