Anti-Bullying isn’t Working: Here’s Why, Point Pleasant

Oops. I guess my quota for down-toned posts is going to be a little overfilled for now.

But, I was going through some old things I wrote in my off-time, and stumbled upon a little thing I wrote about bullying. Of course, I ended up revising it into something Facebook-applicable back when I wrote it, which made it less me talking about how I felt, and more me pandering to the people that I was TOTALLY writing it about indirectly, because when you want someone to understand why something they said worries you or makes you feel something very strong, talking about it to them personally is total BS. The best way to deal with situations like that is to make a gigantic post cleverly shrouded by walls of details that attack only the things you’re afraid might be the case in someone’s situation, and make sure to post it publicly and make it in no way directed or communicated towards them, and rest easy knowing that they might possibly read it and will in no way feel personally attacked because people are stupid and can’t figure anything out for themselves. And that’s why you keep them as your friend on Facebook.

So, bullying!

I’m going to make a more modern post-happy-with-my-life version of my documented past thoughts on bullying, with the life experience I currently have as opposed to what I wrote a long time ago. By which I mean I’m going to talk about Bullying, coulda just said that. Coulda edited this text and not posted it like it is. But then again, Hitler and the Soviets coulda won, so there you go.

 

So bullying is a huge issue nowadays, as it has always been. Er…well…maybe not as much as it was in the 50s when it was much more prominent but no one had the media or crappy school officials to tell them that even thinking something mean about another kid means that you’re seriously psychologically screwed up, and that no one should ever express any kind of disdain for anyone, because that might mean they have an opinion about the world which could make them inconvenient to deal with when you’re already dealing with there being no budget for the arts or air conditioning because you spent all the money on TV screens around the school that no one looks at.

I hail from a small town in the state of West Virginia called Point Pleasant, the name which was given to our modest living by George Washington himself, and that became synonymous with bustling New York City-like activity and business, but now stands as an ironic inside joke to its residents.

Mah daddy was born and raised here, and he’s told me some stories about how it was like living here when he was a child, one of my favorites being:

“…When I was in High School, fights were a daily occurrence. It’s what everyone did, all the time. It was your namesake to being male. Guys fought for whatever reason you gave them. I didn’t like being a part of that. I was quite the athlete in High School, and could overpower and outrun just about any guy I knew, and I used size to my advantage. It was the hierarchy of the whole situation; no one fights the bigger and more brutish guy. I wasn’t the biggest guy, but I was big enough to stay out of trouble most all the time. But those were crazy times, son. Every guy had to prove themselves to themselves and most importantly, to girls. You could say something to someone as simple as: ‘Hey buddy, I saw your brother yesterday’, and you’d immediately be met by a punch to the face. You didn’t look at anyone, you didn’t talk to anyone, and you especially didn’t do either on anybody’s girl.”, and as mentioned in a different story: “…My father, your granddad, back in his day, they would just fight for fun every day after school. They’d have tournaments, even.”

Times sure have changed.

I wish I could quote the actual violence policy of ol’ Point Pleasant Jr./Sr. High School, because it’s exaggerated as far as it can go to “Zero-Tolerance”. Paraphrased, it truly says things to this extent:

“All persons who say, look, or do anything that can be considered hostile towards another student is violence, and is deemed as non-negotiable and terms for suspension or expulsion. Students are restricted in any physically violent situation to a ‘block-and-run’ strategy. Fighting back is not accepted, and will be dealt with with no discrimination between fighting back and attacking.”

No exaggeration. Now, I’m not a violent guy. I prefer to just take a deep breath and physically, mentally, and emotionally exit any situation that grows too hostile. I wouldn’t call myself a pacifist, but I’ve definitely never gotten in a fight, and I hope that outside of fighting sports, gaming,  and fighting sports gamers, I never do.

But GOOoooOOOoooOOOOOOOOOD, is that the most pussified thing I’ve ever heard.

What a general, lazy, lawyer-like way of handling with in-school violence. “Don’t anybody lay a finger on each other, or you’re get suspend.”

“But sir, that boy broke 3 of my son’s bones and cracked most of his teeth! All he did was shove the other kid-”

“YOU’RE GET SUPSEND. And I asked him why he shoved the kid, so why are you butting in?”

“Because my son got punched in the mouth so many times, that I have to hold this cloth in his mouth to keep the blood from pouring down his swelled throat and choking him to death!

“WELL MAYBE HE SHOULD’VE HAVE JUST BLOCKED THOSE PUNCHES. WE HAVE A TAE-KWON-DO STUDIO ON MAIN STREET, Y’KNOW.”

“Wh-sir, I don’t think you understand, this kid has gored my child! He could die before the ambulance gets here, and all my son did was shove him away to try to escape before he threw a tray at my son’s head!”

“Well…maybe he should’ve DODGED THEN.”

*Other Kid* “Yeah, maybe he should’ve dodged!”

“Ymmmfff, merbffee I shmrrdvf ddnnnnged.”

*Crying* “Oh god…my son…”

“SUSPEND, BOTH OF YOU.”

Yeah, okay, super exaggerated example…or is it? Yes, it definitely is. But coming up with exaggerated hypotheticals that take everything at an extremely Black&White perspective displaying the most extreme emotions you possibly can to get everyone agreeing with how you feel more than you actually feel is how you make points. Haven’t you watched FOX news?

I digress, “Block-and-Run” is a fine policy as a guideline, not as a non-negotiable have-to-do-or-else-you’re-get-suspend law to set for kids. And it obviously doesn’t work, because kids do it anyways, and not one of the multitudes of fights that happen at the school have I ever heard about a kid that had a fighting chance actually choosing to block and/or run away. In fact, the only one that ever fought back was a teacher who was trying to keep himself from getting stabbed, and he got fired on felony chargesI had that guy as my Geometry teacher, and while I can’t say I learned much in his class, if there’s 2 things I learned from being in that class is that 1: I didn’t care at all in that class and 2: that that teacher would never try to just hurt another student with malicious intent, but because the idea that once there’s a fight that everyone’s guilty is so popular around here, it doesn’t surprise me that the adult got the ultimate career-ending punishment and the minor got off scot-free.

So what could possibly put such a flawed idea in peoples’ heads besides laziness?

Why, a by-product of laziness: ignorant fear.

“Kids kill themselves and hurt each other because they’re depressed. Some kids say it’s because they get bullied or are bullies. Therefore, if we stop bullying, we stop the issue of having to deal with unhappy or insubordinate kids forever.

Here’s a shocker: big fat common logical fallacy right there.

Of course, I shouldn’t be a cynic now. I’m sure not everyone within the school system that wants to stop bullying is just doing things to make themselves look good and ignoring taking care of the actual problems. That’s why we currently don’t have any money to repair the school’s air conditioning so that some teachers are freezing and the others boiling, but we do have money for fancy signs with quotes and accomplishments on them, big flat-screen TVs all around the school that display absolutely nothing that anyone cares about (mostly day-time television, but there is 1 TV that shows a slideshow of random oh my god who cares), and all the other damn refurbishing that is supposed to make the school look fancy and high maintenance, yet they choose to paint the walls the most boring colors of industrial blue-gray and tannish-beige.

Which, incidentally, sounds like the state of mainstream video gaming nowadays.

But hey, I really am digressing now. The title says ‘bullying’, so I’m going to put aside all the Freudian personal statements, and talk about this for a second, because it’s come to my attention that we’ve really headed in the wrong direction with how we treat bullying.

The problem is that we don’t do enough. Sure, we have all these programs and such that are anti-bullying that schools are pushing all the time. Our school recently adopted and made an expensive mural about “Rachel’s Challenge”.

“Rachel’s Challenge is a national non-profit organization dedicated to creating safe, connected school environments where learning and teaching are maximized. Based on the life and writing of Rachel Scott, the first victim of the Columbine tragedy in 1999, Rachel’s Challenge provides a continual improvement process for schools designed to awaken the learner in every child. We motivate and equip students to start and sustain a chain reaction of kindness and compassion that transforms schools and communities.”

Wonderful group that raises bullying awareness in schools and encourages kids what the school and parents seem to fail to do, which is to live life trying to not be an asshole, generally. As it says, it’s based around a girl from the Columbine tragedy, who to anti-bullying advocates is personified a bit like that of Anne Frank, having across-the-board influence about the issues she became a victim of from her writings in her diary. Though unlike Anne Frank (Which I feel a bit odd even making any comparison), Rachel was a pretty average kid. Instead of uplifting and wise words of courageous optimism in the most horrid and inhumane conditions for living that one could possibly go through, Rachel was just a girl with doubts and fears like any. She went through inner moral battles like a lot of teenage girls in the 90’s, like “Should I go drink with my friends when I know I shouldn’t?” and “I feel like I’m failing to be a good [religious identity].”, and most relatable to the topic, “Getting ridiculed has made me really afraid of ridicule.”

No wonder when a group of kids commit the most complex and devastating nervous breakdown due to the inability to handle their emotional teenage lives and she ends up the first victim does she end up a figure head for the counter-movement meant to stop something like that from ever happening again.

And I have no problem with that. Kids died, and if someone had spoke up or paid attention to how seriously mentally injured the shooters were, then it probably wouldn’t have happened. Kids are inherently irrational, and you can’t really judge ’em like a grown adult whose life experience and neurological development should have taught them how to act and what to do more than anything.

Some kids aren’t taught well, and the reason we have so many laws that designate the protection of kids under the age of 18 as “Under the age of consent” is because kids are throughout their lives as kids extremely moldable psychologically. When you get right down to it, it’s often hard to point fingers at the kid who doesn’t know any better, because no one ever taught him better, or made sure the message got across. Once you start getting into the teenage years, you’re really supposed to start training yourself to be truly responsible for all of your actions or problems, but it still doesn’t make it any less evident that most kids just aren’t, and it’s their environment, upbringing, and the trusted adults that they spend most of their time around (like teachers)’s responsibility for how they’ve turned out and why they do what they do, though kids of all age can be extremely unpredictably intelligent and wise and self-responsible, so it’s a big fat gray area that’s hard to discern.

It comes down to the individual kid. To understand how to deal with a kid misbehaving, you have to go through everything: what’s their environment like, how do their parents raise them, what’s the whole context of a situation; it’s all impractical and difficult and I totally understand why people would rather not deal with it so much.

But it’s your responsibility as any person in the educational service to make sure kids are growing like they should be growing, and learning what they should be learning. That’s why schooling is mandatory, because we need kids to learn, or our country is going to be run by childish brats learning that it’s better to just make everyone suffer when things don’t go their way, and we’ll be getting our news from people that blow everything way out of proportion and exaggerate every last detail in an attempt to peddle fear and therefore opinions to other people that don’t know any better than to just believe everything they hear that sounds good, and vehemently reject anything that sounds like it might possibly disagree with what we think we think.

And hey, what with the country being, say, run by childish brats that think that it’s better to just make everyone suffer when things don’t go their way, and getting its news from people that blow everything way out of proportion and exaggerate every last detail in an attempt to peddle fear and therefore opinions to other people that don’t know any better than to just believe everything they hear that sounds good, and vehemently reject anything that sounds like it might possibly disagree with what they think they think; Norman Jayden of the FBI here to tell you in his best swearing why that might be.

And part of teaching kids is teaching them morals.

I don’t know if every school in America is even at least similar to mine, but if there’s one thing that’s very evident around here, it’s that the higher faculty thinks that it’s up to the parents to decide how to treat their kids and that the school and teachers shouldn’t have to have their hands dirtied in it, whilst a lot of teachers are infuriated at the level in which kids don’t understand how to be responsible children and desperately wish that their jobs didn’t depend on them making everyone happy or there would be spankings and lesson plans based around building life skills.

And the answer as to why that is is simple: Teachers have to deal with kids, and administrators are supposed to deal with kids.

There’s your average parental threat of stupid parents suing or making a big deal out of things, but I’m sick of seeing that excuse. It’s just another example of non-confrontational pansy-fication.

It gets worse the less involved inside the classroom someone is in their position.

And that’s not to say everyone working inside the classroom around here is great and everyone working outside is a big fat dummy and totally incompetent. There is a lot of good here, but there is far more bad occupying positions that allow them to make everything bad for everyone.

One day, I might expound on my feelings and numerous personal experiences with that. But I can’t digress anymore, I need to give the final context to the point I really want to make:

With all these people having responsibilities to do things they’re supposed to be doing but are too lazy to do, it’s no wonder that not only does anti-bullying not work, it’s all a school’s talking heads will ever talk about.

Here’s the problem and my point: Anti-Bullying is flawed to begin with and does not work in the first place.

 

When you say “Anti-Bullying”, what you’re saying is: “We have to remove the possibility of children, who even if they were raised perfectly fine by capable parents and lived good lives are still wildly emotional and unpredictable variables, ever hurting other children.” But what all these poor Anti-Bullying movements don’t realize is that a lot of schools really don’t care enough. Some schools are in it to look good, take the lazy way out on dealing with problems, and/or get people off their backs. You can never take away bullying, not just because it’s kinda really really impossible to keep all the children in a society of even like 15 people from all being good all the time, but because some schools are bullies themselves.

They have problems and insecurities that they don’t know how to deal with, so they take it out on others because it makes them feel good about themselves, but then nothing changes, so they have to keep doing it. Y’know how much our school has taken Rachel’s Challenge to heart? We had an assembly that allegedly cost thousands of dollars, and are having a nice big painting that says “Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High School accepts Rachel’s Challenge” painted on the wall, and never mentioning it again. At the end of the day, kids are still getting bullied, getting in fights, and ruining each other’s lives because they feel hopeless to do anything against the school system that treats them like the citizens of Pyongyang.

I will say no one in particular, but there are those that create all these shrines to the glory of Point Pleasant High School, big, fancy things that make us look like an accomplished collective, and they spout all this tripe about how they love us and treat us well when in any public or general speaking situation, then openly tell us how disappointed they are in us and to work harder, and at this point, I don’t even know if they understand how broken we are and unable to do any of that. They can’t even pay for basic essentials like teachers and other educational programs because, HEY, DID I MENTION THAT THEY CAN’T AFFORD TO FIX THE AC BECAUSE THEY DON’T HAVE ANY MONEY LEFT AND ALSO CONSPICUOUSLY HAVE BUILT A LOT OF REALLY EXPENSIVE LOOKING THINGS RECENTLY, BECAUSE I DON’T THINK I’VE MADE THAT CLEAR.

I’m truly, truly very angry. But I know there’s nothing I can do. And I’m probably mostly ignorant to a lot of the crap that goes on just because I don’t like thinking about how betrayed I might be all day.

And I hate to be that guy that’s like “Guise, it’s JUST like Hitler.”

But tell me that a group of people with the power to keep the people they have authority over ignorant to everything they do whilst directly making them suffer in ways that are supposed to be their responsibility to make sure we’re all taken care of in, and using their very limited funds which could be used for the lack of basic essentials on making us look flashy and advanced as a facade to how great we are instead of actually improving our standing which is objectively and without a doubt absolute crap, and using all other funds not used on polishing the turd for personal gain until something gets in the way of that or presents a way of contributing to their gain, cutting people and things out of the equation if they hinder their personal gain, all on top of being a joke to every foreign entity that I know and more that has ever heard about the way in which they conduct their power NOT SOUND EXACTLY LIKE THE KIM DYNASTY, AND MORE SPECIFICALLY KIM JONG-UN’S REIGN AND GOVERNING OF THE CITY OF PYONGYANG.

Replace the glorification of military with sports, and change ‘food and humane treatment’ to ‘teachers, the arts, and AIR. CONDITIONING.‘, and a comparison that I would normally be very hesitant to make makes me very not hesitant, as can be seen here, at all.

I don’t just think students aren’t treated right here. I think that the way we’re treated by some unnamed people (And I’m sure anyone currently attending Point thinks I’m talking about the principal, but honestly, I wouldn’t dare single him out whatsoever) is not just selfish and ignorant, it’s a direct violation of our rights. Not the kids, oh no, the teachers. And the parents, too. Everyone gets kept in the dark.

I used to hate the American educational system. I’ve changed my tune recently (Oddly around the same time I started taking medicine and being able to enjoy my life, and wasn’t); I realize it’s a perfectly fine system that only doesn’t work when the bad apples are in the right barrels, and in our situation, I’d say it’s that on top of no apple regulation whatsoever, at least responsible regulation.

Bullying is something that is a double-edged sword. On one hand, the kid’s a jerk for bullying. On the other hand, the ‘victim’ kid needs to learn to stand up for himself. It’s entirely possible he’s baiting himself and doesn’t realize it, either. The movement shouldn’t be anti-bullying, it should be ‘bullying awareness’. Make kids aware that treating other kids like crap is crappy, and also make them aware that just taking it all doesn’t help, either. Some kids have serious mental issues that make that a very hard thing to do, but if they don’t have responsible parents that have a healthy relationship with their kids and understand the need for mental help, then that just puts responsibility elsewhere. There’s always responsibility on the bully, too, so why do we never put responsibility on the kid getting bullied? What, are we teaching him that when people screw you over, then as long as you never say anything and take it, then eventually someone will fix things for you and everything will be fine?

Does that kind of ‘I-don’t-care-have-someone-else-do-it-I-don’t-feel-like-taking-care-of-it-because-it-won’t-work-if-I-do’ attitude sound familiar, fellow Point Pleasant residents?

You’re darn right, it does. Sounds a lot like the general atmosphere in this town. And it’s what those people that I compared to a mass human rights violator and dictating tyrant are guilty of, the ‘Point Pleasant Attitude’, or perhaps, ‘Point me to where it’s Pleasant’.

No one wants to be the guy to step up and confront; everyone wants people to polish their shoes when they scuff.

I can’t even say I’m not guilty of it. Look at me now, spouting passionate words of a revealing nature, exposing corrupt authority for what it is, and knowing that everyone feels the same way and that I’m not going to do anything about it.

I could easily oust names, and give examples of some of the personal injustices that just I have been openly given. They’re all immoral, but hey, they’re not illegal, so it feels like it would take personal motivation and the fire-in-your-belly determination to change things of the Civil Rights Movement. That’s what this town used to do to me, and to just about everyone I know. It made me believe that the things I do are meaningless, and that everyone that I ever entrust with providing me with what I need is going to screw with me, and there’s nothing I can do about it, so why care about living. I can’t count how many people I’ve personally heard and talked to that have said these exact same things. It’s not some crazy analyzation secular to me, it’s a general feeling. One that affects everyone, whether they truly experience the detriments or not. The amount of depression, hopelessness, absence of any shred of confidence or free will; it’s unbelievable.

This is why there will always be bullying here. Screw the fact that you can’t remove it forever, you can’t even remove the general feeling of depression that a more advanced and civilized place would immediately jump on and call a mental pandemic. Much of West Virginia is the same. #1 Depressed state in the U.S., we here in Point just so happen to also fall within the boundaries of the most depressed district in the U.S. as well.

If any school official from Point or Mason County were reading this, then I would have this to say: Please, I implore you, step forward and ask just the teachers how they felt about things. No consequences, just let them speak their mind. You’ll find that they share the kind of vehement dissatisfaction that the students do, for more professional reasons. That is, if you’re not one of the people who gets it and is adversely affected by it as well. Step forward, address the depression issues, address the stupid money-spending, address the stupid decisions, address the stupid self-glorification, let the teachers and the kids feel like useful human beings and not prisoners.

I use to feel like such an ignorant whiny child complaining about all these things and making angry comparisons to dictators and the most historically inhumane events in history, until I started hearing the teachers saying the same things.

Now I’ve just about had it, and am experiencing the feeling of mental imprisonment, now that I’m actually motivated but it’s still not enough to feel confident in staging any kind of counteraction. I’m legally an adult, but I’m still in high school. It’s not like anyone would listen to what I had to say, and I wouldn’t blame them. I’m a small boy in a small town in a small state full of big minds being trampled by small minds.

All I ever see anymore when America faces problems is people angry at the world, blaming this and that, and not doing anything. Being pessimists, cynics, hateful, childish, and generally unhelpful in detrimental ways. I’m sick of it, and I don’t want to see it anymore. I stopped watching TV, I stopped even thinking about politics unless I was watching the Daily Show or Colbert Report, and I stopped pursuing situations that made me angry.

All I can do is weep and feel like a hypocrite. (Which is funny considering that that’s literally the 3rd and most recent thing I posted on this blog, which is subsequently weird given my almost consistent optimism and happiness in day-to-day life) Weep and feel like a hypocrite at the fact that there exists something in my life that makes me do/want to do exactly what it is that I base my life around never doing.

Well it’s good to be angry sometimes when you’re entitled. But it’s not good to be angry when you’re a kid, because you’re never entitled. You have to be 100% determined to do what you want to do, but you also have to have the support of people that can get you places that an adult could, and that can exist in nicer climates, but in a place like this, you can’t. And that requires multiple people to be 100% behind you. And that’s what will kill this school, this town, this county, and this state, is no one giving a crap, which is what it’s inadvertently designed in so many places to specifically subject people to.

Bullies aren’t our problem, the problem here is that everyone is a victim, and the bully?

 

Nothing more than a general state of lachrymose melancholy that no one is safe from.

Where’s the assembly on that, huh? Where’s the assembly where they teach us how to protest authority, about the dangers of sitting back and taking every solitary moment of suppression/repression of our desire to have free will or optimistic thoughts and how to fix the source of the problem for everyone instead of just ourselves?

 

When I leave this school, no matter if I never physically leave this town, I will have mentally and emotionally left it forever. The only reason I’m still haunted by these feelings of hopelessness and pessimism is because I’m around it all the time.

 

This post has gone somewhere dark, but it’s gone somewhere real. I hope by reading this, you don’t garner any objections towards me as a person for letting things get to me so far as to start crying Nazis and pleading a hopeless future.

Just understand that I’m not the only one. These aren’t just my thoughts. They’re the thoughts of everyone I’ve ever heard give an opinion on. It’s not everybody, but it’s everyone so far, and I truly mean that and cannot stress enough how huge of a statement that is. And I suppose that’s the one thing I take solace in: that even though nothing may ever get done, at least so many of us feel the same way. It shouldn’t have to be that way, though.

It shouldn’t have to be that way.

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