I WAS INVITED to attend a press screening of the documentary Bully, which opens this Friday.
The film has generated a ton of publicity and interest. Many have said that the movie clearly shows how largely ineffective schools, teachers and administrators are in addressing the bullying issue. Philadelphia City Council member Jim Kenney is trying to raise funds so that at least 5,000 Philadelphia students can see this film.
I agree that this is a must-see movie for kids, and it might serve as a wake-up call for them to recognize bullying behavior.
But aren't we forgetting to invite the people who really need to see this movie, because they are the complete cause of the problem - parents?
It's time to say what is long overdue. It's time to stop blaming schools, teachers, society, economic disadvantages, television, the Internet and all the other ridiculous excuses. Let's face it and let's say it: Unfit, dysfunctional, screwed-up parents are totally at fault.
Why do teachers and administrators get the blame for the bullying crisis? Let's point the finger back at the parents who raise these brats, punks and monsters.
Your kids are a social cancer in the classroom. They exhibit the classic signs of a sociopath: a person who completely disregards and violates the rights of others while refusing to conform to societal norms.
I saw many of these sociopaths-in-training in my classroom. They usually exhibited a lack of conscience. They demonstrated irresponsible behavior. And, judging by the level of cruel behavior toward the kids they picked on, it was obvious that they received no morals or values education at home.
It all comes back to an epic fail on the part of the parents. How clueless must a parent be to not see their child's awful, disruptive and destructive behavior?
And when the school administrators and I would have to bring these parents in, they immediately went into denial with the "not my child" syndrome. Instead of acknowledging it and trying to do some parenting triage to fix it, they would go after me for making up accusations.
One student was openly dealing and using drugs. His dad was furious at me for making such an outrageous charge. The dad said that if his son was into drugs, he would have known it because he handled security in a nuclear-power plant (as if that's all you need in order to be an engaged parent). The kid was arrested on drug-possession charges later that year. I hope the father was better at nuclear-plant security than child-raising.
One imbalanced student made frequent threats of violence on teachers, threatening to "bite off your nose," and he meant it. When he was finally thrown off the baseball team, the kid and his punk father tried to pull the baseball coach out through his car window.
Another group of high-school bullies relentlessly tormented a quiet kid, but, unknown to them, the kid could physically take care of himself. A few teachers heard that this kid was going to be exacting his revenge in the cafeteria on a given day. Pushed for the last time, he unleashed a brutal beating, breaking one kid's nose and breaking the arm of the other. I and my fellow teachers did not exactly rush to break that fight up, and inside we were all proud to see those punks get what they deserved. The kid was a hero in the faculty lounge for weeks after that.
Every teacher has similar stories. Some are even worse than mine. They all show how destructive bullies can be, whether it's physical, emotional or both. Bullying has a devastating effect on children of all ages, and the tormenting leaves emotional pain and scars.
These kids hijack classrooms with their disruptive and cruel behavior. It's become worse, with some behavior going from bullying to what can only be described as mini-terrorism.
These monsters are a danger to good kids. They're a toxic cancer. Like any dangerous cancer, the only way you can treat it is to remove the tumor. Perhaps severe measures like permanent expulsion or making punk parents more accountable might be a small step toward combating the bullying crisis.
One documentary, no matter how powerful, is not going to change the situation as long as the clueless parents of these monsters refuse to acknowledge the destructive behavior of their kids.
It is not the teacher's job to raise your child, even though it is obvious that you have not. It's not the job of a school and its teachers to fix what you have failed at. Our job is to teach kids, not to be social workers for your obviously dysfunctional family.
It's time for some shock-and-awe, and to call out these punk parents. If you refuse to accept responsibility for raising your child to respect others and conform to the norms and standards of civilized behavior, then the responsibility of educating your problem child will be your problem.