Take Decisive Action Against Bullying
Taken from my current project:
Godís For-BEAR-ance With Bullies
Bullying is just as much of a hate crime as ethnic persecution! If your child is being victimized by dangerous school bullies, take him out of school at least until you are certain the immediate danger has passed! Not all children have the resilience to suffer persecution and physical danger for five whole days out of the week. Thatís as scary as being locked up in the same cell with Jack the Ripper, or getting thrown into a den of hungry lions! I know there are truancy laws, but the government does not own your child. God does! He has given YOU the responsibility of protecting that child! I donít advocate anarchy, but the safety of your child must always take priority over pleasing government officials. Leave no legal stone unturned to do whatís necessary to take your own, precious child out of harmís way. He or she cannot learn in a torture chamber, and why should your child be scarred for life emotionally or physically from such abuse? Young people of my generation rebelled against being drafted to fight an unjust war. Rebel against bullying! Stand up for your childís right to learn in a safe environment.
Take it from me, I endured years of having my self-image trashed by the grossest insults. It is literally emotional rape, committed against you over and over and over again, day in and day out! Nothing hurts more than to be a warm, friendly type with lots of love to share; love which is rejected by teenage peers who only connect with kids who are too ďcoolĒ to have hearts and individual personalities. Sensitive people hurt more, so they make the best target for bulllies who hunt for some soul to destroy. My ability to love others was totally destroyed by prolonged abuse and only God was able to restore it.
I have read many accounts of parents who waited so patiently for their childís bullying problem to ďsort itself outĒ that they waited until the second or third bad beating to do more than utter a feeble protest about the situation. Apologetically the parents wheedled with school officials to beg the bully to bestow upon their child the privilege of living in physical or emotional health.
Get real! Only an ostrich hides its eyes in the sand from reality. You might just as well hope terminal cancer will go away if you just ignore it! Itís the bully who should hide his face in shame, not his victims! Parents, you brought your child into this world, and itís YOUR duty to protect him, and to hell with namby-pamby politeness or political correctness! Any parent too scared to make tough choices for the sake of his child needs to pray for holy boldness.
I know, the System is stacked in favor of the criminal. Parents of bullies could care less your child has been hurt. They care only for their own kid and he (or she) can do no wrong. Their primary reason for loving their child is to them, he or she is an extension of themselves. Their offspring represents them at that school, and any reprimand he suffers reflects on them. The love of a sinner is very selfish indeed.
But whenever there is non-cooperation do your utmost to avail yourself of any rights you have within the legal system. Get legal advice if necessary, to give you every possible leverage, to combat the foot-dragging of a system which is becoming more and more biased toward the ďrightsĒ of victimizers, rather than victims. If the bullying has given rise to medical or dental expenses, seek legal aid or no-win-no-fee legal advice and sue the bulliesí parents or guardians to recoup expenses of treatment plus lawyerís fees. If the parents are cooperative, but plead for mercy because theyíre too poor to pay, donít threaten to land them in jail, because the time might come you yourself might need for God to forgive your debts. Nevertheless, your child may need physical therapy, dental repairs or even reconstructive surgery because he was severely attacked by thugs. Why should your own family have to be wiped out financially by catastrophic medical expenses because of a criminalís cruelty?
It could be the school itself is just as much to blame for failure to provide a safe learning environment for your child. If so, take out a lawsuit against the school system to recover all damages incurred by their negligence. Theyíre just as liable as your workplace would be if bosses refused to fire a foul-mouthed pervert who assaulted you on the premises. Common sense tells you: why should a child get less protection under the law than a full-grown adult?
If your childís injuries were inflicted on the bus because the driver refused to put the bully off, sue the bus system. But take some kind of positive action. Do the very thing I was too scared to do when I was a teenager: Make plenty of noise! Pull back the rug and expose the cockroaches underneath! Share your story with the local media (if they are sympathetic). If the local media wonít listen, seek other outlets for airing your grievance. This could make a big difference to some other child if it became common knowledge that people are fed up with school bullying and will take it no more. Declare a war on bullying. Be a pillar in your community whoís got principles heís willing to fight to defend. All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for decent people to do nothing.
Compile any medical records or other available evidence requested by your attorney. Find witnesses and ask them to come forward. Maybe other kids have been bothered by the same bullies. It could be the bulliesí parents wonít worry about their childís behavior until it hits them where it hurts the most, in the wallet! Thatís a terrible thing to have to say, but lots of folks love money more than anything else on earth!
Now donít tell me thatís breaking Jesusí command to love your enemies and pray for God to bless them. When Jesus said we had to love our enemies He didnít mean weíre supposed to bless their wicked ways and pray they would prosper in their wickedness. He didnít mean we should pray that God would give our foes the means or strength to do even more harm! What I suggest is the same kind of tough love God uses on His own children sometimes. Remember Kind David in II Samuel Chapters 11 and 12? The sweet singer of Israel, he was called. One of the greatest saints of ancient Israel. The type whoíd always be first to file into church and last to leave. David not only sang in the choir, he directed it himself and composed the choirís repertoire. But what happened?
Despite His devotion to God David stole Uriah the Hittiteís wife and then plotted his death. If Davidís moral restoration hadnít involved tough love, the Prophet Nathan might have told him: ďAw...thatís all right, Your Majesty, no sweat, man. Jesus loves you anyway. It doesnít matter what you did, itís all water under the bridge. And if Uriah were still here, heíd just let it go. After all, heís in a far better place now, so maybe you did him a favor by bumping him off. Donít dwell on it. The Lord bless you real good, brother.Ē
David was forgiven but he didnít get off that easy. Lessons had to be learned so he got on the receiving end of Godís tough love. David reaped what he sowed, not because God is a meanie but because the integrity of Godís Holy Law had to be upheld. David was protected from the penalty of his sin: eternal death; but he wasnít spared the temporal consequences of his actions. Bullies, like everyone else, need to learn that life is not a computer game and actions have consequences. They need tough love, not a nod of one-size-fits-all acceptance. Bullies need to learn to be responsible and considerate members of society. Mollycoddling them in the Name of Jesus does them no favor. It does not prepare them for the probability they will go to hell to suffer Godís everlasting vengeance.
Contrary to popular belief, the God of Love does not throw a blanket amnesty over all unrepentant evildoers, any more than He is behind the lenient sentencing of hardened bullies. Denial of Godís justice is denial of His Holiness! In Ezekiel 13:22 God denounces lying prophets who promise the wicked leniency. These popular prophets only strengthened the hands of the wicked to commit further wickedness by telling them God didnít much care what they did, Heíd let them off easy. When a violent criminal knows he has nothing to lose by staying what he is, heíll only sink lower in the sewer of sin.
If possible, switch your child to another school to give the child a fresh start. After the first week or so, get some feedback from his teachers, who can point out any problems. Take any practical measures needed to nip any new problem in the bud before it spirals out of control. If your child is ready for such a thing, get him involved in one or more wholesome extra-curricular activities of his choice, e.g. music or nature club, where he might cultivate solid friendships by working in a group setting with others toward the same worthwhile goal. If your child has any pals or friendly acquaintances in his class, encourage the cultivation of these relationships. You could ask your child to invite a couple of other kids over for a sleepover, barbeque or other happy event.
If you have switched your child to a new school and he is happy there, donít even think of sending him back to the old one! One mother I read about had her severely bullied son transferred to a new school where things went just fine. Then she remembered he would only end up going to the same high school with his former tormentors. So she switched him back in hopes heíd eventually make friends with the bullies.
But the bullies saw this as weak capitulation. Instead of a beating the poor kid, this time they blinded him in an attack! And what justice was meted out to the ringleader? A piddly two yearsí probation! I can picture that young criminal patting himself on the back for pulling that one off!
If keeping your child in school jeopardizes his safety, by all means his safety must come first, even before a conventional education. Remember, God has entrusted YOU, not some government, with this precious life you brought into the world!
If you have the resources and time (especially if youíre a two-parent family who can manage on one income) consider tutoring your child at home. If both of you must work, perhaps you could do this in the evening. Thatís not timidity, thatís common sense. Any smart general will resort to a tactical retreat until he gets reinforcements and can face the enemy again. And consider this: Is the soul any less real than the body? Protecting a childís wounded heart is no different from keeping the weight off a broken leg. Victims of verbal abuse canít just ďsnap out of itĒ. They need time to heal.
In the worst-case scenario, school officials might look the other way and pretend not to notice their school is a haven for bullies. But donít buy unnecessary trouble. Never cross government authorities unless they drag their feet about cracking down on the bullying problem, or otherwise hinder your efforts to protect the well-being of your child. If continuing in a conventional school environment is no longer an option for your child, notify school authorities of your intention to home-school, in accordance with local law. Get expert advice on curriculum content and standards which need to be maintained in enacting your home schooling program, and on helpful resources: e.g. wholesome educational web sites, appropriate text and work books, library resources. If you are deficient in disciplines like math or science, enlist the help of a paid tutor if at all possible. Perhaps youíre lucky enough to have a network of supportive friends or relatives, and some of them have excelled in subjects you never conquered. Maybe one or two of them will gladly lend a hand tutoring your child as his or her contribution to the War Against Bullying.
So be a man (or very strong woman), not a mouse. Donít ever threaten violence or mayhem, but be very assertive ( I Cor. 16:13) Yell, scream if you must, thereís no law against getting loud. Even God gets mad at evil and raises His voice against it (Isaiah 42:13; 58:1; Jeremiah 6:11; Nahum 1:2; Zephaniah 2:3) A woman must be as iron-willed as a man in times of crisis! Donít be too chicken to peep a protest!
Granted, a lot of poor parents canít stay home to teach their kids. Theyíre in a real bind. Theyíre out working all sorts of crazy hours, often moonlighting to survive. The cost of living is way out of control, and millions of harried parents can barely find the time to do the grueling job of overseeing the education of their kids and being there for them with a kiss and a cookie. Many canít even pay for basic child care. A kid left to raise himself makes a poor substitute parent. He is unlikely to teach himself right from wrong or discipline his own behavior. The spiritual consequences of this sad scenario can be disastrous (Prov. 29:15). Inability to be there for the kids is one of the hardest burdens of the working poor in America.