It’s been a roller coaster fortnight for me. Last week I had all the heavy metal thrills of going to the Download Festival, this week my wife and I have received news that her mother has been sectioned by social services for 28 days. Naturally, this has had a devastating effect on my wife and I’m doing my best to support her. However, it hasn’t left me time to write and at the weekend, we’ll be heading North to Grimsby to see my mother in law. Thank you all for your patience and hopefully, things will return to normal next week.
Anytime I learn of a bullying injustice, I always highlight it here on Peaceful Rampage and add my two pennies worth to the story. Those who have followed me for a while are probably aware of this. Well, it saddens me to say, but it has happened again. This time it happened in the world of American Football. A youth team coach got his team together and told them bullying would not be tolerated on the team. After his talk, it was pointed out to him that one of his players was still bullying. In true football fashion, the coach made the player concerned run extra laps, a common sanction in football where players are sometimes made to do extra running when they drop a pass, miss a blocking assignment or a tackle and so on. I know, I did my fair share of running when I played. After the bullying player, finished running his laps, the coach congratulated him for doing so without complaining, another coaching technique in the sport.
One would think that that would have been the end of it, right? No, the coach, who was a volunteer, was told by the team’s governing body that he was fired as coach over the incident. One member of the board asked him what qualifications he had to handle such a thing like bullying. The coach responded, “I’m a parent.” As a result, the team is now without a coach and now the coach along with several other parents, have pulled their own children off the team. For the full story, click the link below:
Is this another victory for the bullies? I would say yes and am backed up by the fact that a mother of one of the other boys pulled her son off the team, citing that the governing body is saying that bullying is okay. It also nullifies everything the coach told the team about bullying not being tolerated because now, you can and if any of the coaches step in to end it, they themselves will be dismissed.
While I don’t mention it much in “He Was Weird,” I did experience some bullying when I played football in the town where the story is based. The worse case was when two teammates ripped my personal jersey and basically got away with it because the one boy was the son of the varsity coach. However, like Mark in the story, the worst bullying came when I quit the varsity team a year later. In the eyes of many adults, I had brought it on myself because I quit the team. Really, do you think I did?
I have said from day one, that bullying is something that should never be tolerated. True, it will never be eradicated but then it never will be if those who try to take steps against bullying are the ones who are punished for it.
To buy He Was Weird, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1476096400&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird
Normally, I don’t agree with most of the things printed in the British newspaper, “The Sun.” However, last week there was an article in it that not only caught my attention but made me quite angry. The article was about a man who confronted a ten year old boy who had been bullying his son and daughter. The bullying was so bad, that the son needed hospital attention for his broken wrist and the daughter came home nearly every day in tears as a result.
Doing what the vast majority of parents would do, the father went in to the school to address the bullying his children were suffering. Unfortunately, this attempt and a number of furhter attempts did nothing to effect the bullying. One day, he saw his children’s bully and confronted him. According to reports, the father put his face right in the face of the ten year old boy and yelled at him, threatening the boy if he didn’t stop bullying his kids.
The parents of the boy called the police and the father was duly arrested and charged. Funny thing is that when the father approached the police over his children’s bullying, they said they couldn’t do anything as it was a ‘school matter.’ Anyway, to make a long story short, the father had to plead guilty for using threatening language and was fined £120, plus £85 court costs and another £20 victim surcharge. To add insult to injury, the father now faces losing his career as a midwife because he now has a criminal record. What this leaves me to conclude that this is yet another victory for the bullies!
Sure, the father probably went too far in addressing this matter but he was only trying to protect his children. I also think the magistrate was more than a little condescending when he told the father:
‘It is ironic that you were complaining about bullying when your own behaviour was clearly bullying.
My belief and I don’t think I’m alone here is that had the school and police done something about the bullying in the first place, instead of declaring it to be the other body’s problem, then the father wouldn’t have needed to resort to this action. Furthermore, from what I know, seen an experienced, this bully now thinks he’s untouchable and will only go on to make other children’s lives hell.
To buy He Was Weird, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1468934259&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird
While “He Was Weird” was set in modern times, the experiences which influenced me to write the story happened when I was growing up in the 1970s. The attitude towards bullying back then was basically to ignore it and carry on with the age on philosophy of blaming the victim. Parents, teachers and other officials were very reluctant and even unwilling to intervene in bullying and I think the best example to explain why is to use the film set in that time period, “Dazed and Confused.
The film is set in 1976 in Austin, Texas and the entire film takes place on the last day of school. In the early scenes of the movie, some of the students who will become seniors in the following September go out looking to haze students who will become freshmen then. Gangs of seniors find freshmen either alone or in very small groups and hold them down while each senior takes a turn hitting the freshman with a paddle. Now one would think that someone would step in and stop this practice, well they didn’t. The excuse used by many parents in the film, especially fathers, was that if they went to school authorities and stopped their son getting beaten with a paddle, the seniors would retaliate by doing worse things to that person and probably for a lot longer. The belief was to let the kid take a few whacks and get it over with, besides, it didn’t hurt that much. Of course, there was no consideration for how the victim might feel about it.
School officials were pretty much of the same philosophy. That worse things might happen to the victim if they intervened. After all, it was only a bit of harmless fun. Furthermore, as it happened after the last day of school, the school could easily play the ‘they’re not responsible’ card and get away with it. As for the police, even though this was a clear case of assault, they probably wouldn’t get involved unless it was the parents of some rich kid making a stink. In any case, the bury your head in the sand and ignore it approach was a clear victory for the bullies in the film and the 1970s. I don’t know if it still goes on anywhere today but Family Guy did base an episode on the film where Chris is beaten with paddles because he is a freshman.
I never got beaten with a paddle when I was a freshman, most of the bullying I had suffered was in junior high school and pretty much behind me. Although those experiences did keep my anxiety levels very high throughout high school. However, the attitudes by many of the adults were the same. Most, especially teachers, chose to bury their head in the sand while I was getting bullied and some even blamed me for being the victim. Schools and unfortunately my family at times, held the belief that if they intervened too much, worse things would happen to me. Therefore, most of the bullying went unpunished and that eventually led to it being unreported because I knew that if I did, nothing much would come of it. The 70s attitude toward bullying let me down immensely.
The scary thing was that those who have read “He Was Weird” and fed back to me on it, would not have known that the experiences drawn on to write it happened four decades earlier. The bullying was pretty much the same, except the cyber bullying that occurs in the story. I had no internet access back then. Another scary bit was from a scene in the book where Mark is bullied at the local shop. He looks to the store manager for help but the manager responds by saying, “You know you’re going to get picked on so why bother coming in here.” That was the classic 70s attitude but readers have accepted it as if it had happened in modern times. So, bullying hasn’t changed. It still goes on but what has changed is the way it’s viewed by adults and more are willing to step in and deal with it. However, there is still a long way to go.
To buy He Was Weird, go to: http://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1452542391&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird