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News Flash: Bullying Hurts Kids!

According to Reuters News, those fabulous Researchers have done it again. They have proved -- statistically! -- that, yes, Virginia, kids get bullied in school and that this may have "serious mental health consequences."

To which the huddled masses here in Ancient Armenia respond with a resounding "DUH!"

The huddled masses of Ancient Armenia had all of this figured out twenty years ago. Kids bully each other. Bullying is abuse. Abuse causes "serious mental health consequences." "Serious mental health consequences" is researcher-speak for "the severe fuckup of one's life," and can be physically as well as mentally devastating (as if mentally devastating wasn't bad enough). How nice of the Researchers to figure this out now. And how wonderful that it's made The News.

I'm sorry, but for decades now, kids have been trying to tell people what these Researchers have apparently just figured out. Kids are being hurt, sometimes severely. And the traditional adult responses have included such gems as:

"They're just jealous."
"Boys will be boys."
"Rub a little dirt on it."
"Don't let the bastards get you down."
"What, you can't take a little teasing? What kind of wuss are you?"
"There's nothing we can do about it."

And my personal favorite:
"These are the best years of your life."

Well, no, asshole grownup. They're not the best years of one's life. If someone is abusing you, those are the worst years of one's life. When just showing up at school is a trial, when going out into the hallway means that you run the risk of being assaulted, when just walking down the street means that you risk having rocks thrown at you or dog shit smeared on you, that does damage. It's the kind of damage that festers and eats away at your mind and your soul. It's the kind of damage that kills people sometimes. And the most well-intentioned of grownups just brush off the abuse that causes it, because the people doing the abusing are other kids.

Maybe it's an effect of grownups not taking kids seriously. "Oh, they're just kids, they don't have the power to really hurt anyone." Wrong. Abuse is abuse, and bullying is just as much abuse as a parent blacking a kid's eye.

I'm torn. On the one hand, I'm glad that the Researchers are finally waking up to what really ought to be a universal truth. On the other hand, I'm pissed off that it took them this long to see what should be as plain as the noses on their faces.

Bullying hurts kids.



May. 12th, 2007 03:12 am (UTC)
They're mostly personal entries of the "Why does the world suck today?!" sort, and one from the mother of the kid who bullied another kid posted under friends lock. The other post is public--you can probably find it at my friends page over at my GreatestJournal (I'd give a direct link, but for some reason, I just don't feel comfortable with that idea)

I was reminded that Researchers in the UK were already "discovering" the problem of bullying seven or eight years ago.

Bwuh? That is annoying--and I know I remember a LOT of response to the Columbine shooting being "Look--bullying can really screw a kid up! There's therefore going to be zero tolerance for it!" (Even if that was more paranoia than "research findings.") That was also about seven or eight years ago, I believe...

"Learning issues" my aunt Fanny. Last I checked, the DSM-IV did not list "aggravated assault on other children" as a symptom of dyslexia.

Indeed--and even if it was, how does that make it okay for the behavior to continue! I'm certainly no psychology or education expert, but I thought people with disorders still had to learn as best as possible how to fit into the world around them (and if they were dangerous, be removed from where they could hurt people)...
May. 12th, 2007 03:21 am (UTC)
I did find the post from the mother of the kid who was bullied and whose principal wouldn't listen. This lady is made of awesome, and I told her that.

I know I remember a LOT of response to the Columbine shooting being "Look--bullying can really screw a kid up! There's therefore going to be zero tolerance for it!"

Yeah, I remember that, too. I remember that a lot of the "zero tolerance" turned out to be teachers telling kids to spy on each other and single out and report to The Office those kids who seemed odd or lonely. Yeah. Uh-huh. That's going to stop the abuse. Sure it will. Say, I have this bridge you might be interested in . . .
May. 12th, 2007 03:48 am (UTC)

Ha, that part of "zero tolerance" was fun (especially considering some of my friends and acquaintances wore black and/or trench coats, listened to the same sorts of music the shooters did, and were rather "weird" and bitterly cynical about the school and our classmates).

My school did try to embrace the whole "don't let bullies get away with bullying" thing, but it seemed like it was all talk... it was like bullies were fictional beings you saw only in cheesy after-school specials or something to them and nothing people did was really bullying.
May. 12th, 2007 04:16 am (UTC)
I have to admit, I did have a very secret sympathy for the school shooters. They did Bad Wrong, of course, but I could understand their motives, or at least a part of them.

My school didn't even try to pretend that it didn't let bullies get away with bullying. It just went for the "lock 'em up until they're fourteen and ship them off to the high school" approach.


by Illsaysheis

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