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JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY ERIN ANDERSSON IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

I truly do not know why anyone writes anything about bullying anymore, except for personal publicity or reward or just taking credit for being on the side of the angels.

Almost all of the stuff purchased at considerable expense and robotically disseminated by the school boards is of that nature.

This piece of pulp fiction by Erin Andersson is just one more large serving of the same unhelpful stuff. It is filled with arguable assertions and incorrect statements which reflect the dogmas of the Church of True Believers in Public School Ethics.

“Zero-tolerance policies on fighting, as cases in Canada have shown, do not solve the problem either, often leading to punishment without investigation, and little follow-up.”

An absolutely false assertion: zero-tolerance on violence was an excellent policy whose effects would make our schools safer places and benefit society in the long term.

It was dropped for one reason only: a disproportionate number of those treated under the policy came from a particular ethnic group, the false assumption for dropping it being that the policy was unfairly employed.

Dropping the policy made teachers and innocent students immediately more vulnerable to the small percentage of people who are violent.

“Research consistently shows that bullying is linked to depression, poor school performance and anxiety, for both victim and perpetrator.”

Here is the classic use of “research says” to bolster a pathetic argument. Of course bullying is related to mental problems, but then so are almost all forms of crime. Tests have repeatedly shown that prison populations are full of people with serious mental and emotional problem.

So do we stop arresting and imprisoning people for crimes? Of course not.

And just so, violence and bullying in schools.

“When left unchecked, bullies can destroy lives…”

Another insipid bromide. Of course violence destroys lives. Isn’t that the very meaning of violence?

The problem in our schools is easily understood, but not so easily corrected: no one is responsible for anything. No one even wants to assume responsibility. Acts of bullying occur every day in plain sight and are ignored. Teachers and principals and superintendents are afraid of parents who are themselves bullies.

So they set no enforceable standards and speak with the kind of psycho-babble terms and meaningless educationese with which this article is replete.

When a robber assaults you in your home or store, you want the police, and you want the courts to dispense justice. And that is just what the victims of true bullies want, only they do not get it, learning from their painful experience that there is no justice nor agreed-upon way of behaving in society. That is a mighty poor lesson to be teaching.

I think if we are not prepared to do what it takes to protect students from bullies, we should just shut up. It truly is tiresome to read useless, thoughtless stuff like this article.

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