Friday, September 21, 2012

Is It Okay To Beat Up Your Child's Bully?

Despite all of the PSA's about bullying, it still goes on.  Parents are increasingly discouraged by the lack of school intervention.  We are told that school's supposedly have a zero tolerance policy and yet children still get brutalized on a daily basis.  In some cases it happens in the school yard, or the school bus.  Some bullies because they live in the neighbourhood, can make even going to the park a dangerous proposition for the child that has been selected as the target for bullying.  What is a parent or child supposed to do in those situations?  How much is a family, or a person supposed to take before they snap?


Felecia Phillips, of Bunnell, Florida was arrested and charged with child abuse and trespassing on school property after she followed her sons bully onto the bus and continued a physical altercation with him. Apparently, Felecia’s 15-year-old son, Terez, was being tormented by his 17-year-old bully, Justin and so she walked him to the school bus to protect him.  A verbal argument quickly ensued and escalated when Felecia allegedly smooshed his face, which led to Justin body slamming her onto the ground.  Felecia was not going to take this lying down and so she followed Justin onto the bus where a brawl ensued as students tried to pull her off of him.  Terez says that he is proud of his mother for standing him to him and pointed out that plenty of kids who are bullied have parents who tell them to handle the issue themselves.

I can sympathize with both Felecia and Terez, as I too have a child that has been subjected to bullying. It's a hard thing to see your child in pain on a daily basis.  As a parent, you want nothing more than to protect your children and to be unable to do this is a hard thing.  Part of the problem is that despite all of the rhetoric, neither the schools or the school bus companies give a sweet fuck about the violence and the emotional abuse.  There have plenty of stories in which parents have sold their homes in order to get their child into a new school district, in an effort to stop the bullying.  The victim is told to suck it up, or that bullying is a part of childhood and this attitude actually empowers the bully and tells the victim that they are weak and to blame for their own victimization.  Essentially, parents and children are forced to take extreme measure for self defense.  It was a few months ago that a young man was suspended because he brought a stun gun to school to protect himself from bullying, though no one was injured and he actually fired at the ceiling to ensure that no one was hurt. My nephew who was subjected to anti-gay bullying for much of his school years, actually took to carrying a knife around with him for awhile out of fear for his person. If you keep reaching out to the administration to protect your child and nothing is done, and you cannot afford to move, what are you supposed to do to protect your child?

I don't think I would get into a physical altercation with a bully but I understand the frustration and the fear.  These bullying incidents have a tendency to escalate.  If you beat a dog, eventually, they will bite you back.  How much more are parents and children expected to take because schools and school bus companies won't take action?  To be clear, I don't condone violence but I sure as hell understand it.  I sincerely hope that when the case does come to trial, that the judge will consider that Felecia was acting to protect her son.  If there's not going to be any enforcement of the so-called zero policy rules then there needs to be some sort of legal consideration when parents and children inevitably lose it.

What are your thoughts on this incident?