Commentary: Bullies will ruin new school year for some kids

Northwest Herald
The folders are not yet dog-eared, the pencils undevoured.

At this point in the school year, anything is possible. The slate is clean.

By next May, some students will be able to look back on a stellar year. They will have put forth the effort and sacrifice necessary to succeed to their personal utmost. They will have enjoyed solid friendships, and steadfast encouragement from teachers, parents and peers.
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Commentary: Summer camp officials allowed bullying

The New York Times
Before my daughter began day camp in Manhattan this summer, she had to sign an agreement stating that she would not start fights with other children, and that if they started fights with her, she would not handle it herself but tell a counselor. (This is similar to schools, though they don’t ask for it in writing.) Presumably, the counselor would then do his or her job and make it clear that anyone who picks on another would have to face the consequences.
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Commentary: Hazing, or abuse by any name?

The Raleigh News & Observer
A lawsuit claiming that a 19-year-old sophomore at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory died as a result of a violent hazing will again bring to the forefront the old and occasionally deadly initiation “custom” most often associated with college fraternities.

As some sort of test of loyalty or toughness or just for strange, misguided fun, some fraternity pledges have long had to endure rituals involving drinking, or beatings, or other forced traumas to earn membership.
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Commentary: Bullying — Why can’t we stop it?

By Maureen Downey
Atlanta Journal Constitution
Is bullying a fact of life?

It’s back in the news as Georgia’s Coalition Against Bullying plans a town hall meeting Aug. 15. Earlier this summer, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement encouraging doctors to take a bigger role in preventing bullying.
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“The Bee Hive” commentary: Homophobia is killing our kids

By E.N. Jackson
Frost Illustrated
Last week I watched in horror as ministers, church officials, and parishioners of a black Connecticut church, Manifested Glory Ministries, invoked the name of Jesus to release the “gay demons” supposedly possessing the soul of a 16-year-old boy. What I was watching was not a horror movie but a YouTube video clip that had been sent to me by a friend.
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Cape Cod Times: The Global Village Has Its Idiots

This commentary, “The Global Village Has Its Idiots,” by C.M. Boots-Faubert appeared in the July 7, 2009 edition of the Cape Cod Times.

By C.M. Boots-Faubert
When we think of a bully, chances are the image is of a slightly larger than normal school-aged child with a propensity for violent or abusive behavior that we do not understand, and want nothing to do with.

I am fairly certain that the phenomenon of the bully is near universal — and I do not speak from a position of pure speculation, as I have had my own experiences with bullies and bullying both as a child, and as the parent of a child.

When I was 11 years old, a new kid arrived at our school, a year older and a year larger but somehow kept back in our grade. He was, by every definition of the word, a bully. I was his second target of opportunity, and I must admit he did a good job on me, leaving me with a fat lip, a bloody nose, and very wounded pride. I chose not to defend myself, not out of fear of the bully, but out of fear of the nuns — who were a much more fearsome danger in Catholic school, considering their attitude about fighting.

I took a good beating because at the time — 1977 — taking a beating like a man was almost as respectable as giving one back to the bully who attacked you. Those were different times — saner and safer times, in my opinion. For one thing, children did not carry handguns or knives to school, and getting even with someone meant popping them in the nose, not killing them — or perhaps almost as bad, destroying their emotional stability and reputation online — the latter an action that may well have killed one 13-year-old little girl.

Who is Lori Drew?
Last Thursday in Los Angeles, US District Court Judge George Wu overturned the verdict in the case of the United States vs. Lori Drew — a case you may have heard of. Lori Drew is a 50-year-old mother from Missouri who, in September 2006, showed very bad judgment when she conspired with her then-13-year-old daughter and an employee of her business to manufacture a MySpace profile for a fictitious, good-looking teenage boy, and then used that profile to toy with the emotions of a 13-year-old girl who happened to be her neighbor and, at some point, friend of her daughter. Read the full article.

Seven Blunts: Teachers at fault for bullying in schools

See Seven Blunts video commentary