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kids these days
February 9, 2003 7:38 PM   Subscribe

On top of being a teenager, on top of surviving cancer, on top of losing a leg to that cancer, 13-year-old Lacey Henderson, formerly of East Denver's Hill Middle School, had to suffer death threats and epithets because of her condition. This is just sick.
posted by donkeyschlong (55 comments total)

 
No, it's obvious.

Teenagers: Mean. Duh.
posted by Stan Chin at 7:45 PM on February 9, 2003


I've seen the usual schoolyard cruelty, but this goes way the hell beyond that. What in the world is going on here? If I even thought about threatening a handicapped kid my parents would've slapped me silly and rightly so. I remember a kid with cancer who collapsed out near the smoking area at my highschool and 15 leather jacketed stoners went to bring him to his feet.

What the hell has changed in 15 years?
posted by jonmc at 7:46 PM on February 9, 2003


I'll have to agree. As much as it seems really awful that kids would draw pictures of her with one leg, are they supposed to be drawing pictures of her with two legs instead? Or is she supposed to be treated differently because she's disabled? While that's not really the point, and the normal shit kids put each other through is totally different from what ended up happening, it's simply a fact tha kids will be bastards to each other because they can, and they think it's fun. And unfortunately, it's those of us who are weaker that get the brunt of it.

The difference between what this article cites and the way things were when I was growing up is that now things get done about bullying and it makes the news.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:48 PM on February 9, 2003


Agree with SpaceCoyote. I bet half of us on here have dealt with this, or worse. (I think I've already made reference to the warm rain of spit that would descend on my sister and I daily on leaving the school bus.)

My heart goes out to her, of course, of course, but she should take strength in the fact that her tribulations made the paper when those of so very many others go unremarked upon.

Just out of curiosity, how far is east Denver from Littleton?
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:58 PM on February 9, 2003


Don't be surprised. This is how bullying works: any difference, any sign of weakness, is considered a valid target.
posted by mcwetboy at 8:07 PM on February 9, 2003


Lacey Henderson has spent one day at her new school, Dora Moore, a K-8 school - and so far, so good...

so far so good until the denver post ran a story about where she transferred to.
posted by suprfli at 8:07 PM on February 9, 2003


Just out of curiosity, how far is east Denver from Littleton?

I don't even need to look at a map to tell that it's not far at all.
posted by jjg at 8:18 PM on February 9, 2003


So funny... the kids where I used to teach carried weaponry of all kinds, came from horrific home and (in many cases) lack of home situations, had police and jail record- you know. Typical urban 'high minority' school (that is what the PC folks on the school board call black schools). Yet, our special education and disabled students were treated with the utmost respect and in cases where it might be warranted (extreme MR, or the like) utmost care. Huge thuggaz would publicly embarrass any punk-ass freshman who dared make any kind of 'tard references.
I see what you are saying, mcwetboy, but I can't believe that a sense of privilege doesn't come into play here. I have seen my share of nasty suburban kids conduct themselves in piggish and disgusting ways, all with a sense that they could because they drove new SUV's in high school, and wore overpriced Abercrummy sweaters.
posted by oflinkey at 8:22 PM on February 9, 2003


i'm sorry, this is over the line behaviour that you can't just sum up and then dismiss with teenagers=mean. some people are the scum of the earth and some of them happen to be teenagers, but most kids are relatively decent people. in my experience kids are more likely to rally around a sick or disabled student, not torment them into changing schools.
posted by t r a c y at 8:23 PM on February 9, 2003


Teenagers: Stereotyped. Duh.

I hope Stan was being sarcastic. It doesn't help a situation when you have a small group of people who are acting in an abhorent manner and you just place the blame on their entire age group.

Teenagers will be teenagers, after all...
posted by botono9 at 8:28 PM on February 9, 2003


This story reminds me, though, of why I'm ever so glad I was never a teenaged girl. Boys get into fights and shit, sure... but girls can get downright nasty. Boys pick on each other physically. Girls do it emotionally. I'd rather have the physical scars, thanks.

All said with the broadest of brushes, of course.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:37 PM on February 9, 2003


I'm with jonmc on this one. Back in school there were a lot of people who got picked on, but cancer survivors weren't in that lot. Especially one-legged cancer survivors who are extremely physically active, that's just extraordinarily cool.

This is why we must have regime change in Iraq!
posted by mosch at 8:43 PM on February 9, 2003


"We have begun the long road to healing," said varsity-football starting halfback Jason LeClaire, 18, a popular senior who on Aug. 16 returned to the school for the first time since the shooting. "We're bouncing back, more committed than ever to ostracizing those who are different."
posted by homunculus at 8:47 PM on February 9, 2003


I'd have trouble saying most people are decent, let alone most kids.

botono9, the hormonal fluctuations that a teenager goes through would cause you to become far more anti-social and hateful than you currently are if you were to experience them right now.

Personally I think there's more to the story here. I'd ask both sides whether there were any trigger events - some prompting reasons that started the hostilities. 'Could be this was a return salvo that snowballed out of control due to the recipient's unfortunate situation.

Otherwise, yeah, this is simply devour the weakest pack behavior. Those of you with pet rats may have noticed they almost NEVER show signs of being in pain - instinctive behavioural adaptation for this very reason. It's not so easy to never show pain in social settings however.
posted by Ryvar at 8:49 PM on February 9, 2003


This article leaves me with a sick feeling. I remember pretty clearly being an active participant in harassing one of the girls on my junior high bus route. I don't think we ever spit on her, but the verbal abuse we poured on her was cruel and relentless.

And even at the very moments I was one of the jeering yelling yahoos, I knew it was wrong. But I did it anyway. Why?

Because I was utterly terrified that it could be me instead of her. I grew up a fat kid and I knew real well what a likely target I could be.

Which excuses nothing, of course. I also had to know just how much damage we were doing to her. I've often wondered since how many other of our little "gang" of bullies might have felt the same way.

I've often hoped that some day I would run into this woman and recognize her, so I could offer my apologies - even if it would likely earn me her foot planted solidly in my boys.
posted by John Smallberries at 9:01 PM on February 9, 2003


Forget the kids - what the hell is wrong with the teachers at her school?

...one using her as an example of the vocabulary word "amputation," and another referring to her as a "one-legger"...

That's not death threats, but, coming from a teacher, it's hardly going to inspire a respectful attitude from her peers.

Something else also struck me:

...she rock-climbs, snowboards, skateboards, plays volleyball and soccer, and is an extreme skier. When she walks across the room, she seems physically perfect.

I wonder if this has anything to do with it. Where I come from, being different and being an over-achiever are equally likely to lead to victimisation.
posted by riddley at 9:06 PM on February 9, 2003


When she walks across the room, she seems physically perfect.

This little condescension alone nauseated me. Believe me, I'm not being PC when I say she already is "physically perfect". Or do all my brethern'n'sistern with the full complement of limbs "rock-climb, snowboard, skateboard, play volleyball and soccer, and extreme-ski"?
posted by adamgreenfield at 9:24 PM on February 9, 2003


She sounds like a good kid. Bad kids hate good kids. Get a cluster of these and they'll just egg each other on and the situation will escalate.

But this is no fun. Let's blame the victim! I wonder who she told on. I wonder who's boyfriend she was seen flirting with. I wonder who she first publically corrected in front of the class. Surely the first move was hers.
posted by wobh at 9:34 PM on February 9, 2003


[wild guess]

Maybe, given the physical bullying known to boys and the emotional taunting girls excel at is a clue about this situation.

Boy bullies maintain restraint against bullying physically crippled kids, because there's really no schoolyard honor or sport in it. Also, the girls would probably voice their sympathy for the handicapped in this situation, so the boys back off pummeling them and move on to more physically able loser guys. Personally I remember all the bullies beating the crap out of the mentally disabled kid, and mostly leaving the guy with one arm alone (except when they couldn't find the other kid).

Girls bullies however, would probably have little restraint for a physically disabled but mentally sharp target.
posted by Stan Chin at 9:38 PM on February 9, 2003


Actually then again, thinking back some more, bullies pretty much taunted/beat everyone weaker. Nevermind.

Also, I have to brazenly say that this girl's circumstances do not absolve her from being bullied like the rest of us probably were. It seems she makes considerable effort to maintaining a normal life, and unfortunately -- being picked on is part of normal teenage life. Don't expect just the good parts of social life when you claim it, you're gonna get it all. So I again say that teenagers (bullies): mean (and specifically, lack sympathy)
posted by Stan Chin at 10:00 PM on February 9, 2003


Comparing what Lacey went through to "normal" bullying isn't minimizing it at all. It's acknowledging how bad bullying is. This article is a rare look at the kind of stuff schools normally dismiss as kids being kids, that doesn't get written up in the paper.

Except Stan Chin. I think arguing that not wanting to be mistreated is hypocritical for someone who wants a normal life is indeed minimizing it.
posted by transona5 at 10:19 PM on February 9, 2003


I read this story several days ago. After reading it, I felt good about group human behavoir and was amazed by the girl's character and spirit. This story balanced the karma, in a bad way.
posted by obedo at 10:27 PM on February 9, 2003


This story is extraordinarily sad, but not particularly shocking. Bullies will always target a kid who stands out and it doesn't particularly matter why they stand out. Aren't there some sob stories about Mousekateers who return to school only to be teased for their fame?

It was my observation that the kids who were always the victims of chronic bullying were the ones who were easily provocable. Reactionary strategies almost always fail. Running to the teacher shows weakness. Fighting back only works if you're capable of producing an unquestionable defeat (in which case the bully wouldn't have targeted you in the first place.) Pretending to ignore them will inspire less ignorable attacks.

No, the confrontation has to be immediate, rational and calm. I found this article that summarized my old schoolyard strategy very well.

One has to wonder where people who are shocked by this stuff grew up. Things like Columbine and the recent (non) revelations about female bullying have made bullying a temporary media pet topic, but eventually it'll all fall back to being ignored by the adult world again.
posted by Skwirl at 11:42 PM on February 9, 2003


8th grade is, at least in my experience, sort of the worst year for this sort of group bullying. However, not only shouldn't it be this way, it doesn't have to be that way. A set of vigilant teachers can easily minimize this sort of behavior. It reads (to me) like the teachers just weren't sensitive to the whole situation.
Of course, I am basing this on one article, so what do I know?
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:57 PM on February 9, 2003


The female-bullying media frenzy was exactly the last thing the anti-bullying movement needed - stereotypes about "catty" girls distracting from the real issue and cementing the impression that having a few two-faced "friends" is about as bad as peer-abuse ever gets.

Jon Katz is the only one who gets it.
posted by transona5 at 12:21 AM on February 10, 2003


Uh...

Bullying builds character. I suspect there is a correlation between resistance to bullying (not popularity or physical/mental superiority, but ability to mitigate bullying) and successful operation in any competitive environment.

This is not to say that excessive bullying should go unpunished. However, the things described in the article are, while highly cruel in application to a nominally disabled person, neither unusual nor threatening. The girl herself is described as nothing short of superior in health or intelligence, so she should be able to ward off such attacks.

In adult life we encounter bullying on a grandiosely more massive scale, and what is to teach us to resist it but this?
posted by azazello at 1:19 AM on February 10, 2003


John Smallberries, you really just made my day.

I was actively bullied 'till grade 11, when I when to a different school and met up with a set of new friends who are still good friends to this day. We basically got involved with a few special activities at the school and insulated ourselves from the rat pack (not hard to do when members of your group have keys ;-)

I always wondered what a former schoolyard bully would feel like today and I appreciate you having shared your feelings on it.

I think the whole experience has ended up having a positive effect on my life, though, as my life motto is, as Frank Sinatra would put it, "I did it my way". Being an individual is important, and I paid my price to be one. And, although at the time I doubted it, I now see it was worth it. Strangely enough the result seems to be that I've not yet found an MBTI test that worked (They all seem to swap between ISTP and INTJ depending on what time of day I do them).

Oh, and if Jon Katz gets it, I know a kid in the middle of wartorn Iraq with a C64 that would like to talk with you. ;-)
posted by shepd at 1:40 AM on February 10, 2003


Sorry, azazello, but that's nonsense. There's little in adult civil life - corporate, social, romantic even - that comes anything close in magnitude to the viciousness of 8th-graders.

I've held my own in seas of sharks corporate, military, ethical, and criminal. I've faced down junkies, stalkers, power-drunk first sergeants, frankly delusional ex-girlfriends, cheap-ass manipulative bosses, cut-throat Japanese salarymen on their way up, even lawyers. None of 'em, none, posed anything like the threat to my psyche or soma that a bunch of insulated privilege-mad scumbags did in my early adolescence.

Can you tell I'm not entirely over it - me, a reasonably happy, successful, fulfilled, lucky, grateful guy? This shit leaves scars and the scars never entirely heal. I cannot imagine what good has come of any of these experiences.
posted by adamgreenfield at 2:02 AM on February 10, 2003


adamgreenfield, I think if you re-read what you just typed, you've answered your own question.
posted by shepd at 2:29 AM on February 10, 2003


I am fairly appalled by the few posters who seem to think that bullying of this level (or any level) is just what teenagers do to one another and should be in any way tolerated. I was bullied throughout school from elementary school on through high school. I was smaller than my classmates, got better grades and therefore a "geek" or "nerd", I wasn't athletic, and I was sickly. Therefore, I was fair game. It was bad, but luckily I was strong willed enough to be able to either ignore it or fight back. That doesn't mean that it didn't hurt like hell, and as someone above said ... left some scars on my psyche. All the same, it wasn't at the level that bullies today seem to be taking it to, and I think that is an important distinction. Only one person in all those years said they wanted me dead and that they would kill me, and only a decade ago, this same girl stabbed her boyfriend 47 times because he wouldn't give her his car keys. Serious threats need to be taken seriously. Sure, they might not do it now, but it might be a sign of things to come. Some sort of counseling might be in order.

It still scares me when I think back to a few years before she killed that man. I had run into her at a nightclub, after not having seen her since high school (about 8 years), and the first thing she did was walk up to me and try to beat me up.

It's just not about kids being kids anymore. It's not about someone saying your mom wears combat boots or that your nose is too big or calling you "toothpick girl" anymore. Kids threatening physical harm to other kids is dangerous business.
posted by Orb at 2:57 AM on February 10, 2003


What, you think that the harrassment and ostracism "toughened me up"? I don't believe so.

Of course, nobody ever really has access to the depths of their motivations, their wellsprings of strength or Achilles' heels. But if you ask me, I do believe the one is independent of the other. I just don't buy the facile explanation. YMMV, though.
posted by adamgreenfield at 3:00 AM on February 10, 2003


May all of our children be forged in cruelty; may they be viciously hammered to perfect hardness, so that they may succeed in the brutal world we have carefully prepared for them.

Sheesh. What a strange place to look for a silver lining.

Whatever strength gives young people the ability to endure, that same strength can be called upon at any time - there is no benefit to pre-adulthood workouts - it's not muscle - it's spiritual reserve, and reserves get drained.
posted by Opus Dark at 3:23 AM on February 10, 2003


I was bullied and for years carried the emotional scars.

I detest the double standard that says "kids will be kids" when referring to behavior that would get an adult thrown into jail or fired.

There are plenty of things in life that are character building but bullying does not need to be one of them.
posted by konolia at 3:55 AM on February 10, 2003


I don't think anyone who had to endure it has ever gotten over it.
posted by mcwetboy at 4:50 AM on February 10, 2003


No, it's obvious. Teenagers: Mean. Duh. posted by Stan Chin at 10:45 PM EST on February 9
and thus is the tradition carried forward. this is one of my pet peeves, and allthough many have said so already here, i wanted to weigh in. "kids will be kids" is an adult justification for enjoying the vicarious cruelty in which they themselves can no longer legally engage. well, fuck your 'kids will be kids'. kids will be whatever adults allow them to be. if, beginning in pre-school, kids exhibiting violent, cruel or ANY anti-social bullying behavior were immediately removed and the family required to address the problem through counseling before readmission, you would see this bullshit stop in a generation or two. instead, we teach our kids extreme competitiveness and encourage disgusting behavior by shrugging and saying "kids will be kids. duh."
posted by quonsar at 5:34 AM on February 10, 2003


Fighting back only works if you're capable of producing an unquestionable defeat (in which case the bully wouldn't have targeted you in the first place.)

I didn't understand this, attempted to fight back, and as a result my 8th-grade year was a horror. I was continually bullied and mocked until I became very much like a cornered animal, vicious and hostile to anyone who came near me. By midyear I was being "monitored" by the staff, who were afraid I was becoming schizophrenic.

It would have been nice if they'd turned their attention to the assholes who were bullying me, or offered me any advice other than "just ignore them and they'll stop." Because, as Skwirl pointed out, they don't stop.
posted by Tholian at 5:34 AM on February 10, 2003


Konolia, I too was bullied from the first grade right through until my sophomore year in high school. By the time I was fifteen I'd tried to commit suicide, been in and out of psychotherapy, and generally tried to find ways to hide whenever I could. Friends dropped me so as not to be targets themselves. Finally, my sophomore year in high school, I began to realize that the more outrageous I became (as in as goth as possible), the more I could control what was said about me. This was in the late '80's, and it took me about ten years (7 in therapy) to finally let go the bitterness and anger over it, and regain my self-esteem.

My teachers knew, but the majority let it continue, even in class. I had threats of violence, crap left in/on my locker, and even nasty drawings circulated around the school and posted in bathrooms. I begged my parents to send me to private school, but they couldn't afford it. I used to dream of being transferred to a new school, but in my small town, there were no alternatives.

The "kids will be kids" attitude is bullshit. It wasn't until I tried to commit suicide that people (other than my parents, who tried their best to be supportive) began to take notice. Sometimes I think it's a miracle I made it through school at all. No kid should have to deal with it. Period. Some "ribbing" is one thing, we all go through it, but when it becomes harrassment, something should be done.
posted by greengrl at 5:47 AM on February 10, 2003


Just out of curiosity, how far is east Denver from Littleton?

Littleton isn't east of denver, it's south. Littleton is about 15-20 minutes south of denver, depending on the traffic.
posted by Stynxno at 6:10 AM on February 10, 2003


Reality check: The bullying as described in the article is not even really happening. The mother is creating the posts and email and so on. There is no "underground" group of eight to 10 girls.

That doesn't mean that bullying doesn't happen, we know it does. But in this case the mom is pulling some crap.
posted by johnnydark at 6:50 AM on February 10, 2003


Forget the kids - what the hell is wrong with the teachers at her school?

...one using her as an example of the vocabulary word "amputation," and another referring to her as a "one-legger"...


When I was in middle school, one of my teachers asked a girl who was a tiny bit crossed eyed if she needed a seeing eye dog when she asked to go to the bathroom. The same teacher would reguarly tease an overwieght kid in my class, commenting once that he "was sure that he has gotten enough food that thanksgiving." And those are just a few of his comments.

To echo what others have said, this article leaves me with an awful feeling -- and reminds me of some school years I'd almost rather forget.
posted by katherine at 6:55 AM on February 10, 2003


Not that it would justify the treatment that this girl was receiving, but I think there might be something missing from the story. Kids teasing and goofing on someone that is handicapped is nothing new ( and still reprehensible), but it seems odd for the girl to receive death threats about just being handicapped. Obviously, there's no "deserving of bullying" scale to compare to, but something seems off (or at least still unexplained...)
posted by stifford at 7:02 AM on February 10, 2003


Reality check: The bullying as described in the article is not even really happening. The mother is creating the posts and email and so on. There is no "underground" group of eight to 10 girls.
and you simply forgot to provide support for this stunning allegation? are you local to the story? what else do you know? and how do you know it, please. on preview: i too feel there is something going unsaid in the story, stifford.
posted by quonsar at 7:04 AM on February 10, 2003


To clear up any misunderstanding, I've suffered through my share of bullying during a period of my life, and I've always felt myself something of a misfit, so I by no means condone bullying of any sort. All I was saying is that even bullies that I've known in my life wouldn't go after a handicapped kid, at least the ones I knew. It just seems so bizarre. I just have to wonder about the parents of these idiot kids.

Also, and I'm not "blaming the media," mind you, since I know shit like this has gone on since the beginning of time. But lately we do seem to swimming in a culture that glorifies ruthless back stabbing and brainless conformity (Survivor, American Idol) and stupidity and cruelty disguised as outrageousness (Jackass, shock jocks). I remember listening to one morning show where they played something called "Retard Christmas" which featured a down syndrome voice singing about fries and burgers to the turn of an Xmas song whose title escapes me. I remeber being disgusted. I enjoy raw humor myself sometimes, but let's reserve it for people who 1) deserve a little ribbing and 2) can fight back on their own.

I'm not saying this crap causes bullying, but when we give it tacit approval with our ratings, it dosen't help...
posted by jonmc at 7:24 AM on February 10, 2003


I noticed something that seemed odd. The bullying didn't seem to be focused on her being an amputee--instead, that was the defense--that she shouldn't be bullied *because* she's an amputee.

How much sympathy (in cruel Colorado) do ordinary kids get when they are bullied by the school favorites, the jocks, the successful kids? Must kids have a "protected status" before school administrators stop bullying?

Schools are all too willing to show *individual* favorites advantages, but when they clamp down, it's always on everybody, "equally." In other words, they don't suspend a jock for beating up a kid, but they will ban the game 'tag', "because it encourages bullying!"
posted by kablam at 7:37 AM on February 10, 2003


BTW, regarding Littleton etc...Hill Middle School is in my neighborhood (I know the principal pretty well.) It's nothing like the suburbs. It's a racially mixed semi-tough place. I'm surprised at this, because I usually observe a lot more bullying in the suburban schools. Denver Public Schools has a very diverse population, so it seems to me that that contributes to more tolerance and less exclusion due to physical appearence, sexual orientation etc.

Middle school kids, though, can be a cruel bunch.
posted by kozad at 8:14 AM on February 10, 2003


It's the teachers who are the worst here - it's hard to predict or stop bullying by kids, but the insensitive remarks of the teachers would show me this wasn't an environment I wanted my child in.
posted by agregoli at 9:41 AM on February 10, 2003


Greengrl, my school was a private school. I was teased worse in there than in any public school. So don't think that would have gotten you out of it, unless it's a military school. Even then, it probably won't make a bit of difference. What might surprise you is that I'd have more luck getting my hands on drugs or stolen goods in that private school than in any public school. Why? Money == get anything you want. And a lot of those students took it to extremes.

azazello, I was referring more to the fact that resisting the bullies has given you the ability to resist these lesser evils. Many would have simply "followed the leader" when confronted with goons like that, but you've chosen not to.

I'm not condoning bullying, just saying that those who play through the pain are much more likely to show a strong sense of individuality. Perhaps that was there to start with, I don't know.
posted by shepd at 10:27 AM on February 10, 2003


I've often hoped that some day I would run into this woman and recognize her, so I could offer my apologies - even if it would likely earn me her foot planted solidly in my boys.

Which it would have. Although mostly I'm happy in the knowledge that the bullies that made my early teens years seem like hell on earth, are zero-prospect illiterate unemployed skag heads still stuck in a dead end shit-hole.

OK, so that's just a reassuring fantasy, but you know, whatever keeps you going...
posted by inpHilltr8r at 10:55 AM on February 10, 2003


bullies that made my early teens years seem like hell on earth, are zero-prospect illiterate unemployed skag heads still stuck in a dead end shit-hole.

I wish, for me some now work in law enforcement.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:59 AM on February 10, 2003


Dehumanizing institutions result in inhumane behavior. If you treat people like animals they will act like animals. Why this is not obvious to everyone I can't imagine. Bullying has little or nothing to do with age, and nothing to do with the media. Bullying is a natural byproduct of a truly evil school system (as well as other institutions — when I was locked up for being suicidal at 14, my roommate threw me against the wall and tried to strangle me for no reason that I can recall; the staff just told me that I 'needed to work on my social skills.' Presumably they felt my life would be enriched by friendships with psychotic homicidal teenage drug addicts.)

Of course it does continue through the rest of life, but once you are out of school, you can leave.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 12:44 PM on February 10, 2003


Bullying builds character.

This girl survived cancer, and had one of her legs amputated! Don't you think she's had enough "character building" for the moment? Sure, we learn from the hard parts of life, but too much of it will just deplete you of any strength at all... She struck me as quite a strong person, who hadn't let the bullying bother her for quite some time, but who has eventually seen that there's gotta be a better way. Like that 20/20 story shows, it's clear that there's no absolute rule that those who are different will suffer for it. And you can be unpopular in school without getting death threats.

Seems to me that following authority is the root of the problem in a way - like those Milgram obedience tests showed, if certain individuals are seen as the authority, people will do truly cruel things when directed by them. In high school, the system of authority among students is determined not by skills or capabilities of production, but only by who stands up and takes charge. Thus tyrannical people with no insight or capacity to help others may end up determining action of many other students, who follow because "that's how it is around here". I think just a few mean spirited controlling types can really have an impact because of the majority's willingness to just fit in, no matter what they're fitting in to.
posted by mdn at 2:03 PM on February 10, 2003


I don't think anyone who had to endure it has ever gotten over it.

at 36 years old, i'm still working on it.
posted by deborah at 6:52 PM on February 10, 2003


apollonia6: I was being sarcastic.
posted by ZupanGOD at 5:01 AM on February 11, 2003


I'm just about thirty and I've pretty much recovered from my childhood bullying. I don't know how well I've recovered from my own bullying (see above) but at some point in there I learned to handle myself around other people. The "teaseproof" article Skwirl linked to is spot on. I got through high school reletively unscathed because of similiar stratagems I developed on my own. I wish I had known earlier but there's no use beating myself up over something I didn't know.

SImiliarly I eventually learned not to transfer my own problems onto others and I ended my own bullying. I still tease people but it's in a very different spirit, more like the teacher in the love and logic article suddenly telling the kids to get into their "cool" pose. One thing I know is that everyone has a bully in them. People will constantly try your cool, like predators looking for the weak and sick and culling them from the herd.

It makes me wonder about the earliest days of our species if this sort of culling was still going on. A cro magon child transported to today, might grow up to be physically normal looking but lack some subtle brain development to deal well with the social pressures we have been putting on each other for the last fifty thousand years.
posted by wobh at 6:46 AM on February 11, 2003


This article left me wondering if this girl has no friends at all. There's nothing like the support of even two or three other kids to deflect bullying - bullies can't as easily pick on a whole crowd and the support and companionship of her friends would make it seem pretty unimportant anyway. It seems odd to me that Lacey would be so isolated, especially when she's cute and so athletic - definite aids to popularity from what I've seen.
posted by orange swan at 7:42 AM on February 11, 2003


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