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Is Your Child Being Bullied In School? by Bo Sanchez

January 2007

I was shocked by an article I read in NEWSWEEK (Jan 15 issue) on school bullies. In Japan, 7 kids committed suicide during a 2-month period late last year. All because they were being bullied.

I guess the article hit me hard because I was bullied as a kid too.

On the part of the bullies, it’s a sad story as well. I googled some websites and discovered these statistics: bullies are more likely to drop out of school, and more likely to smoke, drink, vandalize, and fight. And in America, 60% of all high school bullies will already have a criminal conviction by the age of 24.

Why was I bullied? I was smaller, thinner, quieter, less athletic, and less bright than my other classmates—a perfect target for the bullies. They harassed me everyday, called me names, laughed at me, pushed me around, kicked my bag, “confiscated” my stuff for their use, and forced me to do errands for them—like buy food for them at the ground floor canteen when our classroom was on the fourth floor. Daily.

I never reported this to my teachers. Why? Because bullying happened everyday, kids like me accepted this as a part our pathetic lives.

Sometimes, the bullying wasn’t physical. For example, a gang of kids wouldn’t talk to me, period. As though it was below their dignity to do so. To them, I didn’t exist.

When I tell people that we homeschool our child, people immediately ask me, “What about his socialization? Aren’t you robbing your child of his socialization in school?”

Yes, we are. We’re taking away from him the sometimes cruel socialization he’ll be getting from school. Instead, we’re giving him loving socialization—encouraging, respectful, and affirming—inside our home and among his friends. We surround him with kids from other families that think the way we do. (By the way, I don’t have scientific surveys to prove this, but just from observation, I’ve noticed that homeschooled kids are more sociable—not less. Because their high self-esteem gives them the confidence to approach people and make friends.)

Some people tell me, “But Bo, that’s the real world. All of us went through some rough time and we’re fine! Let your boys go through the rough world so they’ll know what the real world is like. It’ll toughen him! If you keep on protecting your child, he’ll be a sissy and be unprepared for the harshness of reality.”

To these people, bullying is almost a manhood rite of passage.

I say chicken poop. That’s not true.

I agree that difficult experiences can make you tough. But there are other ways to grow in toughness.

I’ll tell you a few real manhood rites of passage I want for my boys:

· Starting a small business and handling more responsibility as the years go by.

· Speaking to strangers with confidence

· Doing service work in an orphanage, a slum area, or a home for the aged.

· Taking more household chores and being responsible for them.

· Treating all women with respect and chivalry.

Now these are great rites of passage. But being bullied isn’t one of them!

By the way, this blog post isn’t about homeschooling. I know that many parents won’t be able to homeschool their kids. (But in case you want to know more about homeschooling, I’ll send you an article I wrote about it. Email me at This article is about bullying. So what should parents do if their child is being bullied in school?

Here are a few recommendations from me, a former victim (me!):

1.) Tell your child that bullying is always wrong and is done by insecure boys and girls who need help badly.

2.) Tell your child to always tell an adult right away if she is being bullied. Tell your child to disregard ridicule that she’s a sumbungera or a snitch. Tell her she’s doing the right thing.

3.) Tell your child to either stand up against the bully (if its safe) or to walk away from the bully. Sometimes, all it takes is a scream, “Stop that!” and then walk away. And then tell the teacher right away. If a teacher doesn’t do anything about it (because some adults take bullying lightly), go to another teacher who will take you seriously. If the bullying is a mean text message or an email, don’t respond. Just show it to a teacher.

4.) Tell your child to be with other kids. Loners are easy objects of bullies.

5.) Talk to the teachers in school and discuss what can be done against bullying.

I hope these points helped.

If you want to share your experiences and insights, please do. If your kids have been bullied, what did you tell them? How did you respond?


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