Your comments on the "Why bullies win" programme, first broadcast on Sunday, 10 April 2005.
Due to the high number of e-mails we get we cannot guarantee to publish every single message we receive, however the e-mails published will reflect the balance of opinion. We may also edit some e-mails for legal reasons and for purposes of clarity and length.
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I am a community psychiatric nurse and in the past two months I have seen four young people: two aged 16, two aged 22 who have now got a serious mental illness due to bullying. They have no education and they have had serious suicide attempts they all went to the same high school. The long term effects of bullying are devastating.
Name withheld, Lananarkshire
Why does a programme on bullying deal with girls and not with boys? Bullying of a boy by boys is far more physical and more likely to lead to serious injury or worse than is the bullying of a girl by girls. The reason presumably is that only girls readily come forward to reveal their predicament, whereas for boys it would lead to further loss of face. This is because girls are cared for and protected by society and boys are not.
Steve Moxon, Sheffield
I work with children who are bullied everyday. The schools I work with all claim to have an anti-bullying policy. The reality is somewhat different however. I completely agree with the three-quarters figure given of schools blaming the victim rather than the perpetrator. In my experience it is at least this if not more than this amount. In a very small proportion of cases this may be partly the case - the bullied reacting to the years that they have been abused by lashing out - however this is no excuse for the rest of the cases.
I do not pretend that there is an easy solution to this problem. However we have policies for adults in workplaces which generally appear to have reduced such bullying in the workplace. We appear, at present, to be saying that children are again to have fewer rights than adults around them.
When I was a child, school should be your second home, the place where you spend as much time as your own home. How can this bullying issue be treat with so much lack of authority? Can I go to the police with the names of the kids who are bullying a child? Why does the government have to resolve all the problems in people's lives? where are the parents and the head masters and the police?
Ana, Aylesbury, Bucks
I don't think this is a problem just in schools. We are far too politically correct in and out of school. Bullies exist everywhere because it's a mechanism which some lesser human beings use to pass through their lives. A bully at school will usually continue to enforce their will by whatever means they think fit. Office bullying can destroy adults, school bullying destroys children and as they grow (if they don't kill themselves first) the adults they become. There should be zero tolerance in all public places - rather like smoking.
Linda Tweedie, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire
I watched this programme and was very moved by the stories. It brought back memories of my schooldays. Bullied children tend to continue to be bullied in their workplace, and they always have a problem with their self-esteem. Now as a parent I resolved to not allow my children to be bullied, but my son tells me he is being picked on, but when raised with his head-teacher we are presented with the attitude of "that's not how its happening". I wonder just how many teachers and so-called experts in childhood bullying were actually bullied at school, especially those who say no blame should be apportioned.
Paul Perkins, Douglas, Isle Of Man
Treat bullies like criminals and the teachers that ignore bullying should not be allowed to supervise children. Those bullied children suffer for a lifetime while the bully learns that they can bully with impunity throughout their lives.
Viqar Ahmad, London, England
It makes me so angry and very sad that this is still happening in our school system. I was the victim of bullying throughout my school life. I hated every day that I had to be in the school and the journey to and from. Even time at home in the streets was hell for me as a child. My heart goes out to all of those children that are experiencing the similar problems. The government need to take action now to resolve this.
Karl Bates, Hove, East Sussex
As the parent of a child who has had to be removed from school 4 times because of bullies it is gratifying to have confirmation that we are doing the right thing and not allowing the perpetrators - of what is punishable by the laws of this country, as an "adult", to get away with their crime.
Charlie Allen, London, UK
Having just finished watching your programme regarding bullying, I just wanted to say bravo to the BBC for deigning to finally take the issue seriously. I will admit that some ideas in the programme incited rage in me - for example, the "no blame" idea that was construed seemed ludicrous! I'm a sixteen year old college student, and up until entering college, I underwent bullying that went from name-calling to being threatened with having my arm broken in the school toilets. The idea that this behaviour, which in a work situation would be dealt with seriously, could go unpunished merely because I, and my tormenters, are still children, is blindingly and stunningly stupid.
Now, I know this is going to be completely politically incorrect, but I believe the 'no blame' idea is a namby-pamby plan. I know punishment isn't always the way forwards, but sometimes, I think people need to know that they are facing dire consequences if they do something wrong. Which is why, in conclusion, I believe that disciplinary action should be taken against bullies, alongside some sort of singular counselling scheme to figure out why exactly these people have become so insecure that they must bully others.
Thank you for your programme. I deeply admire the headmistress who suspended those forty pupils, and I'd also like to express gratitude to the children you interviewed to help you make the programme. As you so rightly said, it's only if people speak out that we can even begin to deal with the problem of bullying.
Helena Coyne, England
I am 17 I have been bullied my self and I understand that schools are very unwilling to help. I know this sounds very hard to do, but those who are bullied should stand up to them try and fight them back because very few people will be around to help you, so if there is a leader strike them because if they see you do that they will back down in theory. This has worked for me.
Jordan Cavey, Southport
As I have been bullied myself, I was particularly interested in the content of this programme. I really want to congratulate all the victims of bullying for appearing and talking freely about their experiences. It disturbed me that the schools featured were willing to blame the victims instead of actually dealing with the bullies. Surely happy students are the top of their priority lists instead of league tables?
Robyn Blake, Bristol, England
Being bullied is cruelty to children so why don't the NSPCC get involved and put a stop to it, full stop?
Amanda Sarsfield, Swansea, Wales
I was never bullied in school, but I witnessed other bullying incidents, one incident which was so horrific I still think about it now and think about the person it happened too. I am currently serving in the Armed Forces and the bullying I witnessed in school is ten times worse then any bullying I have witnessed in the Armed Forces. The more I think back to it the teachers were absolutely useless, and on one occasion accused the poor individual who was being bullied of bullying. They were an absolute joke.
Carl , Liverpool
This is costing people their lives and it has to be dealt with. Where does the government think violence and intimidation comes from in adults if children are getting away with it so easily?
Abigail Damms, Sheffield, England
Adults attacking children in this way are rightly pursued with the full weight of the law. So why then are children immune from protection? It puzzles me that on such a basic, fundamental and ugly aspect of school life, we choose to pretend it doesn't happen. What kind of message does this send about our true attitudes to right and wrong and the value we place on all our children, not only the most violent?
Stephen, Swansea, UK
I think bullies win because the actions taken by the school seems to protect the school's back but not the child. Some schools have a fantastic bullying policy, maybe assemblies on bullying, posters made by the children, but all these "visible" actions don't change a bit the tough life bullied children have to face. All they do is protect the school that shows that they have done their "best".
Antonella Molinelli, Sale, UK
As a parent governor of a secondary school I was surprised that at no point was the suggestion made that parents contact the governing body if they felt that the school was not dealing with them properly. It seems to be an overlooked route through which parents can voice concern. Parent governors in particular are independent and are in a position in which they can influence school policy. The routes suggested in your programme i.e. contact the local authority or the Secretary of State were cited as being in the first case possibly compromised by their relationship with the school and in the second as being remote and time consuming. The much more direct route of an approach to the governing body did not get a look in.
Sally Skelton, UK
Bullying should not be tolerated. The stories conveyed tonight were heartbreaking at worse infuriating. Why are these people not being dealt with? To adopt the no blame culture is wrong, inappropriate and downright preposterous. How can we teach these individuals right from wrong if they are not made accountable? This issue was raised by your documentary.
We should be empowering the victims not the perpetrators of bullying behaviour. Furthermore, why are the authorities so weakened by these nasty individuals? Finally why have we failed those individuals whose lives have been truly shattered. These are all very real and very serious questions that seemed to be dismissed in the most earth-shattering fashion which is so very wrong.
Donna Carnan, London
I think the programme highlighted the abject failure of many schools to treat bullying seriously. I remember at my old school in Bristol many incidents of bullying, some very serious, that were simply swept under the carpet. On some occasions, the (mainly sports) teachers actively contributed to it through their behaviour towards particular pupils (always the quiet, less physically able ones).
The "no blame" approach does not work. It is only until bullying is recognised for what it is - verbal or physical assault - that we may begin to force bullies to take responsibility for their actions, and rid ourselves of this sickening "don't be a tell tale" culture once and for all.
B Smith, London, UK
Child bullies do grow up and do continue to bully people on the worksite in spite of the ignored "Standards of Conduct" an employer may distribute. The impact on the victims, lack of employer action, or reverting the blame to the victim by the employer remains the same no matter how hard we try to pretend it doesn't.
Sad, Victoria, Canada
Like many other people I was also bullied at school. I didn't want to talk to anyone about it and completely closed down and withdrew into myself. Fortunately for me, I had friends who noticed, and when they realised what was going on, decided that if I couldn't stand up for myself, they would do it for me. So the next time this girl tried to bully me, she suddenly found herself face to face with 20-30 of my classmates. She never dared to do it again, and I realised how lucky I was to have such good friends. Peer pressure can lead to bullying - but it can also save people from it. Ever since then, when I've seen someone being bullied or treated badly, I've spoken out.
Excellent programme. Whilst 16 children are driven to suicide each year, not one head teacher, not one governing body, nor one LEA has ever been held legally accountable for their breach of duty of care after a child has died. Huge sums of council tax payers money have, however, been spent on fending off consequent legal actions. After a suicide caused by bullying, the best indicator of the prevailing ethos is the extent to which the school is abdicating its responsibility and instead vilifying the dead child and the bereaved family as the cause of their own loss.
Tim Field, Didcot, UK
I was quite seriously bullied at school for a number of years and it was so good to see the issue being taken seriously at last. The programme rang very true and made me angry as I remember my headmaster refusing to admit that bullies existed in that school - which was ludicrous as I wasn't the only one by far. Teachers need to be fully briefed about bullying - it should be part of teacher training. It took me ages to speak up about my bullying from fear and shame but when I finally did I was taken seriously. I don't know what I would have done it I hadn't.
Kizzie Henderson, Bristol
I am at a loss as to why the programme has been allowed to be aired. The people in this programme who have been bullied are to say the least scared for life. The others who are so the called protectors in education have voiced a rallying call telling the bullies that it is OK for them to bully and that they will not take any action or hold any blame toward them. This is due to the lack of discipline in our society today. The more they push something the more the authorities will give in due to the in action of people who do not want to rock the boat.
Please will the people who have any say in this matter help those whose voice has for so long been gone unheard by all those who wish to say that the problem will go away if you just ignore it. Every time that people do this others who have had the confidence kicked out of them will fall and never get up. How many more of those poor unfortunate children have to die or be maimed for life by the majority who think they are just doing it for kicks.
John Andrews, Raunds, Northamptonshire
I watched the programme with interest, in particular the arguements about the "No Blame" vs Discipline approach. Rather than deciding which is best, wouldn't it be better to all work together? I believe everyone is capable of bullying, everyone is also responsible for tackling bullying, together - Government, teachers, parents, carers, police - through education, support, awareness and discipline.
Donna Burton, Nottingham, UK
The point that the bodies that be seem to be missing is that the bullies chose to bully and behave badly to a point of expulsion where they then receive help with their education, while the bullied chose only to go to school an hope for peace. However, not only does the victim not receive support in school but also out of school the victims should be allowed access to courses and exams. The situation at he moment means that either tolerate school or pay for any chosen education up to the age of 16.
Schools in Norway have to by law operate on a "zero tolerance" when it comes to bullying. That means, pupils who report to their head teacher that they have become victims of bullying will be ensured that their report will be taken to the highest level within that school, that further means that the matter will be taken further within that school even though a head teacher may doubt the bullying occurs. I am not fully aware how it works all over Norway, but in smaller schools (less than 100 pupils) bullying is rare.
Thomas, Oslo, Norway
Every child deserves to be educated in a safe environment, free from any form of bullying. How many more children have to take their own lives before the authorities will truly address the problem?
Kate, Birmingham, UK
This is not unusual. Our son was one of the victims. The school says it's not bullying, just everyday banter. Educational welfare are themselves bullies, more interested in taking parents to court than helping children cope with impossible situations. The schools need to stand up and take action, not just pay lip service to anti-bullying campaigns. When Heads act like bullies themselves, how are we ever going to get teachers to act properly? How desperate do parents and children have to be before someone takes notice and puts things right?
Terry Bowden, Croydon
Your programme has changed our lives. Our son has been consistently bullied for 4 years. After seeing your programme we have withdrawn him from school. Michelle Edwards at Kidscape has been a tower of strength. We are most concerned about the organization "No Blame" and would like to see an investigation into schools that are practising this policy. It would have been good to have seen bullying from a boy's prespective. Thanks for airing this programme.
Mandy Parnell, Walthamstow Londom