That honestly never occurred to me. My middle school had a “strict anti-bullying policy,” but, mind-blower: bullying still happened. Part of this is the fault of the struggle to actually define bullying. A couple of eighth graders calling me a nerd didn’t seem like anything major. I mean, it happened all the time. It happened all the time.
So would that qualify it as bullying- the sheer frequency? It was only verbal, never physical, and yes, sometimes it made me dread math class, but I kept my head down and my mind in another world and I ranted to my journal when i got home. I handled it… sort of. That was my way of dealing with things.
Listen up, world: that is not how you deal with things. I wouldn’t be writing this now if it weren’t a problem. Yes, there are lots of things in life that are worse than getting picked on for your brains for a few years, but this amazing post by The Talkative Tones reminded me to not forget the importance of my own issues.
There can be an infinite number of laws against bullying, but it will still happen. The way to solve this isn’t with the teachers anymore. They’re doing all they can. The way to stop this isn’t with the administration anymore. They’re doing all they can. It will never be enough because the only people that truly understand kids are the kids themselves.
If you have kids, teach them how to properly stand up for themselves. I’m not saying to punch the bully back or something like that- the school policies usually say that if you defend yourself in the slightest in physical confrontation, both students will face severe consequences. Which is a ridiculous rule, but that’s for another post.
Don’t teach your kids to fight physically, but do teach them to fight funny. Let them learn the power of words, and how to use them sparingly. If someone calls you an overused offending name, (and there are lots of them, trust me) reply, sincerely, as though you actually mean it, “Whoa! That was really creative! You mind if I write that down and quote you on it?”
At that point, the bully’s friends will be saying, “Oooooh, buuuurrn!” and all that is left to do is keep your mouth shut, no matter how much they try to engage you after your comment.