Friday, October 19, 2007

A bully night at the bookstore

It was educator discount night at the local big bookstore chain, so I showed up, cloth shopping bags in tow. 25% off anything in the store and didn't have to be something to use in the classroom. There are precious few perks in the teacher biz, other than decent health care. We work long hours in a high pressure profession and shoulder more stress than human beings ought to carry around.

I was happy to spend my hard earned bucks on more books. The event was impressive -- tables of refreshments, fresh coffee, giveaways and raffle opportunities along with authors signing books and a special talk on bullying by an expert anti bullying tactician. Now doesn't that sound like a fun Friday night?

Bullying is big these days. There's a new state law that mandates bully awareness and procedures for reporting in every school district in the state.

Why are kids picking on each other more than ever? Perhaps it is the need to assert oneself in a world that seems to be spiraling out of control. Could it be too many people scrambling for dwindling resources? Are we concerned more than ever because the bully's victims are arming themselves with semi-automatic rifles, handguns and explosives? The place of learning is also the place of bullying. The building and all who work within are the targets.

Effective bullying takes skill, but not necessarily a great deal of intelligence. Bullies have perfected the essential skills, the sudden shove, the quick squeeze, the intimidating stance -- all practiced to achieve maximum speed in order to elude the attention of any passing adult. They know when and where to attack and they select their targets for maximum impact. They go for the odd ones, the shy kids, ones that no one sits with. Anyone who is different is considered weak and fair game.

Bullies are everywhere these days. They have over-run the executive branch of our government. Why has bullying increased so rapidly over the past few years? Could it have anything to do with the Bully in Chief and his right wing thugs? Or perhaps they are symptoms of a greater social dis-ease brought about by a complex of socio-economic conditions?

I bought a sale book on Egypt, a brand new analysis of the life of Shelley, a book on green living, a cook book, and -- two books on bullying. If I find any answers to my questions, I'll share them here. And as always, welcome your insights as well.

(Bullying statistics and chart above found here.)

2 comments:

Tami said...

If anyone is interested in another book about bullying, I just published a research-backed memoir, Flying Grounded: My Spiritual Triumph Over Female Bullying. It can be found at

http://www.iuniverse.com/bookstore/book_detail.asp?isbn=0-595-45839-4

or at any other online bookstore.

Village Green said...

Can one triumph over bullying without going "spiritual" (whatever that means)?