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Latest Episode - Our Kids Are All Got-Damn Sissies/Bullying/Long Winded Rant

Okay Rym&Scott, I told you that you had to watch what you said about education. :D

For those who don't know, I'm finishing a masters in Education, so I know alot about it and have taught in schools already.

Anyhow, I agree with a large portion of what you guys said about schools wanting to protect themselves. However, I point out that it is not the schools that want kinds not to go out and run around like lunatics on the playground. Often times it is parents looking for a lawsuit to make a quick buc, or someone who's afraid their prascious angel might skin a frikkin elbow that causes schools to be ultra-protective.

My example:

I student taught at a suburban middle school which ahd 3rd-5th grades. My cooperating teacher said that recess duty would be the worst part of my week. I didn't believe him, it's recess right? Kids running around, smacki into eachother. Just yell things at em and they'll stop.

My mistake. Recess consisted of several classes of students at a time (about 75 - 100 kids or so) in half a gym, walking in a circle around the outside of some cones. That's it. Hands to yourself, no touching pushing shoving roughhousing or running or skipping. Walk in a circle for 30 minutes. I was dumbstruck and felt terrible for the kids. The TEACHERS felt terrible for the kids. But there was such a fear of a lawsuit from the upper-middle-class because a kid had a tooth chipped or sprained a wrist, that the school reacted. Even when the weather got warmer and they took the kids was the SAME THING, only in a slightly bigger circle. Ocationally, they'd open the second half of the gym and have jumprope or volyball, but in the 8 weeks I was there, that was done twice. Parents had threatened lawsuits for so many rediculous things that the schools reaction was actually lenient considering there was still a recess at all.

I remember playing greek dodge with those red rubber balls even when it was snowing out! They hurt like a bitch then too, cause it was cold. My parents never complaned when I scrapped an elbow or got a bloody nose from taking a ball to the face. I take a stance from a teacher point of view that school isn't the problem, it's paranoid parents.

Now, about bullying. There are many, many kids of bullying. Some of it can me so constant and insideous that it can drive kids to suicide, and I've even seen it happen where suicide has happened, and there was shocking unremorse from the bullies to the extent of "I'm glad they're dead, they were a looser anyway". When I was bullied, I was TOLD by other children I hoped I died so they wouldn't have to look at me anymore, most of these kids I never wanted to talk with or be around, and they'd seek me out to verbally or physically assault me untill I took action(hooray for martial arts!). The parents of these children did nothing. I could go on and on and on about bullying and just how severe it can get. Teasing a kid about their shoes or clothes is one thing, but planning to jump a kid because they wore a shirt of a band you hate (happens) or trying to override a teacher in a classroom to threaten all the other students with violence that you said your MOM SAID WAS OKAY TO DO (this happened in another school while I was teaching.) is another problem all together.

I'm rambeling a bit, but my basic point is, it ain't the schools, it's parents who are thoughtless and uncaring. If you crapped out a kid because you were stupid or just wanted a baby around, and don't want the responsability of actually raising a human being, GET FUCKING NEUTERED OR SPAYED. STOP BREEDING YOUR STUPIDITY AND HATRED INTO CHILDREN AND THEN BLAMING OTHER PEOPLE.

Which is another thing you guys mentioned. It's not that people don't KNOW they're at fault for stupid shit, they DON'T WANT TO TAKE RESPONSABILITY. That's why we have warning labels on things like waffle irons that say stupid things like "Not for topical application to eyes!". Another example is the "Guess Who" game with all the little faces, 'Game Pieces Do Not Actually Talk". WHAT THE FUCK!? They're CARDBOARD! How got-damn retarded do you have to be to not realize this fact?! People wll feign ignorance to get out of being responsible for themselves. I see it all the time, someone does something stupid and promptly blames some big organization becaus ehtye 'didn't know it was wrong' or dangerous. Happens in life, PARTICULARLY with children in schools, espescially youngsters who say they 'don't knwo better' but do.

I'll stop because I think my rant will degrade into ferral sounds if I go on any longer.


  • edited June 2006
    My only thought on this episode is: I remember when that thing with the guy on the boat that flipped over happened, And I'm glad my school got pussified after I left and went to Middle/High School, where they don't have recess anyway.
    Post edited by Ilmarinen on
  • Yeah, from a students point of veiw i have seen things like that too - a studen who didn't have to do homework because his mum took it up with the school, he also did't do detentions, yet again because his mum took it up with the school, classes used to be like this.

    Teacher: Ok class, your homework is..
    Student: I don't do homework
    Teacher: You can have a detention then
    Student:I don't do detentions
    Teacher: You're doing this if you like it or not

    Thankfuly now we've been put into sets i don't have to put up with him anymore...
  • Are you serious? I think may have gotten lucky with my school or something... Our choice of classes we can take sucks, but at least we don't put up with people like that. Or maybe Michigan is just good at repelling those kind of people.
  • Nope, no joke - he was an absolute twat. I wish the teachers were allowed to give kids like that a good smack now and again...
  • edited June 2006
    I am of the opinion that students who are being teased or bullied, should be taught to take a good, long, hard look at themselves. Ask the questions of: "Why am I being bullied?" and "Are these things I am willing to change?"
    Then, once that has been done, react appropriately. Permanent solutions are preferable to temporary appeasements.

    EDIT: I forgot to include a calculation and measurement of the form that the bullying has taken.
    Post edited by Katsu on
  • "Nope, no joke - he was an absolute twat. I wish the teachers were allowed to give kids like that a good smack now and again..."
    Another thing Texas has that makes up for G.W.B.
  • I'm not sure that I get the whole "kid being bullied should change" thing. What if the kid is being bullied because he is smarter than everyone around him? Should he stop being smart?
  • He should continue to be intelligent. I think he should do what has been proven to work in history; make an example, and be consistent in his actions. Of course, this requires the will to execute such a strategem fully and to maintain the course.
    An alternative is to simply make it no longer worthwhile to continue harassment. Though eventually the opponent may win in the conflict, you simply must make the price of victory too high for the opponent to be able to accept.
    Either way, you have to let the opposing force know that you're serious, and that there will be dire consequences.
  • Ah, Katsu, where were you in 1976? In any event, in a group dynamic, once a person is bully fodder, it is difficult to escape. Martial arts is one option, but another is changing schools.
  • edited June 2006
    I can't say I disagree with much of what you said. However, I blame the schools just as much as the parents. Even if the teachers and administration don't agree with the policy, they are going along with it. If they were really for having fun recess, they would give the parents the finger and gain my respect.

    I'll talk about bullying tomorrow, as it seems our stance did not get across clearly in the podcast.
    Post edited by Apreche on
  • If a kid is being bullied because he is intelligent, then, upon examining -why- he is being bullied, he'll realize this. He shouldn't change, he'll just instead have to accept the fact that a great many people in this world are ignorant and hurtful ^_~

    You just have to figure out why people give you a hard time. Is it really because they're jealous or fearful? Or is it because you smell like a dead orc? The former is real and does happen. People tend to harass anyone who falls outside of their comfort zone of conformity to social norms. But at the same time, there are many people who convince themselves it's the former when in fact they have real issues.
  • Why would a kid be bullied because of intelligence in the first place? He has to have something else wrong with him if he gets bullied. I REALLY doubt anyone has been bullied merely for jealousy. People who are bullied, especially physically, usually need to get confidence and start standing up for themselves.
  • edited June 2006
    Anyar, people bully each other for jealousy all the time. Like girls who bully one girl for having the boyfriend they want. Or even the girl who develops faster than the other girls gets bullied too because she has the attention of all the boys.
    Post edited by Ametto on
  • Here I will reiterate and clarify my stance on bullying.

    Bullying which consists only of offensive speech is aok in my book. Nobody has a right not to be offended. Everyone has the freedom of speech, even if someone out there is offended by that speech. A carrot might have killed your friend, does that mean I shouldn't be free to talk about carrots because it might upset you? If you want to live in a society with free speech you have to accept the fact that some people are going to say things that you don't like. If you can't handle it, you should move to some other country without as many freedoms.

    Bullying which crosses the line of infringing upon freedoms should be taken care of as the law requires. If you beat someone up, that's assault. Stealing lunch money is robbery. Breaking other kid's toys is vandalism and possibly theft. Threatening is threatening. Blackmail is blackmail, you get the idea.

    Now, let's talk about the receiving end. I was bullied on occasion in school, just like everyone else. Kids said things, and I got upset. Sometimes we would fight verbally, sometimes physically. Sometimes the bullying crossed the line, sometimes it didn't.

    I always told parents, teachers and principals that they should punish the bullies. I thought it was painfully obvious that they were the bad guys, and I was the victim. The fact that I was the one who would be punished was a great injustice in my eyes. They told me to just ignore the bullies. At the time I said "that's not possible", if only I had learned how true it was sooner.

    Bullies don't bully everyone. There are bullies, kids who get bullied and kids who are neither. If you are bullied, there is an easy way to become a kid who is neither. First, don't react to the bullies. Once you do it once, they've got you. They know you are the type of person they can pester. They found your button, and they're going to push it. Hiding your button won't work. You have to not have buttons.

    This is an important life lesson everyone has to learn. Childhood is a relatively short, but important, part of your life. Throughout your entire life there will always be people who say things that offend you. If you get upset every time, your life is going to be pretty miserable.

    It is up to kids who are bullied to change their own attitudes so that they are immune to verbal harassment. It is up to bullies to not cross the line of doing anything beyond exercising free speech. Most of all it is up to everyone to make sure that kids know what the line is. Children have a very strong sense of what is fair and what is not. We have to explain to them, not talk down to them, what the rules are and what the consequences will be. Then you have to enforce those rules in a fair manner. If the kids aren't treated fairly by adults, you can't expect them to treat each other fairly either.
  • edited June 2006
    Let me ask you something. What does a child, who is being bullied, do if even if they are immune to the verbal harassment the bully keeps coming? What does that child do when the bullies decided to take it to the next level and make it physical? What does the child do when the teachers, who see all of the physical and verbal abuse, do not out of fear (for a variety of things). What then? How does that child survive?
    Post edited by baltmatrix on
  • If the bully keeps coming, verbally, but you don't care, then it doesn't bother you. The bully wastes his breath, and the kid genuinely doesn't give a shit. The bully will either give up, or take it to another level.

    If the bully gets physical, kick the shit out of him. I'm "pacifist" by nature in that I won't start a fight, and I will avoid hitting back if possible. But if you come and punch me in the face, for real, then I'll kick you in the nuts and grind your face into the pavement. It's self defense, if you end up on court, that's what you say. Even if the court sucks you can still sleep at night knowing you were in the right.

    If teachers are standing and watching bullies beat other kids up, but aren't doing anything, then I'd sue them. Apparently, fear of lawsuits is motivating teachers not to do anything. Perhaps we can use the same fear of lawsuits to motivate them to do the right thing.

    This will put the teachers in a situation of "damned if you do, damned if you don't". I believe that in such a situation the teachers will do one of two things. First, they might strike. Their strike will force the schools to change the policy to appease the teachers. The other thing I see happening is teachers doing as they please. If they get sued no matter what, they'll do what they feel is right as opposed to taking the path of least liability.

    I have to assume that most teachers want to do the right thing, and are only prevented from doing so by fear of lawsuits. If we can eliminate this fear, teachers will usually act rightly. They'll beat the shit out of bullies who cross the line and help kids getting picked on change themselves and grow up.
  • The idea that kids are being made fun The idea that kids are being made fun because they're fat, smart, or w/e, is silly. The reason those kids are being teased is because they can't seem to stand up for themselves. Yes, the bullies do pick on them for those reasons, but they also do it because they sense unconfidence in that person. Haven't you noticed that the kids that are usually smarter or fatter, are the ones that are usually most quiet among all the students? That's actually the main thing bullies go after.

    For instance, I know some really social smart, fat people, and they don't get made fun of at all, and that was back in elementary. They were confident and sure of themselves, so they passed by all those bad times of being bullied in school.

    So if you want to help kids, teach them to be socially active. Remember, bullies prey on the faint of heart.
  • Yes, but all bullies want is to piss someone off, if you don't take any of it to heart, and just laugh etc etc.. they will go and find someone else, i cannot emphasise enough how well not reacting in a negative manner works.
  • Yeah, I see those FX lightsabers all over the place at a wide variety of prices. They're fun to play with in the store, but if I bought one I think it would become boring very quickly.
  • Hmm.. Wrong thread, methinks...
  • My answer to the bullying was to put three of them in the hospital for a couple of months. Amazing what kind of an impact breaking several bones to a few people will do.
  • Oh yeah....wrong thread there Scott.
  • Hmm, sounds fun, I tend to be more passive - i've only punched someone in the face twice, both in response to bullying, i'd forgotten about that untill then. It worked for me for a couple months, then it started up again.
  • I'm not sure a fake lightsaber will deter the bullies, Scott...

    /Wrong thread, n00b.
  • shits! wrong thread. There is one disadvantage to Firefox tabs.
  • See, I am of the opinion that no one should be teased in a maliscious way. Good natured ribbing is one thing, but when someone finds someone's 'weak spot' and keeps attacking it verbally, the results can be serious. It's easy to say"just ignore the bully", but I heard that way too much in my youth, and when I did, things got violent fast. What was worse, I got blamed. If I fought back with words, I got blamed. If I defended myself from an attack, I got blamed.

    One time in high school, I had snapped photos in my neighborhood of two morons vandalizing the local playground with graffiti and profanity. They found me at school and got their 'posse' to try and intimidate me, and I ignored them as I walked to my music class, foiling their attempts to trip/hit/steal as I walked. One of the kdis I photographed FOLLOWED ME INTO THE CLASS and the hit me once in the back from behind in front of about thirty other people. I, thinking 'Ah-ha! I will not maul him with a music stand since everyone saw him hit me, he will get suspended, and I will continue on my day!' didn't maul him.

    His 'posse' followed me AND the teacher, who rapidly got exaspirated with their 'aww yeah nigga, we saw him hit you first, shit it was self defense! we'll fuck him up later too!' dispersed them and took both of us to the office.

    Later I found out I WAS GETTING SUSPENDED for fighting. I had four witnesses say I didn't lay a hand on him, and I was going to be suspended. HE got longer than I, but still, where the hell was the justice in that?

    The bottom line is, i did nothing wrong, followed the rules, and still got slapped. The next time I was in a fight, I fought like hell and it was over before any teacher showed up and I walked away.

    Blaming the victim is never right, never. If a kid harass some kid to the point that the one being teased snaps, it's the harasser's fault, period. If some moron keeps poking a sleeping tiger with a stick, it ain't the tiger's fault.

    Words can hurt, espescially younger children or teens who are insecure. A teacher should take responsability for what happens around them in a school setting, and parents should take responsability and PARENT their children. I've ecen seen where a parent will tell a very young child that if someone says something you don't like or looks at you in a way you don't like 'you hit em!'. OR tell kids that it is okay to insult and harass other students.
  • RymRym
    edited June 2006
    Of course, your incident taught you several valuable life lessons:
    • Stupid people en masse will usually get their way.
    • Authority figures don't care, and will always take the easy way out.
    • You can't count on the afformentioned authority figures to help you when you need it.
    Certainly, verbal bullying should be treated seriously with children. They aren't hardened to the cruel nature of the world yet, and don't have any real means to fight back. (Physical bullying should be treated as assault and charged accordingly).

    But at the same time, imagine a child who grows up never experiencing anything like what happened to you (and countless other people). Imagine a child for whom, at every turn, justice is served unilaterally and common sense prevails. That child is fucked when he enters the real world and has to deal with the unfair, arbitrary, asshole-filled planet we inhabit.
    Post edited by Rym on
  • Your example doesn't seem to fit your argument about words hurting. Nor does it seem like you're really getting the gist of what I'm saying. Please read what I have written very carefully. I tried to word it as precisely as possible. I had to break it up into two comments due to limits on post size.

    In your example, the bullies crossed the line. Their teasing was not strictly within their rights to freedom of speech. They crossed the line by tripping you and hitting you. In my book that means jailtime and assault charges. In that situation you acted rightly. All blame should be put on the bullies, for crossing the line, and on the teachers, for not enacting justice. Even if you had beaten the bullies senseless, I would agree it was self defense, as long as you did not hit first.

    You are studying education. Why did the teachers suspend you despite witnesses and despite inordinate evidence of your innocence? How come people sue the schools when the schools are doing things correctly and not in situations like this? We can't always make everything perfectly fair, but sometimes it seems like people don't even try. The inability to achieve perfect justice does not excuse us from trying to get as close as possible.

    This is why zero-tolerance is crap. Children have a very strong natural sense of justice. If schools don't enforce rules in a fair manner, then children will grow up with a rightful distrust of authority. I think this is one of the major reasons our society has a fucked up sense of justice and a stronger sense of revenge. You can't teach kids about courts and fair trials in Social Studies while you suspend kids without seriously listening to what they have to say. Adults not setting the right example is one of the major causes of bad behavior in children.

    Now for the words. You made the argument that words can hurt, but you used an example where things went far beyond words. Words only necessarily hurt in a few crazy circumstances. Obviously someone making constant noise, noise at nail-on-blackboard frequencies or loud noises can hurt. Also, the classic, falsely shouting fire in a crowded theatre creates a dangerous situation. Lying can be dangerous as well. Saying that a pill is safe when it is poison is a good example. Certain threats can also be dangerous speech. And of course, certain cases of libel and slander can cause damages which are usually financial in nature.

    Other than those sorts of things, all speech must be protected. If someone wants to say gay people should go to hell, they have to be allowed to say that. If someone wants to say blacks and jews are evil, they have to be allowed. If someone wants to say that GeekNights sucks, they have to be allowed. If someone wants to say I'm a poopy pants, they have to be allowed. All of these things are hateful, disgusting, unfriendly speech, but in a free country people have the right to say them. As much as I disagree with what they say, if you tried to shut up the KKK I would fight against you. If you want to live without freedom of speech, feel free to move to another country like China.

    Verbal abuse is a fact of life. No matter where you go, or what you do, you will encounter speech that will make you upset. You do not have a right to not be offended. When you are offended by the free expression of other people, you can choose to be upset or choose to deal with it. You can not make an argument that someone else must have their freedom of speech limited because you don't like what they are saying. If you disagree, then I will say that everything you say offends me, and you should never be allowed to speak again.

    If someone verbally harasses someone else without stepping out of the bounds of freedom of speech, there's not a got damn thing you can do about it. Yes, the person is an asshole. Yes, the person is bad. Yes, the person is mean. But in a free country, people have a right to be assholes. You can either deal with it, or be miserable, your choice. It would be great if everyone was friendly, but that will never happen. And IMHO living in a state of forced friendliness is infinitely worse than freely living with a bunch of assholes.
  • As a last note, I want to make a clarification of what I mean when I say "ignore" the bullies. Let's say someone calls you a stupidy doodoo head. If you punch them in the face, you aren't ignoring them. If you say "I know you are, but what am I?", you aren't ignoring them. If you get upset, but refrain from reacting in any way, you are [b]not[/b] ignoring them. You are only truly ignoring them if their words do not have any affect on your feelings whatsoever. You have to truly not give a shit about what other people say and think. Then, and only then, are you really ignoring them.

    I believe that not caring what other people say and think is an absolute necessity for happiness in a free society. I believe people have a right to say things which offend other people. I believe that people want to be happy. Therefore, if you want to be happy in a free society, you have to have an attitude in which the things other people say and think do not affect your happiness. It took a lot of time and hard work to achieve this state, but if my attitude was any different, I would be crying and beating people up non-stop thanks to all the religious nutbags out there.
  • Scott seems to forget that kids aren't adults, and that not everyone is as thick-skinned (headed? ^_~) as he.
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