One of our favorite local heroes, Baltimore Batman, was killed in a car accident earlier this month–but his good deeds live on, thanks to copycat heroes who plan on continuing his work with kids in need.
I hope you can help us with this problem because we don’t know what to do. My daughter is being bullied by a group of girls who shun her at school and post cruel messages on social media at night. It’s so bad that she doesn’t even want to go to school. As I’m sure you can imagine, this is upsetting to us and ruins school as well as out-of-school activities for our daughter. This whole situation has me angry and confused. How do you think my wife and I should deal with it?
In this brave new world of cyber-space, you will encounter people who are nothing close to brave. You and your daughter probably feel helpless against this Lord of the Flies brand of senseless, gratuitous, and cowardly cruelty. However, you have recourse that could prove effective in stopping the e-bullying and shunning of your daughter, especially because of the cyber component.
Last week, a child with severe allergies was taken to the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center for an unusual — but disturbing — injury: peanut butter bullying. According to Hopkins’ director of pediatric allergy, Dr. Robert Wood, the bully who smeared peanut butter on another child’s face is part of a disturbing new trend, in which bullies use other children’s allergies against them.
Christine and David McComas’s daughter, Grace, was “a happy, bubbly kid” with “a contagious sense of humor.” She had strong networks of support — both family and friends — to rely on when a neighborhood bully began harassing her in person and online. The McComas family “did everything [they] were supposed to do” when their daughter began feeling threatened by an older classmate. But after real-life bullying transitioned to cyber-attacks and in-school gossip, the distress became too much for Grace to bear. The 15 year-old killed herself last Easter Sunday, and now her parents are fighting to pass Maryland HB 396, nicknamed “Grace’s Law,” to prevent other families from going through similar heartache.
It’s no secret that middle school girls can be mean. But I’m not so sure the current wave of anti-bullying rhetoric is going to do a darn thing to stop the bad behavior.
You see, most mature adults perceive as unacceptable the thoughtless exclusionary actions of adolescents (particularly girls, in my experience) that translate into teasing, ostracizing or simply ignoring their peers who look, speak, or behave in even the teeniest way different from their own “cool” selves.
But adolescent girls don’t see it that way. They’re like a pack of puppies that tramples the runt of the litter to get their share of food. It’s purely a survival tactic.
Bullying is an issue that seems to always have plagued society. Through the expansion of the internet and its evil spawn Social Media, bullying has reached a whole other realm, completely unfathomable to those of us who suffered enough torment as it was (or perhaps were the tormentors) with simple name calling and cruel note passing. Nowadays, kids can slander one another online, pass rumors through the internet, and move far too many to depression or suicide.
Post Secret’s Frank Warren started his project back in 2005 and it has taken the world by storm ever since it’s inception. People mail in anonymous postcards with their deepest confessions; Warren provides a safe space for the truth to finally come out. On occasion he provides a safe space for an open conversation about these very topics. Tonight at the American Visionary Art Museum, Warren will do just that. The AVAM will host an open dialogue, as presented by Warren and Post Secret, regarding bullying in our society. Pulling on PostSecret submissions, while simultaneously allowing attendees to turn in their own, the goal is to have an open conversation about being bullied, being the bullier, and how to combat it in our society.
Remember Mark Harvey? He’s the guy who “streaked” in a very DIY Batman costume at both Camden Yards and Ravens Stadium to protest bullying. (It didn’t necessarily make a lot of sense, but it was fun and topical.) Well, his brief stint as an amateur trespasser has earned him a prison sentence of 180 days, with all but four suspended.
I’ve got two words for you: time reversal. From what I can tell, it’s like a combination of time travel and wizardry, and it’s something that University of Maryland scientists are working on as we speak.
If you had to come with the polar opposite of bullying, this would be it: students at Johns Hopkins have launched a new project “to spread joy within the Hopkins community” by anonymously paying compliments to one another. Yes, the newest internet trend is being — gasp! — anonymously nice.
Last week, Katie O’Malley participated in an idea-packed discussion forum around her pet project, stopping bullying, featuring several super knowledgeable (and fairly engaging, even on foggy YouTube) participants, Rosalind Wiseman, author of the New York Times bestseller, Queen Bees and Wannabes, Catherine Hyde, coordinator of Howard County’s PFLAG (Parents Friends Allies for the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community), and Nancy Gippert, project manager for the Family Online Safety Institute or FOSI, an international nonprofit dedicated to making the world safer for families. We commend Judge O’Malley’s diehard dedication to the important cause and we’re proud of our state for passing many anti-bullying laws, including one of the most-aggressive nationally… We recommend the video above, not only because the speakers are smart and it’s fun to watch the chat, but because the simple mission’s so forward-thinking and utterly relevant: to get everybody talking more openly about the topic of bullying, parents to kids, teachers to students, students to their fellow students. Highlights after the jump.