Putting Education Reform To The Test

School Bullying May Not Be As Big A Problem As You Think

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Is bullying on the rise? What's happening in your schools?

Is bullying epidemic in schools?

A new documentary wants to raise awareness, but a Wall Street Journal piece calls it a “panic.”

Increased coverage has raised sensitivity to the issue. The U.S. Department of Education has set up a website offering advice and resources.

Social media makes it possible for more intrusive bullying.

But the WSJ essay from Nick Gillespie argues that by objective measures, kids are safer and better-behaved than when he was in school. Anti-bullying rules, he argues, can treat minor slights the same as major offenses.

But is America really in the midst of a “bullying crisis,” as so many now claim? I don’t see it. I also suspect that our fears about the ubiquity of bullying are just the latest in a long line of well-intentioned yet hyperbolic alarms about how awful it is to be a kid today.

I have no interest in defending the bullies who dominate sandboxes, extort lunch money and use Twitter to taunt their classmates. But there is no growing crisis. Childhood and adolescence in America have never been less brutal. Even as the country’s overprotective parents whip themselves up into a moral panic about kid-on-kid cruelty, the numbers don’t point to any explosion of abuse…

Kids might be fatter than they used to be, but by most standards they are safer and better-behaved than they were when I was growing up in the 1970s and ’80s. Infant and adolescent mortality, accidents, sex and drug use—all are down from their levels of a few decades ago. Acceptance of homosexuality is up, especially among younger Americans. But given today’s rhetoric about bullying, you could be forgiven for thinking that kids today are not simply reading and watching grim, postapocalyptic fantasies like “The Hunger Games” but actually inhabiting such terrifying terrain, a world where “Lord of the Flies” meets “Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior,” presided over by Voldemort.

What’s the reality in your child’s school? How concerned are you about whether classmates might target your son or daughter for ridicule? What kinds of stories have they told you about the blackboard jungle?


  • angel

    It is not over hyped, especially in 19 states that allow corporal punishment in schools.  In my state of Georgia, over 21,000 instances of corporal punishment was recorded.  I say its the schools/educators who are the bully..

  • Forget tougher punishments and hiring more police for schools. The solution to crime and violence is in your lunchroom. http://www.alternet.org/environment/25122/?comments=view&cID=35161&pID=34156 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKr4HZ7ukSE

    • Bilbo

      This is even dumber than sds’s post.

    • CruddySludgyToaster

      While I respect that your trying to confront bullying, and I respect whatever beliefs you have about animals or meat or whatever… this is ridiculous.

  • sds

    If you think this isn’t a problem you are deluding yourself!!  It is NOT a small issue, it continues and can not be tolerated or ignored!

    • Zomg12

      youre a liberal retard

      • Flowey


        And I agree sds is a Liberal retard.

        • Donkey Kong

          From first-hand experiences, I can tell you that bullying is not a problem. Basically, some dick calls someone a name, and they take it straight to the heart and say, “oh, that must be bullying!” It is definitely not as big a problem as everyone seems to think it is.

  • Kazoojz

    im in high school and i can from first hand experiences say bullying is very blown out of proportion. now first of all i go to a school with about 1500+ students, compared to all of Americas high schools we are about average size. so here’s what i see a lot of… a socially awkward student who is not talked to, typically keeping themselves. instantly the general idea someone gets is “no friends? alone? etc? they must be being bullied!”… well just because someone isn’t talked to, doesn’t mean they’re being bullied, and these types of situations i believe is what over reacting school administrations far to often see as bullying. surprisingly, when i go to school it’s not my job to talk to every individual i see sitting alone, and while it would be wrong to talk about them negatively, it doesn’t make you a “bully” if you don’t talk to them.      

    • aims

      It’s not JUST in high schools. It’s in elementary and middle schools as well, and yes, it is a problem. I’ll agree just because a student isn’t spoken to does not mean they’re being bullied, you’re right about that. But bullying DOES exist and can cause issues. Think about the bigger picture instead of a small portion of it.

  • CruddySludgyToaster

    This is ridiculous. Ppl are saying that it is fine. WELL IT’S F*CKING NOT! That “sticks and stones” BS is A LIE! As a kid who has been bullied very badly, I can say that words hurt just as much, if not more than physical intimidation. And if homosexuality is so well accepted, why do kids go round calling others “gay” as an insult and spreading rumours about gay people like “oh, yeah, he’s gay, and he goes around and anals people” (not gay btw, but happened to a friend of mine)? And did it occur to you that maybe its just because it’s not reported, because the kids are made to feel ashamed of it? I never seeked help because my friends and family didn’t believe me and the school didn’t give a flying f*ck. They said exactly the same sorta thing- “oh, it’s not that bad, you’re overreacting”, stuff like that. Yeah. Not that bad that I hated myself. Not that bad that I wanted to die. Not that bad that I was tempted to physically harm or even kill my bullies. Not a problem at all.

    • Name

      Lol rage much?

    • Flowey

      Grow some thicker skin. That’s what I did, and now the bullies are terrified of me.

    • Donkey Kong

      Act scary. Put on a couple pounds. Stand up for yourself. Good job; you are now bully-proof.

  • Guest

    I just recently graduated from high sch

  • #hellapissed

    Bullying is not a problem. A dramatic, angsty teen will be called a mean name once in their life. They will see videos of people who are ACTUALLY getting bullied and sharing their story. Then said teen will say to themself, “Hey! John Doe made fun of me that one time last year! Yeah, you could call that bullying!” Trying to get attention, they will claim that “they have been bullied in the past” or some other bullshit. True bullying is REPETITIVE and ONE-SIDED. If you get in a fight with someone, they are not bullying you. If someone calls you a mean name ONCE, you are not being bullied. When kids constantly claim they have been bullied, it is taking the attention away from true bully victims. When real bully victims hear over-dramatized stories told by over-exaggerating teens, they think,”Wow, so many people also get bullied. It seems like it happens to everyone, maybe my problem doesn’t really matter that much. BULLY VICTIMS NEED TO KNOW THAT BEING BULLIED IS NOT THE “NORM”. If victims of bullying think that what is happening to them is out of the ordinary, they are more likely to get help. On the contrary, if they believe that it has happened to all their classmates, they will think that it is normal and not do anything about it. IN CONCLUSION, pissy little teenage pricks who want attention, stop claiming you are “bullied”. Please & thank you.

    • nuphoenix1

      I agree with some of what you said. I can definitely say my experience qualifies due to the repetitive nature & physical violence accompanying it. Having said that, I don’t think that fights just happen out of nowhere. There are always leading causes that lead to these sort of confrontations. Many times, the victims are just TOO SCARED to say anything. Sadly, many of these stories SEEM like it’s JUST a fight.

  • Gia

    I graduated from high school just a couple years ago and have a brother who just graduated (Class of 2014) who was bullied so badly he had to be pulled out of the school. I can say from first hand experiences that bullying is a big problem that is not addressed correctly. Here’s what I saw a lot of and experienced: kids being made fun of because of their weight; kids being teased mercilessly because of the clothes they wore, the way they did their hair, and their hobbies; rumors spread about kids who dated “too much” (they were called sluts) and about kids who didn’t really date (they must be gay). I saw kids who were cutting themselves over bullying and contemplating or even attempting suicide because of it. IT IS A PROBLEM!

  • Kid

    I think bullying is waaaaaay blown out of proportion. look liberal democrats, kids are tough. They can handle a little teasing. And also they are nice and respectful. Maybe this is just because I live in a pretty close knit town, so everyone knows each other at least through a few people, but most people would never even think of “bullying”. And I have some friends that are ” the popular people” the farthest they would go is saying “ummm yeah she/he is really a little out there” but it’s not even to their face, and there is still a lot of mutual respect. Lastly, I think nowadays people are trying to shield kids from every little bump or bruise. Let’s face it people, when you’re out there in the work world, coworkers/bosses/clients/ people in general aren’t always going to be an angel to you. You’re going to hear ” this presentation , to be honest, is not very good” or something like that, multiple times. People need to toughen up and realize that they are fine and some kid saying you have lots of freckles is bullying (seriously? I mean, their next sentence could be ‘it’s so pretty, I wish I had freckles’ but nooo you didn’t give them a chance because you were too busy calling them out for bullying)
    Okay I’m done now.

  • Balbru

    What used to be considered teasing is now suddenly a crisis? Not so. However, we are being conditioned to think so. And rather than teaching our children to be hopeless victims, we should be putting our energy into teaching values in which children build confidence in who they are and become resilient beings. I am not suggesting we condone teasing, what I am suggesting is that we focus our energies on what’s important… which is not allowing the opinions of others to define or cripple us. Sure, teasing can feel awful, but when did we stop teaching our children to be strong in the face of adversity? They need a responsible, caring and emotionally stable adult to help them understand, that while words are hurtful and it is wrong for others to intentionally mistreat them they are not victims, but rather victors when they continue to live righteously and be an example for others. Children should also be told that teasing is never personal. It could simply be a reflection of another person’s heart condition. The truth is, those who tease are either hurting themselves or have not learned how to speak kindly and need help. In fact, I know some adults that still need help, because they never got help. Should someone who teases go unpunished? Absolutely not. Nor should they be given a label as a bully. If a child / teen is being teased they should inform a caring adult (teacher, parent, etc.). The adult should definitely reprimand the teaser, but both kids need to learn something from the experience for their own benefit. I have heard parents and teachers refer to kids as bully’s and every time I roll my eyes. It’s ridiculous. Adults don’t walk around and give each other labels according to their sins or faults. Imagine being in the office and hearing your coworkers say… there goes Jenny the liar and Marcus the adulterer! If anything, we’re the ones who need the labels cause we should know better by now. Right? There’s an agenda being pushed on us and it’s not really changing the way kids treat each other. It’s only building a nation of victims and victimizers. I was teased as a kid and when I went home and told my mom she always asked me what my response was to the teasing. When my mom saw me looking or acting defeated and hopeless she would fuel me with positive reinforcement and give me the words to say if I were to ever find myself in that situation again, which I did. I always felt stronger when we had our talks and I started to pity the kids who criticized or taunted me. Eventually they stopped teasing because they couldn’t get the reaction they wanted from me. I didn’t cry. I didn’t hang my head down low. I didn’t retaliate. I just ignored and walked away. I didn’t need a bystander to come to my rescue. I just moved on.

  • Purrr

    “Bullying” thing was created by spoiled kids, who didn’t wanted to obey the school rules. When school authorities tried to get them follow the rules, they screamed about Being bullied”. Kick their little asses!

  • Amy

    I am in middle school, and I literally know like no one whose been bullied. Like even now. Oh god, I just realized how many times I said like.

  • Wouldn’t You Like To Know

    Okay, what’s your name from the column above that they cited (Nick Gillespie, right?), you sound like a conceited a-hole. Sorry, but you do. I don’t think you’re even concerned about any of this, you just want a new viewpoint to beat up. Believe me, I know the feeling, but I don’t really think we should count what’s his face’s ranting as a good source. Also, Amy, are you seriously saying “like” even when you aren’t talking?! Don’t worry guys, it’s not cyber bullying when you’re beating up on your own comment. I just posted that for kicks

  • Wouldn’t You Like To Know

    Wow, just realized that I actually sounded like an a hole in that last comment. I am so unbelievably bored right now

  • Joe McFred


    • Still Joe McFred

      Hallo, Joe McFred

  • Chad

    Bullying is most definitely not an issue. Kids need to toughen up. In the real world people aren’t going to be any nicer to you because your boss said your work was bad.

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