I’d like to begin this post by stating that this will not be a political post. I’m writing about this subject not because it’s in the news (although it should be), but because school is about to start, and I was myself bullied when I went to school.

Back in the days, I received dozens of bad advices. I heard all of those politically correct feel-good statements about how bullies are just misunderstood and if you just hug them enough, they’ll be nice to you.

To counter all that PC propaganda there is out there, I have set together my own list: The politically incorrect guide to bullying.

This is mostly directed towards students in school, so if you’re a parent and you like the list, let your kids read it. Now, keep in mind these methods are not meant as a first step; they are meant to be applied only if you’ve tried to talk to the teachers and they refuse to do something.

1) Do fight back. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard things like “bullies just like to get attention, if you just ignore them they go away”. That’s not true. Well, maybe at kindergarten when kids may be mean without knowing it themselves, but by the time they reach middle school or junior high, they do have a basic understanding of right and wrong. Sadly, some of them still choose to do wrong. Bullying can never be allowed to be free, and unless you fight back against the bully (physically if necessary), it will be. It’s basic economics: If the cost is 0, demand will be as high as it can be. Now I know a lot of you are going to think “but what about turning the other cheek?” – well, let me ask you a question: If a burglar broke into your home, would you then turn the other cheek or would you get your gun and stop him? Of course you’d stop him. So why do you expect your child not to fight back, when you would? Do you know what Jesus thinks of hypocrisy?

2) Terrorise your school’s administration. Walk into the principal’s office every day and inform him of the unsolved bullying issues. That way, he can’t really claim he didn’t know about it (that’s otherwise what all teachers love to claim when asked about bullying). You may also, if he is not in his office or if he refuses to talk to you, put up post-it notes on his door detailing the abuse you’ve been victim of (or witnessed). Remember the story in Luke 18 about the widow and the unjust judge? The widow was granted justice because all her nagging was driving the judge insane. Keep that story in mind when you fight the school bureaucracy.

3) Invade the teacher’s lounge. Just walk into the lounge and refuse to leave. Tell the teachers that it’s their responsibility to provide you with a safe school environment, and that unfortunately the only safe place right now is the teacher’s lounge, since that’s the only place bullies won’t go near. And so, you’re going to spend every single break there as long as there is bullying going on in the school. If they manage to push you out, just stand outside next to the door. Turn yourself into a monument of shame for the school. Remember, ultimately the teachers are responsible for the school environment.

4) Stay home from school. No explanation required – just stay home, refuse to go to school. Alternatively, go to school, but as soon as someone picks on you, go home. Before you leave, make sure to tell a teacher about what happened and that you unfortunately cannot study in an unsafe environment. If you don’t tell them, they’ll think you’re just skipping class and so they won’t get the message.

5) Refuse to accept shared responsibility and never answer loaded questions. Teachers, I know from my own experience, love to blame the victim. They’ll ask tricky loaded questions to try and snare you and blame whatever has happened on you. They’ll claim the bullying is not an abuse, but a conflict between equal parts where both part is doing something wrong – it’s not abuse, it’s just a fight in other words. Typically, when you report that you’ve been bullied, the teacher(s) will ask you questions like

“What did you do?” (I was sitting down, reading a book)

“Do you think you may have provoked him?” (do you consider reading a book silently to be a provocation?)

“Is there something you could have done differently?” (yes, I should have hit him with that book)

My answers within the pareentheses are hypothetical answers, but in reality, don’t answer at all. Understand that they are asking these questions so they can find something you did wrong, and after they’ve done that, they’ll say “Well, you both did something wrong, and so you both need to apologise to each other and move on”. Instead, when faced with any of the above questions (or any variation), simply ask them what that has to do with the case, or tell them that whatever you were doing, you certainly didn’t do anything that could justify what the bully did to you.

6) Use social media. Go on blogs and forums and tell people about your experiences. Be sure to include the name of your school to warn others about it. And if you want to go one step further, include the school’s/principal’s email adress (not his personal one of course) and ask people to send emails asking why they’re not doing anything about the bullying. The key here is to make it uncomfortable for them to ignore bullying. While there are some great teachers out there, many of them view teaching as a simple 9-5 job. They don’t want to spend the evening calling parents while they could be watching American Idol. From a teacher’s perspective, bullying means you have to work overtime for free, and so they’d rather ignore it if they can. Make sure the cost of ignoring bullying is higher than the cost of fighting bullying.

Of course, if you can, you should also use traditional media and get attention to your case.

7) Demand unconditional surrender. Teachers, and unfortunately a lot of parents as well, love compromise. Compromise, like bipartisanship, sounds great on paper. In practice though, it rarely turns out well and in this case, it’s morally wrong. You see, bullies don’t bully because they don’t like whoever they are bullying. That’s not the reason. They bully because they want power. If you show up in a green jacket one day, and they bully you for it, and this makes you show up in a black jacket the next day, then they win – you have then given them power over your life, which is exactly what they want. And they’ll demand more and more power, until you are merely a slave under their totalitarian rule. Bullies are nothing but fascists who believe that might makes right, they’re  classroom imperialists who “conquer” the other students and enslave them.

Appeasement won’t work. You can never satisfy evil. Every time you give in, they’ll ask for more. If you give them Austria, they ask for the Czech Republic. You give them the Czech Republic, they ask for Poland. If you are a victim of bullying, you need to demand unconditional surrender from the bullies. No concessions, no shared responsibility. The bullying should end, and you should get to be who you are. If you’re really brave, you may consider doing even more of whatever they don’t want you to do. They don’t like your green jacket? Wear it every day, every season. They don’t like your interest in politics? Join a political youth group and become a real activist. They don’t like you because you’re a christian? Bring your bible to school and read it during every break.

8) Sue the school and/or the bullies. It’s really simple; the school isn’t keeping you safe as it is supposed to do, and the bullies are… well, bullying. A lawsuit may well be in order if nothing else works.

Summary

You may think I’m being too hard on teachers, and maybe I am. I know there are lots of great teachers out there who do care, and I don’t want them to feel like I’m attacking them. Some will say that I am unfair because there’s allegedly nothing teachers can do about bullying, the resources just aren’t there. I don’t think that’s true. Remember these people have tenure, which means they can easily punch a bully in the face without losing their jobs. Not saying that’s what they should do, but they could.

For all the railing against unqualified teachers, I think they may actually be the best when it comes to fighting bullying. Why? Because they’re not poisoned by the theoretical academic thinking of “real” teachers. You see, when you graduate from high school, you most likely know right from wrong. You know that doing what is right should be rewarded, while doing what is wrong should be punished.

After four years at teacher’s college, you will have long forgotten that. My best teachers, who taught me during high school, were all (to my knowledge) unqualified; they hadn’t been taught that you are supposed to cuddle with bullies, so they dealt with them the same way any decent boss deals with bullies in the workplace: They yelled at them, punished them and threatened to expel them if they ever bullied again (they didn’t). They used common sense instead of sociological poision.

The first thing to do in order to solve a problem is to expose it. By using these radical ways listed above to call attention to the situation, you as a victim can make sure the teachers know that bullying occurs. They won’t be able to deny knowing about it if the case ends up in court, and that will make your case against them a lot much stronger.

Finally, by standing up for yourself, you can preserve your self-esteem and also become more respected by others.

I personally used four of the methods listed above when I was in primary school, and I will award an A+ to the first person who can figure out which ones.

Thanks for reading.

16 comments
    1. Yeah, I wish I would have actually said that… but I sure didn’t back down in real life either, I think I just told him “No, it’s all their fault” or something.

      1. I found out there’s a word for that– “treppenwitz.”

        I was lucky– my mom is a champion at high dudgeon when her babies are wronged. 

      2. Hehe, yeah. Although I made quite a few witty comments both at bullies and teachers – I’ve always been a good debater. Teachers were so stupid as to think that the fact that I fought back against bullies verbally was what caused them to bully me IN THE FIRST PLACE. I asked the teacher something like “How would they know I was going to say that? Are you suggesting they are psychic?”.

        I’m glad your mom stood up for you. My parents were more like Chamberlain – appeasement, appeasement, appeasement. I still don’t have a good relationship to anyone of them. On that note, I’d like to add that as a parent, it is important not only that you support your kids but that you show that you support them. Make sure they know what you’re doing, or they’ll assume you’re doing nothing.

  1. John, I love this!  I read a great book a couple of years ago “The Wounded Spirit” it addressed the issue of bullying and the damage it causes.  I don’t think you are being too hard on teachers at all, I think that if more teachers took responsibility for the emotional well-being of their students we could put a stop to bullying.

    1. Thank you very much Josh! It sounds like an interesting book. What teachers need to understand is that trying in itself will improve the situation. If you feel the teachers are at least doing something, then you won’t feel as lonely. That was really the worst part, for me, the feeling of helplessness and that no-one cared. My school was an anarchy. 

      The thing is, today’s public school teachers are a bunch of idealists and idiots. You can become a public school teacher because you’re an idealist and you want to “raise up the next generation” and other stuff like that, or because you’re an idiot and you’re not smart enough to do what you wanted to do (ie, failed musician becomes music teacher, failed engineer becomes math teacher, failed author becomes english etc). The idealists are stuck in a dreamworld and refuses to realize that the school world is as cruel as it is, and the idiots lack passion for their job and so they just want to go home as early as possible. When these two groups try to work together, you get something that is idealistic and idiotic. 

  2. As a junior high teacher in one of the least advantaged communities in rural California, I see bullying all around me, and fight it from the first day of every school year. First, I would advise students to reorder your list. We have zero tolerance for fighting, so if there is a fight, both parties are suspended. If we believe one was the aggressor, we might send him or her for twice as many days, but fists need to be the last resort. There is the additional problem of weapons. The good kid who decides it has reached the point for fists may suddenly discover he is facing a knife, or that he is one-against-six. We share one full-time police officer between the junior high and the high school (covering a total of about 1,100 students). Police and probation personnel need to be a part of the picture. Second, even tenure does not protect a teacher who lays hands on a student. Our district lost a tenured 5th grade teacher, midyear, for grabbing a student who had pushed every limit. Finally, social media goes both ways. Some of the cruelest bullying today occurs over the Internet. Next week, on our first day of school, part of my orientation lecture will tell the students that I am on MySpace and Facebook. I will not send them friend requests, but they are welcome to friend me. The one time I will aggressively look at their pages is if I think there is bullying going on, and if any student is being harassed, or is aware of it happening to someone else, they should come and tell me about it.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts. First, fighting back is a matter of pride. It’s not about being able to win the fight, it’s about showing that you’re not furniture. It’s about self-respect. Why do you suspend people for self-defense? Most stupid thing I’ve heard since I went to primary school. Teaching students that defending themselves is wrong – you’re seriously teaching them to be liberals (by any chance do you also happen to teach that the constitution is a living document?). 

      Also, when you can and cannot fire a teacher seems to vary between states; tenure have protected teachers who have showed students heads down the toilet (yes, literally). You are right that social media can be used for bullying (I’d know!), but social media will be used for bullying whether or not we use social media to fight bullying. It’s a two-edged sword. Just like criminals will use guns whether honest citizens use them for self-defense or not. Also, just so we’re clear: The strategies are listed in no particular order. I’m not necessarily suggesting you start with fighting back before you invade the lounge or vice versa.

      1. Generally not a teacher’s call– the “if you fight back, you’re just as guilty” policy has been around for at least twenty years.  It’s part of the zero tolerance thing.  Even if you just try to get free from someone who outweighs you by at least a hundred and fifty pounds and is nearly a decade older, that triggers it– the way the rules are written, even grabbing their arm or kicking your legs is “fighting.”

        The shock of someone actually resisting is often your best friend– bullies look for easy targets.  Sadly, zero-tolerance improves their hunting ground– especially since, as known bullies, they have “know issues” and will be punished less than those they attack.

      2. Taking action and showing that oneself is not furniture does not require taking part in a fistfight. All of your other ideas (daily post-it notes on the principal’s door) involve taking an action in self defense and are excellent. I also think you unfairly lump all teachers together with a few that failed you in your youth. My career has bounced between California public schools, over-seas mission schools, and private Christian schools. My public school experience has been in two different districts and four different campuses. The over-whelming majority of teachers I have worked beside do not fit your description. They care and intervene any time they believe a student is being harassed. We are trained to watch for it and continuously reminded by the administration to do so. When I have sat in meetings with students and their parents who were complaining of bullying it has often come out that the bullying was occurring on the way home, or in other off campus locations, and that the student had never reported it to any school personnel. In the cases that comet mind, the school was quick to change the student’s schedule–where possible– so that the bully and subject did not share classes. I can only speak for the schools I have been a part of, but I know that in recent years this issue has been given a great deal of emphasis.

        In my own junior high experience, I was only bothered by one bully. For several weeks he would shove my face into the locker as he walked behind me. Finally I told him if he wanted to fight, I would meet him in the vacant lot after school. 7th period he caught me coming out of class and told me I better not chicken out. I told him I’d be there. Then he hit me once, very hard, on the jaw, and knocked a lot of sense into me. I looked him in the eye and said, “You blew it. You wanted a fight, and you just had it. Now it’s all over.” He tried one more time in the halls the next day, but I told him he’d wasted him fight on one premature punch. He never bothered me after that, and I came away feeling like I’d won.

      3. Unfortunately, you’re both right. Sometimes you have to fight back. And you will be punished. They’re trying to create a completely feminized society in our schools, and we’ve let them. Change will have to start at the school board level, if not higher.

      4. If you ask me, teachers have a responsibility to do something even when the bullying occurs on the way home from school. Teacher is not just another job, your duties don’t just go away when the bell rings. Any teacher with a shred of dignity would intervene if they saw bullying, wherever and whenever it may be. 

        The main reason why bullying remains unreported is because students “know” that nothing will happen if they report. Sometimes this is true, sometimes not, but that’s why a majority of students at my school didn’t report bullying even though I wasn’t the only victim. I did report it, but not as often as I should have.

  3. Interesting article.  I agree with a lot of it.  The point about fighting back sounds great on paper, but it’s not so easy in real life.  If you’re truly afraid of the bully, then most likely you’ll be scared to fight back, especially if the bully is much bigger than you.    

    I was bullied when I was younger. In junior high, I was bullied by a fellow band member, who I think was intensely jealous of me. He told me that if I showed up for the spring concert, then he would come after me with a knife. Was it an empty threat? Probably. But I was terrified and believed him–and didn’t show up. As a result, I lost first chair and got a B instead of an A for band that quarter. I came up with an excuse about why I didn’t show up for the concert, because I was too afraid (and embarrassed) to tell the truth. I never did tell the band director (who has since passed away) the real reason I didn’t show up, nor did I tell my parents. Bullying is diabolical, that’s for sure–and usually not easy to extricate oneself from.

    1. I’m not saying fighting back physically is easy. Why do you think I so rarely did it? Just once or twice, but when I did, it was efficient. Took me a while to understand that all the “if you don’t hit them they won’t hit you” is BS. It’s not about being able to win, it’s about retaining self respect and walk out with your head held high.

      Appeasement won’t help against bullies, just like it didn’t help against the Nazis. They just want more and more. It’s all ’bout the power. 

  4. Ah bullying.  Part of the problem is how the leftist culture has affected academia, and therefore education and educators.  We are left with zero tolerance policies and equalization of blame so that everything can be tidied up into nice little bundles and the administrators can say they’ve quelled the issues and everybody has a satisfied outcome.

    The only thing is, of course, that often times you wind up with some victims who may reach a breaking point and act out violently.  Sadly, even “outcasts” who aren’t truly bullied but feel ostracized – rightly or not – can follow the same trajectory to violence.

    I can honestly say that many was the night I had rather malevolent desires for those that bullied me or ostracized me.  Thankfully, my faith was stronger – and my introverted, physically weak personality too – than my sinful nature that wanted to feed on the anger, so that only once did I act out, and that in “self-defense”.

    I nearly choked a guy for sucker punching me in the jaw.  I was not able to connect, and because of that, I was not suspended.  I was 15 in the 10th grade.  The aggressor was at least 19 and in the 11th grade.  He got 9 days.  A year or so later I heard he went to jail for assault and battery.

    Most of the time when I was truly bullied, it involved the bully picking me up and shoving me against a wall.  I wouldn’t show fear.  Instead I’d give them an incredulous look, like they were an idiot.  This usually prompted them to quickly drop me, dust me off, mumble something and walk off, especially once other students began to congregate.

    Bullying is one of the multitude of reasons why my wife and I have zero desire to send our children to public school and instead are and will be homeschooling them.

    Oh, and bullying is not relegated to public schools.  I experienced it at private schools too, both secular and Christian.

    I recall my step-father’s words of advice on my first day back to public school for high school – which I ignored.  He said, “You go find the biggest, ugliest, meanest looking dude at the school, and you make him your friend.  Interestingly, while I was ostracized, many of the jocks would stand up for me, and on one occasion, surrounded a kid who was bullying me.  The kid quickly backed down and I never saw him again.  You can be ostracized and still be known and respected for being upstanding.  Some will respond to that positively, and in your favor.

  5. Ah bullying.  Part of the problem is how the leftist culture has affected academia, and therefore education and educators.  We are left with zero tolerance policies and equalization of blame so that everything can be tidied up into nice little bundles and the administrators can say they’ve quelled the issues and everybody has a satisfied outcome.

    The only thing is, of course, that often times you wind up with some victims who may reach a breaking point and act out violently.  Sadly, even “outcasts” who aren’t truly bullied but feel ostracized – rightly or not – can follow the same trajectory to violence.

    I can honestly say that many was the night I had rather malevolent desires for those that bullied me or ostracized me.  Thankfully, my faith was stronger – and my introverted, physically weak personality too – than my sinful nature that wanted to feed on the anger, so that only once did I act out, and that in “self-defense”.

    I nearly choked a guy for sucker punching me in the jaw.  I was not able to connect, and because of that, I was not suspended.  I was 15 in the 10th grade.  The aggressor was at least 19 and in the 11th grade.  He got 9 days.  A year or so later I heard he went to jail for assault and battery.

    Most of the time when I was truly bullied, it involved the bully picking me up and shoving me against a wall.  I wouldn’t show fear.  Instead I’d give them an incredulous look, like they were an idiot.  This usually prompted them to quickly drop me, dust me off, mumble something and walk off, especially once other students began to congregate.

    Bullying is one of the multitude of reasons why my wife and I have zero desire to send our children to public school and instead are and will be homeschooling them.

    Oh, and bullying is not relegated to public schools.  I experienced it at private schools too, both secular and Christian.

    I recall my step-father’s words of advice on my first day back to public school for high school – which I ignored.  He said, “You go find the biggest, ugliest, meanest looking dude at the school, and you make him your friend.  Interestingly, while I was ostracized, many of the jocks would stand up for me, and on one occasion, surrounded a kid who was bullying me.  The kid quickly backed down and I never saw him again.  You can be ostracized and still be known and respected for being upstanding.  Some will respond to that positively, and in your favor.

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