Standing up to bullies

In The Bully Effect, Anderson Cooper follows up on children and parents in Lee Hirsch’s documentary, Bully. The show will premiere on CNN tonight at 10 pm ET.  February 28.

When Alex Libby was a 12 year old in Sioux City, Iowa, the slurs, curses and threats would begin even before he boarded the school bus.

. . . Today Alex has become an anti-bullying rock star with appearances on national television and a visit to the White House. He also regularly delivers speeches to capacity crowds as an activist, and considers himself a spokesman for the bullied.

Kelby Johnson, who came out as a lesbian in middle school, feels empowered, but still encounters hostility in her small Oklahoma town.

Kirk Smalley’s 11-year-old son TY committed suicide after he was suspended from school for fighting back against a bully.  “I will fight bullying forever because my son will be 11 forever,” says Smalley.

About Joanne


  1. Ho-hum.

  2. Schools enable bullying by punishing those who fight back. I’ve also read many comments from parents that mainstreaming their kids has led to them being teased or bullied, which had not happened when they were in separate classes. Kids are not inherently kind, especially in groups, and the current mania for group work specifically disadvantages those lowest on the social pecking order (including the shy, introverted, bookish and spec ed) and privileges those at the top; often resulting in shunning, teasing or bullying.

    The group work and mainstreaming aside, “bullying” (which may often be nowhere near the old definition), has been going on for many generations – probably since the first large schools. Of course, back then, kids were taught to fight back, which usually ended things.

  3. Foobarista says:

    The best defense against bullies will get you tossed out of school: what used to be called the manly art of self-defense. Kick the bully’s butt, especially publicly, and they won’t be back. To bring such concepts up to date, have the girls learn taekuando or something to stand up there. Momof4 above is right: all this guff about “peaceful settling of differences” only enables bullying, which is rooted in verbal abuse without meaningful consequences.

  4. Richard Aubrey says:

    Butthead kids usually have butthead parents. Victim kids are less likely to have obnoxious, litigious parents. For an admin, it makes sense to give the former a break. Less trouble all around. Meantime, down at the maternity ward, fresh material is being produced. Whatever the victim’s folks decide to do, there’ll be another batch along next September.