Stupid Law, protecting kids from bullies

The approach of many Australians to the issue of school bullying is, well, weird. Because although the behaviour in question (violence, intimidation, coercion, harassment) is so far beyond acceptable in the adult world that it’s hard to imagine anyone would ever put up with it, there’s a strong attitude that its victims – the weakest, least powerful members of the weakest, least powerful age group in society – should “toughen up” and learn to deal with it themselves.

It’s weird. Why the hell should some tiny kid have to “deal with” being regularly beaten up by some wannabe thug? What kind of lesson does that tell either the bully (this is an effective way to get what you want) or the target (you must endure this until you can respond with your own violence). The culture of secrecy, in which reporting a crime becomes “dobbing” and is seen to justify more violence against the victim, is even more absurd and dangerous.

As for the revelation that some kids, fed up with the abuse, are turning to the law to help them – well, I’m surprised it’s taken this long.

KIDS as young as 10 are turning to the courts to protect them from fellow students, with 613 taking out apprehended violence orders against other children last year.

But these figures are only the tip of the iceberg, according to the Daily Telegraph, with thousands more being protected by bail conditions ordering juvenile offenders to stay away from their victims while their cases are pursued through the Children’s Court.

Unsurprisingly, this news has not been met by enthusiasm from those who never experienced – or can no longer remember – what it must be like to be one of those victims:

Dee of Mel Posted at 8:35 AM Today

And the courts are allowing these AVO’s to be up held instead of having the parents sor this out and/or the schools. Parents of Bullies should put foot to backside and parents of those being bullied should teach them to defend themselves. I don’t condone violence but if you can not defend yourself, you are a soft target, if you can defend yourself. The problem usually goes away.

Ah, the classic piece of advice – listen, tiny pre-pubescent person. Learn to defend yourself WITH PHYSICAL FORCE. Not through the rule of law. Might is right. There’s a chain of authority, and the person at the top is the one who can apply the most violence. The bully beats you; his parents beat him. See? It’s the Circle of Life.

The same people who pass on that advice also blame the problem on the sort of mollycoddling softies who’ve said enough is enough and resorted to the courts:

Karl Posted at 8:53 AM Today

The courts have become involved because of society’s weak approach to the problem of discipline.

Which begs a few questions: when does Karl imagine this “discipline” was better, and does he seriously not think school bullying was just as much – if not more – a problem then?

Nathan Posted at 10:09 AM Today

I wonder if common sence will ever win in this day and age. Let the parent smack their out of control kid. Let the school give the bully the cane. It worked well in the last 100 or so years so why does the civil libertarians think that things will be different if this generation gets a smack. Time to harden up Australia and punish the kids again, before its too late.

Yeah – corporal punishment “worked well”. There certainly weren’t bullies when I went to school in a magical land I call “rose-tinted nostalgia”.

PSH thinks it’s a “small, trivial problem”, because he or she was never the victim of it:

PSH of Sydney Posted at 9:05 AM Today

It has become an accessory for kids. They have lunch boxes, laptops, school uniforms & AVOs.Parents need to be more like parents & less like lawyers as kids do & will fight; nothing has changed over the decades other than the idea of using the courts for small, trivial problems exacerbated by what some people think is a need to involve the court. It is no wonder that the magistrates hand out lenient penalties to the real perpetrators & thugs as they are simply trying to get through the bottleneck/numbers that are before the courts for matters such as “Timmy punched me & called me a name”.

Kids will be kids/violent thugs, after all. Also, the “real perpetrators & thugs” that are receiving “lenient penalties” certainly didn’t learn their approach to life as a result of getting away with it when younger. No, sir.

This is the thing: school bullies have been around forever. The cane never worked – bullies were much too effective at intimidating their victims. The real problem was a culture that said if someone was physically weak then they should just accept what the bigger kids wanted to do to them without complaint, and without appealing to any kind of higher authority for justice. And while schools have been trying hard to address that attitude over the last decade or so – and appear to have been successful in redirecting many of those who might have resorted to light bullying in the past to interact in more positive ways – it’s obviously no easier to stamp out entirely than any violence or crime in society.

But it is weird that the “LAW AND ORDER” crowd feel that those things should not apply to society’s most vulnerable victims. I’d have thought if anyone deserved the protection of the law, it would be children.

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12 responses to “Stupid Law, protecting kids from bullies

  1. expulsion.

    immediate, non-negotiable expulsion, no matter how much mummy & daddy are paying towards the new wing of the library.

    the little f%$kers learn they can get away with it once, and they’ll just keep doing it.

    picking on little kids, how low can you go?

  2. Well, the bullies are still kids, and it’s in society’s interests to work to rehabilitate them rather than exiling them to a thug school to train them as serious criminals.

    But their victims shouldn’t ever have to put up with being the targets, and the rest of the schoolyard should never side with the bully.

  3. Skepticus Autartikus

    Jeremy

    Sorry, I’m finding it hard to get exactly what your attitude is. Are you saying you support or oppose legislation and the criminal justice system being used to address school bullying?

  4. Skepticus Autartikus

    It would be interesting to see what is defined as “bullying” nowadays compared to past generations. Also, does anybody have any demographic/sociological data on the backgrounds of bullies?

  5. I’m in favour of kids receiving the same protection the rest of us receive. There’s no reason why they should put up with violence, intimidation, or harassment any more than adults. If the only way to keep them safe from one particular tormentor is an IVO or AVO, then that’s entirely appropriate.

  6. Skepticus Autartikus

    Your claim that kids need access to adult AVOs because school’s are ignoring bullying with a “toughen up” attitude is way off base. The schools I am familiar with, including a government high school principal take bullying EXTREMELY seriously, even more so than “racial harmony”. I don’t know where you get your info. from, but you are attacking a strawman with your legal writs.

  7. “Your claim that kids need access to adult AVOs because school’s are ignoring bullying with a “toughen up” attitude is way off base”

    I remember when trolls were less transparent with their misrepresentations.

    I never said “schools are ignoring bullying with a “toughen up” attitude”, now, did I? In fact, in the post I said quite the reverse. Check out the second last paragraph.

    I’m attacking an attitude which is clearly – and the comments to the Daily Tele article back this up – still prevalent amongst certain people, particularly those complaining that bullying victims are now turning to the law to protect them.

  8. Good post Jeremy. Why is it that our society tolerates a Blame the Victim mentality when it comes to the least powerful?

  9. “many Australinas”

    Oh come on, where’s the evidence that anyone apart from a couple of retarded trolls who read (or look at at least) the Daily Tele, think that bullying is not a problem.

    As equally well supported as your assertion, I think that most Australians 9well, parents at least, which is what’s important) nowadays can’t stand the thought of bullying, and support any action to stamp it out.

  10. You know what? I hope you’re right.

  11. Oh! I know you’re going to hate/criticise me for this, but I’ve sorted out the bullying problem as it exists at a lower level.

    My 10.5 year old was bullied a couple of years back.
    I showed up at the school during lunch, found the bully and told her that, should she decide to continue bullying my daughter, I would show up at her house and smack the living shit out of her Dad or Mum or whoever was meant to be in charge of her!

    Of course, I got in trouble for that from the school administrators, but it worked a treat.
    My daughter ha

  12. WTF? Anyway…

    My daughter has never been bullied since.
    It was well worth the grief.

    Cheers.

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