School Bullying

I read on a website devoted to the topic of school bullying that "seventy percent of all kids report having been bullied at some poInt at school." This is absurd and serves to cheapen the problem.

If you are or were excluded from the "cool crowd" at school or the "'A' table" in the lunchroom, and you consider yourself as having been "bullied" due to it, then you do or did not have a problem with bullying. Rather, you have a problem with self-esteem. How could it have been the cool crowd if you were not part of it?

Nor by profound bullying do I refer to the occasional taunts almost all kids have received at some point in their childhoods. Nor do I refer to grief inflicted upon youngsters as a result of their voluntary behavior such as, for example, affecting Nazi dress or behavior.

What I am referring to as profound bullying is that endured by relatively few kids tormented day after day, as they have been singled out for constant mocking, pushing, shoving, and sometimes worse, every time the teacher leaves the room and during other times of opportunity for school sadists. Such kids are thus singled out for aspects of themselves that they find difficult to control, if not impossible.

I am referring to those few kids who have had violated what I consider to be a fundamental right of existence: the right to be simply left alone.

I do not for a moment contest that children, like adults, have a right of free association, and I do not argue that youngsters should be forced to play or otherwise associate with kids they do not find appealing. I also, however, firmly assert that a child does have a right to be left alone by youngsters who find him or her unattractive for whatever reason(s) so that the child can have the benefit of the education that his or her parents are paying for with taxes or tuition within an atmosphere conducive to learning.

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