This is a book that every high school sociology or health class should have as required reading.
Written by teens, this anthology explores the lives of those who are bullied; those who have sat passively by while others are bullied; those who’ve intervened to defend/stop bullying; and the lives of bullies themselves. While I’m a bit past the days of being a bullied student, the remembrance of those days are still with me. Though admittedly, I don’t think anything I experienced compares with much of what was written here.
It should not surprise anyone that bullying in schools continues to be a problem. It has become a major issue and often reported on local and national news services. As a school board member, I’ve been aware that it is definitely a hot topic that is being addressed (at least in our small school). None of the stories of being bullied in this collection surprises me. I was a little aghast at the vehemence and violence perpetrated by some (I’m sure I would never have been strong enough to deal with some of what I encountered here). Some of the stories by bullies (generally ‘reformed’) struck me as a little less than worthy of printing, though I understand the desire to get all points of view. Unfortunately, although none came out and said, “Feel sorry for the bullies because they have problems, which is what brings out the bully in them,” (in fact, some said just the opposite), the under-current was there … that bullies are dealing with issues (generally self-esteem) which bring out the worst in them.
I recognize that teens need over-sight, particularly in school, to prevent bullying. I think what enraged me the most in some of the articles were the stories of adults (typically teachers and administrators) who did nothing to stop or prevent the bullying. Particularly in cases where they were made aware of the issue! It is this, more than any bullying itself, that needs to be changed. It must not be tolerated. I recognize that there are many reasons this might happen, but there are no legitimate excuses.
One story struck me with it’s brilliant deduction. The writer (I wish I could remember who this was…I may have highlighted it on my Kindle) commented that adults told her that she needed to stand up and be strong and ignore the bullying. That she needed to learn how to deal with the ‘real’ world. But as she points out, in the ‘real’ world, ther A) likely wouldn’t be any teasing/taunting of a fellow employee and B) sexual harassment would likely result in firing. And yet when kids do it to other kids, it’s somehow just an experience they have to learn to deal with. The young author makes a most brilliant point.
Sadly, there is bullying in the adult work place as well, but likely not at the same level that our teenagers face. This book is a great wake-up to adults and a resource that every teen should have available.
Looking for a good book? This book, written by teens, for teens, about bullying, is fantastic reading for everyone.
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Bullying Under Attack: True Stories Written by Teen Victims, Bullies & Bystanders
editor: John Meyer
publisher: HCI Teens
paperback, 263 pages