The Anti-Anti-Bullying Campaign
There are few things that people can agree on when it comes to bullying in the school or the workplace. It was only recently that people have seen bullying as anything but a childhood rite of passage. In the past four years, all but two states in America now have anti-bullying laws that provide criminal punishment for students and adults that violate these laws . Many people in America see these laws as a step forward in protecting people who have not learned to protect themselves. However, there are negative and not yet propagated affects to the citizens these laws are supposed to protect. Furthermore, these laws have now put many other children in danger of malicious prosecution who may not have done a misdeed. Though many measures have been taken in order to prevent bullying, perhaps the wrong approach has been taken to alleviate the so called epidemic.
In the book Why They Kill, by author Richard Rhodes provides a compelling new look at one of the aspects of bullying and the affects thereof . In his book, Rhodes states that there is no correlation between bullying and psychopathic or suicidal behavior in children and young adults such as the Columbine shooting and the suicide of Phoebe Prince. Such behavior is categorized as incidental suggesting a predisposition to such behavior by either choice or “violent coaching” through a mentor such as a classmate. Though these actions are exactly what anti-bullying campaigns are trying to prevent, the same events are growing more and more common every year. So the fault, through analysis seems to be a treatment of the symptoms and not the problems. To support Rhodes’ thesis, other research has shown that talk of an epidemic is most likely exaggerated . The same research shows the reason for more reports of bullying stem from teachers feeling forced to report minor cases of “kids being kids” to school boards, exacerbating the events in to civil cases with stiff penalties that in turn divides educators on the effectiveness of such laws and penalties.
With statistics showing that 37% of children reporting being bullied at school; such studies are now being dismissed as contradictory. While they are staggering numbers, they have remained constant for decades now, indicating now real rise in bullying while only 3.9% of children have reported being bullied outside of school. Finally, a 2010 study found that 47% of 43,000 students reported being victims and victimizing others as well. This obviously provides a shaky foundation for a reliable number of children who are only victimized. This also suggests that when you prevent a child from being bullied, there is a good chance that same child will turn around to bully another unfortunate schoolmate. In summation, bullying is almost never one sided. It’s described as more of a circular pattern instead. As of yet, there have been no reliable studies that have shown the ‘bottom of the food chain,’ so to speak. In another study, the author suggests that bullies and defenders of victims and victims themselves operate on what describes a kind of caste system . Bullies are not seen victimizing others who are on a higher social level or more popular than they are, but rather operate on a lower caste.
The responsibility of defending the victim ultimately rests on the shoulders of peers at the same level of social standing or higher than that of the bully. The direct defense of a victim therefore has shown to be much more effective than simply telling a teacher. The only drawback to this approach is that the defender must run the risk of injury, or more importantly a blow to his or her social standing. This is yet another conundrum that students on both sides of the bullying game must face, and is all too often considered too much of a risk.
Yet there is another, unexplored option to stop bullying. This method has been taught for centuries throughout human history across all types of cultures. It may seem like a simple and foolhardy solution; however, this approach has seen the best results in all age groups. From childhood bullying to adult matters of a similar nature, individuals experience the most success from this method. The method in question of course is put on the shoulders of the parents of bullying victims. Parents that teach their children to stand up to bullies are few and far between these days. Of course the anti-bullying campaigns suggest standing up to bullies; they rely solely on the victim or defenders to report the incident to an educator. This is perhaps the biggest variable for modern parents and educators to wrap their minds around. The idea of standing up to a bully involves violence to ensue more often than not. Although it seems simple but counter-productive, this violent response to violence however can often be necessary in order for the victim to incite loyalty in his or her potential defenders and even the bully in question. This can be achieved quite simply by implementing a moral code by the parents for their children and self-defense training in a class environment with a professional. If parents were to enlist this simple approach to their children’s bullying problems and preventing any negative reaction from education staff, then the bullying problem will solve itself.
So in an effort to stop the ineffective anti-bullying campaigns which have so many variables and brick walls, the responsibility of halting this false epidemic must be left up to the parents and the victims. To involve teachers and authority figures in such matters can take away a needed physical and mental outlet for students to build their own confidence and inspire order through the scholastic caste system. Students are a society quite separate from other societies throughout America and must be allowed to govern themselves to a certain extent. Constricting the rights of self-defense only allows for more bullying and the underlying mental anguish experienced by the victims.
 By: Cloud, John. The Myths of Bullying. 12 March 2012, Vol. 179, Issue 10  By: Rhodes, Richard. Why They Kill. October 2000, First Vintage Books Edition  By: Poyhonen, Virpi. Juvonen, Jaana. Salmivalli, Christina. What Does it Take to Stand Up for the Victim of Bullying? 1 April 2010, Merrel-Palmer Quarterly, Vol. 56 No. 2