Five years after the Columbine massacre, legislators are trying to prevent school violence by banning discrimination against transgender students. That misses the real problem, writes Kay Hymowitz in the LA Times.
What legislators don’t seem to grasp is that kids bully — and turn, in some cases, to more serious forms of violence — not because they are prejudiced in any familiar adult sense but because they are crude, Darwinian creatures trying to stake out territory and proclaim their dominance.
A UCLA study published in the December issue of Pediatrics found that bullies are usually “cool” kids “high in social status.” These are kids who reinforce their social power by lording over their peers who are for whatever reason perceived as weak or vulnerable. This explains why so many bullies are jocks and so many of their victims are 90-pound weaklings.
. . . In order to deal with bullying, harassment and violence, educators have to smash the peer-driven hierarchy that sets the tone in most middle and high schools. Schools without bullies — and though rare, there are such things — are places where dynamic principals build a supportive but serious community whose norms are set by adults.
A community where norms are set by adults. Yes!