Following Up: Bullying and Violence

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Following up this morning's listener suggestion, Slate's Emily Bazelon and Jessie Klein, author of The Bully Society: School Shootings and the Crisis of Bullying in America’s Schools look at the links between bullying and violence, from school shootings to teen suicides.  Are we too quick to assign motives?


Emily Bazelon and Jessie Klein

Comments [21]

JT from LI

Bullying is easier now with Internet. You don't have to be physically stronger than the victim and the humiliation is public (even international) and will remain recorded forever. Just look at any online forum to see how nasty people get when they don't have to look the person in the eye.

Feb. 28 2012 05:22 PM

ordinary take on a front page story? why bother

would have been interesting to contemplate whether the shooter's parents should be partly blamed.

Feb. 28 2012 02:07 PM
Roy from Queens, New York

Being someone who has been bullied, I can only condemn the actions of the shooter, but not his anger of being alone or feeling different. It's true that not everyone can like "you", but there has to be a point where human beings has to take the time to understand someone who doesn't fit in. People talk to each other, but it doesn't mean that they understand each other.

Feb. 28 2012 01:42 PM
Bob from NYC

I cannot help but think that this rise in school violences is intrinsically tied to the cutback in funding for arts education in high school. In the arts (writing, painting, theatre, dance,) etc., you have, firstly, an outlet for the normal and abnormal frustrations of adolescence. With the arts you are able to give vent to feelings of not belonging, puzzling reactions that come with that time of life and all sorts of darker impulses that, if not released in healthy ways, leads to acting them out. And secondly, it provides these children whose darker and angier sides are starting to prevail with a peer group and lets them know they are not alone in feeling this way. Bring back the arts and arts instructors.

Feb. 28 2012 12:20 PM
katie from westchester

I hope you can do another segment on this very important issue. I wanted to make you aware of a program that our school system, in Westchester, adopted several years ago to teach social/emotional skills. It's called Second Step, and I think it's been very effective. I have three kids in the school system, and they feel that there is very little to no bullying, and that bullying isn't tolerated by both the students and the faculty. By adding the teaching of social/emotional skills to the curriculum it sends a message to students, parents and teachers that these are skills that need to be learned and practiced, and that it's important in the growth, development, and I would add safety, of the students.

Feb. 28 2012 12:13 PM
Bob from Westchester, NY

In last night's NBC Nightly News report on this story, reporter Chris Jansing quoted statistics that fatal school shootings were way down (specifically 42 fatal shootings in 1992 compared to less than half that number over the last 7 years combined). You can see the clip at
How do these numbers square with the big increases in school violence your guests are describing? Apples and oranges, or did NBC News get it wrong? (In any case, way too many.)

Feb. 28 2012 12:11 PM
Anna from Brooklyn

I THINK PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW HOW TO DEAL WITH CRITICISM ANYMORE. In a world where we give prizes for 14th place, where we have a culture of perfection and plastic surgery, and everyone is supposed to feel included and fit in -- I feel terrible for these kids, bc this is not even the reality. People will not hold their hands when they are grown. We are raising kids - bullies and the bullied - that lack coping skills for when they will inevitably deal with the negative (yet very real) parts of today's world.

I feel bad for kids today... what soft fairytales we have sold them to believe their lives should be

Feb. 28 2012 12:09 PM

There was a lot of emphasis on what schools can do and should do about bullying, but what about parents? This is their problem - why are so many parents raising children who lack decency and compassion? This is a much bigger problem than just schools can handle.

Feb. 28 2012 12:08 PM

I agree with the last speaker. Unless we move from a bullying society then we will continue to have these school shootings. Just look at the adults in the school. Many teachers are being publicly bullied, support staff is disappearing, individualism, harsh rhetoric and austerity is rampant in schools so this does affect the students as well.

Feb. 28 2012 12:03 PM
fuva from Harlemworld

The outcome of the Dharun Ravi/ Tyler Clementi trial could indicate how prepared we are as a society to create a "culture of compassion". And if the judge and jury insist on upholding the hate/bullying=physical violence standard, then we're not ready.

Feb. 28 2012 12:02 PM
Amy from Manhattan

On Pedro's call, I agree that turning to guns doesn't prove anyone's "manhood," but a fistfight doesn't either. And as 1 of the guests said, many of the shooters aren't physically strong & aren't likely to win a fistfight, so that's not an equal matchup either. In fact, that's why guns have been called "equalizers."

Feb. 28 2012 12:01 PM
John A.

"the chart"

Feb. 28 2012 12:01 PM
Elle from Brooklyn

Not just kids who ARE gay, but kids who are perceived to deviate from the male "norm." I just took my son (who is only eight) to see "The Secret World of Arietty" and bought him (at his request) a mood ring. The boys in his class told him both of these things are for girls. I asked him if he knows that it doesn't matter what the other kids say, and he didn't seem particulary concerned (he's still wearing the ring), but it kills me that this kind of BS is starting already.

Feb. 28 2012 12:00 PM
Mike from Staten Island

Remember this tune?
Boomtown Rats - I don't like Mondays

Feb. 28 2012 11:59 AM
Amy from Manhattan

I agree with Tod & Rochelle. And many of the shooters in these incidents kill themselves afterwards. I wonder how much these are 2 sides of the same coin, & how recognition of this could influence how to approach kids who are at risk.

Feb. 28 2012 11:57 AM

Could the guest speak to kids taking Ritalin and other anti depressants, and the rise of violence in high school. Many of these drugs cause one to be suicidal.

Feb. 28 2012 11:53 AM
gary g from NYC

more people need to stand up and take the same action,

stop blaming those who are being tortured on a daily basis....
also where is the silent majority, those students who are not bullies and are not being bullied, time for this population to stand up for the meek and violated.....

Feb. 28 2012 11:52 AM
Peg from Southern Tier NY

But couldn't our some of our national military policies be described as bullying. And what influence does that have on our American psyche?

Feb. 28 2012 11:51 AM
Bernie from NYC

A couple of years ago a boy beat up a girl in Florida for tweeting something about his brother who had committed suicide. I believe that he traveled for over an hour so that he could confront her. Neither knew each other and the tweet was to a third party. I think that part of the problem is that children today have less interpersonal communication. They text, email and tweet and therefore have less face to face contact.

Feb. 28 2012 11:50 AM
Inquisigal from Brooklyn

It is likely important to note that all of the teens who've shot students at schools are male. What is it about today's "boy culture" that removes any empathy for their victims during events such as this?

Feb. 28 2012 11:47 AM
Rochelle from Jersey

A sad related issue is teen suicide. I live along the NJ transit rail line and our shore community has a disturbing number of kids who step in front of the trains as a reaction to bullying or other teen angst.

Feb. 28 2012 11:37 AM

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