A Question About What is Considered Bullying

Hi All! I have a friend doing research on bullying. His question(s):

Has any minor incident been classified as “bullying” at your school? If so, what was it and how was it dealt with?

Frankly, I’m curious too. No one is in favor of bullying. (Note: political discussions are for other blogs!) But neither is anyone in favor of over-reacting to the everyday frustrations and spats that kids can work out on their own. It’s that balance thing again: We don’t want to assume kids are so fragile that they can’t handle any unhappy situations without adult involvement. But not all unhappy situations are minor and easily handled.

So please share any stories that seem relevant. (But nothing political!!!)

Thanks! – L.

.

Hard to find a “Say Yes to Bullies” t-shirt.

.

 

, ,

104 Responses to A Question About What is Considered Bullying

  1. James August 15, 2017 at 4:44 pm #

    At my wife’s school the seniors are allowed to play mild, good-natured pranks on the incoming freshmen the first Friday of school. Things like shutting off lights and making loud noises. Nothing targeting individuals, nothing that can reasonably be expected to cause harm to the person (ie, no punching, tripping, stuffing into lockers, that sort of thing). It’s not considered bullying or hazing, just good-natured ribbing.

  2. ATXmom August 15, 2017 at 5:30 pm #

    I have three kids – 11, 13 and 15. What I have noticed over the years that they’ve been in school is that “not including everyone” is considered a form of bullying. Sorry, I’m a realist, I certainly don’t like everyone and I don’t expect my kids to; thus I have never expected them to play with “everyone” if it’s someone they don’t like. I absolutely tell them “you don’t have to like everyone but treat everyone politely and with respect.” Now if one kid is being singled out and rejected as part of a larger plot, that’s another issue.

    Also kids say things to each other that aren’t always nice – that’s not bullying either.

    Unless it is specific, targeted negative treatment, sometimes it’s just kids being jerks and learning how to get along with others in the world.

  3. Theresa Hall August 15, 2017 at 5:31 pm #

    I don’t think you need to be rude or imply that someone isn’t as good as you because their country of origin . Although I will always think that anyone with boy parts should use the boys bathroom no matter how much they scream I’m a girl. I am sorry but I think it opening the door for every boy who just want to know a girl in every way. When it comes to clothes I don’t care what you wear as long you cover your breasts and butts and underclothes. Leggings so what! No sleeves who cares?! You have knees yikes call the cops!

  4. ATXmom August 15, 2017 at 5:42 pm #

    @Theresa, your comment has literally 0% to do with the question asked. Maybe you should delete it and move on to a forum more appropriate for your blatant personal agenda!

  5. Powers August 15, 2017 at 5:44 pm #

    So, Theresa, a girl who wears dresses and has long hair and whose friends are mostly girls but who happens to have “boy parts” should use the boy’s room? You don’t think that’s a disaster waiting to happen?

  6. lollipoplover August 15, 2017 at 6:34 pm #

    Several years ago when my daughter was in second grade, I got a call from the school’s guidance counselor. My daughter is sweet and quiet but definitely opinionated and she’s been known to say some whoppers.

    Well the guidance counselor (she is a lovely woman) said that she got several calls from a mother of one my daughter’s classmates and there were several incidences that had *escalated* that needed to be addressed (she never used the world bullying). I knew this girl and my daughter was not great friends with her, but they had mutual friends and never had issues. Apparently, there were issues.
    The guidance counselor said that my daughter told this girl that her “earrings were ugly” and then it *escalated* to where she said her lunch box was gross. So the mom called the school. And the counselor called me.
    I thanked her for the information and told her I’d speak to my kid about saying nice things. But I asked the counselor- what DID the earrings look like?! Just sayin’ Because my kid is known to be brutally honest (she once asked me in between getting my hair dyed if I was trying to be a reverse skunk) and has been know to enter rooms and ask, “Who farted in here? It stinks”. I also asked this poor school employee if making calls like this drove her to drink…

  7. Jeni Howell August 15, 2017 at 6:52 pm #

    As an elementary school teacher, the word bullying is thrown around casually by children and parents quite often. Not that bullying doesn’t happen. But it isn’t simply when one child is mean to another, or hurts another’s feelings, or excludes them from playing.

    Most of us adhere to the rule that bullying is a repeated malicious action by a single student, or repeated malicious actions aimed at a single student. With that said, there is still a lot of gray area – based on the situation, age of children, and any applicable diagnosis that might override it (i.e., bipolar).

    I’ve even had to sit in on a conference where a teacher was claiming to be bullied by a student. We quickly restated the issue as a lack of respect for authority, but that teacher no longer works at my school.

  8. Mya Greene August 15, 2017 at 7:42 pm #

    Mostly, it seems that schools do not do nearly enough to handle major situations, and many even partake in extensive victim shaming. You hear a lot about suicides that could have been avoided, and victims who are ostracized, especially females who have experienced sexual harassment and/or assault, and slut shaming. For lots of schools, especially high schools and colleges, Johnny’s reputation as the quarterback on the football team is too important to deal with how he harassed Suzy in the cafeteria.

    Then, you get lots of victims who get in trouble for just defending themselves in a physical altercation. Administrators blame whoever they see hit first when they arrive at the scene. Seriously, what are you supposed to do? Choose between a broken nose and a suspension? Some schools really think they are handling it when they get a bully to mumble an insincere “apology” with their eyes to the floor in the principal’s office. The bureaucracy of it all makes dealing with it too slow, and unintelligent.

    Very rarely do we hear of it all going the way of oversensitivity. As far as I am concerned, we could stand up to a lot more bullies.

  9. Mya Greene August 15, 2017 at 7:53 pm #

    Also, I think a movement such as Free-Range is ultimately political in nature. It is about social justice. No, it isn’t part of the mainstream partisan smorgasbord, but it is about changing the cultural perceptions and prejudices concerning children and parents, and ultimately that perception has a considerable influence on how our elected officials create the ( sometimes irrational )laws which govern society (that’s politics right?).

    So many of the discussions here have been inherently political, and will continue to be political, especially when we are talking about those insane law that puts parents in jail for leaving kids in cars for a few minutes, or how police make the lives of children much harder than they have to be.

    But that of course doesn’t mean we should invite clearly irrelevant, political tangents.

  10. Kimberly August 15, 2017 at 8:24 pm #

    Retired teacher – In general – an occasional one off rude remark is a learning opportunity, regular put downs are unacceptable, excluding people is unacceptable

    My story – I was physically assaulted, threatened with rape in graphic detail, and called names from K – the start of 5th grade. The summer between 4th and 5th grade I was accidentally hit by a flying baseball bat. Adults saw it and flipped out. They were rushing this way and that to put ice on it. My sister and I told them that I wouldn’t get a bruise because bully hit me harder than that every day and I never bruised. It turns out that because of a skin condition and treatment for it – the bruise just didn’t show as a traditional bruise. My doctors n we returned home. Also, my uncles overheard my sister, and I described to our cousins what this boy was doing and got very angry. So now my parents were aware of things I hadn’t had the vocabulary to tell them.

    We get home from our trip the day before school started. My parents had started to make appointments to talk to my doctor and a therapist about what was going on. Things came to a head the 1st Thursday of school. The Bully caused my backpack straps to come undone and when I bent down to pick it up off the ground – He kicked me full force in the throat and knocked me flat. I picked up my backpack and went to the pickup line and got in Mom’s car. We went to the shoe store to get my corrective shoes.

    We got home, and Rosie, who had been watching my sister asked Mom if she had taken me to the doctor. Mom asked why she would do that. Rosie told her that the phone had been ringing off the hook all afternoon with parents concerned because I had been kicked in the throat or face. Mom called me out and asked if the bully had kicked me?

    Me – Yes in the throat
    Mom — did you tell the teachers
    Me no the school is afraid of his dad (big time lawyer)
    Mom why didn’t you tell me
    Me – you can’t do anything, besides after tomorrow he won’t ever hurt me again.

    Mom called Dad. Dad came home and took his revolver and rifle (we live in Texas and used them on the farm) to our lawyer’s house. The lawyer had them keep both sis and me out of school that Friday. I was taken to the doctor and a therapist. (Sis had a fun day with our Grandmother). Lawyer drew up papers for a lawsuit (probably under Title IX).

    That weekend Lawyer, who was also a childhood friend of Dad’s, took Dad golfing. They ran into a school board member who told my Dad I deserved what I got and should just do what the boys wanted (I was 10). He said that in front of several other Dads of daughters in the same school.

    The next Monday, there was a big meeting with bully’s parents, campus admin, district admin, my parents, and lawyer. We threatened a law suit, assault charges against bully, charges against bully’s parents (failure to stop him from known criminal acts because he was 10), the district administration for failure to report sex abuse directed at a child, failure to protect a child from obvious and on going abuse – and a civil rights lawsuit.

    I never saw the bully again his parents moved him to private school. All my parents had to do was look cross eyed, and people in that district jumped while asking how high for the next 11 years. Hell, they jumped if our cousins’ parents looked cross eyed.

    PS1 – In 6th grade, we had a sex ed unit that included rape prevention and specifically what would now be called Date Rape. One of the girls I went to elementary with piped up – That is what Bully keeps saying he is going to do when the teacher defined rape. The teacher asked what? And stories poured out of the girls that had gone to elementary with me. The other girls moved away and hugged the walls; the teacher locked the door. When the stories stopped, she asked where bully was that period. One of the girls said – oh he is at a private school because Kimberly’s parents threatened to throw him, his parents, and the administration in jail. That was the first time a staff member responded with something other than boys will be boys, and he just likes you.

    PS2 He grew up and was finally charged with beating and raping several women and has been in and out of jail. Given this behavior started in KINDER – it is obvious to an adult he either was born pure evil – or more likely he was being abused. How many people would not have been victims if they had listened to us girls in KINDER and got him out of that house and into therapy?

  11. James Pollock August 15, 2017 at 9:40 pm #

    Bullying is a pattern. A single incident might be horrible, even criminal, but not bullying. Bullies, on the other hand, fall into a consistent pattern, so usually if there’s one incident you’ve heard about, there’s more you haven’t.

    Alas, there is no simple solution to bullying. The cliche is “once you stand up to a bully, they won’t bother you any more”, which is nonsense. Bullies hate having their control threatened, and will redouble efforts to stamp out the challenge.

  12. Gina August 15, 2017 at 9:50 pm #

    ATXmom: I couldn’t agree more. You’ve got it exactly right and worded it beautifully!

  13. Gina August 15, 2017 at 9:52 pm #

    Theresa, You are aware, of course, that if someone is identifying as a girl, you have no way of knowing what genitals they have unless you look at them. Transgender people have been using the restroom with which they identify forever…it’s only now become an issue. And by the way, when was the last time you actually saw a girl on a toilet? They have stalls with doors.
    To call somebody out for using the bathroom of their identified gender IS bullying.

  14. Gina August 15, 2017 at 9:54 pm #

    Lollipopover: Thanks for my laugh of the day! I love your kid and that is SO not bullying.

  15. Gina August 15, 2017 at 9:59 pm #

    KIMBERLY: Excluding people is not bullying unless it is mean-spirited. Do you spend time with people who you don’t care for or who have nothing in common with you? Kids have the right to have whatever friends they want and play with or not play with anyone. It’s only bullying when it’s repeatedly done in a mean-spirit to the same person. “I don’t want to play with you” is not bullying and there’s nothing wrong with it.

  16. Charlie M August 15, 2017 at 10:38 pm #

    If it makes the kid feel unsafe or anxious for more than a day or two, I’d call it bullying. I’d call an assault an assault, sexual assault is sexual assault, and sexual harrassment is sexual harrassment.

  17. Diane August 15, 2017 at 11:16 pm #

    I think when things cross over into bullying, it’s because of a power differential. Sometimes physical (big person threatening/acting on beating up another kid), and sometimes social (an in-crowd kid picking on an outsider or someone not as well liked). It’s hard to explain sometimes.

    Biggest instances of bullying children I’ve ever seen have been perpetrated by adults. Quite a power differential there that gets exploited sometimes.

    A couple of years ago, we were at the local park. My son and another kid were playing in a way that another child didn’t like and they got into a conflict. (yes, my kid was being a turd to begin with!) The kid’s mom corrected my kid, which was fine, I reinforced the instruction and told my son to leave her kid alone.

    She then went on and on to me about my kids and how I and that other parent weren’t watching them, etc. (sigh) Same old, same old. The kids were fine, just a little rowdy.

    Then she saw my daughter with an elephant plant leaf (about 2 ft long) and proceeded to scold my daughter about how she was hitting others with it (she wasn’t). Even when her kid came up and explained that my daughter wasn’t hitting anyone, she did not apologize, but kept on about how she should put it down anyway. My poor kid was in tears. I am ashamed that I didn’t respond more forcefully to this mom when I realized what she’d done. I guess I felt guilty since my other kid had been acting less than perfect. I just wanted peace. I apologized profusely to my daughter afterward. See, I realized I was complicit in letting my own daughter get railroaded by that ****** woman. It was a horrible feeling. I’ve started paying better attention to helping my kids guard their own dignity without being insubordinate to authority.

    My son has (and will again this school year, I’m sure) encountered some mild bullying in his circle by this one kid. It’s hard because he’s got to navigate it himself to really make it stop. At his age (12) an adult telling the other kids that they need to treat everyone nice isn’t going to cut it!

  18. hineata August 16, 2017 at 3:51 am #

    Bullying IS hard to define. I would consider it a form of bullying when kids loudly and publicly invite everyone in the class except that one kid to their birthday party, so yes, at times exclusion can be a form of bullying. Inviting some people and not others in front of a group (as happened to my daughter recently, when half her group was invited in front of the other half) reflects poor social skills and is a bit ‘stink’ but is hardly bullying.

    So, context is important.

  19. Backroads August 16, 2017 at 8:29 am #

    We are pretty good at my school about what is officially considered bullying, though kids still complain. The counselor has designed posters explaining the difference between rude or thoughtless behavior and actual bullying.

  20. Backroads August 16, 2017 at 8:39 am #

    One incident in my classroom the other year played out kind of funny. I had a 7-year-old mean girl. I don’t feel anything crossed into bullying, but finally her friends got sick of her and stopped playing with her. Mom called the principal crying Bullies, and the principal told her exactly what her daughter had been doing.

    That same year, a team teacher who is awesome and doesnt sugar coat, had a physically bullying student. Parents shrugged off everything, complained about every consequence and intervention, until another student kicked the bully back. Dad came in hollering, Teacher explained the kick was in response to dropping a desk on a foot.

  21. Art August 16, 2017 at 9:23 am #

    @Theresa

    *facepalm

    Let me introduce you to Buck Angel.

    Male or Female?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buck_Angel

    Because of these idiotic bathroom laws, Buck would be required to use the “correct” bathroom. So your six year old girl freaks the hell out because a “male” walked into the female bathroom. Now try to figure that one out.

  22. Theresa Hall August 16, 2017 at 9:41 am #

    For starters kids will sooner or later notice if someone of the opposite sex is in their bathroom and locker room. Usually by high school they can change their downstairs to match their heads if they wish. By the way I am sorry if someone bullies them because they are not same but we’re all different. They need to learn how to play nice which means no making fun of someone or trying to pound them. They have a right to not like it but not hurt them.

  23. Dienne August 16, 2017 at 9:51 am #

    Actually, no, Theresa, most transgender people’s “downstairs” do not match their upstairs. Bottom surgery is extremely expensive, not usually covered by insurance, very time consuming and painful. Most transgender people just live with the equipment they were born with but are their identified gender in all other respects.

    And, again, are *you* going to be the one checking to make sure people’s “downstairs” match correctly? Pervert. Oh, sorry, was that bullying?

  24. James Pollock August 16, 2017 at 9:58 am #

    “For starters kids will sooner or later notice if someone of the opposite sex is in their bathroom and locker room”

    For finishers, there are people (a much higher number than most people realize) for whom the question of “which sex are you” is not a simple, neat one with a simple, neat answer. This turns out to bother adults a lot more than it bothers children.

  25. Beanie August 16, 2017 at 10:03 am #

    The issue I have with all the hype about bullies is the kids don’t understand what is bullying and what is not. The word “bully” is used to reference any unkind behavior, no matter how brief. They teach “no bullying” and “don’t be a bully” without getting across what bullying actually is, or pointing out ways to help someone or behave in a positive manner.

  26. E August 16, 2017 at 10:21 am #

    I also think there’s “a bully” and “being bullied”. Sometimes kids (and adults) are just jerks and take out their issue on other people. If it’s targeted to one person in some sort of pattern it’s being bullied.

    But I work with someone that I would consider a “bully”. He blames other people if there’s a chance something might come back to him. He attacks our off shore staff when our manager isn’t around because it makes him feel superior. His work load has been molded so that he is more of an silo’d contributor so there are less complaints.

    Bully behavior and being bullied are similar, but different things.

  27. SKL August 16, 2017 at 10:28 am #

    I have to say that the overuse of “bullying” has created challenges for me as a parent. When my kid tells me she’s being “bullied” at school I always wonder how seriously to take it. She also says she’s bullied by her sister, though she clearly dishes it out at least as well as she takes it. But … if she does really get bullied, I don’t want to ignore it. So what I do is ignore the word “bullying” and just try to get the facts – preferably from more than one side. If I’m making a molehill out of a mountain, what can I say … I’m not omniscient.

    I was bullied at times as a kid. Other times I was merely teased or challenged. The word “bully” wasn’t bandied around, so I dealt with each situation as it presented, on my own. I wasn’t always smart about it, but I did live through it.

  28. SKL August 16, 2017 at 10:33 am #

    My sister reports to me every school year that her daughter is being bullied and the school isn’t dealing with it. Every year the kid is in a different group of kids, so it’s never the same “bully.” (And the child doesn’t have any of the usual “differences” that make some kids think it’s OK to be mean.)

    I think that if my kid were being bullied 100% of the time by a variety of children and adults, I’d wonder if it was me or my kid or both who needed intervention. (It’s also possible the school is a terrible fit for the child.)

  29. Art August 16, 2017 at 10:41 am #

    @Theresa.

    Buck has no interest in prepubescent children, trans people are NOT after your children. They don’t care, all they want to do is get there business done and get out.

    So you seriously think that Buck, who for all practical purposes is a man, should be required to use the women’s bathroom? You just completely negated your entire argument.

    As for the locker room question, So tell me, how did this become problem NOW? When they have been been doing this for years with no issues.

    Apparently something was working right.

  30. BL August 16, 2017 at 10:45 am #

    “No one is in favor of bullying.”

    Some people are. As long as they’re the ones dishing it out.

    They’re called “bullies”.

  31. Theresa Hall August 16, 2017 at 11:16 am #

    I noticed that you only give the trans point of view. Have you tried looking at it from the other side. Not every kid no matter how nice they are wants someone of the opposite sex in the bathroom and locker room. Maybe they be no assault but everyone point of view should be considered . Maybe I’m old fashion but I think boys in their bathroom and girls in theirs. Clothes I don’t care . Your brains should be what counts not your clothes. When I hire someone for a job I’m not hiring their clothes I’m hiring the brains in their head that tell them how to do the job. I don’t think their clothes know anything about the work.

  32. Dienne August 16, 2017 at 11:21 am #

    Give it up, Theresa. There *is* no other point of view. Trans men/boys are men/boys and belong in the men’s/boys’ bathroom. Trans women/girls are women/girls and belong in the women’s/girls’ bathroom. The reality is, this is the way it works anyway. Unless you’re prepared to order people to lift their skirts and drop their drawers, you have no way of knowing what’s in anyone’s pants – nor should you, it’s not your business. Again, the reality is that you have already used a bathroom (probably many times) with a trans person without even realizing it. It didn’t affect you, so there is no harm to you. What would be harmful would be making trans people use the wrong bathroom.

  33. Dienne August 16, 2017 at 11:29 am #

    “Have you tried looking at it from the other side.”

    Right. Y’know, I always wondered if the Civil Rights Movement people ever looked at it from the other side. I mean, did they ever consider how allowing black people to drink from white drinking fountains was a violation of white people’s rights?

    Or, well, except that it wasn’t. Not any more than allowing transgender people to use their bathroom is a violation of cisgender people’s rights.

  34. SKL August 16, 2017 at 11:31 am #

    It would be nice to have a conversation that didn’t end up being completely about transsexuals.

  35. Theresa Hall August 16, 2017 at 11:57 am #

    Okay if you think no big deal why don’t you ask your kids how they would feel about having someone the opposite sex of them in their bathroom at school? It might not be as simple as black guy vs white guy. This is boy vs girl and privacy. Changing clothes in front of fellow girls no big deal but a boy even if he is saying girl is different matter.

  36. Dienne August 16, 2017 at 12:08 pm #

    Whoo boy, you are dense. (Oh, oops, sorry, more bullying.) My daughters go to school with transgender kids. They’re perfectly fine with a transgender girl being in the girls’ bathroom, because – guess what? – a transgender girl is *not* the “opposite sex” from them. They’re all girls. Simple, no?

    In any case, my girls have known from very early ages that we don’t peek under stall doors, so they aren’t in the habit of looking at other girls’ equipment. If you haven’t taught your children that lesson, you should, and I’m much more worried about sharing a bathroom with your kids than I am about sharing a bathroom with any transgender individual.

  37. jimc5499 August 16, 2017 at 12:25 pm #

    I know that it says to leave politics out of the conversation, so I am going to try. The term “bully” or “bullying” has been hijacked from its original definition. It is being used to silence people with different views and opinions. This all ties into the whole “safe space” situation. Remember the old saying “Sticks and stones…”. Now some of the younger generation are being taught a mindset that words have the same threat as physical violence. If you disagree with their opinion you are considered a threat and are often labeled a “bully”. In many situations institutional or legal punishment can be handed out without any other justification.

  38. Nicole August 16, 2017 at 12:35 pm #

    Ever since the antibully making machine we have made it okay to be a bully. Label a kid a bulky and now everyone gets to bully that Child!

  39. Nicole August 16, 2017 at 12:36 pm #

    Oops should say “antibully MONEY making machine”

  40. Gina August 16, 2017 at 12:43 pm #

    Well stated Dienne…My kids have never cared. They were raised to respect everyone and would never think to ask what another person has going on in their genital area unless it directly affected them (in a consensual sexual situation). Theresa, there is only one correct perspective here and it’s NOT yours.

  41. John B. August 16, 2017 at 1:12 pm #

    VERY, VERY interesting topic here. When I was a kid growing up in the 1960s, typical bullying was when a bigger and older kid slammed you on your back, sat on your chest and pepper slapped your face. But nowadays, general teasing is considered “bullying” and most American schools nowadays have implemented a 0 tolerance for ANY type of bullying which means the offending youngster could be expelled from school or severely disciplined at the very least, even for teasing.

    In MY opinion, this is typical American over reaction. Not only is this bad for the “bully” but neither does it help the youngster who was being teased. I say this because there is a time when kids need to learn conflict resolution but they’ll NEVER learn that if an adult is always there to intervene even in the most minor cases. They’ll especially never learn that when the other youngster teasing them is completely removed from their life. I think this approach can create problems in the workplace when these kids grow up and start their first job. If a co-worker says something they deem offensive, they flat out refuse to work with them because that’s how they were conditioned as children.

    Some of the kids in my class who were teased and even pushed around by other kids in my class back in the late 60s were actually sitting at the bar having a beer at the ten and twenty year class reunion and joking around with those very same kids who teased and pushed them around in school many years earlier! Because it was a kid thing and they were now adults.

    I’m not saying these little nuances between kids shouldn’t be dealt with because kids need to be taught respect BUT let’s not over react with expulsions and 0 tolerance policies.

    NOW, when the bullying and teasing becomes obviously vicious and there is nothing the victim can do about it themselves, then yes, an adult should intervene but I think we should use a little common sense here and not cow-tow to the kids who get aggravated by their classmates at the mildest of things!

  42. Rebel mom August 16, 2017 at 2:25 pm #

    There would be a lot less bullying if parents were better parents. I’d never have thought to be a bully or do anything remotely horrible because (a) my mamma taught me manners, empathy and kindness and (b) mamma woulda beat me if she’d heard me doing anything of the sort.

  43. James Pollock August 16, 2017 at 2:31 pm #

    “Okay if you think no big deal why don’t you ask your kids how they would feel about having someone the opposite sex of them in their bathroom at school?”

    Funny you should ask. My daughter has one of these.
    http://www.oregonlive.com/education/index.ssf/2016/05/ill_go_with_you_button_creates.html

    ” When I was a kid growing up in the 1960s, typical bullying was when a bigger and older kid slammed you on your back, sat on your chest and pepper slapped your face.”
    I’m pretty sure that’s still bullying behavior. The thing is, we don’t think anyone should have that, so we try to root out that sort of behavior before it reaches that point. (Also, by the time I was in grade school in the 70’s, the definition had already expanded to psychological bullying, because it was recognized that the way girls bully other girls is different from the way boys bully other boys, but they’re both essentially similar. Heck, I think your definition is incomplete even for the 60’s, since bullies could use threats of violence, not just actual acts.)

  44. Art August 16, 2017 at 2:36 pm #

    @Theresa

    Ever heard of “period stalls”? These are private shower stalls often installed in high school/junior high locker rooms.

    They are for, you guessed it, girls/women on their periods so they can shower in peace. Guess what most trans would use?

    Got it now?

  45. lightbright August 16, 2017 at 2:45 pm #

    This didn’t occur at a school, but it’s worth sharing.

    I was at our local library. (Yes, THAT local library – http://www.freerangekids.com/beaverton-oregon-library-rule-kids-under-10-be-within-sightlines-of-parents-at-all-times/ ) My 6-year-old was in the play area talking to another little kid who said he was 5. My son said, “That I’m older than you and bigger than you.” At this point, an outraged young mother stepped in and admonished my son, “NO!! I will ***NOT*** have you bullying my son like that!!!”

    It’s ingrained in our culture. 🙁

    That said, bullying and hazing are very, very real and ubiquitous in our schools. They’re also a big, uncontrollable beast for school administrators, which may explain why they’re instead going after the low-hanging fruit of exaggerating minor incidents and hyper-policing student speech.

  46. Dienne August 16, 2017 at 2:49 pm #

    Rebel mom – so your mother would bully you for bullying others. Interesting parenting response. Sort of like hitting your kid to teach your kid that hitting people is wrong.

  47. lollipoplover August 16, 2017 at 3:01 pm #

    “Okay if you think no big deal why don’t you ask your kids how they would feel about having someone the opposite sex of them in their bathroom at school?”

    I just did. They don’t care.

    My children grew up with a young girl who went through some difficult tween years before she transitioned to a boy. I asked the mom how she was doing and she flat out said: “It was either this or suicide.” So the girl is now a boy,

    He has a new name and doesn’t use either the girls or boys bathroom at school- he uses the individual staff restrooms. No issues. He is a happy and popular student and has many friends. Most kids can adapt to changes around them better than adults. Bathrooms are for toileting and changing out of clothes, not political causes or personal issues. Change out of your sweaty clothes and get on with your day.

    I don’t really understand the obsession with this topic. I just asked 7 tired high school kids about it and no one even cares…except the person on this forum (Theresa Hall) who keep bringing this topic up. Why is that?

  48. JulieH August 16, 2017 at 4:04 pm #

    @lightbright – Just a fun aside – Your comment about hazing made me think of my daughter’s band. They “haze” all the new band students in the same way:

    Experienced band – “Hey, gullible is taped to the ceiling.”

    New band – “Yeah, right. I’m not falling for that.”

    Experienced band – “No, really. Gullible is taped to the ceiling.”

    Etc.

    There really is a card with the word “Gullible” taped to the ceiling. The point is to trust that your fellow band members have your back. They won’t steer you wrong. When they finally look, they become part of that story. There are some kids that never look – they usually only stay for a semester or so. The ones that look rarely quit.

    To the topic, I hear the term “bullying” overused. An isolated incident or two is a kid being a jerk. Repeated incidents, even after being asked to stop, usually flows over into bullying.

    My daughters’ leadership camp had them watch the following:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltun92DfnPY
    I think that there is good in it, and repeated name calling can have lasting effects. At the same time, even a single time, with the wrong words and the person on the receiving end being in just the wrong state of mind, can be long lasting too.

    As for the trolls that like to manipulate conversations online, he has a message for you too:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=670if6Etx0o

  49. Eric S August 16, 2017 at 4:17 pm #

    Anything that is publicly demeaning, and purposefully hurtful (just for the sake of hurting someone), and anything that’s physically threatening and damaging would be considered bullying, to me.

    Not being invited to a someone’s birthday, not including you in anything, being talked about behind your back (not including social media or sharing via technology), or ignoring you is NOT bullying. I think THESE things are somewhat essential for the growth of children. Teaches them to have thicker skin, and to know how to “rise above”.

    Rising above while being bullied, is much harder mentally and emotionally on kids.

  50. Theresa Hall August 16, 2017 at 5:24 pm #

    You guys say transgender girls are the same. Last I checked they decided your sex by what between your legs. And boys have penises not vaginas. No annoying periods to deal with if you are physically a boy. They can have all those idiots who think girls aren’t as great as boys. Even get the fashion police on their backs. But their bodies will be saying boy.

  51. Dienne August 16, 2017 at 5:34 pm #

    “Last I checked they decided your sex by what between your legs.”

    Actually, no. Sex is determined by four factors, external genitalia is only one. The other three are chromosomes, hormones (and hormone receptors) and secondary sex characteristics. Those four factors don’t always match. And that’s just how sex is determined. Gender is entirely different as it is the way an individual experiences him/her/themself in the world. Neither sex nor gender, incidentally, are necessary binary. There are intersex people, whose physical characteristics and physiology are indeterminant, and there are people who identify as neither male nor female (or perhaps both). I’m sorry your world is so limited that you don’t understand this.

    But the one thing you can understand is that people present the way they want to be understood. If you base it all on what’s between someone’s legs, that can get rather awkward, as I personally have never found it appropriate to ask someone to pull down their pants so I could see what they are. But if you just accept what someone tells you and how they present themself, then that problem takes care of itself.

  52. Dienne August 16, 2017 at 5:39 pm #

    “No annoying periods to deal with if you are physically a boy.”

    Incidentally, there is a condition in which a genetic male (XY) can completely lack androgen (testosterone) receptors. Their body produces testosterone, but the brain and body are physically unable to absorb it. The individual will develop in childhood as female – no penis, no testicles, just an opening in the vaginal region. In fact, such individuals are almost always hyper-female – real “girly-girls”. However, the individual will, of course, also lack a uterus and, hence, will not have “annoying periods” to deal with. What sex/gender would you say such person is?

  53. Theresa Hall August 16, 2017 at 5:41 pm #

    Lollipopover all I said in the first place was that I don’t think boys belong in girls room . They say they will sucide if they don’t get their way send them to the funny farm aka the mental hospital. Maybe some kids don’t care but some do. Should their feelings matter less? If it just about doing their business then they can do it in the bathroom that matches with the bodies. Unless they have some reason that doesn’t involve giving them special treatment. You can feel differently if you want. Whatever happened to that saying I don’t agree but I defend to the death your right to say it.

  54. Rhonda Fisher August 16, 2017 at 6:16 pm #

    When I was teaching first grade I had some parents come in and complain that their daughter had been bullied the day before. Turns out, the “bully” got to a coveted seat first and wouldn’t hand it over to the “victim”. Administration agreed with me that it was not a case of bullying.

  55. Art August 16, 2017 at 6:56 pm #

    (my apologies to Lenore, this thread definitely went off the tracks)

    I also want to thank Dianne for the support and the science.

    You guys say transgender girls are the same. Last I checked they decided your sex by what between your legs. And boys have penises not vaginas. No annoying periods to deal with if you are physically a boy. They can have all those idiots who think girls aren’t as great as boys. Even get the fashion police on their backs. But their bodies will be saying boy.

    *facepalm

    First, period stalls are for PRIVACY. Seriously, are you this dense?

    Moving on, So you would send this 7 year old into the men’s bathroom? Especially with the men are evil thing going on, What the @$@# do you think will happen to her then? SHE LOOKS LIKE A GIRL.

    https://www.texastribune.org/2017/07/22/transgender-girl-gets-her-two-minutes-bathroom-bill/

  56. SKL August 16, 2017 at 6:56 pm #

    I think for me, if a child is literally afraid to go to school because of something another child is intentionally doing over a period of time, that is probably bullying.

    When I was in 8th grade, a particular girl (and a few of her friends) daily did a variety of rotten and painful things to me and made constant threats to do worse. I was literally afraid to go to school for months. But I did go, because I didn’t see any point in explaining why I didn’t want to go. (Though I took some days off pretending to be sick.) I would call that bullying, but it did end when one of the girls decided it was just dumb. She actually came up to me and apologized. I almost cried.

  57. Dienne August 16, 2017 at 7:20 pm #

    “Lollipopover all I said in the first place was that I don’t think boys belong in girls room .”

    Whew! After all this, we finally come to agreement. Yes, boys belong in boys’ rooms and girls belong in girls’ rooms. Trans boys are boys, so they belong in the boys’ room. Trans girls are girls, so they belong in the girls’ room. So glad we understand each other!

  58. Backroads August 16, 2017 at 7:39 pm #

    On the trans-bathroom sub discussion… I give the same wish I give to my 2nd graders: “Good grief, can’t we all just use the bathroom without any shenanigans?”

  59. Donald August 16, 2017 at 7:53 pm #

    “It would be nice to have a conversation that didn’t end up being completely about transsexuals.”

    It would be nice. However. I can’t criticize all that much against people that hijack a blog page in order to get on their soapbox. That’s because I do it as well. I’m often working into the conversation about drama junkies and how the brain can become addicted to the chemicals that help us to feel fear, hate, and outrage!

    I guess that I probably should mention something about bullying. The definition has been expanded over the years. Actually, that’s an understatement. It’s similar to the ever expanding net that catches the sex offenders or the definition of rape. Also, I’m against the hate speech often shouted in 1960 against black people and am glad that kind of talk is restricted. However, this restriction has expanded to ridiculous proportions so that if a little girl wears a Mulan costume for Holloween, she better be Asian otherwise someone could get offended!

  60. Theresa Hall August 16, 2017 at 8:49 pm #

    And I believe dienne that those with penises are boys. Those who don’t have penises are girls. You are allowed to feel differently but I think it’s highly doubtful that we will ever agree on this subject.

  61. lollipoplover August 16, 2017 at 8:52 pm #

    “They say they will sucide if they don’t get their way send them to the funny farm aka the mental hospital. ”

    Yes, locking them up in institutions is such a great solution. Think this was already tried and didn’t work out too well.

    Honestly? I’d take 1000 transgender children to raise over 1 narrow-minded douchebag child. My friend with the transgender child? She’s a good person. So is her kid (not surprising, considering the parents), especially alive and not dead from suicide, living a normal life and going to school. Many kids (even non-transgendered but bullied kids) use the private restrooms that are around the school for staff and adults. No one has issues with it..but you.

    I don’t know what about this blog brings out the extremists- SUV haters, transgender bathroom obsessed….so what was this thread about again??

  62. Art August 16, 2017 at 9:03 pm #

    @Theresa,

    So one one more time, you would send this 7 year old into the men’s bathroom? Especially with the men are evil thing going on, What the @$@# do you think will happen to her then? SHE LOOKS LIKE A GIRL.

    https://www.texastribune.org/2017/07/22/transgender-girl-gets-her-two-minutes-bathroom-bill/

    If you had read the article, the few times Lizzie HAD been forced to use the boy’s bathroom, a BOY watched her from over the stall walls

    Explain that please.

    The truth of the matter is that I’ve called you out, and you have no logical explanation or a way out. It’s a catch 22.

    Also, trans kids who they are by the time they are 3 or 4. You cannot use that as a excuse.

    Checkmate.

  63. Jessica August 16, 2017 at 10:24 pm #

    My developmentally delayed son was in Kindergarten last year. He was about 3-4 mentally at that time. He told a preschooler, who rode his bus, “I like you(pointing to another bus rider), but I don’t like you.” This was after said “victim” preschooler kicked my son’s friend and made him cry. Clearly, MY son was the problem.
    The driver tried to say that was bullying. It created a whole thing where she was punishing my son for telling a child who was the same developmental age “I don’t like you.”
    Thankfully the school didn’t do anything further, but they also didn’t get on the bus driver for reacting overly much and inappropriately.

  64. James Pollock August 17, 2017 at 2:22 am #

    “all I said in the first place was that I don’t think boys belong in girls room .”

    And then you went on to make a big deal about “what’s between their legs”.
    Why are you so interested in “what’s between their legs”?
    It’s flatly none of your business.

    “They say they will sucide if they don’t get their way send them to the funny farm aka the mental hospital.”
    Fine. And when the diagnosis is “gender dysphoria” and the treatment plan is “treat this person like the gender they identify with”, what then?

    “If it just about doing their business then they can do it in the bathroom that matches with the bodies.”
    Before you continue down this path, to which bathroom are we to refer intersex individuals? You’ve chosen (repeatedly) to ignore the fact that some people simply do not fit your assumptions about gender. Are they to pee in the street, then? Should the schools issue them Depends?

    “Unless they have some reason that doesn’t involve giving them special treatment.”
    “Leave me alone so I can pee” is not special treatment.

    Here is the bottom line: If YOU have a problem with a trans kid (or adult) in the bathroom, that’s fine, and it’s your business. But it’s also YOUR problem. Stop trying to make it someone else’s. If sharing a bathroom with a trans person bothers you so much, use your feet and walk right out.

    “And I believe dienne that those with penises are boys. Those who don’t have penises are girls.”
    You’re free to believe this. Doesn’t make it true. Real life, alas, is complicated.

    Most penis-having people are, in fact, boys. Some are intersex. And a very small number are girls. Most penis-lacking people are, in fact, girls. Some are intersex. And a very small number are boys. Without doing any kind of formal survey or anything, I’m pretty sure that A) most of them want to pee in peace, and B) a VERY small number of them think it is any of your business the number of penises they possess.

    “You are allowed to feel differently but I think it’s highly doubtful that we will ever agree on this subject.”
    I don’t care if I agree with you. I DO care if I agree with reality.

    “The truth of the matter is that I’ve called you out, and you have no logical explanation or a way out.”
    There is a way out, and it’s the same way out that so many other ethical dilemmas work out.

    Start with “I believe…” whatever. Fine, you believe whatever. How does that create an obligation on anyone else to honor that belief? Let’s start right out by putting the shoe on the other foot. I believe people should absolutely not take an interest in what’s between other people’s legs unless they are dating, or providing medical care to that person. Does this belief of mine somehow require you to conform to it? Well, guess what… your belief has the same (lack of) effect. I also believe that being transgendered is difficult enough without random strangers taking and interest and spouting off on the topic Hey, remember all those times a transgendered person went on the Internet and told all the cis-gendered people they belonged in a mental institution, then presumed to tell them where to pee? No, you DON’T remember that? Well, that’s the transition back to the actual topic at hand.

    There are lots of “classic” examples of bullying. Oliver Twist. The unnamed schoolchildren in “Another Brick in the Wall”, parts 1 and 2. The bully trio on “The Simpsons”. I’d argue that those are “end-stage” bullies… they didn’t become bullies overnight, but rather built up to it over time. Psychologically, it seems to be caused when individuals have power over others, but have not yet learned responsibility. It’s not just a childhood stage to be crossed over… some adults are full-on bullies (ask any cop who deals with domestic violence with any kind of frequency.) I don’t think bullying is a single, monolithic “thing”… I think there’s a whole bunch of related thinking patterns and behaviors , which can develop into bullying, or not, and in some cases, can readily flip back and forth.

  65. Art August 17, 2017 at 9:27 am #

    @JP,

    Whoa there, we are on the same page here.

    I used Theresa’s own logic against her. She stated that children will take an interest in what’s going on in the next stall, which is true to an extent, especially when something “different” walks in. That is what happened in Lizzy’s case. A boy thought a girl walked into the boy’s bathroom.

    She refuses to admit that if Lizzy had used the girl’s bathroom, then there would be no issue. Like I said, it’s a catch 22.

  66. Dienne August 17, 2017 at 9:48 am #

    James Pollock – I realize we don’t often agree, and I live under no delusion that you anxiously await (or even want) my agreement much less my praise, but nonetheless I should say your 2:22 post was very well said. Thank you.

  67. James August 17, 2017 at 10:18 am #

    “Bullying IS hard to define.”

    100% this.

    The problem is, bullying doesn’t happen, not directly–it’s an interpretation based on what happens. What actually happens is abuse: physical, psychological, etc. When we see a pattern of abuse we call it “bullying”, at least in certain environments and so long as the abuse is low-level enough (what I mean is, spousal abuse isn’t bullying, it’s just abuse).

    The problem is, humans are very, VERY good at identifying patterns–whether there are patterns or not. Scientists are trained to spot spurious patterns, because we ALL identify them. What that means is, without some means for rigorously identifying patterns, the concept of “bullying” becomes problematic and subject to subjective trends. Plus, remember that we don’t see all the data–even in our modern prison-like schools, students find ways to harass each other in private, away from authority figures. I sympathize with the kid who gets fed up and punches his tormentor, even if the torment happened in private; regardless, we cannot call retaliatory strikes “bullying”, though it may appear so if the bully is more careful to not get caught than his victim is.

    All of this isn’t to say that bullying doesn’t happen. It does, as I can attest to personally. What I am saying, though, is that it’s really, really hard to identify bullying as opposed to, say, just kids being jerks (while we all want to think our kids are perfect angels, I remember being a kid; I was kind of a jerk at times), or individual incidents, hazing, or other vicissitudes of childhood.

  68. Art August 17, 2017 at 10:31 am #

    @JP and Dienne,

    Agreed. The other problem is that we have gotten softer as a society, There’s too much of “little Johnny didn’t win his baseball game so he must be ruined for life” or “everyone has to get a trophy”

    Today’s kids aren’t taught to deal properly with bullying, and too many times, when the kid that’s being bullied fights back, he gets in trouble.

  69. James Pollock August 17, 2017 at 11:01 am #

    ” The other problem is that we have gotten softer as a society, There’s too much of “little Johnny didn’t win his baseball game so he must be ruined for life” or “everyone has to get a trophy””

    That’s where you lost me. There’s nothing wrong with giving a trophy to everyone. Trophies are cheap. Are you complaining that all 53 members of the Patriots got Super Bowl rings?

    The natural state of human life is nasty, brutish, and short. We choose to make it otherwise, and that choice is what elevates us from animals. Empathy for others is the cornerstone of that choice. You call it a “problem”. I call it a feature.

  70. E August 17, 2017 at 11:03 am #

    “typical bullying was when a bigger and older kid slammed you on your back, sat on your chest and pepper slapped your face.”

    That is bullying. But people can be mean w/o getting physical and it’s still being a bully.

    I moved from NJ to Louisiana in the 70s when I was entering 6th grade. It was quite a change for me for lots of reasons. There was someone who spent the whole year calling me “yankee”. I’m a girl and he was a very large, loud boy. He never referred to me by my name, but as “Yankee”. It bothered me….A LOT. I’d grown up in a place where people didn’t talk about the Civil War and use terms like “yankee” or “rebel”.

    And yes, we ended up at a HS reunion many many years later and I finally asked him about that. He admitted that he had a crush on me. As a 10 year old kid, that never ever occurred to me, but it made me very unhappy during a time that was already difficult.

    I don’t go around say I was bullied in 6th grade, but clearly the experience was very unpleasant, unnecessary, and uncalled for.

    Bullying isn’t just physical.

  71. Dienne August 17, 2017 at 11:27 am #

    My issue with trophies for everyone is that it really shouldn’t be trophies for anyone. The point of playing a sport (or engaging in most other leisure activities for that matter) is to have fun, get fit, develop skills, challenge yourself, etc. – i.e., for intrinsic reasons. Giving everyone trophies makes it about the external reward, the pat on the head, the approval from others. We as a society are hugely dependent on what other people think of us, which is why celebrity culture and the “cult of personality” in business and politics is such a thing. Most of us are terribly insecure, which is why bullying is such a problem. Secure people don’t bully nor do they melt when they get “bullied” (actually, it’s pretty difficult to bully a truly secure person because a truly secure person owns his/her own power and doesn’t let a bully take it, which is basically what bullying is, at least in a psychological sense).

  72. BL August 17, 2017 at 12:27 pm #

    @James Pollock
    ‘That’s where you lost me. There’s nothing wrong with giving a trophy to everyone. Trophies are cheap. Are you complaining that all 53 members of the Patriots got Super Bowl rings?’

    a) The most recent Super Bowl rings cost $36,500 each. Not cheap.

    b) Art was obviously talking about participation trophies. No rings for members of the other 31 teams last season, just the Patriots.

  73. Gina August 17, 2017 at 12:39 pm #

    JAMES: Re transgender people. Right on!

  74. James August 17, 2017 at 1:02 pm #

    “The point of playing a sport (or engaging in most other leisure activities for that matter) is to have fun, get fit, develop skills, challenge yourself, etc. – i.e., for intrinsic reasons.”

    Sports are games. Games (outside some really bizarre video games) have victory states. Be the first across the line, be the first to score X points, score the most points in X time. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with recognizing that someone won the game. Sure, there’s a time and place for friendly pick-up games, which have been destroyed by our competition-focused youth sports culture. But there’s also a time and place for recognizing the ones who win tournaments and the like.

    Plus, tournaments and official competition can add to the game. It’s one thing to play because it’s Saturday afternoon; it’s another thing entirely to play because you want to win a tournament. They are, in a very real sense, not the same game. The tournament adds a level of immediacy and significance that is lacking in pickup games. As long as it’s in good fun, this is a positive thing–it can enhance enjoyment of the game, even for the ones who don’t win. Some of my best “No kidding, there I was….” stories come from being very much on the losing side of a game!

    I agree with what you say about the “trophies for everyone” nonsense. But I strongly disagree with the notion that there shouldn’t be any trophies.

  75. John B. August 17, 2017 at 1:25 pm #

    “But people can be mean w/o getting physical and it’s still being a bully.”

    I would agree with that TO A CERTAIN EXTENT. Yes, verbal abuse can be bullying; however, instead of using all of our resources just to address the bully who is instigating the verbal abuse, I think we should also focus our attention in the other direction. Contrary to popular belief, kids can be taught to have thick skin. I think if we include this approach too, it just might prevent some of the suicides carried out by kids who were being verbally abused online. I.e., had it been another girl being verbally abused online instead of the girl who killed herself over it, this other girl might have brushed it off and told the bullies to go f… themselves. But if the girl who took her life over it was as mentally tough, she would not have taken her life and that’s my point. Some kids are sensitive and some kids are mentally tough. So along with teaching kids basic self-respect, how about also teaching them mental toughness? We just don’t seem to do that nowadays because we think all kids are sensitive by default and I don’t believe that is true. If we attack this problem from all angles, perhaps these terrible senseless tragedies would not happen!

  76. James August 17, 2017 at 1:51 pm #

    “Contrary to popular belief, kids can be taught to have thick skin.”

    It was a popular belief in the 1700s/1800s in certain parts of Europe that bullying was good for children, for exactly this reason. While I agree that kids need a tick skin, I think that merely focusing on that can lead to, shall we say, suboptimal results.

    What we need to do is teach kids to value themselves–not the BS “self-esteem” nonsense peddled by Nathanial Brandon and his ilk, but rather teaching kids to rationally evaluate their self-worth and thereby gain confidence in themselves. As someone said above, a truly confident person doesn’t care what bullies think of them, because their evaluation of their self-worth isn’t tied to what other people say.

  77. Dienne August 17, 2017 at 3:53 pm #

    So speaking of internal vs. external self worth, I just got an email telling me that I can have Alexa (the Amazon thingie) give me a compliment every day. Because, y’know, I’m so insecure I need a *machine* to make me feel worthwhile. Sigh.

  78. Trollbuster August 17, 2017 at 6:26 pm #

    I succeeded in ridding this site of Warren. He has gone back into the dark cave where he belongs. May he never again write here.

    The next one to leave must be James Pollock. He used to be my friend. He was thoughtful and engaging. However now, he must be stopped. All he does all day is write on this site. Does he have a life? He never addresses the topic. His brain must have been rewired over these past 10 months

    James: Please leave quietly so we can avoid any more thought and verbal pollution. You must be stopped. It is key for the future of this site. STOP JAMES P/.

  79. Trollbuster August 17, 2017 at 6:28 pm #

    James:
    I implore you to stop. The madness must end. I’m mad as hell and can’t take it anymore. Please STOP. The insanity and inanity must cease.

  80. Melanie August 17, 2017 at 8:22 pm #

    One thing I will mention is that the bullying scenarios are vastly different when developmental disability is involved. I can tell you from personal experience that when a child or teenager is developmentally disabled, other children and teens will take advantage of the disability to bully the disabled child in ways that they wouldn’t bully a non-disabled child. This usually involves taking advantage of a lack of social awareness, a naive nature, or acting nice so as to pick on them later. All of these tactics and more were used against me as a child. Another way developmental disability changes the bullying game is that children who would not ordinarily bully other children may bully developmentally disabled children. This comes from experience, too: when I was in school, children who bullied no one else in the school bullied me. This included children who were otherwise considered “nice”. I constantly had the change schools due to this.

  81. James Pollock August 18, 2017 at 1:26 am #

    “a) The most recent Super Bowl rings cost $36,500 each. Not cheap.”

    The NFL made a couple of billion dollars last year. $36,500 is cheap… on that scale.

    “Art was obviously talking about participation trophies. No rings for members of the other 31 teams last season, just the Patriots.”

    Here’s a hint. You want to Google these things before you post them. If you had, you’d know about the rings given to the Falcons.
    And (duh) I was talking about participation trophies. They’re cheap. What’s the problem with giving a participation trophy to everybody who participates? The point (which you seem to have missed) is that all 53 Patriots got a Super Bowl ring… whether they played in the Super Bowl or not. That’s a “not even participant” trophy. And… it’s up to the Patriots to decide who got one (and you might want to look up who got one, hint, hint, because there’s more than 53 of them.)

  82. Dienne August 18, 2017 at 8:01 am #

    Trollbuster – one has to wonder who is the troll? The one who posts admittedly aggravating, confrontational posts, or the one who tries to silence said commenter? I’ll be the first to admit James Pollock can be difficult, but he also contributes great insight to this site, as he did on this thread multiple times. I’m sorry you disagree with him (as I do, frequently), but that does not make him a troll. As for why he posts so much or what life he has, what business is that of yours? If he’s posting on work time, that’s between him and his employer. If his posting is interfering with family or other social relationships, that’s between him and them. Otherwise, this is apparently a place he likes to hang out (as do I). What’s wrong with that? I don’t know who this “Warren” is that you are so proud of driving off or whether s/he deserved it, but I would suggest you reconsider trying to drive off Mr. Pollock (not that you could, I don’t think, unless he decides for himself to leave).

  83. BL August 18, 2017 at 8:12 am #

    @James Pollock
    “$36,500 is cheap… on that scale.”

    No, it just means there are people who can afford things that aren’t cheap. Heck, I could afford it (come up with the cash), but I’d have a lot less money for things I actually want.

    “you’d know about the rings given to the Falcons.”

    For winning the NFC title, which they did. Not for showing up for 16 games.

    ” What’s the problem with giving a participation trophy to everybody who participates?”

    It cheapens the accomplishment of winning.

    “The point (which you seem to have missed) is that all 53 Patriots got a Super Bowl ring… whether they played in the Super Bowl or not. That’s a “not even participant” trophy. And… it’s up to the Patriots to decide who got one (and you might want to look up who got one, hint, hint, because there’s more than 53 of them.)”

    Yes, it’s up to the Patriots to decide who contributed to the championship by being part of the whole Patriots organization, not just the players, and not just the players who were on the field in the final game. But I’ll bet they didn’t vote any rings to anyone on the Detroit Lions or Cincinnati Bengals. Or the Atlanta Falcons, for that matter.

  84. JulieH August 18, 2017 at 8:14 am #

    @James Pollock RE Trollbuster
    James – not that I believe that you likely need anyone’s approval, and I know I am only a somewhat occasional poster (much more frequent reader), but if Trollbuster feels the need to express his/her opinion regarding your participation here, I will also speak up.

    While I do not always agree with your arguments or positions, and while at times the discussion gets somewhat off the track at times (and there are WAYYYYY many people guilty of that that are regular posters here), and while sometimes the point may get belabored beyond the natural end point (again, I can say the same about many other regular posters), you have a logical mind that adds to the debates and discussions. Without your input, the discussions would tend toward the head-nodding of mutual agreement. You bring forth the devil’s advocate position on a regular basis – the other side of the coin, a different way of viewing the situation. I value your participation in the group.

    @Trollbuster – Stop patting yourself on the back. I again direct you to the following: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=670if6Etx0o

  85. Art August 18, 2017 at 8:29 am #

    And (duh) I was talking about participation trophies. They’re cheap. What’s the problem with giving a participation trophy to everybody who participates?…

    ^because it cheapens the experience, the time, and the work of the better players. My niece and nephews have gotten them for youth sports (Little League, etc) and they threw them away. They are “okay” players, not the best, not the worst and they think participation trophies are stupid. Some of the kids got one that were sitting on the bench all season. What’s wrong with this picture?

    What is the point of the better kids wanting to work and excel at what they are doing when the worst players are rewarded just for being there.

    This particular league doesn’t keep score with the younger players. However, they were yelled at by coaches one time when the kids themselves started calling out the score during one Little League game. It was a good, solid win for one side.

  86. Donna August 18, 2017 at 8:49 am #

    Darn, go away for a few days and I miss a completely off-topic transgender debate.

  87. John B. August 18, 2017 at 11:31 am #

    Quote: “While I agree that kids need a t(h)ick skin, I think that merely focusing on that can lead to, shall we say, suboptimal results.”

    @James:

    I did not say in my post that we should merely focus on kids to have thick skin. I said, “SO ALONG WITH TEACHING KIDS BASIC SELF-RESPECT (emphasis mine), how about also teaching them mental toughness?

    Quote: “What we need to do is teach kids to value themselves”

    Quote: “As someone said above, a truly confident person doesn’t care what bullies think of them, because their evaluation of their self-worth isn’t tied to what other people say.”

    @James:

    That’s basically what I’m saying. Kids valuing themselves and being confident is tied in to having thick skin and mental toughness. One equals the other.

  88. John B. August 18, 2017 at 11:57 am #

    @Trollbuster:

    I agree that James Pollock gets under many people’s skin here. At least that is what I observe in their replies, and yes, JP is a borderline troll and I do disagree with him on most points.

    BUT James Pollock has every right in the world to post his opinions here (and anywhere for that matter) and he should NOT be stopped for doing so! Just because you don’t like what he has to say is no reason to silence him! Same with Warren. If every one of us were to shut down speech and opinions we don’t like, then nobody would be able to express their opinion! I THINK I’m a fairly rational person but I’m sure there are people here who don’t like what I have to say and that’s fine with me.

    The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States (where this forum originates from) protects the most offensive of speech. In doing so, that enables it to protect ALL speech.

  89. James Pollock August 18, 2017 at 12:45 pm #

    “‘ What’s the problem with giving a participation trophy to everybody who participates?’
    It cheapens the accomplishment of winning.”
    In what way? I mean, how insecure do you have to be that the accomplishment of winning is diminished by other people being recognized for participating? You literally CAN’T win if the other team doesn’t show up…

    “Yes, it’s up to the Patriots to decide who contributed to the championship by being part of the whole”
    And, if leagues decide to award participation trophies… in some cases because the point of the league is NOT winning, but “recreation” or “skills-building”… they get to decide that. If you don’t want a participation trophy, don’t join a league that gives them.

    Moving on to the next:
    “What is the point of the better kids wanting to work and excel at what they are doing when the worst players are rewarded just for being there.”
    Going back to the Patriots, they all got participation trophies for being in the Super Bowl. Only one of them got an MVP trophy. Was Mr. Brady’s MVP award diminished because the third-string offensive guard gets the same ring he does? Go back a couple of years, to when the Seahawks defensive unit absolutely manhandled the Broncos. Which member of the Legion of Boom won the MVP trophy?

    Tired of sports yet? Let’s talk about the military. They have awards for bravery and valor in performance of duty. They also have participation trophies (they’re called “campaign ribbons”) The guy fighting on the front line gets one. So does the guy who gets out of the armored vehicle to check for landmines. And so does the shipping clerk in the supply depot. Back in the Vietnam war, the Air Force gave them to people serving in Guam. (Consult a map, if necessary). Most of the military folks I know consider their campaign ribbons important indicators of honor. YMMV.

  90. James August 18, 2017 at 2:06 pm #

    Regarding participation trophies, I think it’s important to differentiate between participation trophies and awards given to a team. Take, for example, Super Bowl rings–these are not participation trophies, but rather awards given to the winning team. Even if someone didn’t play in the final game, they participated in the tournament and, more importantly, in the training, practices, strategy sessions, and other associated activities. Rewarding them isn’t cheapening the experience, but rather recognizing the fact that the final game isn’t the only thing that mattered.

    Say someone grabbed a touchdown pass in the final seconds of Game 3, allowing their team to win that game–and they go on to win the Super Bowl, but this person is out because catching that pass damaged his knee. He is just as important to the final win as the guys on the field, and deserves to be recognized as part of the team.

  91. James Pollock August 18, 2017 at 3:07 pm #

    “I think it’s important to differentiate between participation trophies and awards given to a team.”

    OK. Why is this important?

    One more example to throw in: Varsity letters for high-school and college athletics. You get one for being on the team, and every team in the league awards them, whether they win every game or lose every game. Should we take them away from every athlete whose team finished at or below .500? From every team that didn’t win a league (or state) championship?

    There are two cases where participation trophies are awarded.
    One is in “skills development” leagues. In these leagues, winning and losing IS devalued… from the start… because they focus instead on how much better each player gets over the course of the season, and not on how good they were when they started. Winning IS fun, but if you have a coach who values winning over developing all of the players… yes, even the ones who are clumsy, slow, and ignorant of the rules of the game… you have a coach who has failed, even if they win all their games. If you value winning, and you signed your kid up for a “skills-development” league, you made a mistake. Is there any argument about this part?
    On the other hand, there are competitive teams, which play in competitive leagues. The focus here IS on winning. Players must try out for a position on a team, and those lacking skills are told “sorry, not this year”. Coaches play their best players until the game’s outcome is certain, and THEN play others in “garbage time”. The starters are starters, the backups are backups, and the scrubs are scrubs… The backups are free to try to improve their skills and abilities enough to become starters. Starters who loaf may wake up one morning and find themselves listed second on the depth charts. This sounds like the type of league y’all were talking about, right? Winning isn’t the most important thing, it’s the ONLY thing, yes? OK. Well, in that case, being good enough to make the team is an accomplishment. One that, surprise!, is worthy of recognition. Heck, that backup small forward might have worked twice as hard as the starter, but the starter was six inches taller.
    But… it’s a reward for losing! No, it isn’t. The big trophy is an award for winning, and the little one is the award for showing up and still trying, even though you weren’t winning. If you were eliminated in the semifinals, you weren’t the champion. You loser. You were better than all but 2 or 3 of other teams. College football ends with about 15 “champions”, because teams that aren’t in the top 4 get invited to bowl games, each of which ends with a winner. College basketball ends with a 68-team tournament… (plus another 32-team one). It’s an honor to be invited to keep playing after the season. There’s official trophies for being winner of the tournament, of course, but there’s also trophies for being in the final four, and there’s recognition for being in the “elite eight” and the “sweet sixteen”, as well. College baseball ends in an 8-team double-elimination tournament. Guess what happens if you make the tournament? All of these show that there’s a level of accomplishment which is worthy of respect, even if you didn’t “win it all”. Just being good enough to be on a team is a level of accomplishment which is worthy of respect (though, of course, isn’t guaranteed to get it.) There’s nothing wrong with that. Recognizing that gee, even the guys on the team that finished dead last are better than the guys who couldn’t make a team at all, does absolutely nothing to the accomplishment of winning a game, a series, a regular season, or a league championship.

  92. Anne Charming August 18, 2017 at 3:41 pm #

    When I was in elementary school I didn’t like gym (outside of soccer-baseball) so I would normally sit out of those things and if it was like doge ball some of the boys would throw the ball at my head so eventually I just went to the school’s library or hang out in the lower “Special Needs” classroom. In Gr.7 a new kid came to the school and he was taller then the rest of us and he would occasionally trip me on purpose and when I reported it the teachers were like “Oh he couldn’t help it his legs are too long”.

  93. James August 18, 2017 at 4:23 pm #

    “OK. Why is this important?”

    There are two relevant questions here: Who is getting the award? and Why are they getting it?

    For team awards, such as Super Bowl rings, THE TEAM is getting the award–and it therefore is not a participation award.

    For varsity letters, the individual is getting the award–but not for anything they do during the season. The letters are given out for making the team. Those who do not make the team, do not get the award. So again, not a participation award.

    As for the rest of your post, it’s based on a false premise: that the two situations you’ve outlined exhaust all situations where participation awards are given. What you present may be the ideal, but in my experience they don’t cover all the situations where participation awards occur. That said, I have a feeling that the focus on sports in this discussion drives a good portion of that. Such awards occur in other places as well.

    Secondly, you are forgetting that those who make the team in competitive leagues are already recognized, by being on the team. The fact that it’s not is rather the issue that some of us have with participation awards. (No, this doesn’t mean that varsity letters are participation awards–again, such letters have nothing to do with the events at a tournament, and therefore are not awards for participation in that tournament.)

  94. James Pollock August 19, 2017 at 6:06 am #

    “For team awards, such as Super Bowl rings, THE TEAM is getting the award–and it therefore is not a participation award. ”

    That’s nonsense. There are team awards… for example, a banner to hang in the home arena. Super Bowl rings get awarded to individuals. For participating (or not) in the Super Bowl. The team GIVES Super Bowl rings.

    “For varsity letters, the individual is getting the award–but not for anything they do during the season. The letters are given out for making the team. Those who do not make the team, do not get the award. So again, not a participation award. ”

    This is also nonsense. If you make the team, and then don’t show up for any games, you don’t get a letter. If you make the team, and skip practices, you don’t get a letter.

    “As for the rest of your post, it’s based on a false premise: that the two situations you’ve outlined exhaust all situations where participation awards are given.”
    Point to where I’ve made the claim that the two situations I listed are all there are, before you dismiss the argument for the “false premise” that isn’t there, OK?
    Say, you didn’t just use this “false premise” thing as an excuse to not address either of the two cases made, did you? ‘Cause that’s what it kind of looks like from here.

    “the focus on sports in this discussion drives a good portion of that. Such awards occur in other places as well.”
    You don’t say? I guess I should have included an example of something that has nothing to do with sports in my argument, somewhere along the way.

    “Secondly, you are forgetting that those who make the team in competitive leagues are already recognized, by being on the team.”
    I am? That’s news to me… I would have sworn I made direct reference to this fact, across two paragraphs, in support of my argument. Hmmm. Did you read all the way through?

    It still comes back to this: How insecure do you have to be to have your accomplishments demeaned because someone else’s lesser achievement was also honored? Should we also dispense with Olympic silver and bronze medals?

    If you don’t want participation trophies, don’t participate. It’s entirely within your power to get what you want.

    Heck, maybe those ancient Greeks had the right idea… they didn’t give trophies to anyone… win or lose… in the Olympic games.

  95. Emily August 19, 2017 at 9:51 am #

    Okay, this thread is supposed to be about bullying, but it’s become about transgender people an public bathrooms, and participation awards in sports leagues. Can we please get back on topic?

  96. James Pollock August 19, 2017 at 10:10 am #

    “Okay, this thread is supposed to be about bullying, but it’s become about transgender people an public bathrooms, and participation awards in sports leagues. Can we please get back on topic?”

    You, ah, forgot to put anything about bullying in this comment. Was this an oversight?

  97. Katie G August 19, 2017 at 5:41 pm #

    “Bully” used to be a noun, meaning “that kid who picks on everyone around” (maybe focusing a bit more on particular kids). Now it’s a verb meaning “to be unkind to someone”. There’s no longer a distinction between rudeness, one-off nasty remarks, mean-spirited behavior, or probably even good-natured ribbing between kids who generally get along.

    I remember an instance in high school when someone kept trying to get my attention, and I found him annoying. At one point he asked me why I wouldn’t talk to him and I, uncharacteristically, burst out with “Because I don’t like you!” That being 1998, the teacher tried hard not to laugh and didn’t succeed. End of story. What would happen in 2017!?

  98. Emily August 20, 2017 at 8:38 am #

    >>“Okay, this thread is supposed to be about bullying, but it’s become about transgender people an public bathrooms, and participation awards in sports leagues. Can we please get back on topic?”

    You, ah, forgot to put anything about bullying in this comment. Was this an oversight?<<

    No, that's all I wanted to say.

  99. Another Katie August 20, 2017 at 5:18 pm #

    In our admittedly-limited experience, schools don’t go far enough in calling out bullying for what it is.

    Our then-6 year old was a target of aggression and threats of violence, followed by forcible hugs and kisses from a boy in her 1st grade class. She was his only target and his aggression and unwanted affection continued for weeks. She was a wreck and we just wanted the teachers and administration to keep him away from her.

    Due to the child’s IEP, he could not be punished outside of apologizing to her in a restorative justice circle. No suspension, and no classroom moves. The principal spent way too much time trying to convince us that “bullying” was supposedly too extreme for what was happening to our kid, and that they didn’t want him getting a reputation as a bully at such a young age.

  100. RW August 21, 2017 at 8:54 am #

    My kid was bullied last year. It is not one or two incidents, it is a pattern. My kid was only touched or pushed once (right in front of me) but the pattern was relentless daily verbal insults from one kid to mine. Lots of threats, cussing, etc where my kid couldn’t relax and enjoy recess and feared participating in group projects. 5th grade. Eventually the bully got punched by another kid who just had enough on the last day of school.

    In my junior high experience it is girl bullying that is the worst. The “mean girls” do exist and can quickly make another feel like school is hell with just looks and words. I didn’t have the right clothes and lived in a trailer and was shut out of pretty much all social anything. Bullying can look a lot like that water drip torture.

  101. John B. August 21, 2017 at 12:12 pm #

    “In my junior high experience it is girl bullying that is the worst.”

    @RW:

    You sure hit the nail on the head there! Girls can be so mean to each other and you also see that on the college level too.

  102. Dawn August 24, 2017 at 10:57 pm #

    Bullying is real. You can find at least one in a group. In an all-girl group, the queen bee is usually the bully. She’s the one who says which member needs to go, the one that tells which member is dowdy or fat or stupid, the one that knows how to play with people’s feelings. Girls like being with the queen bee because of the thought that “they belong” and accepted without realizing that they are the “target”. Bullying is serious because young people are vulnerable and get depressed easily. I wish all parents can raise children who are compassionate so there will be no more bullies. And children who value their self-worth so there will be no more targets.

    Your readers may want to check these links for a good read about bullying.
    https://www.parentingmonkey.com/stop-cyber-bullying
    https://www.parentingmonkey.com/bullied-school-help

  103. AliMander August 25, 2017 at 10:03 am #

    I find it interesting that in my daughter’s school, the educational mindset is not “No bullying, ever!” but instead “RESPECT PEOPLE, ALWAYS.”

    Do all the kids get along perfectly? No. When issues do arise, though, the teachers work to increase interpersonal understanding and empathy, instead of trying to place blame on who’s picking on whom.

    Of course, kids feelings get hurt, there are kids who don’t like each other, and there are always going to be some kids who are quirky (like mine) and aren’t social butterflies.

    What I appreciate about the positive education mindset instead of the punitive is that my kid, who’s a little odd in her own right, feels safe and welcomed among her peers because those kids (since kindergarten) have been taught that even if they don’t like someone, they can still be civil and kind.

  104. Kallisti August 28, 2017 at 10:45 pm #

    I teach kindegarten at a private elementary school, and we have one teacher who calls everything bullying. It drives me crazy. If a kid calls another kid a name they’re being a bully, if a kid tells another kid they don’t want to play together right that minute they’re being a bully.

    Its insane, they’re kindergarteners, the majority of them don’t have it in them to bully each other, they’re assholes sometimes, but it’s not on purpose.

    Then I have to correct my kids and tell them that no, just because Jane isn’t immediately handing over the toy you asked for doesn’t mean she’s a bully, it means that she’s in the middle of something and you don’t always get things right when you want them.