Stand Up to the Biggest Bully in the Room: Mental IllnessRoundup: Historians' Take
tags: mental health
Jonathan Zimmerman teaches history and education at New York University. He is the author of Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory (Yale University Press).
Here’s a true story, courtesy of an old friend. Last year, a teacher overheard my friend’s son saying that a girl had called him “gay.” The teacher talked to the boy, who told her that he wasn’t upset by the comment. Under a new state anti-bullying law, however, the teacher felt compelled to report the incident.
The next day, the school principal called my friend to announce that he had commenced an “investigation.” Several students were interviewed, triggering a new buzz in the school. Kids divided into “teams,” according to whom they supported – the girl or boy. In the end, the girl was found “guilty” and received some kind of sanction, although my friend’s son never heard what it was. And that’s the kind of story you rarely hear about bullying in American schools.
We usually hear about bullying only when there’s a terrible tragedy like the death of Rebecca Sedwick, the 12-year-old Florida girl who committed suicide last month after being bullied online.
The kids’ reported taunts – including “Can u die please?” – are abhorrent, and anyone who sent such a message should be disciplined severely. But that does not necessarily mean that online bullying caused Sedwick’s death. Nor does it mean we should address this problem with anti-bullying laws, which might cause more harm than they alleviate....
comments powered by Disqus
- Brits want kids to experience nature. It’s an old story.
- Could Texas secede from the United States, if it wanted to?
- Waco proclaims May 15, 2016 as 100th anniversary of Jesse Washington's lynching
- Tulsa University trustees vote to remove name with KKK ties from college of law building
- Obama May Create Monument to Gay Rights Movement
- The Historian Whitewashing Ukraine’s Past
- Andrew Roberts wins $250,000 prize from the conservative Bradley Foundation
- Daniel Aaron, Critic and Historian Who Pioneered American Studies, Dies at 103
- Liz Covart's amazingly popular podcast helps her audience understand early American history
- Justus Rosenberg is still teaching at age 95