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playground politics (revisited)

playground politics (revisited)

*note - this is something I posted a few weeks back on Raising Hell. It's still getting comments and I'm finding some of them interesting, to say the least.

Rather than reprint the long post here, I've just linked to the original. The debate is getting just a bit heated and you may want to read through the comments, especially towards the bottom. I'd like your opinion on not only the issue at hand, but whether or not you think I am out of line with my thinking. It's about bullies and victims and the role school plays in producing children of each kind.

playground politics


I don't think schools necessarily "cause" the problem as much as they provide an environment where bullying behavior can thrive. First, most schools are overcrowded. No matter how good the teacher is, no matter how hard they try, teachers can't keep an eye on 30 kids in a classroom or 250 on the playground. Also, in a school environment, the primary provider of social feedback is the peer group, and generally speaking, 8 year olds don't make good role models, especially for other 8 year olds. By the fact that the kids really aren't that well supervised, and the bullies tend to get what they see as positive feedback in the fear shown by the bullied kids, of course the bullying will continue. It's only natural.

When we were kids, fighting back was a viable option. I was the smallest kid in the class up until 10th grade. My dad tought me to fight back. I got a few black eyes and bloody noses, but I always ended up friendly with the bully after the fight, becase I had gained his respect by standing up for myself. Today, the list of possible bad outcomes includes knives, guns, etc.

I have an 8 and 6 year old. We homeschool, we still have to deal with this issue though. Bullying is still an issue at Cub Scouts and Little League, but those are adult supervised activities, its much easier to control the kids and keep things from getting out of hand.