Editorial: Schools need help in battle against bullying

Rochester, Minn
In an episode of “The Andy Griffith Show” that first aired Oct. 2, 1961, Opie has repeated run-ins with a bully who threatens him with a knuckle sandwich if he doesn’t surrender his milk money. Andy finds out about Opie’s plight and relates a story from his own childhood — featuring a villain named Hoadie Snitch — that encourages his son to stand up for himself, even if the result are painful.

The next day, Opie stops by the sheriff’s office on his way to school. His clothes are rumpled, his face is dirty, his grin is wide and he sports a black eye. “Ain’t it a dinger, Paw?” he declares proudly.

Unfortunately, bullying has become a bit more complicated in the past five decades. Today’s “Zero Tolerance” policies toward violence don’t exactly encourage kids to fight back. Throwing a punch at school, even if the other kid took the first swing, could earn your child some unexpected time at home.

What’s more, bullies now have weapons at their disposal that are far more powerful than fists. Text-messaging, Facebook, MySpace and a variety of technologies can be used to start a feeding frenzy of rumors, lies and outright cruelty that can inflict major damage to a child’s fragile psyche. Full story.


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