When a bullied kid fights back
Chances are you’ve seen the video of a boy in Australia being bullied by a classmate, and his reaction.
This is a follow up report on what’s happened to the boys, an effort to put an end to these types of videos, and asking for your thoughts on bullying.
First, the video. YouTube has spent the week removing copies of it. Here’s a version of it from Mediaite (upper right, click to close the ad):
The smaller 12-year-old student is antagonizing a larger 16-year-old, punching him in the face as a friend records it on his mobile phone and at least four other students watch. Suddenly the older boy grabs the other kid and throws him head-first on to the concrete. There is a cracking sound, sure to terrify any parent who hears it.
Your first reaction?
Since the incident took place, the school suspended both students and called police. Charges are pending in the case. The younger boy, although he left the fight limping, is okay. He just had a scrape on his knee. His mother wants an apology. The older boy’s father says his son has never fought with anyone before and he just “snapped” you can’t blame him.
There have been heated debates online about the suspensions. Facebook groups have popped up supporting both kids. Some say the boy who instigated the fight turned out to be the victim, and she shouldn’t have been punished. Others say the boy who had been bullied and finally snapped should not have been suspended.
One of my readers looks at it this way:
I’m of the ilk that cringes when I hear all the hullabaloo about bullying in schools. I believe that we are becoming so soft, as a society. Bullying is nothing new. Its just that, now, we hear about Every. Single. Occurrence. Nine out of 10 times, the kids will take care of it, themselves.
I watch the video and wonder what would do if my son were in either of the boys’ shoes. If my son, who’s in fifth grade, was picked on severely what would I think if he stood up for himself and fought back? If my son was doing the bullying and someone turned around and injured him, what would I think of that outcome? I don’t have a definitive Mom answer on this one. I don’t support bullying or the violent reaction, yet I understand the retaliation and I feel for the young bully.
Since this video went viral, some lawmakers in Australia want to make it a crime to distribute humiliating or degrading images of people without their consent.
UPDATE: 3/18/11 4:18 p.m. One of my readers caught this correction from The Daily Telegraph news in Sydney:
In an article published in The Daily Telegraph yesterday headlined “Bully’s angry mum wants victim to apologize,” it was written that bully Ritchard Gale’s mother Tina wanted her son’s victim to apologize for slamming her son to the ground.
But she had, in fact, said she wanted her son to apologize to his victim.
The Daily Telegraph apologizes for the error.