There was this bully ...

I remember I was in grade 4, and this monster of a boy was in grade 6. Everything about him made him stick out, he was large - at least a head taller than I was, in the 'normal' stream (read 'slow'), always had a grubby uniform, and was always pushing and shoving everyone. Literally, all of us were terrified of him. Him and that permanent scowl he had on his face.

I nicked this image off the net, and this
guy's a little fatter than I remember 'my'
bully, but the look is about there. :-) 

It was not something I was premeditating, but on the way up the stairs one day, I couldn't help it - I just decided to push back. No one should be shoving people around and threatening them with physical violence. It was crowded, we were walking towards each other and I shoved back hard.

Of course the shove didn't really hurt him, but the intended insult found it's target. He was taken aback but was almost always looking for a fight, and I just gave him the opportunity. I didn't try to escalate it, but neither was I backing down. I bet he noticed how much smaller I was. A perfect target. Students all around us were looking and I could see the fear in their faces.

He challenged me to a fight: "You want to fight?" Now it was my turn to be taken aback. I hadn't thought this through and this was more than what I was bargaining for. I could take the 'F' words being thrown my way but this guy was huge and I didn't know a thing about defending myself. I literally couldn't fight my way out of a wet paper bag. UNFORTUNATELY, I wasn't in any mood to back off, and I accepted his damn challenge. It was to happen after school and we were to meet at the Assembly Hall.

My friends were truly worried for me. But I told them not to think about it. Hell, I didn't want to think too much about it.

The time came and I remember dreading the walk to the Assembly Hall. I remember quaking in my boots as I faced off with him and dropped my bag on the ground. The sound echoed around us. There was no one around. The other children were going home, and whilst it wasn't really an enclosed place ... no one was looking at us.

He looked incredibly menacing one-to-one, but he wasn't making any moves to come at me. There were still fighting words, and he kept taunting me. But since I knew shit about these things, I just stood where I was. Time seemed to drag on until a prefect came walking by, saw what was happening ... and stopped us. I breathed a sigh of relief - and my heart was tripping as I made my escape.

I thought I was still in for trouble after that event, but you know what? Somehow he and I avoided each other from that day on. He got out of that school about a year after, and I had another two years. But I didn't face any more taunts nor was I threatened by him. Was it just because I stood my ground and showed him I wasn't backing down? Whatever it was, I was fortunate for not getting my face bashed in, and it worked out for the best.

Some issues for discussion
1. Why on earth did teachers not recognise the problem this bully represented? He was definitely a problem but it seemed it was not their job, not their department to look out for the smaller students.
2. Children should not be able to be isolated in areas of the school away from other children.
3. Fights should be reported in by friends. Why didn't the school ensure that friends dob this fight in? (Actually, why didn't they just hide in the bushes and jump the bastard?)
4. Why did I get myself into that situation? It could have ended badly, and I could have not showed up. But I felt compelled ... and we need to question the wisdom of this.
5. If a prefect saw us about to pound on each other, shouldn't he have reported in and escalate it?

Martial Arts Perth

There are many ways to look at this story. I don't advise you to take it as an example of what to do. But you should use it as a learning opportunity to highlight how stupid situations like this can happen in schools.

Colin Wee
Joong Do Kwan Chung Sah Nim
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Rick said…
At least with boys, the situation can result in a fight and be over with (maybe). With girls, it's never so simple.
Colin Wee said…
Thus the reason why we are having this Blogging Carnival in the first place. Physical abuse is easy. It's the verbal/emotional and cyber bullying that need to be highlighted and incorporated under what we do as a MA school. Colin
Ymar Sakar said…
The older and better way was to let two boys fight it out, then the teachers who were standing by watching would come in and break up the fight once one person was clearly dominating the other one. Thus preventing accidents, injuries, etc.

This led to not just the two people involved resolving their differences, but actually gaining respect for each other, and all in the eyes of the adults and their friends.
Colin Wee said…
The problem there is:

o the bully may win thus aggravating the situation
o bullying isn't just physical bullying, it may be emotional or verbal. Nowadays it could be cyber bullying.
o the older way didn't always create a peaceful and productive environment that taught values

There are positives of that simpler world in which you speak. But by and large, in many ways the world is becoming more complex, and children are exposed to a vast amount of information and influences.



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