School Bullying Must Stop–A Proposal…

I have to phrase this in a way everyone will get it. School bullying and cyber-stalking are out of control. These web applications that generate fake phone numbers to enable a stalker to pull this MUST be shut down or tightly regulated. If ordered by a judge, they should have to surrender any information the requester for such numbers gave to the site in order to be able to access such programs. Any students caught using this for the purpose of bullying other students should be expelled and put on house arrest for the rest of the school year and forced to do their classwork at home. They should also be ordered to go into psychiatric counseling at the parents’ expense–not the states.

Schools should be required to report to the parents of the victim(s) any incidents (even if perceived) of bullying within two hours of becoming aware of the concurrence. ANY teacher or administrator taking it upon himself/herself who decides not to report the incident to the parents OR the police if severe, should face disciplinary action up to and including termination as well as fines up to $5000 and forfeiture of their certification(s). If the bullying is severe enough to call law enforcement, the police should immediately have to place the bully in restraints and arrest him/her/them. It should also be up to the parents of the VICTIM whether or not to file charges–not the police or the school district.

It is time to protect our children and to separate them from a culture that permits silence and the continued torment of other students. Many of the crimes (yes crimes!) they throw under the label of “bullying” include physical assault, psychological torment, and/or sexual assault or molestation. Often it also includes some sort of verbal sexual harassment and/or repeated incidents.  These are all things adults can either go to jail for and/or lose their jobs for.  When children commit these acts on other children they should be strictly dealt with. There should truly be “zero tolerance” for this behavior in the schools.

This is only part of what I’m proposing to stem the tide of this garbage. How many more students are going to kill themselves before the end of the school year? I am wondering because right now there is NOTHING firm and rigid in a legal approach that has been put  in place to protect them in most states at all.  What are your thoughts? Can you think of any ways to help stop this? I do realize that my proposal is modeled somewhat after the Prison Rape Elimination Act, but since most of what I have seen occur when working for the corrections industry tends to remind me of what I saw in public school yards, that is why I came up with this.

The PREA gave parents and family members of bullied and extorted offenders an avenue to seek remedy within the laws of the land should officers neglect to report possible rapes and take measures to prevent offender suicide. Since so many bullying victims either attempt suicide or actually do it, this must be addressed specifically also.  It is for that reason I strongly support sending bullying victims to a counselor to ensure their mental well-being.  This is especially true if the student is known to be homosexual. Many do get picked on for their sexual orientation and this must also be stopped. No child deserves this treatment.  As for measures like “lunch detention”, believe me, they are a joke. Those things do not work on a bully because a lot of the time to them, being in lunch detention or ISS is a “badge of honor” just like going to medium custody is an honor for an offender in prison when they bully others. In fact, a lot of the reason these measures do not work on many bullies is that some of them come from families that have family members which are incarcerated.

It is bad enough that many cannot even bring themselves to discuss this with their own parents out of fear, but school is the last place they should fear going to. We must make these institutions safer for ALL children and this is the only proposal I can think of to actually get the job done–or at least start the process of making a change for the better.

These suicides can be prevented if teachers and administrators are specifically trained in what to watch for, so I propose that training them to notice certain signs (unkempt appearance, giving away possessions, statements that could lead one to think they might harm themselves or others in retaliation, etc…).

A Passionate Hater of Bullying…That Would Be Me…

I want to make something clear to my friends and to my family. I loathe bullying whether it be school bullying or workplace bullying. I believe that stronger discipline must be used in public schools to stop school bullying because allowing it and/or enabling it and many school administrators and fake experts tend to do this, I fully believe that it leads to more devious and often violent criminal behaviors in adults.

I do not believe bullies fully change with time if they end up in positions of power. I believe this overloads their ego and makes them even worse. That being said, I am going to do all in my power to put a stop to this trend. Bullying is not the same as it was when I was in school. It’s not just the occasional fight or being shoved. In many cases it is assaults by multiple people, sexual assault, emotional abuse and some other things adults can go to jail for, like sharing inappropriate photos of a teenager on the net, cyber-bullying, etc…However, in some locales it is left up to the school district as to whether or not to press charges. Many won’t because if the criminal-in-the-making goes to juvenile hall, they’ll lose money for the school.  A school usually gets X amount of dollars for each student enrolled there from the government and state funding coffers.

Guess who pays for all this crap and such? We do…Carry on…In fact, RAGE on!

If you want crime rates reduced in adults, start taking care of the problems with America‘s schoolchildren who often learn these behaviors from their older relatives and stop letting these fake counselors give the bullying victim “resilience training” which only reinforces the idea that they must have done something to bring this on and need to change something about themselves. We should NEVER be penalizing a bullying victim–EVER and that is what resilience training is. It’s not the victim that needs to be worked on via therapy and/or disciplined, it’s the bully and/or the family thereof…PERIOD!

 

Yale’s War on Women…Part 2…

This post is only going to put forth some rather inflammatory questions. Why isn’t Yale facing the same scrutiny and penalty in the public eye  that Penn State had to face over that child sex abuse crap/Joe Paterno controversy?  Are the leaders at Yale saying it is quite alright to abuse women by only giving reprimands and downgrading rape on campus to a charge of “Non-Consensual Sex“?  Who are they to decide penalty for what IS still a crime in this country? Better yet, who came up with that policy? Whoever came up with it should be exposed publicly for being such an insensitive, uncaring excuse of a human being.

No campus, be it high school, college, technical institute or whatever has any right to re-write the laws of the state they were built in OR federal law. The last time I checked, rape was (and still is) a felony.  As far as I am concerned, they are aiding and abetting criminals with such policies. The Attorney General for that state should also be raising hell at this point! Why is there only silence?  If there is a rape, they should all be REQUIRED to call the police immediately as they are not qualified to investigate a crime on campus. I am not even going into how many missing women ended up dead because colleges don’t report them missing when they don’t show up for classes and their belongings are still in their dorm rooms either…Yes, this has happened. Read the news!

Get real people! No one is exempt from the law–ivy league or working Joe… They are certainly not above them. Any college campus be it Yale, Harvard, Columbia University or whatever should be REQUIRED to report these crimes against women to the police in order to keep their certification status as well. If they fail to do so, they should be put on probation and if this behavior continues, SHUT THEM DOWN.  Their female students deserve a lot more respect than what such policies afford.  I am sick of these people re-writing terms to “sweeten” them so that they are watered down to mean nothing.

Yet we watch and still do nothing.  NOTHING…What is wrong with us? Do we not see that these policies are designed to bully us and reduce us to chattel again?  Is this what we want for our future women in this country? I don’t think that for one minute, and I do not think that Elizabeth Cady Stanton or Susan B. Anthony would disagree on that point either. If one basic tenant of our rights as women gets eroded, they all will eventually be eroded.

This is where women’s rights groups (Hear that N.O.W.?) should be raising hell but they won’t. The women’s rights movement has been very fragmented and disjointed for many, many years and if the women cannot unite long enough to take care of this, that organization might as well call it a day in this country.  They keep complaining that it is the GOP trying to take all of our rights away, yet Yale has turned out a vast number of political leaders.  Many of those from bygone eras are doing somersaults in their graves right now, and I am very certain of that. Why complain about the GOP when our very complacency as a group has rendered our voices to be so ineffective?

We spend more time arguing over gay rights and abortion rights than anything–and that is what these clowns at YALE are counting on. Put it aside for now. This is a bigger battle in this war and it is much more important. Anyone who thinks otherwise has never faced a rapist.

How can we raise hell for our rights when we cannot even agree on what those rights are? Alice, are you listening?  It doesn’t matter if we are Democrat, Republican, gay or straight, pro-life or pro-choice–we have to stand toe to toe against such policies to protect our daughters and grand daughters. Doesn’t anyone hear what I am saying? Get off the PC bullshit AND off of the ultra-religious bandwagon so that we can actually get something done to benefit all of us for a change.  We need to show these so-called “leaders in education” what we think of such policies and let them know that we will not stand for them.

Nobody deserves to be raped or abused and any policy that runs contrary to that particular train of thought should and MUST be challenged both legally and via demonstrations. It is time to stop shining the seats with our butts and take action. This is the beginning of a huge threat to our very existence as women in a free country.  It starts with such idiotic policies at the educational level. They really think we don’t care and will say nothing. WE have to prove them wrong!  It is going to be up to us to keep our freedom because no one else is speaking for us. NO ONE. Not N.O.W…Not Concerned Women for America…NO ONE.  That fact in itself is tragic. Someone needs to take up the reigns and guide the chariot. Where is that person?  Come on, Alice…Wake up!  Think!

It starts at the educational level. It starts with raising hell at Yale…Can we not unite long enough to rein them in?  Here’s an oddity for you: Both Bushes, Bill Clinton, Gerald Ford, and William H Taft all graduated from Yale.  Being that Yale churned out 5 presidents, one would think their standards of behavior would be more strict–but HELL NO!  They went back to the Medieval Era long before the GOP had a chance to get that going full steam–which is something the Democrats accuse them of on a regular basis…Well, if we sit silently and do absolutely nothing, the ultra-right wing of the GOP won’t need our help now will they?

 

It Is Time to Criminalize Bullying at School…

Yes…I have been quiet as of late.  I have contemplated this school bullying issue again and again.  I will say this and you can find out for yourself.  Take the time to look through a high school rule book in Texas and compare it to the rules for offenders in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (which is in the offender rule book).  The similarities might shock you.

Why is it in schools they worry about the peach-fuzz Johnny is growing on his chin or the piercings Jenny has in her eyebrow but they say the bullying, which is actually either physical assaults or emotional abuse–not to mention cyber-bullying is a “phase”?  That, for lack of a better word, is bullshit.

The teachers are the “officers”–powerless to defend themselves and other students from bullies for fear of litigation or losing their job.  The Texas Youth Commission officers are not much different.  The administrators are like the prison wardens, only the prison warden has tools at his/her disposal to stop offenders from being bullied to the point of suicide and such.

Since the days of John Dewey, the school climate has drastically changed.  America has a growing population of gang kids and/or kids of hardened criminals rising up in the ranks of the students and they are creating problems on the campuses.  Family members often ignore or encourage the behavior, blaming everything on the teachers and admins or blaming the other kid (the victim).  When the hell did we start conditioning or students to be “good inmates”?  School should be a sanctuary for learning, not institutions for control and indoctrination.

The prisons have the Prison Rape Elimination Act in place to help protect offenders.  If society is so willing to protect them, why is it that we are failing in this nation to protect our children?  I think every parent who has a son or daughter being bullied should actually study the PREA.  The language in it is strong, but a new act can be drafted based on that to protect students from bullies.  Here are a few things I propose…

1.  Any time a student is found to have been bullied, the school must notify parents within 2 hours of becoming aware of it.

2. If a student has been physically assaulted, the bully is to be treated the same way as if he/she committed the crime of assault off-campus–meaning that being at school does NOT exempt students from obeying the law and does not give schools the option to NOT report crimes to the police department.  If they have to report child abuse when suspected in the home, then this should also be a requirement.

3. The school must report and prosecute all physical assaults and take measures to fully protect the victims of physical assaults of any nature, which includes sexual assaults.

4. Sexual assaults ON CAMPUS are to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and if it occurs on school property, administration should have to fill out incident packets to turn over to police officers for use in the prosecution of  the perpetrator within 2 hours of becoming aware of the assault(s).

5. Victims of bullying should never have to be moved to another school for protection. It is the bullies that should be split up and sent to other schools at their parents’ expense. Hit the parents in the pocket-book, they will learn to control their children.

6. Any school official not reporting bullying incidents to parents and/or taking proper action against what amounts to be criminal acts should face automatic disciplinary hearings and possible loss of licenses from the Texas Education Agency.  This will stop a lot of these administrators from enabling and becoming complacent.  They should also be able to face penal charges in severe cases and civil charges in the lower degree offenses if not reporting them.

7.  The way I see it, their rights end where the next victim commits suicide over the issue.  In cases where it is found that parents enabled their son/daughter to torment another student, they should be fined in successive amounts for their negligence in each offense. Money collected from fines can be used to pay for supplies for needy students and uniforms (if schools require those).

8. It should be expressly stated in the act that no teacher or school official will face penalties under the law for taking appropriate actions to protect themselves and other students from those who seek to harm them during an incident.  This way they can step in to break up altercations and such.  The staff should not be expected to take beatings any more than the bullied child.  This would give districts some teeth in dealing with bad situations.

9. All teachers and administration officials will be required to take PMAB classes to learn proper ways of restraining violent, out of control students.  Parents will sign an agreement that they know teachers are trained in this and that if their student gets out of control, they can be restrained, releasing the district from liability.

10. Students with severe behavior disorders that require psych meds will either take those meds or not attend school until they do so. Parents will make sure this happens or face child neglect charges.

11. Students prone to violent outbursts will not be educated in the regular classroom after 2 outbursts, but will be taught in a separate classroom provided and monitored closely.  After 2 outbursts this will be permanent.  This is only reserved for students with severe behavioral issues.

12. The profession of teaching in the State of Texas will become an “at will” position in order to effectively enforce bullying policies.  This means when educators aren’t doing their job with these bullies, they can be fired without all the union bullshit. If failing to report assaults and such to the police and to the victims’ parents, they should face the same penalties for that as for failing to report child abuse.

Anyway, these are just ideas I’m tossing around in my head. What do you think?

A Film About Bullying and What It Can Lead To…

To Start with here is a link to the movie trailer for “Mad World“:  http://www.imdb.com/video/wab/vi618071577/

In the beginning, one is not sure what to make of this film but it touched on several issues that need to be addressed–and most of it came through the verbiage of Will (Dylan Vigus) and Cory (Gary Cairns). While Will is the one telling the story, it is Cory that best expresses what is going on in the mind of a tortured young man in a school where, as it often occurs, faculty completely ignores the issues of bullying and doesn’t even see (or chooses not to see) the signs of a child who is abused at home.
The character of Jevon (James Lee Martinec) is symbolic of the abused child who fell through the cracks of a failed system that is supposedly designed to protect our children–and often does not. I can relate to this character, but not for what is depicted in the film. I had a step mother who loved pointing a pistol at my head and tearing me down psychologically. At other times, she tossed me into walls, cabinets or whatever struck her fancy. Any other abuse I endured was not at the hands of my parents. That is all I will say there, but as I said earlier, if someone who has lived in a situation where they are abused in both environments (home and school) it might be a bit much to watch, so one might want to keep this in mind prior to viewing it.

I grew up in a time where it was one thing to wish the bullies were dead but it was taboo to act on it…The characters in this film were not consumed by video games and such as the far right would like to think. They were consumed by a society that threw them to the gutter and didn’t care–and that is how many bullied children perceive the school environment in this day and age–especially when they are going through crap at home.

This writer merely put all the thoughts, the pain and the horrible things that run through the minds of broken souls and put it on celluloid and for that he is to be commended. Cory Cataldo did a great job of that. Now was that sex scene a bit much? Yes. You will know which one when you watch it. There was more than one scene.

Each character was a piece of a puzzle that fit into a whole. You had Cory–who was actually a very intelligent young man and articulate. You had Jevon who was a resident genius and (like myself) viewed school as a refuge–even though he didn’t quite fit in…Because he made the school “look good” they took an interest in HIM but then threw him to the wolves when he didn’t measure up to what the school’s standard of perfection was. This DOES happen a lot.

Then there is Will. His father is an all around jerk and abuses him daily. Will is also articulate, intelligent and fell through the cracks. He also brings some of the humor to the film (along with Cory). Then you have John (Matthew Thompson) which brings another dimension to the film. He is an African-American student raised by white, adoptive parents. This character suffered the effects of racism and violence in such a way that he felt he had no other options open to him. His monologue after the worst assault he endures will leave you in tears. It is riveting.

The ones playing teachers and administrators were a joke (and there are people like this in life who dismiss the bullying as ‘kids being kids’). These are the types that will sweep what the athletes and such do under a carpet but if a student sneezes in the wrong direction that is not part of that social circle, like vultures, they will all kick that student to the curb–which is what these characters did. Fortunately, my teachers and administrators were NOT like this. They cared and I knew it. Times have drastically changed because many do not seem to care about much more than their paychecks now. Sorry but that is true and this movie seems to touch on it.

This may be a low-budget indie film, but Gary Cairns and the other cast members made it believable–especially to a viewer who lived in a similar situation. I agree with the viewer that felt that the O’Reilly picture was a bit much. There are plenty of bone-headed school administrators in both major parties. Note: Not all people in the south are conservative and not all support the death penalty. This movie could have driven a huge point home to an audience had the political ideology been left completely out.

I really do not consider this to be a dark comedy as much as an art film. It is beautiful when put in that perspective because it attempts to bring new light to old issues. Cory is the greatest voice of teen angst, Jevon of the pain of having to remain silent and to conform to standards and expectations that no boy should have to endure, Will is a voice of reason in the film even though his reasoning seems flawed in some respects and then there is John. The quiet kid who marches to his own drum, until forced to toss it aside and become a different creature altogether. Then again, they all 4 became different creatures–just as any child who is repeatedly bullied and abused can.

For those reasons alone–the touching on the issues and the acting itself,  it is definitely worth watching–but if  the movie “Precious” pissed you off thoroughly, this one might too–and you’ll find out why.  It is incredibly thought-provoking–and serves to remind that bullying is an issue that MUST be addressed at all levels–home, school and in society. Warning: If “Precious” pissed you off, this one might. Trust me.

Anyone in Corrections Should WATCH THIS FILM!

As a former sergeant at a correctional facility, I struggled constantly with trying to find ways to get through to newer officers (many of them young enough to be my own children) what to watch for in the way of offender behavior.  We showed them state videos and had handouts–which are not that effective as learning tools.  I know this because I am also a certified teacher.  The officers (especially those in the late teens through late 20’s age group) need visuals and things that they can connect to in order to fully contemplate what it is that they should be watching for.

I always recommended one movie to my officers.  That one is “Undisputed II: Last Man Standing“.   In this particular film, Ben Cross plays an offender named Steve Parker.  He plays the part of the offender who is often bullied and such brilliantly, but the part that got my attention the most was the signs he was putting out prior to hanging himself.  This actor pulls every sign off to a “T” and if you don’t believe me, watch it–even if it isn’t the genre you prefer.  This movie is set in a Russian prison, but the corruption and such that it deals with is portrayed so realistically, it can also point out to officers what to watch for in others as well.

The fact that this is a drama that is well acted also makes it interesting enough that the officers can actually take what they learn in training and see everything in a new way.  By recommending this film, you will see that officers are actually grasping what it is you are trying to pound into their head and they will stay awake and listen in your turnouts after watching this.  Honestly, how many of you Lieutenants put your workers to sleep reading those boring  ass handouts and watching the 10 minute fake state videos?  I know in TX it happens A LOT!  That is why it is important to hook them up with something they can connect meaningfully with.

Two of my top officers picked out two offenders they thought were suicidal based on behaviors exhibited by this character in the movie.  They turned out to be right on the money and within 4 weeks, both had to be transported.   It also shows why it is important for officers to be alert to possible issues that should lead them to get an Offender Protection Investigation started–and it is not always due to offenders being sexually assaulted.  This can also tie in to those “Code of Silence” lessons you are trying to pound into their heads when it comes to reporting co-workers for engaging in activities that can endanger other offenders and other officers.   Many offenders  are also extorted and such as well.  There are two advantages to recommending this movie:  First, it is dirt cheap on amazon.com   Secondly, if one life is saved after watching it on your unit, it is worth the buck or whatever the officer spent on it.  Here is a link to the trailer, but the trailer’s focus doesn’t do enough justice to Ben’s character in this film.  He definitely should have gotten recognition for playing this character–a man broken in so many ways–so well.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaWj9b1av1o