Bullying Laws

State legislators are working feverishly to jump on the bandwagon and pass “anti-bullying” laws. While parents of victims express feeling some sort of satisfaction for the harm done to them and their deceased child, I feel these laws are nothing more then ineffective “nanny” legislation that won’t do much to reduce bullying, but will reduce our children’s ability to effectively handle aggressive behavior directed at them.

Bullying is defined as repeated aggressive behavior toward someone to victimize or gain power over them. Bullying can involve a real or perceived imbalance of power between the bully (individual or group) and target (individual or group)

Perpetrators are described as generally authoritarian and may possess a strong desire to control or dominate. The perpetrator could be motivated by resentment too. In other words, much of society could qualify as a bully. Governments, organizations, families and many other groups could also fit into these categories.

But what is bullying?

Like trying to define pornography years ago, will you know it when you see it? But according to whom. And at what cost to our freedoms do these laws exact.

Is the United States bullying Iraq? Is the “global warming” crowd trying to bullying non-believers? Are parents of victims trying to bully others to pass legislation?

I understand this may sound insensitive. I can recall situations in my past that could include me being bullied (quite a few) and I can recall situations in the past where the above definition could define my behavior.

I’d imagine we all can cite examples of being bullied and, if we really looked inward – honestly, most people could find examples of doing the bullying. And it’s still bullying even if you have a good intention.

Come to think of it, throughout my week, I come across people and organizations trying to bully me. Should I go after them with this new law? Or simply walk away, turn the other cheek and take responsibility for my emotional fitness.

I fear the biggest victim of these anti-bullying laws will be our personal freedoms. Society is already headed down the road of victimless crimes. Hate-speech is already banned on many college campuses and the PC (politically correct) movement has greatly inhibited free speech. Bullying requires the acquiescence of the victim. Without their reluctance, there is no foul.

More disturbing, what is considered bullying by one person is considered obnoxious behavior by another. With a “real crime,” there is a clear victim. If I steal something from the grocery store, it is clear. If one person kills another, it is a clear crime, but bullying? It’s in the eye of the beholder, very dangerous ground.

There seems to be no responsibility placed on the subject of the behavior, only the perpetrator. So, can I claim I’m being bullied by the US Government to pay taxes I don’t want to pay? They are certainly demonstrating a strong desire to control and dominate me? What about a detective interviewing a suspect? Clearly using aggressive behavior to solicit information and control.

What, as a parent, do I see as the solution to bullying in school? I am raising my kids to be empowered, emotionally fit people. That means they learn that they (and them alone) are responsible for their emotions. Like Eleanor Roosevelt said years ago; “other people’s opinion of me are none of my business.”

I have children, if someone is treating my child badly, hopefully they will have learned enough to ignore or otherwise effectively deal with this person(s). If they lack the tools to deal with this, I see it as my responsibility (together with them) to help them deal effectively with their emotions.

If they continue to have difficulty, my child needs to continue to learn the skills necessary to deal with this. I know that anti-bullying legislation will not stop bullying and my child will need the tools to deal with it in society.

I can contact the school for assistance, I can contact the perpetrators parents, but ultimately, do I want a “law” against bullying? I think it’s crazy. If parents and teachers can’t deal with the situation now, how are they going to enforce the anti-bullying law? Call the police overtime they have a situation they can’t handle?

I haven’t addressed the bully in this article. Why? If someone is behaving inappropriately in school, the school can discipline him. If his (or her) parents care, they can address it as well. If he commits a crime, then he should be punished the authorities. Where I differ, is that a crime requires a victim and require objective evidence. Taunting, teasing and speaking badly to someone should not be considered criminal, or we’ll all have to keep our mouths shut all the time. And that’s not freedom.

Is this really where we want to go as a society? I feel for the parents of these kids that committed suicide. As a parent, our hope is to have our kids outlive us and live a long, prosperous life. And I feel, with suicide, there is more to the equation then one factor (bullying). Suicide is tragic, but do we, as a society, want to create “Nanny” legislation to deal with these subjective situations in school, that are already included in the titles, “Mom”, “Dad” and “Teacher?”

I think we’re better then that.

Leave a Reply