Bullying has just become a crime. Let the parents and teachers of bullies be aware.
Most of us think of bullies as self-styled machos with more brawn than brain, insecure but boastful punks with nothing more "masculine" to do than pick on smaller boys who don't swagger and talk big like them. Well, months before the President signed the bill against bullying into law last week, it happened to a girl. Fourteen-year-old Laurie (not her real name) was bullied so bad that she was too frightened to go to school or leave the house to go anywhere.
Where did the bullying happen? In an exclusive school for girls. Who were the bullies? The suspects were high school seniors who disliked Laurie almost as soon as she showed signs of blooming, turning from an awkward eighth grader into a pretty teenager.
But the seniors would not have it. They called Laurie names -where do nice girls like them pick up such words? - and they made her so afraid of them that she could not bring herself to share her secret with her parents. Eventually, Laurie's mother put the pieces together, and put a name to what was happening. She went straight to the principal's office to demand an explanation.
"I was at her office every day for weeks," Laurie's mother said, but either the principal was busy or out of the office or unable/unwilling to arrange a meeting with the parents of the bullies. The principal did assure her that girls don't bully girls, not in this school. Remarkable, that she did not say Laurie could have saved herself plenty of trouble by turning the other cheek.
Laurie is now enrolled in another school, where she will hopefully try to bury the trauma of SY 2012-13 in the school that was her second home from the time she was no older than a baby. Will she, ever, be able to forget?
In another school for Catholic girls, the invincible bully in one class just happens to be the daughter of Teacher. Now, how do her victims get around that problem?