Monday, November 8, 2010

When is it bullying? When is it just kids?

So I pulled into the newsroom, dumped yesterday's coffee into the poinsettia on my desk,  filled my cup with today's brew and grabbed the New York Times, my favorite way to start my day. A story about bullying caught my eye because Suzy had been teased about being "too smart" by some neighborhood kids. I asked my friend, Gail, another reporter and mom, who sits next to me what she thought about the idea that people who teach kids not to bully really have a hidden agenda promoting gay marriage. The article said that some teachers think they have to start teaching tolerance in  kindergarten.

"I don't want the schools to teach my kids that its okay for men to marry men and women to marry women," she said. "I want to have that discussion with my kids, with my values."

I told her I thought she was right. Values begin at home. But values belong in school, too. And kids have been seriously hurt lately when their fellow students tease them about being gay.

"I have a friend who has a white biological son and an adopted Korean daughter. The daughter was getting teased in school. Her mom raised holy hell saying the bullying was racist. Then her son pointed out that everyone -- white kids and Asian kids -- gets teased about something," Gail said. "Being teased is part of growing up."

But that's the problem, I told her. Teasing shouldn't be a part of growing up. It's unacceptable for any reason.

"You need to get real, Skeeter," she said, then turned back to her computer.


  1. A timely post, on the heels of a proposed push for a safer schools measure to strengthen schools anti-bullying rules in the MN legislative next session.

    Indeed values belong at home. And yes, schools have a part in educating young people on moral dilemmas. Youth development isn't as narrow as one or the other- its multifaceted, and needs to be in order to stick.

  2. There's a difference between teasing and bullying, which some people can't/won't make.


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