Middle school bullies

Opinion: Editorials

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Here's the challenge out of our reporting on recent bullying and discipline issues at Percy Julian Middle School: How do we deal with this issue seriously while not overreacting to the scope of the problem or demonizing the alleged perpetrators who are, after all, our children?

We need a fair, professional assessment of the specific incidents and we need context to understand the breadth of the issue. We need the school district to honestly review its responses to these incidents. And then, with respect for the privacy of the individuals involved, we need the school board to lead a community discussion on the realities and the perceptions of bullying at Percy Julian.

Through it all, the rest of us need to have civil tongues, compassion for all involved and a determination to solve a problem, not to inflict further pain.

Reader Comments

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parent from Oak Park  

Posted: June 7th, 2011 3:07 PM

I agree. I don't have children at Julian or have any knowledge/bias about the incidents. I've found many of the comments in past weeks inappropriate, coming from adults who should know better than to gossip about children, whose privacy is protected by law (and human decency.) We need an environment that is safe, more tightly controlled - AND that protects kids from their own worst impulses. Research tells us that most children take on both roles (bully and bullied) during their childhoods.

Fred Hayek from Winnetka  

Posted: June 7th, 2011 11:30 AM

JG-You forgot to use the word "PARENT(S)"!

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: June 3rd, 2011 7:44 PM

Thanks for the link, Punching Bag. Good stuff!

A Punching Bag on Every Corner  

Posted: June 3rd, 2011 6:33 PM

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/06/03-6 For those who are really interested in considering the findings of those who are experts on certain middle school matters.

Another OP resident  

Posted: June 3rd, 2011 6:26 PM

When I see the "beating up" going on (average once a week in mid OP), it's always a group of black teens. I think this is a hazing ritual, because when something or someone else breaks them up the beat up person will get up and go with their "friends". What are they thinking - we'd like to know - that would be a step, no?

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: June 3rd, 2011 6:20 PM

I surprised you have not heard of the book, Punching Bag. It was first published in 1999 and is available in paperback. More than one million copies sold. I mentioned it in response to the comment you posted regarding our nation's violent past. The book pulls no punches in detailing American history from 1492 to present. I hope you will check it out from the library and share your thoughts.

A Punching Bag on Every Corner  

Posted: June 3rd, 2011 4:38 PM

I blame sugar.

A Punching Bag on Every Corner  

Posted: June 3rd, 2011 4:36 PM

Please...and do you mind sharing why you weep and also why you think I might want to do the same? I'm not even familiar with this author - if this was the basis of a college class, what would the course description say? I am curious to know your opinion. Thank you.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: June 3rd, 2011 10:48 AM

Punching Bag's observation on the founding of this country is explored in great detail by Howard Zenn is "A People's History of the United States". Read it and weep.

A Punching Bag on Every Corner  

Posted: June 3rd, 2011 10:12 AM

This country was founded on violent bullying behavior, remember? I do not have kids in school here. I see kids punching one another in public all over town. It seems to be a game or sport (like dogfighting?) which desensitizes them/us to further violence. I do not agree with this behavior, but I do not see it stopping no matter how many studies or monies you throw at it. Many reasons for the frustration and aggression. It has to come out.

Readling is a skill JG Morales  

Posted: June 3rd, 2011 10:01 AM

Nothing was said about bullying in the post below...it said "beat up." Also, reading the other stories and the parent comments, it is pretty obvious your kid(s) were not the ones in the stories that were "beat up." Point stands: easy for you to say "let's be compassionate to all" when it is not your kid getting beat up by punks.

julian parent  

Posted: June 2nd, 2011 7:06 AM

Here's an idea: Wednesday Journal gets their facts straight before publishing stories, particularly those that involve children.


Posted: June 2nd, 2011 6:48 AM

It's also easy to post without sharing your name, isn't it? To say that it's not my child being bullied is both inaccurate and presumptuous. I think there needs to be more accountability on all parts... the reporting, the responses, as well as the reactions of the schools and staff.


Posted: June 2nd, 2011 6:02 AM

Regarding the Julian on-going bullying problem, a professional assessment is a wonderful idea. Let's not forget to address the more covert girl bullying behavior that exists there. In the meantime, parents are well with-in their rights to call the police and file a report if there is an incident of physical violence. This way, the community can stay involved.


Posted: June 1st, 2011 4:42 PM

Not before we give them another raise though, I don't want the board to suffer.

Of course it is easy  

Posted: June 1st, 2011 4:38 PM

for the Limo Libs at the WJ and a JG Morales to seek "compassion for all involved." It is not their kid getting beat up by punks!


Posted: June 1st, 2011 4:01 PM

Very well stated. Yet, I'm not surprised that no one else has commented.

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