Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bullies Suck: A Guest Post By Jeff Bennington, Author of REUNION

Bullies Suck!
By Jeff Bennington
Author of REUNION

Bullies hurt, bruise and sometimes cause permanent emotional damage to their victims. Bullying is growing like an epidemic, like the bubonic plague and it seems as if there are no limits to the extremes that a bully will take his hate. I have watched you tube videos that were made by bullies as they beat and kicked and punched their victims and it is so incredibly sickening and heartbreaking that our society has digressed to this level of existence.

I’ve read several reports about bullies, who they target and why they do what they do. In a word, I’ve observed that what is actually happening is a crushing. Bullies seem to desire to crush the spirit, crush their victims physically and emotionally to gain a feeling of strength. This need to crush usually stems from a need to feel a strength that the bully actually lacks.

Although there have been conflicting studies about the victims, some claim that the victims are often smaller and weaker or have other physical attributes such as weight, speech or vision disabilities. But in my opinion, attributes, ages, percentages and profiling is irrelevant because it is clear that our schools and parents are not doing enough to prevent bullies from doing damage. Don’t get me wrong; I know schools are trying. I know that parents are fed up. But the problem is what it is.

Bullying is devastating our youth. I hate it, and I’m sure you do too.

The problem with bullying, beside the long-term emotional damage that it can cause, is that when bullying gets extreme it can escalate into two higher levels of victimization.

1. Bullycide – Suicide caused from the results of bullying (From bullyingstatistics.org). http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/bullycide.html

2. School violence/shootings.

No matter how old you are, I’m sure you were familiar with your school bully. You knew who he was and you tried to stay clear of him. Today, however, bullies are intimidating their victims to the point of suicide or to retaliate through extreme violence such as stabbings or school shootings. The reasons and the complexity of the issues are far reaching. Kids today can be bullied at school, on the bus, via their cell phones, online and through all forms social media. Bullying is so much worse today. Bullying can consume a student’s world, bringing a victim to the point of hopelessness.

Still, there is hope. People are talking. Kids are starting to stand up against the class bully and parents are beginning to see that bullies aren’t what they used to be. We live in a world of instant communication and the anti-bullying message is traveling fast. But everyone must do their part. Here’s a few suggestions…
  • Empower your children to stand up for themselves.
  • Model personal responsibility and respect for others no matter how different they are.
  • Teach children that their strength does not come from outward appearances, physical attributes or ones ability to tease or ridicule, but from lasting qualities of character such as integrity, kindness, respect, fairness, citizenship, etc.
  • Share this article with your family and friends and refer them to Paul’s blog. As an educator, he talks about this topic regularly.
  • Insist that wherever you are, bullying and bullies are not tolerated no matter what.
Below, Paul has posted a short video that I’d like to share with you about a girl who lives in my home state of Indiana. This video paints a clear picture of the hurt that bullying can cause and demonstrates the power of peer ridicule.



Finally, I wrote a book called, REUNION, a supernatural thriller that covers both bullying and school shootings. It’s a book about a group of kids who survive a school shooting and reunite twenty years later. As adults, they continue to live with the trauma, and then through a strange turn of events gather together at their old school. It is a chilling and emotionally engaging tale about what it’s like to live with bullying, post-traumatic stress disorder and surviving a school massacre. I’d rate it PG-13 and have allowed my own teenagers to read it. I hope you get a chance to read and share it with your teens and teachers. REUNION is a thrilling read, is getting great reviews and has an important message.

Thanks for reading. Be sure to “follow” Paul’s blog and then go get a copy of REUNION. You’ll be glad you did.

Jeff Bennington
Author of REUNION and the blog, The Writing Bomb





12 comments:

  1. Thank you for tackling this difficult subject, Jeff. You raise many good points that I hope people will consider. As an educator, I concur we are not doing enough to keep kids safe. Yes, we are trying, but trying is not good enough. Adults must be present where bullying takes place: hallways, bathrooms, locker rooms, and even on the bus. What has to happen before people realize a bus driver is not able to pay attention to the road AND supervise the 80 kids behind him. Put an aide in the back!

    Technology has obviously taken bullying to new levels. This is a challenge because although it is a non-school issue, it becomes one when the ramifications of online bullying enter the classroom. Of course, the only people who can control what their kids do online is the parents. I've often said: "Thank God I graduated before the introduction of facebook!"

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  2. I suffered significant bullying growing up. I was not small, my father always taught me to stand up for myself, but I was weak in the eyes of predators. Shy, awkward, always conciliatory, a bit different. It's colored how I view the world. An inveterate mistrust of people, a quick rush to judge (usually negatively) others based on demeanor, and a barrier that prevents most everybody (including those closest to me) from getting in.

    I can't imagine how much worse it might have been if I'd grown up in today's time of infinite interconnection.

    Great post, and kudos to you and Paul for your efforts.

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  3. Thanks, Paul.
    Thanks, Bane. I definitely had times when I was bullied. Although every experience is different, I know how small bullies can make you feel. You can definitely see my passion for this topic in Reunion in the character of David Ray. Thanks for the comments!

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  4. This is one of the most relevant issues in our society today... I'm excited to see literature tackling this issue... it's just crazy how this issue has exploded over the last few years. Good luck with the book.

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  5. I can't thank you and Paul enough for this post. Both my husband and myself were bullied, and we are appalled by the increase in incidents. Not only has the raised awareness brought this to the forefront, but it has presented new challenges to kids and parents, as well. I'm sharing the video as a way to spread the word. Thank you BOTH!

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  6. I tried to leave a comment last week but blogger was being a bully. It wouldn't let me.
    Seriously now, bullying has a huge impact on people. As a teacher in a program for troubled kids I intervened in bullying situations almost daily. It can take so many forms.

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  7. Thank you both for covering this important topic. There is nothing more important than standing up for those who can't stand up for themselves, for whatever reason.

    I'm off to follow your blog, Jeff.

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  8. A great article Jeff. this is a horrible problem that ruins the lives of the innocent. It's heartbreaking and I'm glad the message against bullying is getting out!

    Duncan In Kuantan

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  9. Austin - Literature is an amazing tool for putting readers in the victim's "head." It's also nice that, in literature, the issue can be addressed for what it is. Too many schools are still sugarcoating the problem.

    Sandra - I am both sorry and empathetic for your experience. Incidents are certainly increasing, and technology is not helping matters.

    Paul - I also intervened in a number of bullying situations while teaching. I found the greatest problem in my district was that administration didn't follow-up. Kind of limited what I could do about it.

    Matt - Agreed! It's great to see how many writers take this issue to heart and work to increase awareness.

    Duncan - The message is definitely getting out, and I believe that is the first step. Hopefully we'll expedite how quickly we move forward.

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  10. Jeff sounds like a beautiful person, and you're beautiful too, Paul for bringing such topics to blogosphere, since we have lots of parents around here who might pay closer attention to their kids after reading this.

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  11. Thank you addressing this topic. I suffered constant torment in school. Being bullied is like having someone trying to murder your soul.

    I'm so glad this is being talked about openly now. I feel like I've been screaming at the top of my lungs for 25 years, and am just now being heard.

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  12. you quoted the bullyingstatistics.org site. do you happen to know the author of that site?

    i wish to encourage improvement of the adult bullying page on that site.

    did not see any contact us info. could you share if you know it please

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