Doug Masson has a piece up on school bullying. He approaches matters from the perspective of a dad:
But, how to teach my own kids to deal with this kind of crap? You teach them that violence is never the answer, but sometimes it seems like it is. For now, I guess I’m going with the strategy of telling them that violence isn’t the answer but somehow knowing when I’m full of crap and that they should stick up for themselves — without doing it in a way that will get them in trouble with the authorities.
I was going to leave a comment on Doug’s blog, but decided to turn it into a full-fledged post. I wanted to point out that schools today have their stupid “zero-tolerance” policies. Zero-tolerance policies are a way for the school to deflect every bit of an incident and remove all the investigative work that goes into taking care of real problems.
If someone came up to you on the street and punched you in the face, you’d probably give a swift quick back. That’s because that’s a generally rational thing to do. Yelling “I need an adult!” when you’re 32 doesn’t do much. At a school, that guy and you would both be suspended, whether you hit back or not. That’s just plain dumb.
Again, it’s the school’s version of “Screw it, both of you go home.” I knew many a classmate that were suspended from school for doing nothing physically or verbally damaging to someone. They’d just get punched or kicked by another person and they’d be on their way out the door.
Frankly, most school administrators and teachers know who does what. If a known asshat punches a nerdy kid and the nerdy kid punches back, everyone knows that was self defense, which has been upheld in courts as a perfectly permissible thing to do. Call it the “asshat clause” if you will. And granted, it is different if a weapon is involved. But a kick to the groin isn’t going to kill a guy and might be doing us some good if he can’t procreate after it.
Seems the appropriate thing to do is exercise reason and logic in situations. We protect kids the best we can, but we can’t always be there, so be reasonable when kids have to fend for themselves. But lord knows our schools aren’t exactly reasonable places.