Bullying / by kevin murray

With the exception of Montana, every state in the Union has some form of anti-bullying legislation for school-age children as part of their law and all of this has occurred within the last few years.  While press conferences celebrating this legislation are often applauded and praised, I do take exception to all of this unnecessary legislation which while well-meaning is misapplied.


Going through adolescence is a difficult process and within this growth there are bound to be plenty of tests, turns, and trials.  Bullying is often a rite of passage in which some are bullied, some are the bully, and some aren't impacted by bullying at all.  The basic question comes down to whether or not children are mean and nasty to one another.   Well, yes, often many adolescents are.  We may not wish that that is the case but the fact of the matter speaks for itself.  Anti-bullying legislation won't stop that behavior, it will simply be another case of an unnecessary bureaucracy interposing itself on children, with the mistaken vision that this law will allow us to get along and that justice thereby will be served. 


Before I go any further, let me allow you to know a little background of my own life in being bullied.  I was always physically the smallest or nearly the smallest male while going to school, in which some of my contemporaries were 60% larger or even bigger in size than I was.  I would say most of my bullying incidents mainly came about because of my smart-ass mouth but certainly not all of them.  Perhaps I would make a comment in class that would embarrass one of my bigger classmates and he would want to take it out on me later, so I had more than one of these confrontations.  Well, being bullied, being threatened or even hit, by a bigger boy that I could not possibly beat up is not an enviable position to be in.  The best defense in those types of situations is to try to make peace, apologize, humor, cry, or a combination thereof.  In really bad situations I would tell my parents and something would be worked out, in others, I learned to avoid that bully, and quite frankly I don't ever remember becoming good friends with a bully.  Now, the above all has to do with me being clearly outclassed in regards to size and strength, but that wasn't always the case with every bully I came across.  Sometimes, the person bullying me was perhaps only 30% bigger than me and in those cases, given the right circumstances, I would fight back, and I usually after a push by my foe or something to that effect, I got the first real punch in.  In those situations, and probably without exception, fighting back, no matter the end result (and usually that result was a good one for my fighting self), I garnered a lot of respect from my contemporaries, and quite frankly it made me feel good about myself. 


You could say that bullying was never always a negative, it taught me that there are consequences to your own actions in regards to what you say and what you do, and that there are times in which you must be a doormat, but there are also times in which you are called to be courageous.   I remember one embarrassing incident during gym, when a much bigger and mean-spirited boy deliberately splashed hard on a water puddle in which the water got all over the front of my gym shorts, and then had the gumption to turn to a couple girls that were walking our way and say, "he just peed in his pants".   I quickly thought of a lot of possible responses I had, but none of them made any sense, I mean to deny that I peed in my pants would serve to confirm that I actually had, to explain the real situation to the girls would take too long and wouldn't be believed anyway, and ultimately I didn't say a word at all but went about my business, and later I had a good chuckle about it, because although quite mean, the bully had played it well.


Anti-bullying legislation isn't necessary and isn't warranted.  You have a voice, use it; you have a body, use it; you have a mind, use it; you have parents, use them; you have school authorities, you can also use them.  Whatever that you do, don't quit on yourself; I never did and neither should you.