Unpopular but effective advice for dealing with bullies

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Column as I see ’em …

What you are about to read will make many educators and the weak-kneed alike audibly gasp.

Frankly, I don’t care.

A young mother who lives in another state called me over the weekend, saying that her newly minted second grader had already been the victim of a bully, a mouth-breathing little creep (my description, not hers) who has spent the first week of school picking on her son and has even hit him once.

Perplexed, she said she’s already spoken to school officials but, for reasons better left unsaid, they’re a bit gun-shy about taking action.

I’ll leave it at that.

The bullying, she said, hasn’t subsided and she wanted some advice on how to proceed.

“Have your husband take him out into the garage and teach him how to throw a punch,” I said. “Then, when he goes back to school Monday, have him walk right up to that little punk and pop him a good one, right in the nose.”

“He’ll get into huge trouble for that!” she said. “The school system will freak out on him. He just can’t do that.”

“Then let him be in trouble,” I said. “What is the district going to do? Suspend him? So what! Your child needs to understand that he has a right to defend himself and that he can’t go through life looking for others to do it for him.”

She said she’d think it over, thanked me for my advice and we moved on to other topics.

Yes, my advice does not jive with today’s modern thinking on how to deal with bullies, but those whose children are regularly bullied know that those modern techniques rarely work and often subject the child to more bullying from others who realize the victim isn’t willing to defend him or her self.

My way, however, works nearly every time it’s tried, and I can prove it.

About 20 years ago, a sixth-grade school bus bully found it remarkably appealing to walk past my kindergarten daughter’s seat and push her head into the window.

Meetings with the bus drivers and school system proved useless; the punk got a “good talking to” a couple of times, none of which did any good.

My oldest son, also a sixth grader, rode the same bus and came home each time, fuming mad, but knew that without a green light from me, he was to keep his fists to himself.

He received that green light one morning as he and his sister prepared to board the school bus. Like clockwork, the bully, who got on after my kids, walked right past my daughter, shoved her head into the window and took his usual bad-boy seat at the back of the bus.

Knowing full well that if he didn’t defend his little sister he’d next have to answer to me, my son walked to the back of the bus and tooled up on the bully, bloodying his nose and giving him a pair of magnificently blackened eyes. He even gave one of the bully’s buddies a swat or two when he tried to interfere.

Within the hour, the same principal with whom I pleaded to put an end to my daughter’s abuse was on the phone, demanding my presence in his office.

A portly little man who looked like he needed a shoehorn to get into his suit and seemed to perpetually sweat Crisco, he had little use for my sort of parenting and fairly grinned when I entered his office, thinking he finally had a chance to put the screws to me.

The bully was there, too, an ice bag from the school nurse doing little to stem the flow of blood from his swollen nose, along with his father, who was understandably angry and giving me the stink eye.

Before he could get a word in edgewise, I told the principal he could save his lectures, and reminded him of our previous conversation and his assurances that the bullying would stop.

He tried to pipe in, but I shut him down immediately and told him in no uncertain terms that my son did as ordered.

Then I turned to the bully’s dad and told him that if his son’s beat-down didn’t teach him a lesson and he continues to assault my little girl, the next one his boy gets from my son will be even more severe.

The dad, having only then learned what his son was doing, went immediately from being angry at me and turned that anger on his son, saying that there will be no more next times, or else.

We stood up, shook hands, told our boys to shake hands and were about to leave when the principal —it’s fair to say we fully ignored him throughout the brief meeting — looked like he was going to stroke out.

“You people can’t take these matters into your own hands!” he nearly screamed. “We have methods for dealing with these problems!”

Perhaps it was a bit cruel, given that the little fella’s face was turning the color of an over-ripened beet, but the other dad and I couldn’t help but laugh as we walked out, our sons in tow.

By the end of that school year, our boys were friends, my daughter’s days of coming home with a knot on her head were over and, for some strange reason, not one more boy dared be anything but nice to her on the bus.

There’s a moral to this story, folks, and here it is.

More and more, children and adults alike are systematically being disabused of the idea that we have the right to defend ourselves.

Children exposed to that claptrap grow up believing that someone else — and if those in charge of such indoctrination are successful, that means the government — is the answer to their problems, including protecting them from the harsh realities of the world.

What’s worse is they project that foolishness on those around them, including advocating against our God-given right to possess firearms.

Those who disagree are welcome to tell me I’m wrong, but don’t expect me to listen.