Friday, November 04, 2011

The Supposed Campaign against Bullying

A seventh grade student is reading his history book. The subject is the Cherokee constitution and Cherokee law from early in United States history. He runs across a line stating that if man is attacked, and in the act of defending himself he kills the person who attacks him, that man is not to be punished.

The student is amazed. He tries to point out to adults around him this unique concept.

Their reaction puzzles him further. They see nothing amazing. They are confused as to why he is amazed. They react as if he is telling them how amazing it is that the sky is blue and the water is wet. Of course people are allowed to defend themselves.

Why is he amazed? Because self defense is not a protected concept in his world, the very artificial world of public schools.

The current focus of public schools, as expressed through public service announcements that run as if they were commercials, is a campaign against bullying. News stories hit the press about people who, unable to suffer any more, kill themselves. Teachers give occasional sermons about how school children should treat each other more kindly.

The problem is, students in school have figured out how the game operates. Those who would be cruel to their peers know that as long as the teachers don’t see it then it didn’t happen. As long as any cruelty ceases as soon as an authority figure enters the room then nothing happened.

Now if a victim actually stands up for himself, then it becomes a fight. The victim has to be taught a lesson, and that overrides the desire to stay out of trouble. Then the two students are brought to the school authorities, and both are punished for fighting.

Speaking to actual teachers about the need for them to do actual policing of bullying, how they need to determine who is the aggressor and the victim, leads to the cop-out that they are not police officers. And yet they are indeed given disciplinary authority, authority they could use to intervene if they desired.

The system, as it is currently set up, creates people who are supposed to be docile, to take any punishment, to never stand up for oneself. Some people take advantage of that system by aggressing against those who are being trained to be docile. The docility is a desired end by a government that doesn’t want anyone to stand up to the government. The bullying is a byproduct.

It is possible for the schools to determine who is an aggressor and who is a victim. The schools could curb bullying easily if they tried. The principle that both participants are equally guilty is what makes bullying possible, because refusing to acknowledge the difference between bulling and self defense is the only way to encourage docility. It also explains why the student would be surprised at a law that authorizes self defense.

No comments: