Bullies have been around as long as there have been schoolyards, and they are not always the biggest meanest kid in school. Sometimes they can be a group of mean girls. Well, we just found out about a girl who’s little sister was being bullied. And when her babysitter found out about her plan to get the girls to stop, she shared it with the entire twittersphere.
A twitter user identified by the handle @daisybhelm was recently babysitting for a twelve year old girl when she found a homemade party invitation in the girl’s waste basket. The party was to be thrown for classmates of the twelve year old’s little sister.
In the invitation, she tells the girls to “stop being jerks.” She then goes on to repeat that statement in twenty different languages to ensure that the mean girls really understood her point.
School bullying has become a major topic around the country as we evolve to understand that “kids will be kids” is not an appropriate response to physical and emotional wounds visited on our children.
One city in Wisconsin has decided that the problem can be better addressed by a hard approach and have authorized the police department to intervene in instances of bullying.
The Shawano, Wisconsin city council approved a new ordinance that allows the local police department to intervene in cases of bullying. The law applies to any child under the age of eighteen years old and is designed to target a number of types of harassment, from stealing lunch money to cyberbullying.
Parents of minors who are accused of these actions will receive a warning and a ninety day probationary term in which to change their child’s behavior. If they do not, the parent will receive a $366 fine for the first offence and $681 fine for each repeat offence.
The idea is that bullying both begins at home and needs to be dealt with by the parents.
A large majority of parents in town seem to in favor of such a measure, but there are a few who find it problematic.
Some critics say that the issue of bullying is too subjective. They point to the difference and distinctions between harmless banter and teasing, and more aggressive harassment. They contend that it simply is not a clear line and cannot be enforced, nor would fining parents necessarily impact children who engage in bullying.
Shawano Police chief Mark Kohl has responded to these criticisms, saying “This isn’t generated towards the kids being kids, some playground banter. This is the person that is meticulously using social media or saying things that are vulgar in an attempt to hurt.”
Roughly one in four American children are subjected to bullying at some point in school and f we are honest about our own experiences, we must admit that most of us have been both victim and perpetrator in our youth. But when it crosses from a temporary isolated incident to an organized program of targeting and injuring a child physically or emotionally, it becomes far more damaging and must be dealt with in a serious way.
Have your children ever experienced bullying? What do you think is behind the impulse to hurt another human being at such a young age? Please share your thoughts and stories with us here.