Schools across the country have real challenges when faced with student body safety and the quintessential bully. Most school districts promote a strict code of ethics and culture within their fenced borders. Violations in the form of bullying demand attention, castigation and consequences serious enough to thwart repeat offenders. Society requires the civility of all in order to encourage peaceful interactions.
There are many reasons for bullish behavior, but no excuses should be tolerated. The current world environment provides older students and children with a multitude of things to worry about. They certainly do not need another person or group of people acting habitually cruel toward them. The bully actively seeks to create a hostile environment and thrives on the fear or humility he instills in others. It is very similar to a terrorist’s thinking.
Understandably, there are certain kids who strike out at others to make up for shortfalls in their own personalities. They may be prompted by poor social skills, uncontrolled anger, revenge or power. Like adults, kids reach mental breaking points where they perceive the whole world as their enemy. Teenage years are tough. The brain is not firing on all cylinders and good judgment is not completely developed. Although bullies may be misguided, they have no place in today’s schools. The behavior, not the person, needs to be stamped out.
A viable option to re-directing a bully’s need for nuisance and disruption is the implementation of a “Three Strikes and You’re Out” policy. At the beginning of each school year all students must sign and agree to the school’s code of ethics policy. For most kids this is not a problem and will be adhered to without incident. For the small percentage who decide not to take the policy seriously after three written warnings, they will be granted expulsion for three weeks, community service for three weeks and the event completely documented in their school records. A parent must provide transportation to and from the community service locations for the entire three weeks. An inconvenience of this nature is intended to disrupt the lives of the parent(s) also. Any non-compliance shall be gifted at least one extra week of the same duty.
Optimum weather for the related community service is optional. The more inclement the weather, the better the lesson might be retained. The school must send a strong message and the penalties need to be harsh enough so that repeat offenders are not enticed. If, by chance, the bully figures the gig wasn’t too bad and he or she would like another round of the previous community service engagement, they can extend their stay and further annoy their parent(s). After three of these proceedings or strikes, they can expect “a do-over” of their current grade and extend their life in school. It is crucial that bullies understand the seriousness of their undertaking and realize that there is no reward system for bad behavior. Three “is” a magic number.
Parents should be the disciplinarians and authoritarians. However, if they are uninterested, unable or unwilling to commit to their kid’s education, the school, authorities and the city must step in. Statistically speaking, this is how the criminal and justice systems get clogged. Career bullies move on to bigger and more disturbing opportunities. Adolescents at risk need to be dealt a bit of tough love with a heavy dose of reality. They deserve to be reached, and if necessary, brought into counseling. As a society, we tend to take the backseat. As a village we can take a more active role in righting the wayward youth of this nation while the fruit is still on the tree and not rotting at the base of the trunk.