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Questions: Dealing With Bullies


Prince Imrahil

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There has been a rash of students killing themselves after being beaten down (both mentally and physically) by bullies in school. Most of these suicides were LGBT (or perceived to be LGBT) students, which is why they were targeted. My question to you all is how did you deal with bullies when you were a kid (whether you're LGBT or not)?

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I was actually part of a group in Grade 12 called "Students Against Bullying", where we put on skits, etc. about different forms of bullying and how to stop it (we actually got trained by Second City for a little bit, which was pretty cool). I'm pretty sure that they ended up being those annoying presentations that you're forced to see and that you forget as soon as the next class starts, but who knows.

I should mention that even using LGBT in a derogatory fashion (ie. "that's gay") never really seemed to be a common issue at my school.

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I was in school in the 80's, I didnt have a PC in my house no one did. We were just getting bag phones.... We didnt have to deal with the cyber bullying via social media which is fairly brutal but when I was in school if you didnt fight back you suffered.

The thing to do then was go to karate classes and learn to fight.

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While it does exist in Ireland the level of bullying in USA is unparalleled. Here students arent bunched into set social groupings with a structured pecking order. Here kids who are good at sports mix with smart ones. Kids who like rock music mix with kids who like rap. There are no set groups that you have to belong to, kids intermingle with each other more freely without being stigamitesd as being part of one group only It goes all the way from the start of school to university. Bullying still happens but without the set groups of bully groups and groups to be bullied it is much less prevalent and rarely goes so far it causes suicides. Long story short it was very rare and never systematic or extreme. If someone got picked for whatever reason it would pass quickly and not be an ongoing problem for them

With the amount of shooting rampages bullied students go on Im surprised it still happens as much.

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I'd usually find the weakest one of the bunch and then grab him or her in the hallway and scream "Gimme your lunch money, you little puke!" And then after they did, I'd shove 'em into a locker.

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@Alterego I was like that in high school. I wasn't in any particular clique, but floated around from one to another (except the jocks and the "super-geeks," for lack of a better phrase).

@Gearhead We're not exactly trying to stop it here (that's a bit lofty of a goal), but we should be trying to stop it period.

Somehow I was never really bullied in school, which is something that I marvel at now that I think about it. I was pretty ripe for it. I just got the sporadic teasing, but everyone gets that.

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Stopping bullying isn't a lofty goal at all. The fact that it exists in schools where adults are constantly present is a testament to the fact that it is basically sanctioned by the authorities at the highest levels.

In the United States, our school boards have the power to disappear figures from history by majority vote. Certainly they could protect the defenseless if it was a priority. Perhaps they should stop worrying about the liberal bias in history and focus on the conservative bias behind the gym at three o'clock.

-Craig

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@Alterego I was like that in high school. I wasn't in any particular clique, but floated around from one to another (except the jocks and the "super-geeks," for lack of a better phrase).

This is what I was trying to get at. There are no jock groups no geek groups no set groups of any kind. People generally associate with people they are friends with or the people in their class and dont hate on another group simply because they are in a stereotypical group.

How to fight back? An extreme reaction early and it will cease to happen. If bullies or their cronies think they could actually be damaged they usually back off.

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The best way is to show a little back-bone and not allow yourself to get bullied in the first place. Sometimes you may have to take a few lumps, but often that's the cost of demanding respect. If bullied by a group of people which often leaves you outnumbered, stalk them and take them out one by one if you have to. Once others realize your not a victim type, the problem pretty much goes away.

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The problem is that the people that usually are the victims of bullies are cowed into silence, whether with open or implicit threats of retaliation if they tell anyone. Thus, they suffer in silence, which may encourage the bullies.

One thing that should happen, at least in grade schools, is having stiff punishments for bullying. At the beginning of every school year, make everyone aware of the anti-bullying policies, and this notice should be considered the one and only warning. After that, you suffer the consequences of bullying someone. While this may not eliminate the problem wholly, it would most likely help a lot.

One of the most important things is that school officials should not just sit on their hands with this issue. I have heard too many cases where administrations did nothing even when they actually were made aware (those people have blood on their hands). They need to be proactive.

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I never had a problem with people like that because I quickly realized the easiest way to "win" against bullies was to deny them what they wanted - they want to piss you off, get a reaction, and/or feel superior - if you just don't get pissed off, it infuriates them, which is even more fun to not react to (it quickly becomes trivial to have no 'bully me please, I'll get all upset!' reaction when you realize just how effective it is at thwarting bullies).

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I pretty much went with the "ignore them" method, which was pretty effective. Requires you to have fairly thick skin until they get bored though and doesn't exactly work if you're being physically bullied...so probably not for everyone. Personally, I was never bullied specifically for being gay, just for being "girly" in elementary school. At the time I had a friend who was also gay and "girly" so that made it easier to bear I guess.

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I was bullied because of my AS (which I didn't know I had until three years after I graduated from HS, but knowing suddenly made it all make sense) from the time I was in Grade 4 to around Grade 10. Two things ended that.

1. People started maturing. Me included - I think after Grade 10 my vicious temper (which had come about as a result of the earlier years of said bullying) had finally begun to cool off.

2. They saw what I was capable of when driven too far. I garnered the nickname "Lethal Weapon" for that reason. Not for hurting anyone, but for proving that I could if provoked by side-kicking a kick-pad held by the toughest guy in the school (not one of my bullies btw) and actually making this guy almost fall over. I did show off my kickboxing skillz on rare occasion, and this one time I almost cleaned someone's clock inadvertently. :ph34r: (Plus I once soccer-kicked a plastic chair clean across the band room. Helped me relieve a little stress :P)

I was lucky, though. I went to a small school in a small town. Even in small towns, though, the bullying can be vicious. And it doesn't even have to be physical.

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I was bullied in primary school, but I learned to run fast when I needed to, and throw a punch when running wasn't an option. :P

Then people matured in high school and I became a loner. I think it's actually worse.

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6th grade: Hit them. Then ended up being hit back, which hurt.

7th-9th grade: Made friends with them. They still hit me, asked for stuff, and asked me to hit people (i.e. lousy friends), but not as bad as being enemies with them.

10th grade: Bullies moved to technical schools. It got kinda lonely with all the good kids. Friend of mine got beat up by a girl who took off his pants, so I heard those technical schools were bad.

College: Bullying was banned, punishable by expulsion. Lol, my dad used to get his head flushed in a toilet when he was a freshie. I'm quite grateful they banned it.

I also knew a guy who used to be fat, but buffed himself up to fight the bullies. He ended up making friends with them and beating up stoned drug addicts, then not being able to sleep because he felt so guilty.

I kinda miss those days.

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My question to you all is how did you deal with bullies when you were a kid (whether you're LGBT or not)?

Bullied from 3rd grade into highschool at first I resisted and fought back. My father and sisters also used to tease me a lot so by around 7th grade though I just grew exhausted from always having to defend myself and withdrew myself. I started to ignore every one and at first it was difficult, particularly in 8th grade. In highschool it was easier and I gained some confidence in my superiority over them. At that point I stopped responding because I wasn't going to play their game. At this point some lost interest in bullying me, it just wasn't "fun" to them because I wouldn't respond like other kids were. On the other hand, some were afraid I was going to either go on a shooting rampage or blow up the school and possessed a list of those I wanted to do away with thus treated me well or with indifference solely because of that. I always found this whole thing to be rather amusing myself.

That isn't to say it was easy. I was an emotional/psychological wreck for years after highschool to the point of doing and trying some things I deeply regret. Since some people who took part in it I atually considered friends at one point it made it very difficult for me to develop a bond with anyone or simply socialize and from this angle still has some kind of impact on how I interact with others. If you would have asked this question years ago I could have given a case study of myself as I sat in contemplation often trying to figure myself out.

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What I experienced and what I would now recommend are quite different.

At my times bullying wasn't common and one wasn't generally targeted for long, anyway it happened.

When it happened to me I mostly used the "ignore" method, although I remember one instance at 11 years old when I was physically "assaulted" by several other boys. They were just trying to "play" or they weren't really determined though, because I won the fight (a teacher then gave me a disciplinary note because, according to him, I was "beating the other students"... LOL!)

A few years later (I was in secondary, maybe 14-15, I don't remember) I had to "solve" a dispute with a boy one year older than me and we set up a sort of improvised boxing match (with no gloves). My victory by KO at the beginning of the second round ended my personal history with being bullied.

I was and am pretty tall and tough (though not huge) and I can be wildly aggressive if provoked, thus I guess that helped a lot.

A couple of times I also partook in bullying other kids. I am obviously not proud of it, but "curiously" I wasn't happy of it at those times either. I think that the only really viable long-time strategy against school-age bullying is to educate the kids so that they understand why it's wrong. Really, it works.

The best strategy a kid can personally use to protect her/himself from bullying is to involve the authority (which incidentally is exactly what we adults do when we're threatened: we call the police).

Talking with one's parents and following their advice is the thing to do.

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The best way to deal with a bully is not to be an easy target.

It is amazing how fast the bullies leave you alone once the realize they can not get a reaction out of you.

Bullies want someone who will get upset and entertain them. If you do not give them the reaction that they are looking for then they will move on to someone who will.

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