Pam’s House Blend on Anti-Gay Bullying

This story from Pam’s House Blend leaves me with a serious case of mood whiplash.

2009: A Massachusetts boy, Carl Walker-Hoover, hung himself earlier this week after enduring bullying at school, including daily taunts of being gay, despite his mother’s weekly pleas to the school to address the problem. She said she found her son, a sixth-grader at the school, hanging by an extension cord upstairs at their home.


He was a junior at New Leadership Charter School in Springfield who did not identify as gay. Carl felt there was no way out from the bullying, and he killed himself. And that’s the point–anti-bullying laws are not only about sexual orientation–even perceived orientation can trigger the bullying. But his mother has turned an unspeakable family horror into concrete, positive actions to keep Carl’s memory alive this past Saturday (9/17), as hundreds gathered for the second annual Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover Foundation’s 5K Road Race at Springfield’s Forest Park on Saturday morning.

Pam’s House Blend mentions two anti-bullying laws currently before Congress, the Student Non-Discrimination Act and the Safe Schools Improvement Act, which specifically ban bullying against QUILTBAG* students or students perceived to be QUILTBAG. This bullying disproportionately affects male-assigned children, especially children who are perceived to be gay, feminine or otherwise not real men. I encourage our American readers to write their congresspeople in support of these bills.

*Queer, undecided, intersex, lesbian, trans, bisexual, asexual and gay. Best acronym ever, y/y?

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49 Responses to Pam’s House Blend on Anti-Gay Bullying

  1. stillInverted says:

    I prefer GLOW, myself. (Gay, Lesbian, Or Whatever.)

  2. Zosimus the Heathen says:

    One thing that’s really made my blood boil during some of my forays into what can best be described as Internet sewers (places I really, REALLY need to stop visiting for the sake of my mental health and what remains of my faith in humanity) are essays I’ve found that promote anti-gay bullying as a useful tool for enforcing “healthy” social norms*. Indeed, at the risk of blowing my own trumpet, I recently submitted a particularly odious example of just such an essay to the site Fundies Say the Darndest Things, where it was published and promptly received many comments to the effect of “Is this joker for fucking real?!” In fact, it’s already made their list of Top 100 Fundiest Quotes Ever, which has restored some of that aforementioned faith in humanity. To have a look, go to; for the sake of your computer monitor, though, be sure not to have any heavy objects close at hand while you’re reading the essay in question!

    *I’m convinced that the people who write such garbage have never experienced bullying themselves and have an extremely sanitized view of the phenomenon as a consequence. It’s as if they think that bullying works by the following nice, clean process:
    1) person A engages in “deviant” behaviour
    2) person A’s peers promptly punish him/her with some nice, educational, character-building bullying as a consequence
    3) person A learns from his/her “mistakes”
    4) bullying ceases

    It’s like people who think torture should be permitted as an interrogation tool, and have a similarly sanitized view of it, like it’s this nice, clean, carefully controlled process that’s carried out with surgically-sterilized instruments under strict supervision, and is never allowed to get out of hand. When you look at examples of real-life torture, however, it’s never like that.

  3. superglucose says:

    I prefer “human” myself. (You know, that remarkable group of individuals?)

    No, seriously. Can we stop with these “let’s ban violence/bullying against X group!” campaigns? I understand the heart’s in the right place… but murder’s murder and YOU’RE still an alchemist.

  4. Jared says:

    The only thing high school bullying taught me was that violence was the only practical solution. Then I left school and had to work by a whole different set of rules (you know, civilisation and all that). The idiots who say that bullying prepares kids for life in the real word are deluded.

    Also, what does *being* a bully prepare a kid for?

  5. Zek J Evets says:

    I feel like this acronym is too close sounding to d-bag, douchebag, and other slang terms for uncool people. But then again, it could inspire a lot of really interesting jokes…

    As for the “special laws”, I’m not certain they’re going to do much. If people won’t enforce laws and policies to protect students already, then why would they honor or enforce them for QUILTBAG students? Frankly, it’s like with hate-crime — a crime is still a crime, and making it worse or special based on gender, race, or whatever, only sends a negative message that makes it harder for people to get along.

    We need to be sticking up for students like Carl — and me — and countless others — who have been victimized by homophobic bullying. And we don’t need a new law. We just need people to do their jobs in the schools and protect students.

  6. superglucose says:

    Bullies are not generally bad people.

    I mean I was about to talk about how bullying prepared me for how evil some people can be, blah blah blah, and yes some bullies are bad people, but here’s the thing: I was a mean kid growing up. I said mean things and I did mean things. Incidentally, my mother was abusive verbally so the main reason I said mean things was because *that’s the only way I learned how to communicate.*

    When we look at people who do shit like throw rocks at other kids or who hit them or who “torture” them it’s really easy for us to look at the victims and raise them up as saints or martyrs and look down on the bullies and paint them as monsters or subhuman. The thing that’s important to realize is that most bullies *are victims in their own right.*

    See, I dated a girl who bullied me in elementary school. She was nasty, and part of a huge pack of girls who were nasty. She apologized profusely. What she said is that she couldn’t even remember WHY everyone picked on me, that it felt like somehow you either had to pick on me or you weren’t accepted. She said that she vaguely remembered one girl being the “leader” (and I’m inclined to believe it since this particular girl was always a jerk and I also had the impression that she was the “leader”) of the anti-me campaign. Becca talked about how Zoe had been her only friend when she moved here from across the country, about how it was important to her to at least maintain some sort of social contact. She described how alone she would have felt if she didn’t have Zoe as her “best friend” and there was an unspoken commitment that people who didn’t shit on me *weren’t good enough to be Zoe’s friend.*

    In fact, Becca’s friend Kayla commented similarly when she found out Becca was dating me. Apparently her first words on the subject were, “We were really mean to him and I don’t remember why.”

    Or in high school when there was a kid who aggressively threatened me every day for a few months to the point where I hated getting off the bus and had to run full out for a mile to get home with my backpack on because I was so scared of him hitting me. It turns out: he’s a really awesome guy who became a huge leader at the school. I don’t know why he was bullying me for that year, but I can promise it wasn’t some deep-down need to torture people: it probably came from being invisible at home or being scared or being abused himself.

    Making bullying against the rules will do little to save the children of our schools because bullying does *not* start at school. It starts in the house and home with abusive families and improper parenting. Have you seen Breakfast Club? The jock bullied the nerd really hard and the nerd wanted to kill himself. because of it… and that’s the only story we ever get from it at first. But do any of us really believe the Jock is an asshole? He’s really not. He’s a confused and hurt kid trying to live up to the pressure and expectations of those around him… JUST like the kid he bullied.

    So please, I don’t care who you are or how bad the bullying was (and let me put this in perspective: I’ve had rocks thrown at me, I’ve had kids chase me and try to beat me up, I had a year of hell in 5th grade where every single privelage was systematically taken from me by about half the girls in the class conspiring to get me into trouble, and at home I had a moderately abusive mother (she asked once who I had a crush on. Her response was “she’s too pretty for you.”) and an extraordinarily abusive step mother.), don’t demonize tormentors. The solution is not to lock these psychotic maniacs away from society, but to see that they are hurt and dealing with their hurt inappropriately, to teach them how to deal with their hurt appropriately, and if we’re very careful maybe even heal the hurt.

    THIS IS NOT VICTIM BLAMING. If you think I am victim blaming or somehow saying that it’s YOUR fault you were bullied then you are reading this entirely inaccurately. But I AM saying that criminalizing bullying is not necessarily the correct step to solving the problem, and all it will do is step up the pressure to not squeal, step up the pressure of teachers to come down like a ton of bricks on kids who are acting out, and generally make school even LESS safe for everyone.

    I know that if I had been told that I could send the people who bullied me to jail, I would have been even MORE scared to tell. After all, they’re angry with me now even though I gave them no reason to be. What happens after they get out of jail and they now *have* a reason to be angry with me?

  7. Zosimus the Heathen says:

    Also, what does *being* a bully prepare a kid for?

    A long and illustrious career in the exciting world of organized crime? Actually, I’m only being semi-facetious here; I can’t help thinking that a lot of adult gangsters started down that path as schoolyard bullies. Indeed, this reminds me of one of the main reasons advocates of bullying sicken me so: in many instances where they’re telling a bullied child to just “suck it up”, they’re telling that child to tolerate behaviour that would be classed as criminal if directed towards an adult. And when I reflect on that, I can’t help wondering how many of these vile apologists for bullying are the same folk who also love fulminating about how dem damn librulz are too soft on crime, and how there’s never an excuse for breaking the law.

  8. superglucose says:

    So I just sent a letter to the teacher who presided over and even assisted the bullying that I suffered from for my entire 5th grade year. I explained how I felt, what he did, why it was wrong, what he should have done, and etc. During none of it did I ask him to punish anyone, nor did I blame anyone for what I suffered.

    At the end I told him to not contact me. I don’t know exactly how I managed to not explode in rage, but if he tried to respond to me in some way I would be beyond upset and beyond angry. I don’t know if I can trust him to hold that up because we *do* have mutual friends. If he tries to contact me through them I will feel… violated. Betrayed. I’m actually genuinely TERRIFIED that he will try to speak with me, terrified that he’ll try to placate me with “I’m sorry you felt bullied” (bull. Shit. If you cared you would have fucking DONE SOMETHING ABOUT IT rather than legitimizing it over and over again) or even worse, tell me that it was my fault what happened or that my assailants didn’t do anything wrong.

    I mean fuck. That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

  9. Zyzle says:

    The Khristian Koalition of Kalifornia’s Robert Newman had this to say about California’s recently passed SB48 (for those of you who don’t know it’s to do with the teaching of LGBT history in schools).

    If you don’t want your eyes offended by his obnoxious dress sense here are some fun quotes of his:
    “I hardly think that bullying is a real issue in schools”
    “[children who are] deviant in some way it [bullying] is part of the maturational process” (he also includes the physically impaired in his list of “deviants”… nice)

    Don’t know about you, but I for one am feeling the love of Jaysuz right now.

  10. Zyzle says:

    hmmn, didn’t actually mean to embed the vid, sorry :S

  11. f. says:

    @Superglucose, that’s awesome that you decided to hold the teacher accountable, and make it clear that you have boundaries and don’t care to hear any half-assed apologies from him at this late date.

    I’m not a lawyer, but looking at the anti-bullying proposals, it seems more like they are designed to give parents and students recourse against indifferent school officials, than against bullies themselves. Of course I have no way of knowing how schools would translate those anti-bullying provisions into student codes of conduct and punishments, but I can imagine that in a “zero tolerance” environment they will probably be uselessly handing out suspensions and other harsh penalties rather than trying to explore what’s going on with the bullies at home and school.

    These things are always so complicated. Of course a child who is probably going through some serious shit themself can’t be held fully accountable for hurting another child. But at the same time teachers like yours have to be required to step in. So often in my school the kids who were really hurting due to cruel peers, were also the ones of whom the teachers weren’t exactly fond. In that situation it’s far too easy for a teacher to conclude that “well nobody here likes Michael, he needs to change his behavior so that people like him.” I can recall one 3rd grade class meeting in which the teacher somehow ended up soliciting suggestions for how one girl could stop provoking the bullies, right in front of the girl. A friend of mine who was closeted at the time was also condenscendingly told in high school that a clique of guys couldn’t be stopped from shoving him around and stealing his stuff regularly because “well, you know, they do think that you’re gay”. This was in the 90s.

    I think that if that kind of thing is going on in a teacher sanctioned way, the school really deserves a legal shitstorm to end all shitstorms. But I’m not sure how effective this legislation would be in bringing down the hammer where it needs to be brought down.

  12. Sasha says:

    Teachers, in my experience, like to to minimize the amount of conflict in their classes. A lot of bullies tend to be the sort of loud kids that would start up shit if they’re called out on things. It’s much easier to get the quiet kid to shut up. I had a teacher like this once — whenever one particular loud ass started going on, she would turn and start picking on anybody else about any little thing. I have no idea what the hell she thought she was doing, but being in her class was seriously uncomfortable.

  13. kenshiroit says:

    IMO spontaneous bullying is a primitive form for social control. Later it can develop in more complex forms as moral or legislative/religious entyties. People who desire consciusly or inconsciusly to recruit levies to fill their ranks (traditionalist, religious, nationalist and others) they support bullyng and even try to justify it. For example fascist used to recruit violent people (who surely were bullyes in school) to beat their opponents and then force them to drink ricine oil (who is a powerfull lassative) and forcing them to fece in pubblick, as a form for humiliation. To force the person to submit and setting a example for the others. This is similar to bulliyng, where a numerous strong group…attack and dominate weaker group/person. The difference? children bullying is to bond together against a presumed common enemy (the wolf pack) like a solitary boy/girl. While the more complex form (black shirts, SA, red brigates ect) are political actions to enforce upon the majority their agenda. So perhaps thise to forms are interconnected?

  14. Also, what does *being* a bully prepare a kid for?

    The business world. Petty dictators on the playground become petty dictators in an office. The organized campaigns to end sexual harrassment in the workplace (which seem to have been at least moderately successful) have basically been addressing one specific type of bullying in the workplace, typically man-on-woman. But there are plenty of other types of workplace bullying (often men doing it to other men) that just go unaddressed. Anyone who’s worked for “the screamer” (and every office has one) knows what I’m talking about.

  15. kenshiroit says:

    ‘Also, what does *being* a bully prepare a kid for?’

    Social controll, keeping the status quo of the traditional society. If you pay attention the supporters of the mobbing culture are for the most conservatives…

  16. debaser71 says:

    Why the narrow focus on gays and those who are perceived to be gay? This is IMO a problem. Straight white boys and girls get bullied too.

  17. Zyzle says:

    @debaser71 those who are perceived to be gay

    You’ve kind of answered your own question here, what’s (one of) this first things a group of kids will pick to call the kid they’ve singled out? Poof/fag/queer? The actual gender/orientation of the bullying victims isn’t really the point, the fact is that these are the slurs being used against them.

    Also add into this the fact that LGBTQ (I’m not keen on the QUILTBAG thing, not sure why) kids (and for that matter adults) are bullied disproportionately I think they are right to focus on this.

  18. Druk says:

    QUILTBAG? It’s like a ready-made insult, but PC!
    But seriously…it needs to be rethought.

    I don’t like the idea of anti-bullying rules focusing on only one type of victim. Reminds me too much of “don’t hit girls!”

  19. debaser71 says:

    I’ll just say that when I was a kid, if someone killed themself it was because, duh, they listened to Ozzy, or they played dungeons and dragons, or they bought a book about new age occultism! So, that bullying is finally being addressed in a serious manner is a good thing. But I think framing it as a gay issue is odd. When I was a kid, people were bullied and it had nothing to do with gay. Also, IMO, framing bullying as a gay issue opens up avenues of anti-gay backlash…which IMO is only a distraction to the real issue of bullying.

  20. Kenshiroit says:

    Druk and Debaser I agree, bullying is far more complex than the gay/girl factor. basically any difference, from psysical apperance, to behaviour and what more, can be used. Bullying is rooted with intollerance and perhaps racism is a offspring.

  21. Schala says:

    “I can recall one 3rd grade class meeting in which the teacher somehow ended up soliciting suggestions for how one girl could stop provoking the bullies, right in front of the girl.”

    I was told that as well, in front of my mother. By the director.

  22. Kenshiroit says:

    Debaser71 .which IMO is only a distraction to the real issue of bullying.’

    to me it sound just like some rethorical effort to change everything just withouth changing anything. Beside having another protected cathegory. We need to widen our attention, not focus on something ignoring the rest.

  23. f. says:

    Oh geez. TW for suicide and horrible harassing comments.

    Jamey Rodemeyer needed help. At 14, he was grappling with adolescent demons that could torment grown men.

    And when he was online, he wrote about it.

    “I always say how bullied I am, but no one listens,” he wrote Sept. 9. “What do I have to do so people will listen to me?”

    Just over one week later, Jamey was found dead outside his home of an apparent suicide.


    Issues of bullying and even suicide talk were not new to many of Jamey’s family or friends. They were common topics for him and seemed to ramp up to an extreme level when other students started making taunts with gay references to Jamey about 12 months ago on his Formspring account, which permits anonymous posts.


    Another read: “I wouldn’t care if you died. No one would. So just do it 🙂 It would make everyone WAY more happier!”

  24. Dan says:

    Well, part of the focus on “anti-gay” bullying is that those who are part of the LGBTQIA community seem to be much more likely to be bullied when younger. What’s more, a lot of the recent anti-bullying efforts have come from the LGBTQIA community, who have made efforts to be inclusive in the fight against bullying.

    Yes, there should be efforts to broaden the scope of anti-bullying legislation, but I understand the current. focus.

  25. Jim says:

    Here’s an especially disgusting example of bullying, especially disgusting because it had oficial sanction.

    As people have already mentioned, a lot of this bullying at schools is tacitly protected by people in charge. That’s why you need special laws to combat it.

    Why do kids get bullied? The real question is why kids bully. The answer is that bullying is a group norming process. The White Feather Cowards got away with their disgusting bullying because it served to maintian the group’s norms – gender norms in this case. One norm was that men go out to fight, but the other and even worse one was that women get to dictate morality to men. The White Feather Campaign operated by moral force.

  26. Druk says:

    I’ve got one. BQUALITG – rhymes with “equality”.
    No thanks needed, just cite this post for future use. 🙂

  27. Jim says:

    Personally I like GLOW the best.

    Speaking of bullying, please note that DADT passed into history in the US military as of midnight this morning. Please join me in raising a glass this evening wherever you are. Bullying – one of the main concerns about repeal, rarely if ever expressed, was how to stop or prevent bullying in the ranks when people started coming out. There have been horrific bullying problems going as far as murders in the past.

    How to handle this when it all comes out in the open….. In that past the Army at least was prepared to get petty brass knuckles when it came to race and gender discrimination, and even then got only very mixed and disappointing results. Hmmm. The military has and uses the power “kill one scare a hundred” – making a bloody example of offenders as a warning to everyone else. But they balk at hanging people at the front gates and leaving the bodies on display, so they are going to have to come up with something a little more subtle.

  28. superglucose says:

    @Sasha, my bullies in 5th grade weren’t the loud ones. They were the quiet girls who sat in the corner of their classroom doing their work and getting “A”s. It’s also important to realize I was straight and presented as straight: these girls did not harass me because they thought I was gay (in fact one of the ways they found to torment me were sexually explicit “love notes” anonymously delivered), they harassed me because one of them (who had the charisma) decided it was necessary for some reason in her mind, and twisted the others to go along with it.

    “Why do kids get bullied? The real question is why kids bully. The answer is that bullying is a group norming process. The White Feather Cowards got away with their disgusting bullying because it served to maintian the group’s norms – gender norms in this case. One norm was that men go out to fight, but the other and even worse one was that women get to dictate morality to men. The White Feather Campaign operated by moral force.”

    I would put money that most kids bully in order to have some form of control in their life.

  29. tu quoque says:

    “I can recall one 3rd grade class meeting in which the teacher somehow ended up soliciting suggestions for how one girl could stop provoking the bullies, right in front of the girl.”

    One reason is that many teachers are afraid of bullies themselves or the possible conflict involved in punishing the bullies, even when the bullies are young children. They blame the victims because victims are often meek and manipulating their behavior to rectify the situation is a lot simpler than manipulating the bullies’. Also, if a teacher is someone who was bullied or detests their own meekness, their shame arising from their identification with the victim may cause them to lash out against the victim.

    That’s why it often seems more difficult to get teachers to do the right thing than simply teaching them empathy.

  30. Jim says:

    “I would put money that most kids bully in order to have some form of control in their life.”

    Yes, SG – in both senses of that. One, they want a sense of control in their own lives and two, they wnata s ense of control over others, a feeling of power. That sounds too me like what was happening in your bullying. The ringleader needed an external enemy to focus her her pack on and consolidate her power. That comes right out of the Tyrant’s Toolkit.

  31. Schala says:

    The Tyrant’s Toolkit is similar to the healthy psychological human thing of wanting to control your inanimate environment and seeking security, consistence and safety.

  32. superglucose says:

    Which is exactly my point. She didn’t want power over her pack or whatever because she’s inherently controlling, likely she wanted power over her pack so she could feel like she was safe and had control over something. Instead of punishing me for her transgressions, the teachers, etc. should have approached her to make sure everything was ok in her life. That would do more for her than 10,000 hours of detention for either of us.

    Incidentally I think I know what her issue was: I think her parents heavily favored her younger sister and so she probably felt invisible and unloved.

  33. Jim says:

    “The Tyrant’s Toolkit is similar to the healthy psychological human thing of wanting to control your inanimate environment and seeking security, consistence and safety.”

    No, Schala, there is nothing healthy about it. It is not about controlling your inanimate environment, it is about controlling your animate environment to an unhealthy degree, by turning the people around your into instruments of your will or using them to fill your needs. In the case of SG’s bully she was using him to palliate her insecurity.

  34. Schala says:

    If you prefer, it is similar because it is a distortion.

    The same way that psycopathy is a distortion of a healthy ego.

  35. Jim says:

    That captures it nicely.

  36. Also, what does *being* a bully prepare a kid for?

    Actually, I can answer this, all 5 of the people who bullied me in grade school are on facebook. I’m even “friends” with 3 of them.

    Here are their claimed jobs:
    1. Fashion photographer (New York, NY)
    2. Manager at Staples (Radford, VA)
    3. Massage Therapist (Roanoke, VA)
    4. New Car Salesman (location unknown)
    5. Died in a car crash 2 years ago – Myspace shows him as probably dealing drugs in my hometown.

  37. Oh, oh oh! I forgot one!

    This was the guy who used to tease me for being a “gayfag” because I was in theater and wore eye-makeup while on stage. I don’t know if it qualifies as bullying though.
    6. Pastor at Liberty Baptist Church (small town in VA)

  38. Skidd says:

    I’ve heard QUILTBAG before, as well as QUILTBAGPIPE ( ) I love me a good bagpipe of course (quilted or not), but I’m leery because I know there are plenty of LGBTQ folk who jump on asexuals or what have you: “How DARE you be so appropriative! Your kind aren’t beaten to death for what they are!1!” (I read one LJ conversation that made me skin crawl with several dozen folks chiming in like this).

    But in regards to the whole “pass it along” behavior and the home lives of bullies, haven’t studies shown that rapists often had very bad family life or were sexually assaulted themselves? I just see a similarity. So my opinion is that, yes, action should be taken to try and help bullies, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be punished when they beat another child to the floor.

    And the answer is DEFINITELY not to just tell the victim “Chin up, stop being so ____ and they’ll stop teasing you”. For my Asperger’s syndrome brother, that simply didn’t work. He couldn’t stop being quirky and, y’know, being Aspie. Not so different as many special ed. kids that he could be get sympathy, just different enough to stand out like a sore thumb. I think that’s the “prime target” for bullies. I was quiet and studious but daydreamy – and I was near-white blond – I stood out, and I was made a target by boys and girls alike. I took to calling those kids the “poopulars” back then while I sat alone in the corner. I thought I was so clever. (A teacher ended up bringing it up to the class about bullying, but didn’t single me out. I don’t think it changed anything. Good thing that the majority of that grade went on to a different school and I only had to be around them a year. I like reading the arrest records and seeing the occasional name of one of my bullies).

  39. superglucose says:

    @Skidd, every group of people have been beaten to death for who they were for some point in their life… it’s just a matter of how far back you’re willing to go. That’s why oppression olympics are so fucking stupid. I would call people out who say shit like that with “Um… yes they are.” Then cite examples… it’s not hard!

  40. Sasha says:


    You’re right, bullies come in all different forms. Most of the ones I’ve dealt with were charismatic enough to hold the entire class/grade. I remember a particularily nasty boy that seemed to really get off on finding hurtful things to say to people, but whenever I asked other people why the hell they were his friend/liked him it was always evasive eyes and “well he’s really funny”. I’ve had a “lesbians!” rumour circulated about me and my friend at the time, made more complicated by the fact that I am lesbian(ish). Something, hilariously enough, I think the bully would be suprised to find out was actually true.

    The point I’m trying to make is often administration/teachers find it easier to shut up the victim than do anything about the bully.

  41. Namsin says:

    superglucose.. I’m a little bit.. confused? angry? What is your opinion on bullying in school, then? I mean, what do you think can be done about bullying? Steps, or things like that?

  42. superglucose says:

    “So my opinion is that, yes, action should be taken to try and help bullies, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be punished when they beat another child to the floor.”

    But see it all depends on the age and the situation. Punishment simply does not work and it never really has worked. Punishment simply breeds resentment. If I get punished for being mean to you and I feel like what I did was deserved, then I resent *you and the instructor* for what is an unjust attack on me. Its’ easy to say “punishment punishment punishment” because we all have a little schadenfreude in our lives, but I promise (PROMISE) you that most bullies ARE punished for their behavior. This is a fantastic and WONDERFUL link because it really does speak to more than just what we see. There are some really important distinctions between the punishment system (as doled out and suggested by these laws which make certain forms of bullying illegal, which should ALREADY TRIGGER YOU BY SAYING ONLY CERTAIN FORMS OF BULLYING ARE ILLEGAL) and the logical consequence system.

    But by criminalizing this behavior you say a few things. By agreeing that some children need to be sent to jail or prison for their behavior of bullying in the classroom, you are claiming that children need to be raped and abused in order to become productive members of society. And if you think the judicial system of America has anything relatively approaching logical consequences then you’re far enough in left field that you’re only catching foul balls.

    Education, love, and careful consideration of choices laid out is exactly how the “bullying problem” is going to be solved. It’s the difference between:

    Student: “LAWL UR A {slur}”
    Teacher: “JIMMY! HOW DARE YOU! *throws in time out chair*


    Student: “LAWL UR A {slur}”
    Teacher: “Jimmy, what did you mean by that? Are you angry with Timmy? Why don’t you like Timmy? Did Timmy say something to you to cause you to be so mean with him? I think you should apologize to Timmy.”

    Yes, one of them takes longer, but one of them is *actually effective* in correcting behavior… and if you want to know which is which just look at our prison system.

  43. Jared says:

    @ Easily enthused, sounds like over all they grew into a fairly normal bunch. I suppose it’s not surprising reall.

    @super glucose, Retrubitive punishment should not be ignored, rehabilative punishment is great, when it works, but if a victim gets no retribution from the process then they’ll either turn their nger inwards and hurt themselves, turn it outwards and hurt others (probably someone other than their bully), or, you know, forgive and forget, but how likely is *that*?

    The idea of taking retribution against children may seem sick, but it’s a perfectly natural thing for a child to want. Retributionis the right of the victim and should not be voided to meet someone elses goals. In a the Jimmy Timmy situation, the teacher should be asking Timmy what he thinks should happen toTimmy (then applying common sense). Hell, simply having that power will probably make Timmy feel healed and more inclined to forgive.

  44. superglucose says:

    @Jared, um… yes. The desire for retribution is natural. Understanding that retribution and retributive justice are not the pinnacles and building blocks of a stable society is important; however, as an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.

  45. Jared says:

    I disagree. Retributive justice is not only a builiding block of society, it is one of the corner stones.

  46. Skidd says:

    I’m leery because of how many times I’ve seen things go unpunished or that the punishment is taken out on the victim of the bullying. In one instance, my Aspie brother got SUSPENDED for a tiny reaction (shoving a girl away who was in his face and mocking him and laughing at him) and she didn’t receive any retribution.

    I teach five year olds in church – it’s mostly moral stuff (Do we take things from other people? How should we react in such-and-such situation? What would you do if someone took your toy?) Of course, they all know the right answer, and parrot back what they’ve been taught to. But sometimes reasoning doesn’t work when a young boy won’t stop poking another child and you just have to grab his wrist and say “NO. We don’t do that.” When I do this, I do this to protect the other child as much as teach the first.

    Yes, PLEASE send bullies to the school counselor. All for it. Much better than pointless time wasted in detention. But should bullies be exempt from scolding? TBH, in my experience, when teachers brought up the problem of bullying to the class calmly and rationally, I as a victim saw an INCREASE in bullying behavior. I’ve never had an instance in my history where a bully actually had anything more than a talking-to and it never made things better.

    Yes, one of them takes longer, but one of them is *actually effective* in correcting behavior… and if you want to know which is which just look at our prison system.

    Granted, I live in a state with very poor educational funding, but when elementary teachers have 30+ students, is that feasible (I can barely control a half-dozen five year olds)? A teacher isn’t a babysitter, they can’t take however long to teach morals and be amateur therapists for their pupils. Sometimes “go sit in the hall” is the only option.

  47. superglucose says:

    @Skidd, the question isn’t whether or not it’s currently feasible. You’re right, it’s not. A teacher does not have time to properly teach their students… but this is a huge issue in itself! And I really don’t think it’s shocking to say that bullying won’t stop in classrooms until classrooms are run properly to which you say “classrooms don’t have the proper staffing to be run properly.” You’re right! They don’t! That’s why they’re not run properly!

    Also a teacher *is* a babysitter tbh. The point of school is to put children somewhere out of the way.

    Also also, when the boy is poking the other boy, try opening with “come here for a second” and then whispering what needs to be said. I do agree; however, that sometimes a display of force and strength is necessary. Things like picking up a child who is enraged.

    @Jared: retributive justice is what we call “revenge” and you’re right, it *is* the building block and the cornerstone of society. So, um… yeah.

  48. Jared says:


    You’re losing me, mate.

    Above you write “Understanding that retribution and retributive justice are *not* the pinnacles and building blocks of a stable society is important” (emphasis added)

    Now you write “it *is* the building block and the cornerstone of society”

    I must be missreading you somewhere, because hose seem contradictory. (unless your intention is to highlight that this isn’t a stable society perhaps?)

  49. superglucose says:

    I’m highlighting that this isn’t a stable society. The society we live in is ableist, sexist, racist, classist, and other ists that we probably haven’t even realized yet… and it’s the one that’s based on retributive justice.

    By the way, I very *strongly* think these are related phenomenon. Retributive justice is not born of love but of anger and hate… or maybe even fear. What do you think all the *ists are born of?

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