Imagine your daughter comes home from school, with tears welling in her eyes. She tells you that a group of boys were taunting her on the school bus, to the extent that they placed a condom on her head, twisted her ear, slapped her on the back of her hair, while yelling rude remarks. What goes through your mind? What do you do? Would you resort to the actions of this father?
As a father myself, I can certainly understand his anger and I am curious if the school authority in this district is going to look into the young girl's accusations. I agree that no matter how vexed the father was, he was out of line in threatening school age kids, or anyone for that matter. But is it me, or did I get the vibe from a parent of one of the boys the father confronted, that the accusations did not matter? I mean, I agree kids will be kids in regards to taunting and teasing. But placing an open condom on the head of your classmate accompanied with the physical aggression is on another level.
So what is a parent to do in these situations? Specifically what is a parent to do in these situations to help prepare their children to effectively deal with bullying, parents of today never faced? Next week, I will discuss this in another post, with a review of a fascinating book I am currently reading.
This week, I would like readers to listen to a radio interview on the BAM! Radio network. The interview hosted by Dr. Regina Rei Lamourelle with Dr. Jackson Katz and myself is a discussion on the topic "Understanding boys who abuse girls." On the show, Dr. Lamourelle, Dr. Katz and I discuss warning signs parents and adults should look for in boys who are physically abusive towards girls.
Considering the feelings of anger, I have towards the boys who harassed their classmate on the school bus, it is important to remember that kids who engage in bullying behaviors have thoughts and feelings too, and while it is important to reach out and help educate students on the receiving end of bullying. It also helps to reach out and educate the aggressors as well.
I do sincerely hope that the school authority looks in this girl's accusations, and if she was indeed bullied in the manner described on that school bus, her bulling peers should receive consequences, and be mandated to receive therapeutic help. If a group of thirteen year olds are ganging up to beat up and place open condoms on one of their peers' head, what will they be doing in three to four years?
Ugo Uche is a Licensed Professional Counselor who specializes in adolescents and young adults.