April 26, 2012

A boy resists his mother's advice to punch the bully — hard — in the nose.

The boy consistently says, "I don’t want to hurt anybody. It’s not who I am.” And with the opposite of help from the school principal and the mediation of a cop, the boy prevails.

51 comments:

TWM said...

How sweet. I'm sure they are bestest buddies now.

Best line though was the mom telling the principle he was useless, because 99% of the time in bullying cases they are.

Triangle Man said...

I am reminded of a video of a kid with a similar attitude taking a slightly different approach to resolving the problem.

Expat(ish) said...

Glad it worked for him.

My kids have the punch advice and an unlimited get-out-of-jail card from their dad if the school calls.

In Oz my oldest son, then 12/13, started a trend of older kids protecting younger kids by standing up repeatedly. I was never more proud of him.

-XC

Aridog said...

Hmmm. Very "creative" story, appropriate for a free lance writer and "novelist." What up-scale near prep-school did this enlightening series of events happen at?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Yeah that strategy works all the time.

Good for him though.

Aridog said...

@Expat(ish) ...your anecdotal experience is far more believable and much closer to real life kids who aren't afraid to stand-up, individually or as a group, to defend an underdog.

rhhardin said...

Bullying started when kids stopped taking firearms to school.

Scott M said...

I can see a kid saying "I don't want to hurt" someone. I have a problem accepting a kid is self-aware enough to say "that's not who I am".

SGT Ted said...

Telling someone to stand up for himself is NOT bullying. Telling a boy that he may have to fight isn't bullying, either.

I was the exact same way when I was a bullied kid.

My position, that fighting solves nothing, was Morally Superior bullshit. I was just scared of getting my ass kicked. And my parents realized it eventually.

What I wound up doing was taking Karate and Judo. Which was the appropriate solution.

MikeR said...

I used to be bullied. It always stopped when I punched them. Sometimes that took me a while, but it always helped.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... I can see a kid saying "I don't want to hurt" someone. I have a problem accepting a kid is self-aware enough to say "that's not who I am"..."

Yeah the more I think about this story the more it sounds like an After School Special episode.

paminwi said...

My advice to my son was never be the one to throw the first punch. But, if someone hits you first you damn well make sure you hit them back harder. Then call me when they haul you into the principal's office and I'm there for you.

It happened once, he got suspended for a day and the other kid who started it (confirmed by the playground monitor) got nothing. The principal said I never should have told my son to hit back and I told her "bullshit" and took my kid home.

No more problems after that.

Patricia said...

I have trouble believing the cop would come to school, over the objections of the principal, to sit with the boy. Sounds like he wasn't' regularly assigned to the school. Wasn't' he supposed to be on patrol?

Great if it happened, but I think BS.

prairie wind said...

Zero tolerance for zero tolerance rules!

If I were the parent of a bully, I'd fear for his/her safety. The bully has become the person it is acceptable--if not encouraged--to bully.

Bob said...

Someone better play Coward of the County by Kenny Rogers for this kid before it's too late and the Gatlin Boys come callin'.

Kit said...

There's more than one way to stand up to a bully...and I could see how this ninja mind-game could confuse the common bully.

Over the decades of our relationship, my husband has told two bully stories (and never linked them, though I have)...in the first, he was a sophomore CC runner and was beat up by some upper classman teammates for coming in last in a meet. In the second, he was a senior, sticking up for a freshman by standing down this kid's bully/tormentor, on the bus. No punches were thrown.

So Scott, it's not as foreign to me to accept that "a kid is self-aware enough to say "that's not who I am"."

harrogate said...

"Bullying started when kids stopped taking firearms to school."

Hahahahaha awesome. Thanks, I needed that. Except now I want a bumprer sticker that says it.

MadisonMan said...

Total fiction. No way would the police officer be allowed in the class.

Imagine the results: Every kid goes home that day and says A police officer sat in on our class today. How many phone calls would the Principal have to field the next day?

James Pawlak said...

Pathological pacifism did not work with Hitler. My own experiences with bullies is that a fist (Or knife or gun or military) "does the job"/

Chip Ahoy said...

Then the kid grew up and became Ken Salazar.

TWM said...

"Total fiction. No way would the police officer be allowed in the class.

Imagine the results: Every kid goes home that day and says A police officer sat in on our class today. How many phone calls would the Principal have to field the next day?"

They don't have school resource officers (police officers or sheriff's deputies)up your way? It's rare to fine a school down here that doesn't have one, maybe two if you count DARE officers.

TWM said...

Down here meaning Tennessee.

Scott M said...

My own experiences with bullies is that a fist (Or knife or gun or military) "does the job"/

You really have to understand the mindset of a bully to get that, though. While I was more than my fair share of belligerent when I was a kid/teen, I never bullied as my father, an active duty soldier, always taught to defend the weak.

On the other hand, some "friends" (teammates, more accurately) I had through childhood were most definitely bullies. As a red-head with freckles, you can bet I learned early how to deal with bullies.

The childhood bully lives in a perpetual closed loop. They antagonize a victim, receive positive reinforcement from their peeps, get a little high on the adrenaline and possibly endorphine of a high stress/conflict situation, and then consolidate their authority over said peeps. Rinse, repeat, until the ego is so built up it becomes impossible to show the bully the error of his/her ways.

The only way to break that loop is to introduce an outside influence that will both physically shock the bully and make them lose face with their toadies. The is best achieved, normally, with a balled fist delivered to a sensitive and/or vulnerable spot. The nose is a great one to pick as the psychological image of a bloody nose and bloody shirt is tough for the dethroned bully to overcome.

The Crack Emcee said...

He'll learn. Good for Mom.

He'll apologize - and thank her - one day.

Aridog said...

@Scott M said ... The nose is a great one to pick ...

Yep, unless the target is an experienced boxer for some time, a punch in the nose causes the eyes to water up and blur vision, which allows for more punches, or time to escape, as the case may be ...

MadisonMan said...

@TWM: Not in 7th grade, which is where the story is set.

MadisonMan said...

The nose is a great one to pick

You can pick your bullies, and you can pick your nose, but you can't ....

(sorry!)

Scott M said...

or time to escape, as the case may be

You still have to deal with the todies. They don't just stand there, mouth agape, like in some after-school special. If you're going to have the stones to stand up to a bully, you must, absolutely must, be prepared to get your ass kicked.

ndspinelli said...

There's no correct answer, it's always situational. My old man taught me to realize when a fight was inevitable. Not to look to fight; but to listen to my gut and when the fight was going to happen, to make sure you got the first punch in and to make it count! It worked well.

Dads are much better prepared to deal w/ this. The problem of bullying is age old. But, w/ so many dads being absent you have more bullies and more victims, both being a result of no father in the home.

jeff said...

How after school specialish. And in the REAL world, the one the rest of us live in, that kid's life is going to be hell until he gets out of school. Especially if the description of the principle is accurate.

TWM said...

"@TWM: Not in 7th grade, which is where the story is set."

Can't speak for all Tennessee public schools, but there is a school resource officer for each of the middle and high schools in our district. I'm not sure about the grade schools, but I imagine they float over there as well occasionally.

netmarcos said...

Taught my boys the Ender strategy: Never hit anyone unless you are willing to hit them so hard that they cannot hit you back.

Scott M said...

Can't speak for all Tennessee public schools

I did 4th, 5th, and part of 6th grade in Hendersonville, TN. The teachers were allowed to paddle and did. Do they still?

I would be shocked.

Steve Koch said...

I don't believe the story, it was probably concocted by the writer to spread her actual belief in non-violence.

It is a bad ass world, you better be prepared to defend yourself.

Scott M said...

Taught my boys the Ender strategy: Never hit anyone unless you are willing to hit them so hard that they cannot hit you back.

Did you also teach them that the enemy's gate is down?

edutcher said...

Perhaps our vets can verify, but isn't there a statistic that only about 10% of all those in combat actually fire their rifles (talking draftee army, of course)?

If so, some of the story rings true.

Scott M said...

I can see a kid saying "I don't want to hurt" someone. I have a problem accepting a kid is self-aware enough to say "that's not who I am".

That's an adult, probably the author, talking.

SGT Ted said...

Telling someone to stand up for himself is NOT bullying. Telling a boy that he may have to fight isn't bullying, either.

I was the exact same way when I was a bullied kid.

My position, that fighting solves nothing, was Morally Superior bullshit. I was just scared of getting my ass kicked. And my parents realized it eventually.

What I wound up doing was taking Karate and Judo. Which was the appropriate solution.


You and me both, although my solution was a slide rule and a hardbound 500 page history book.

Aridog said...

@edutcher ... as a vet of the last 'draftee" war, although I was an enlistee, I recall the ratio of support element troops to infantry in the grass was 9 to 1. That did not mean some of the 9 didn't fire their rifles.

Asymmetrical warfare is funny that way. Before I retired, my previous boss had deployed to Iraq and implied that I should volunteer to join him. On his third day there, in a very Green Zone job, he called me at 0300 my time to tell me a 120mm rocket had just been fired in to the US Embassy cafeteria where he was eating. he was a bit excited to say the least.

edutcher said...

Aridog said...

@edutcher ... as a vet of the last 'draftee" war, although I was an enlistee, I recall the ratio of support element troops to infantry in the grass was 9 to 1. That did not mean some of the 9 didn't fire their rifles.

No slur intended, but I think you misunderstand my point.

I read somewhere that many men, regardless of branch (infantry, quartermaster, etc.) were reluctant in the extreme to fire their weapons at another human being, even in wartime. The 90% may in fact be wrong, but it was a fairly high percentage.

I used a draftee army as an example only because it seemed to me that in a professional army, as we have today, that figure would be less.

IIRC, that stat was quoted in relation to WWII or the Civil War.

Tybalt said...

"No way would the police officer be allowed in the class."

Maybe our experience in Canada is different, but our local schools in our city all have a designated police officer who works with the school (most of them take on fiv or six schools) and they are frequent visitors, welcome everywhere. They then have knowledge and understanding of the environment if ever there is a need for official intervention. It makes everything much less of a "big deal".

I am not the world's most cop-friendly person myself, but the program works brilliantly.

Tybalt said...

I read the Internet Tough Guys on here and I have to laugh. You have wonderfully rich and imaginative fantasy lives.

ndspinelli said...

We're being lectured by a hoser w/o the integrity to have even a cursory profile.

Gee Tybalt, Do you think possibly some bullying goes on when the cops aren't around or outside of school. The article speaks to bullying in school but I hope you realize that is not the only venue for bullying. A kid has to learn to take care of themself. With your "cop" remedy there probably is no bullying in donut shops.

ndspinelli said...

I just read the bio of Jim Abbot, titled, Imperfect. There was a kid tormented and bullied for his deformity who learned to shine. No cops. His parents were supportive but not protective, they taught him to take care of himself. That is the most important duty for all parents..to make themselves not needed. And, a duty many parents just don't get. Thank God for jim Abbot he had wise, loving, parents.

prairie wind said...

That night, the officer called my son and listened to him awhile. In the morning, he bypassed the principal and headed straight for my son’s class, taking a seat next to him and near the boy. He told the boy my son was his friend and he didn’t want anyone bothering him. The cop told the boy he could be his friend, too, but the boy didn’t say much of anything.

Does anyone else think that a cop offering to be your friend is a little creepy?

ndspinelli said...

prairie wind, yes it is creepy. Maybe not Jerry Sandusky creepy; but creepy nonetheless.

Donna B. said...

I'm relieved I'm not the only thinking that story is something less than the whole truth, if not outright fiction.

It was the cop going to the classroom and the "friend" crap that almost made me gag (just too too "sweet").

A stunt like that might (repeat, might) work on 2nd graders but not 7th graders.

That would get the kid shunned by everyone and make his life even more difficult in school. A lot of the students would have admired him (possibly, probably secretly) for not fighting back, especially if he said "I don't want to hurt you" to the bully in front of other students.

But to have the cop come to his defense with a Mr. Roger's act would be a 7th grade "social death sentence" lasting through high school.

I just don't believe any of it happened except maybe her son got bullied.

William said...

I don't remember much bullying at school. The upperclassmen used to give us some grief, but I suppose later on we got some of our own back. Is bullying such a widespread phenomenon nowadays, or is it one of those things that are being dramatized and publicized by a small sector of the community.....That writer looks like a dweeb 7th grader I went to school with. Asthmatic. When she had an attack, we used to steal her inhaler and watch her turn blue. We always gave it back, however, before the went into cardiac arrest. Good times, but, looking back, I can see how an experience like that could sour one on schoolyard bullies.

TMink said...

I don't want to be bullied. It is not who I am.

Trey

prairie wind said...

Is bullying such a widespread phenomenon nowadays

Kids get bullied by all kinds of people nowadays. Principals bully the kids who bring a knife to school to cut up their fruit, for example. School administrators bully kids who punch the bully in the nose. Parents are bullied into attending seminars on bullying.

The bullies are bullied by everyone. Used to be that "fag" was the most humiliating taunt. Now, the worst taunt is "bully!"

MarkD said...

Listening to a bully's father complain that my son had the audacity to smack his kid was music to my ears. I told the principal, the school shrink and the school police officer that I'd tell him to do it again. My son never had a bit of trouble after that.

One of my son's classmates was a repeated victim of bullying, got his head pushed into a wall locker, and was never right since.

Both episodes were at a generally well regarded suburban high School. I'll be sure to care if you think I was wrong.

Real American said...

I was bullied as a kid, though I was much bigger than the bully. We got into fights and he never got into trouble and I hated going to school. In retrospect, I wish I had stood up and knocked the shit out of that bully when I had the chance, but I was taught by my parents that even though I had the opportunity, I should resist the urge to kick ass. My father told me that one day that bully would pick on someone who wouldn't hold back, but I shouldn't be that guy.

That kid ended up joining the army and was murdered when a drug deal he was participating in went bad. I don't feel sorry for him. Fucker deserved it.

Casey said...

edutcher, your memory comes from a study done at the end of, or just after WW2, at the request of General Marshall. I can't say how reliable the study was, but the upshot was that their training failed to prepare them for combat. The study seemed to support the conclusion that only 10% of the soldiers studied fired (or aimed) their weapons. I expect the Airborne divisions would have something to say about that. ;)

It's sad but true to say "The more you bleed in peace, the less you bleed in war." Today the more modern version is "Fight as you train, train as you fight."

In either case, the goal is to train the infantryman to aim his weapon, instead of blindly firing from over or around shelter. This is the "rational" thing to do when bullets are flying past you. Ironically enough, "As Montesquieu put it, a rational army would run away." (From Jerry Pournelle's Mercenaries and Military Virtue)

Sometimes "rational" is not the best option...