questionshow do you feel bullying should be handled?

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Part 1

Let me start by telling you of a story involving my grandson. He was 6 years old when he started 1st grade in a new school. From the very beginning he and one other boy were being picked on by two or three other children in his class.

During the first half of the term he got into two or three fights with these children in trying to protect himself and the other child as well. Each time we were told about the fight his teacher would tell us that he did not start it. The teacher also reported this bullying to the Principal but she chose to do nothing.

During one of my grandson's gym class he was again being picked on and he got so frustrated he threatened to bring a gun to school. (Very stupid thing to say). The gym teacher had to report it but also told the Principal about how much he was being bullied. He was sent home and was told he had to bring in his parents the next day in order to come back. I accompanied my son and DIL to the office the next morning.

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Part 2

The Principal was told that my grandson was being punished for what he said and she was also told it would never happen again. Being as my grandson had a very clean record and was an excellent student he was allowed to go right back to school.

After he was sent to class. I mentioned to the Principal that, while I was in no way condoning what my grandson said, I felt that if the Principal did her duty and notified the parents of the bullies what was going on, it never would have reached the point of us being there that day. She claimed she would get in touch with them.

Several weeks went by and whenever she was asked about those parents she always had an excuse as to why she hadn't gotten in touch with them yet. I then decided, after talking with my son, to handle it my way.

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Part 3

The next day I asked 3 police officers who were handling traffic at the school (the crossing guard didn't show up) to meet me in the office when they were done. I stayed in the lunchroom (where all of the student went until their class was called) until my grandson's class left.

While on my way to the office the Principal told me that some police officers were waiting for me there.

I filed a report with the police giving them the names of the bullies. I also told them what my grandson said and that the Principal had done NOTHING to try to stop the bullying.

Twice while I was speaking to the officers the Principal interrupted me to try to get us into a side office (she didn't want any of the others hear what I was saying). I finally told her that she would not accept any student interrupting her & I would not accept her interrupting me.

Guess what? The Principal finally notified the parents and a meeting was held. It only took her until 75% of the term was up!

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I think a lot depends on what form the bullying takes. There's a fine line between protecting your kids from harm and not letting them grow the armor they'll need to function in the real world. I moved constantly as a kid, never went to the same school a whole year. I was always the new kid, bookish, red-haired, smart, vocal, and often not the prevailing religion or accent. I can't begin to catalog the amount of bullying I experienced, or even the number of times I got beat up after school. I remember making friends with big dogs on my route home so if attacked I could climb into a strangers yard and their dogs would protect me. I remember an older boy that liked me in 4th grade introducing me to his thug dropout brother at the pool hall so I could go to him for protection. My childhood would have been better if I hadn't gone through that, but I would not be as strong and resourceful as I am. But if the bullying is actually of a dangerous sort, adult intervention is needed.

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One of the best ways to help kids from being bullied is to get them into martial arts training. It does not really matter which form. The early training and development exercises in both physical & mental areas helps to develop self-confidence. I studied American Goju, which is based on an Okinawan style of 'hit hard, block soft'. Goju was developed as a hand-to-hand form with only basic implements as weapons. At the time of it's development the people in Okinawa were forbidden to own any weapons and the form developed fighting styles using scythes, staffs, etc.
Martial arts training will NOT make the child more aggressive, it trains them to be controlled and to avoid conflict whenever possible. The benefits of martial arts training extend into all other areas of a person's life.

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@zippy the pinhead: Martial arts helps you to develop confident body language, which a big deterrent to bullies. I've been a member of a foam-weapons medieval recreation club for half my life, and I recommend it for all girls. Not only does it give you physical self-confidence, but it gives you a realistic evaluation of your competencies. For example, due to AMTGARD, I know that there's not a man alive I can outrun,. If I am attacked, running away isn't going to help me unless I disable my attacker in some way. Participating in AMTGARD and dabbling in martial arts has drilled better reflexive defensive strikes and blocks into me when surprised than what nature provided.

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@zippy the pinhead: I agree. My grandson started learning Karate at a local Dojo earlier this year. I believe he is up to a blue belt.

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@moondrake: I concur. But I must add that it also has to do with the ages of both the bullies and the child being bullied.

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Bullies should be sterilized as part of a Eugenics program.

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I think part of the problem with bullying this days is the electronic nature of it. Kids aren't just bullied while they are at school, bullying follows them into their home via text messages and social media accounts. Furthermore, kids that may too cowardly to bully another kid in person may think it is perfectly acceptable to torment them online and encourage others to do the same.

In my personal opinion, there is no reason kids in middle school need to have access to social media platforms like Facebook. Parents NEED to monitor their kids access to electronic communication. If they are being bullied on social media, offenders can be blocked. If they are being bullied by text message, phone numbers can be blocked. If they are the bullies, access can be revoked entirely.

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@alpayton: You are so right. It is most definitely a huge part of the problem.

Unfortunately it is not as easy as it seems to block the people causing the problem. There are many different places where you can use computers that don't belong to you. Also, considering how easy it is to get phony numbers for your cell phone a person does not have to worry about their number being blocked, they'll just use another.

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amazingly, most young people seem to not take a lot of online "bullying" seriously, as in they don't care what others say about them provided they have a few real friends. What would be shocking for us adults to see posted about ourselves online is nothing to them.

We also need to chillax about minor issues... some morons in school administration are now considering it to be bullying if one kid simply doesn't like another kid and doesn't want to play with them. There may be very good reasons that one kid tries to exclude a particular other kid from their activities.

People need to realize that REAL bullying usually involves a pattern of abuse over time, or possibly a group picking on one kid in particular. Getting picked last for the team isn't bullying, & neither is sitting with your particular group of friends every day.

That being said, REAL bullying needs real attention. Parents need to be aware of what their kids are doing online & IRL. It's irresponsible parenting not to!

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I agree with the martial arts suggestions. My 9yr old daughter has been taking taekwondo classes since age 4.5, and is a year away from her second dan (degree) blackbelt. Nothing made me prouder than when she stepped between a friend and an older boy (10 or 11) who was pushing her friend. There we not parents or adults around, so she stepped in and the bully ran away, without her ever having to take ay offensive moves... she just blocked him one time, and he took off. The confidence kids gain through a good martial arts program is amazing. My other daughter gained the same sort of confidence through gymnastics, so it's not just the fighting arts that builds the confidence to stand up to bullies, but other physical sports as well.

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Bullying is bullying. There is no good or bad, right or wrong bullying. The sooner we teach parents and children that it is not acceptable and there are consequences, the sooner it will stop. Parenting is one of the most difficult jobs in the world but a lot of times a child is simulating what a parent or someone they look up to does. If we do not want to send the wrong message, we have to watch what we do and say as to not influence the children in the wrong ways. Kids have a hard enough time growing up the way it is. They certainly don't need any bullying to go along with it.