The Blame Game- Who Is Responsible for the Bully
The Blame Game- Who is Responsible for the Bully? Abstract You hear the sad stories on your local and even national news, kids who pay the ultimate price for being the victim of bullying, death. Many stories gain nationwide popularity like the story of Jamey Rodemeyer, an openly gay fourteen year old who hanged himself due to the torment he could no longer take from his bullies. Another infamous story is that of Florida teen Seath Jackson, who was brutally beaten and shot to death by his tormentors all because his ex-girlfriend had a new boyfriend who didn’t like him.
Hearing stories like these often makes people wonder if there wasn’t more that could have been done to stop the bullies’ behaviors. It’s not just the bully themselves who is responsible for their actions. Many say it is the school teachers and official’s duty to notice a problem and report it.
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While this is true and in most cases they do, schools can only see and do so much. Parents and a child’s home life have the most influence over children’s behavior. Most children bully others because it’s a learned behavior and they are repeating actions they have learned in their own homes.
Although it’s often difficult for them to admit, parents need to recognize their responsibilities in raising a bully and take a proactive approach towards stopping bully behavior in children and teens. The Blame Game- Who is Responsible for the Bully? Almost every time you turn on CNN or Fox News you hear about another heartbreaking incident of bullying. They are usually horrific stories mainly focused on the victims. Many of these tragic stories gain nationwide exposure like the suicide of Jamey Rodemeyer. A fourteen year old who was found hanged in his parents’ West New York home in 2009.
The news reported that the openly gay teen committed “bullycide” because he couldn’t take the constant bullying and anti-gay remarks he received from his classmates. That’s not even the worst part. After Rodemeyer’s death, his sixteen year old sister was even harassed for her brother’s sexuality. While attending her school prom the bullies yelled anti-gay slurs at her and even said her brother was better off dead. It’s sad that even death couldn’t stop Rodemeyer’s bullying. The murder of Florida teen Seath Jackson is another example of a gut wrenching story and how heartless and cruel kids can be.
After a text message from his ex-girlfriend lured the teen over to her home, sixteen year old Jackson was greeted by a group of five of his peers. The group included his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend who, prior to this incident, had been open about his hatred towards Jackson many times around their peers. When Jackson arrived at his ex’s home, the teens immediately struck him in the head, shot him multiple times and broke his knee caps in an attempt to squeeze his body into a sleeping bag. Once they heard Jackson moan the teens realized he wasn’t dead, so they shot him again, this time in the head.
They then took him out back and burned his body in the back yard and scrapped his ashes into paint cans to try to cover up the murder. Jackson died senselessly because his ex-girlfriends and her new boyfriend didn’t like him. These horrific stories of bullying lead many to want to place blame on someone for the bully’s actions. Of course, the child should be held accountable for their actions however; they are still children themselves and learned to behave so cruelly from someone. In the sue happy society we live in today, parents of the victims are looking to place blame on more than just the child.
It’s obvious school officials and teachers play a role in preventing bullying. According to D. D’Amico (2011), more schools are increasing their responsibilities in the fight against bullying by attempting to directly deal with the bully and their behavior. Most states have an anti-bully law in effect which makes it mandatory for schools to have a “Bully Policy” in effect. This means, most schools have an appointed person or “coordinator” to deal with any reported bullying directly. This is usually done by the school launching an investigation of the reported of bullying.
If the investigation finds that the child was indeed bullying a peer, the school while mandate counseling for both the bully and the victim, as well as contact both parties’ parents. While there are cases where this type of prevention has been effective, Kalman (2009), argues that the schools anti-bullying policies make the victim of the bully look like a “snitch. ” He also reports that the bully usually feels angrier, not remorseful, towards the victim for getting him or her into trouble. Another fault in attempting to place responsibility on the school is time and class size.
While teachers may notice and report a problem with a bully, they simply cannot concentrate all their time and effort on disciplining and refereeing the bully when they can have up to twenty other students at a time that they are responsible for. Teachers and school officials only have a portion of the day to work with the child or teen who is displaying the bully behavior. They can only do so much. They can’t monitor what the bully does when the school bell rings and they leave school property, or what type of environment or rules that child has at home.
Many factors can determine why a child becomes a bully. Marano (1995), admits mental disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Emotional Disorder (ED) can lead to aggression and bully behavior, these factors are not usually the main reason why children become bullies. In most cases the bully displays learned behaviors from the home. Children who bully or have violent behavior are often just repeating what they see in their home life. “In other words, bullies are made not born. ” (Marano, 1995, para. 25).
If most bully behavior is learned, then we must place the responsibility on the parents to teach their children the correct and appropriate way to behave and treat others. As difficult as it may be for a parent to hear that their child is a bully, it’s even harder for parents to take a good look at their home life and realize they may be contributing to the child’s behavior problems. It’s imperative that parents take action and responsibility to correct their child’s behavior. Some of the parents of the attackers in the Seath Jackson murder blamed violent video games for their children’s horrible actions.
While it’s true, kids these days have easy access to violent video games and movies, it a poor excuse for a parent to try and blame their child’s behavior on violent entertainment when ultimately, the parent should have control over what their child is watching or the video games they play. If that is going to be their excuse and their child displays negative or violent behavior as a result of the violent entertainment they are watching, then the parents are just as responsible for their child’s actions.
Maybe if those parents would have kept a closer eye on the things their kids watched, Seath Jackson would still be here today. The sad truth is, the attackers in the Seath Jackson case probably learned their violent behavior from their home environment, not the television. All though the bully themselves needs to be held accountable for their actions, according to Ross (1996), parents also need to take an active role in modifying their child’s bully behavior. Bullies often use name calling as one of their favorite forms to pick on their peers.
Parents need to be cognitive of the language they use in the home. This is especially true for young children who are very impressionable because of their young age. Parents who use gay or racial slurs around their children teach them to notice and single out others who may be different by using those inappropriate types of slurs. Parents have a huge impact on their child’s behavior and it is their parental duty to recognize if their child is a bully and take the appropriate measures to correct their child’s behavior.
Anger management, family counseling or seeking professional psychological help are a few options for families to work together to address their child behavior issues. (Health Refrence Center Academic, 2011). The more parents and society recognize the importance of correcting child’s bully behavior in the home and at an early age, the less we will hear of cases like Jamey Rodemeyer and Seath Jackson. Parents cannot just sit back and use the excuse that their child’s bully behavior is a phase or is a result of media violence.
The fact is, bully behavior is learned, which can be good news because that means it can be easily prevented. Parents need to have a proactive approach in teaching their kids how to empathize with their peers, treat others with respect, and most importantly, set a good example for their children in the home. References D’Amico, D. (2011, August 12).