I just read an article in a year-old Vanity Fair about one of those private schools in New England that caters to the filthy rich and upwardly groveling wannabes. An all-female institution called Miss Porter's School, located in Farmington, Connecticut. Your garden variety elitist idiot factory.
It seems the esteemed institution had a bit of bother when a student filed suit because she was bullied and the school took no action. The institution and many alumni were outraged, of course. Thriving, as they do, on their cloistering and traditions that, for the most part, don't add up to squat.
Apparently the unspoken tradition involved here was "toughen up and deal with it."
What a load of crap.
As someone who went to a high school that cost, literally, 30 bucks a year in fees; where the law of the land was usually a swift left hook to the head; and where the teachers never hesitated to whip us with canes or offer to settle things with boxing gloves on; I think I'm qualified to address the "get tough" rejoinder.
Bullying is cowardice. Period. Here's the litmus test: Take all those alumns and students and parents and administrators who think this young lady just needed to get some starch, and give them a week in a federal prison. Or working on roads in the blistering heat. Or taking a beating at the hands of a trained boxer of their own gender. THEN we'll discuss toughness.
It's easy to be tough when you aren't tested to your limits. This girl had reached her limit and been pushed further. And clearly she wasn't one of those painful "popular" girls so she had the added test of going it alone.
I have never had time for bullies and never will. They're gutless.
And that goes for hazing in the military and frats (c'mon, grow up already), men/women who bully their spouses and/or kids, bosses who bully or harass those "under" them, teachers who bully students, students who bully their peers, corporate hot shots who bully anyone who gets in their way [pictured], or world leaders who bully tiny nations they wish to exploit.
Any fight you know in advance you will win is not a fight. Any person you know you can dominate before the curtain goes up, you should leave alone. Unless they're a bully themselves. And even then there are usually better ways to deal with the situation than to respond in kind. Which is what the aforementioned student did -- and got mass-bullied for her efforts.
Watch out for your kids and watch for the signs. Bullying is dangerous and is NOT the way that people become genuinely tough.
And stand up to corporate and socio-economic bullies. Pull them out of their comfort zone and confront them on YOUR terms and you'll see that they're paper tigers.
Or, as we say in Australia, just shorten them up.
Take care and keep smiling,
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