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Tuesday, 19 December, 2000, 12:11 GMT
Anti-bullying: Will the guidelines help?
The government has unveiled new guidelines for schools to tackle the issue of bullying.Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.
With an estimated one million victims of bullying every year, the Education Secretary, David Blunkett, hopes the new guidelines will help end the "no-blame culture" and the "ingrained thuggery" among some youngsters.
The guidelines also attempt to address the issue of bullying outside the school grounds.
Will these new guidelines change anything? Can teachers prevent bullying even if it happens outside the school gates?
When my daughter started school in the UK back in 1969 she was bullied by having her ponytail pulled. Always by the same fat little "slug". I taught her how to put all her weight behind a punch. I know defending yourself is out of fashion, but I watched her one morning as she belted the "slug" on the nose. She never got bullied again. And she never continued hitting him after the first time.
Peter Cameron, Hong Kong
Anything to help the situation is useful. There was nothing in place in my day. Much of the bullying is caused by peer pressure and that everyone has to think the same otherwise they get bullied etc! Kids should have the confidence to be themselves. Kids should realise that the bully is a scared person if they are taken away from the group. I wish every kid luck
James Denning, UK
Bullying at school, sexual harassment and intimidation at work - anybody else out there believe the two are related? Schools are microcosms of society. From very early in a child's education teachers can make frighteningly accurate guesses as to who will end up a drug addict, pregnant or successful. Changing that future is the challenge that really needs to be taken on. From the responses on this page the problem of bullying is endemic throughout the education system and action is long overdue.
I was bullied at school, I got over it more or less but I have friends who still fear bullying in their twenties and thirties etc. I have been bullied at work but just as at school did not report due to fear - the same fear I had as a school pupil. I agree with John from the Netherlands. Bullying should be dealt with from the outset. From toddlers onwards if needs be. Children and adults can be so distraught they take their own lives. This must stop.
Through my own experience and indeed through many friends I know, schools never want to eradicate the problem of bullying. To try and solve the problem would mean they would have to admit to having a problem. This of course would never attract parents to send their children to that school. If a school says it doesn't have a bullying problem, I don't believe them!
I do not like bullying, BUT, I feel the any "Anti-Bullying", or "Anti-Hate" legislation or rulings or policies amount to "Thought Police" which is unfair, uncontrollable, non-objective, and un-enforceable.
Duncan Hurwood, England
Establishing guidelines with regards to the behaviour of school yard bullies is futile. Human behaviour is not simply regulated by well-intentioned laws or rules unless enforcement and sanctions are in place. Juvenile violence, in any form must be addressed with a consequence that deters further such conduct. So-called treatment solutions, given as social programs, are weak, and often seen as such by the juvenile offender. Laws that work must command respect.
The cause of this violent school yard behaviour is in fact rooted in a lack of respect; for fellow individuals, the school, teachers, parents, police, and so on.
I was a victim of bullying for five years during my high school life. I am 21 years old now and am still suffering the affects that bullying has had upon me. I didn't get the much needed help and support from teachers who didn't recognise the severity of the situation. Luckily I am starting to enjoy my life now at university, but surely we need to provide more help for those who are still suffering.
I don't think the government is taking the issue of bullying seriously enough, it is a growing problem and will continue to be so. Unless we act now we could see more cases like that of Damilola Taylor.
After changing from a boys only school to a co-ed in the late 60s I became the subject of bullying. As a sensitive type I became withdrawn and most definitely failed to reach my full potential academically. I did tell people, parents and teachers (one of whom was as bad as the kids verbally at least) and nothing was done. I got over it but I still get a tear in my eye when I read of children pushed to suicide because of bullies. Having deliberately not attended reunions I wonder how my schoolmates turned out, did they go on to become yobs and criminals or pillars of society?
I was bullied at school, and found out after years of bullying that violence is the only language they understand. If they want to live by the laws of the jungle, then they have to accept the actions of the jungle, e.g. a broken nose. This stopped the bullying, but years later as a pilot, I met the bully in a canteen serving tea/ coffee. Just to remind him of the "old days" I poured my coffee all over the floor and made him come over and mop it up, apologise for delaying me and be humiliated in public. With these scum revenge is always a dish best served up cold!
As an outsider looking in I'm wondering if the bullying that goes on in your schools contributes to the "we gotta fit in" mentality that's observed by other countries. Over a long period of time would this significantly change the outlook of student coming from your schools? It may just provide students with more confidence in their own opinions. Personally I was bullied in our school system. Although it was not condoned it was not stopped and it took me many years to regain confidence in my own opinions and abilities.
Peter Abbott, England
You only have to listen to the slanging matches in the House of Commons that are akin to children in a playground calling each other names etc, to know that they should put their own house in order and set an example before high handedly trying to tell everyone else what to do. When the leaders of our country act like responsible adults then the rest of us might follow.
Ah yes, but without the victims of bullying, where will the next generation of Labour politicians come from?
It's a pity that the Education Secretary fails to explicitly mention the enormous problem of homophobic bullying in schools. This is a major contributor to the appalling level of suicides among young lesbians and gay men. It's sad that after all the handwringing following Damilola Taylor's awful death, so few picked up on his mother's complaint that he was taunted by school bullies for "being gay".
I don't know how anyone can blame the teachers when they are too afraid to act for fear of being sued! Bring back the cane!!
I was bullied from age six until age ten and do not agree with the view that teachers and guidelines can do little. Changing schools allowed me to see that a zero-tolerance attitude from teachers can make all the difference, especially in providing physical safety.
It is time that Britain moved away from relating constantly to the past, in a time when bullying was an accepted part of the route to 'manhood'. Bullying in any age, or in any form is unacceptable. It should be placed in the same bin as other outdated manhood tests such as 'long runs before breakfast followed by cold showers'! Bullying does not develop character - it robs the soul.
I gave up teacher training, and part of the reason was powerlessness of the profession in the face of disruptive pupils (euphemism for 'badly behaved'). Unless the culture of pupil 'rights' is changed, the problem will continue, as teachers have no sanction against bullies, they cannot even restrain them. Corporal punishment might or might not help solve the problem (unless perhaps administered to irresponsible parents), but the fact it can no longer even be considered an option is part of the problem. Instead, let's just continue to talk about our feelings and find out why the poor bully is really a victim of 'society'.
Kids need guidance, and guiding them is a service that few people will deliver for free.
If confused parents and underpaid teachers give up, bullies will deliver pathological leadership for the pathological reward of sadistic pleasure.
Put more money into education, and promote imaginative, outgoing teachers NOW. Or train and arm anti-mob police for tomorrow.
Andy S, UK
Bullying is hardly a new issue and the potential solutions remain the same. Bullied children need to be given a sense of self-worth and this is best achieved by involving them in activities that promote this. You would be surprised how many sportspeople, artists and martial arts experts were bullied as children. This allows children to develop the self-confidence to stand up to bullies. I'm sorry to say this, but involving police, teachers and parents is rarely effective. Giving a child the 'tools' to deal with the problem themselves is.
Anna Trevitt, England
Anti-bullying: Will the guidelines help? Who is trying to kid who? Of course they won't work! Why not? Because the authorities (the teachers) are just as scared of doing anything about it as those being bullied. With our modern system, you only have to look at somebody in the wrong way and they take legal action! A good old clip on the ear or better still, the cane from the head-teacher, should sort things out more. These 'Do-good' lobbies are ruining not only the country but civilisation as well!
A friend and I bullied a boy in my primary school. My comeuppance was meeting him 14 years later to find him self-made and high-flying while I remained stuck in a terrible job for another four years. Any bullies reading this, it will catch up with you one way or another, in a way you least expect it, so think about that before you attack someone tomorrow.
Bullies are pack animals and cowards and should be dealt with by the law. However, in our rush to be seen to be doing something, let's not get over zealous and start expelling people for normal playground banter.
Strongman Big Dave answers your questions
13 Dec 00 | Education
Tackling bullying in and out of school
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