Stop bullying

The Stop Bullying Now! site features “really neat webisodes” of cartoon students coping with harassment and bullying. It’s not bad. Here’s a character profile:

ADELE and RANDALL WEEMS are Milton’s parents. Smart and well-meaning, they think every problem can be solved by talking about one’s feelings. They don’t realize that Brick doesn’t care about anyone’s feelings and continues to bully their son.

In the first episode, Katie’s mother buys her new, incredibly dorky clothes for her first day at a new school.

About Joanne


  1. PJ/Maryland says:

    This is probably a worthwhile endeavor, so I hate to start off negative, but the “Do you bully others” page struck me as way over the top. If “teas[ing] people in a mean way, calling them names, making fun of their appearance, or the way they talk or dress or act” counts as bullying, the page would be better titled “Are you a saint?” Then kids could send away for a free HHS halo if they didn’t check any boxes.

    I guess it’s no surprise that a group set up to stop bullying would define the task very broadly. But I think the distinction between physical violence and simple name-calling is an important one, and this group seems to ignore it entirely. Hardly a formula for raising kids who can operate in a free society.

  2. PJ,

    I doubt the group is the only one which adheres to a broad, almost meaningless definition of “bullying.” In today’s school, anybody can be sued over anything, so this outfit is just trying to cover all the possible bases.

    And who wants to live in a “free society” anymore? Apparently just you and me and a few others.

    PS: As a survivor of real bullying (including blows to my private parts) AND teasing, I KNOW the difference between the two. Actually the teasing was more like extreme ostracism. Was that wrong? Yes. Was it “bullying”? No.

    Groups that try to do too much often end up doing too little.

  3. D. Cooper says:

    According to one dictionary definition to ‘bully’ is to intimidate… a ‘bully’ is also a small New Zealand river fish … which definition were you two referring to?

  4. Insufficiently Sensitive says:

    You mean you see a difference between psycho-physical aggression and a fish 8,000 miles away? Bully for you!

  5. JimInNoVA says:

    So would you say that they’re using the “bully pulpet” to fight the problem?

    Let the shameless puns continue.

  6. D. Cooper says:

    Sufficiently Insensitive .. yes , but not much between the ‘psycho’ and the ‘physical’ agression. Don’t know too much about that fish though … wonder if it’s a bully in the fish tank.

  7. In the first episode, Katie’s mother buys her new, incredibly dorky clothes for her first day at a new school.

    I still remember the trauma of being sent to school, 41 years ago, in pleated, brown, tweed-print corduroy pants more clearly than I remember the punch which left a still detectable dent in my ribcage (over another school issue that year).

  8. D. Cooper says:

    Sounds like you remember them both. The outfit sounds fine … a little ‘dorky’, but hey 41 years ago.

    Being picked on without physical abuse is just as unpleasant. Girls who were probably less likely to get into physical fights used mental cruelty (the training ground for later life I’d assume). Neither is nice.

  9. When I was in middle school, I was the target of repeated, severe bullying. I handled things pretty well nonetheless and came out of it all a much better, stronger person – but I sure know what it’s like getting sent to school in dorky clothes and being made fun of.

    Now that my credibility has been established, let me say this: these cartoons are dorky. Beyond dorky. Kids who watch these will fall into two categories: Bullies who make fun of how stupid the cartoons are and The Bullied who empathize with the cartoons and get pummeled even harder once they leave the classroom and go to the bathroom.

    “Take a Stand, Lend a Hand?” Please – bullies aren’t going to change because of this crap. This is a sad waste of taxpayer money.

  10. Nick,

    Of course bullies won’t have a change of heart after watching these cartoons. And as someone who spent a couple of years at the receiving end of terror, they wouldn’t have made me feel any better. This sort of tax sinkhole is all about adults who want the warm and fuzzy feeling of knowing that they’ve Done Something™ (sic). It’s a feeling that we educritics know all too well.

  11. Thanks, heh.

    I just wanted to know that I wasn’t alone in thinking this was just another gratuitous waste of money. 🙂

  12. Nick,

    Let’s waste more money on a … Scientific Study™! Yeah, let’s see if cutesy-wootsy talking animals have any effect on sadistic young thugs! The characters are supported to be around eleven to twelve years old. How many eleven or twelve-year-olds would listen to these “dorky” (as you put it) cartoon kids? Would they even listen to regular human actors in the same scenes? I doubt it.

  13. Argh, the more I look at this site, the lamer it gets:

    A nineteen-year-old helped make this!? In my experience, all the kids here, ranging from ten to nineteen, are too old for talking animals. As a bullying victim, I would have been outraged to see my beatings trivialized in a toon format. I can only imagine these kids getting involved if (1) they had no idea what their input was resulting in (i.e., the webisodes) and/or (2) they love cartoons. But even as a lifelong animation and comics fan, I still cannot imagine myself relating to this material at all. It’s patronizing.

  14. JimInNoVA says:

    Ah, but it looked good on a college application. And now the HRSA has “done something.” “Good enough for government work” was never a complement.

  15. Richard Brandshaft says:

    “If “teas[ing] people in a mean way, calling them names, making fun of their appearance, or the way they talk or dress or act” counts as bullying, the page would be better titled “Are you a saint?””

    A low bar for saintliness. It true that name calling is not the same as physical assault; true that overly broad definitions tend to mask real problems. But it’s not wrong to teach children that there are relatively few reasons that justify going out of one’s way to be nasty, and just for the fun of it is not one of them.

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