Recently I wrote about “A Story of Not Bullying,” effectively describing a mom who overreacted to one incident in which her daughter had been pushed on line and came home quite upset, as a result.
What about the other side of the coin?
Take Aaron, a ninth grader. Aaron tells me how angry he is at lunch every day because he feels embarrassed by this kid named Sam. Each day when Aaron sits down at the table, Sam proclaims very loudly so everyone can hear, “Oh, no…not Aaron again. How come you’re sitting here?” Aaron never knows how to respond effectively.
Sam’s behavior fits the definition of bullying. The behavior is repeated with a clear desire to hurt or humiliate. There is a clear power imbalance.
Even though the school has some sort of “anti-bullying” policy in place, the last thing Aaron wants to do is get either his parents or school personnel involved. There is just too much down side from his point of view.
I’m not sure I blame him.
As we talked about how Aaron interacted with others, it was interesting that Aaron came to a realization that one of the reasons people have made fun of him (this was not new) was that he was “annoying,” as he put it. Aaron said that he talked too much and that it got on people’s nerves. Going forward he was going to make a concerted effort to see how others would respond if he became more “low key.”
Some may see this as blaming the victim.
Certainly, my preference would be that an administrator puts Sam in his place and deal with him accordingly, but the likelihood of that happening is small.
For the short term, Aaron’s approach may have some merit.