EUGENE, Ore. -- Just as bullies use technology -- called cyberbullying -- to harm other students, so too will this technology come back to catch them, say experts in cyberbullying who point to a new law in New Jersey that's combating those who bring terror into the lives of young people here in the Eugene area.
At the same time, bullying continues to be a clear and present danger for many youth in the Eugene area, say local teachers and parents who face "bullies on a day-to-day basis."
"There was a time when the bullies had their way. But, things are changing and they will be rooted out and punished," says Jessie, a local Eugene parent who said he's pleased with the new from New Jersey "that something is being done to bring the law down on these bullies."
Kate Middleton victim of bullies, while N.J. anti-bullying law begins
Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, suffered from regular bullying while in the American equivalent of middle and high school; meanwhile, a new anti-bullying law in New Jersey is viewed as the toughest in the U.S. because it will root-out bullies and bring them to justice.
“She (Kate) said that there was a group of girls that called her names and they stole her books and stuff – little things like that. They rounded up on her a bit because she was quite a soft and nice person… When she used to go to lunch she (Kate) would sit down with people and they all used to get up and sit on another table,” explained Jessica Hay, who shared a dormitory with Kate Middleton after she moved to Marlborough at age 14,” stated the new biography titled “Kate,” and other bullying reports in the London newspaper the Daily Mail.
“Hay insisted that Miss Middleton confided in her about cruelty at Downe House during late-night heart-to-hearts,” added the Daily Mail report, while also interviewing the school’s “mistress” or principal to confirm numerous reports in books and the British media about Kate Middleton suffering from regular bullying while as a pre-teen and teen in England.
“I think it’s fair to say Kate was unsettled and not particularly happy,” stated Susan Cameron, form Downe House mistress in the Daily Mail report. “Girls are cliquey by nature and they can be rather cruel…They can sense those who are slightly weaker, or who haven’t shown their strengths yet, and it’s those girls who are likely to end up being picked on or teased.”
Bullying in schools viewed as a “character flaw” in today’s culture
While British girls are known to bully other girls at the elementary, middle and high school levels, experts here in the U.S., say the Brits don’t have anything up on American girls and boys who also bully other students for various cruel reasons.
According to the late Professor Morrie Schwartz – made famous in the 1997 non-fiction novel “Tuesdays with Morrie – being mean or unkind to others is a character flaw.
“Some people didn’t get enough love when they were kids.” In turn, we have a society of both adult and children who are mean and unkind to others based on what Professor Schwartz viewed as a “deep problem in America” where many children are not being told “you are loved and valued.”
Schwartz was a sociology professor who espoused his views on the importance of love and kindness during interviews on the former ABC News program “Nightline,” hosted by Ted Koppel. In turn, Schwartz was one of the first educators to draw a line between those that hurt, hurt. “Their parents didn’t get enough love. Nobody told them they were loved, at least not enough. So you wonder why these kids are bullying other kids,” the professor explained.
Moreover, a new book titled “Sex, Bullies and You: How America’s Bully Culture is Messing With Your Sex Life,” by Kate Bornstein takes a deeper look at this major health and society issue. Bornstein, the author of “Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws” doesn’t pull any punches when she goes after these “kids” who’ve been spawned from bully parents who are also mean and unkind to both members of their own family and to all others.
"The incidence of youth suicide has touched me deeply. I've been suicidal six times in my life that I can remember, but I have always found something else to do,” reported independentcollegian.com.
“Bullies thrive on differences. Attacking any detail that makes a person stand out from the crowd. America is spreading a bully culture across the world," Bornstein said. "Sex and gender are bully magnets."
New Jersey targets school bullies with toughest law in the country
Under a new state law in New Jersey, bullies in the schools can be reported to the police by their classmates this fall through anonymous tips to the Crime stoppers hot line.
“The law, known as the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, is considered the toughest legislation against bullying in the nation. Propelled by public outcry over the suicide of a Rutgers University freshman, Tyler Clementi, nearly a year ago, it demands that all public schools adopt comprehensive anti-bullying policies (there are 18 pages of “required components”), increase staff training and adhere to tight deadlines for reporting episodes,” stated a recent New York Times report about the new anti-bullying law going into effect September 1 in New Jersey.
Kate was bullied for being “too skinny and meek”
Kate Middleton may have been forced to leave a leading public school by “insidious” girls who wrote her off as skinny and meek, it has emerged in new books and media reports out of London, reported the Daily Mail.
“The 29-year-old Kate Middleton spent only two terms at Downe House before leaving in April 1996 for Marlborough College. As a day girl, not a boarder, Kate was in the minority in the cliquey environment of a girls’ school, it is understood. And former pupils say her reticent manner and gangly appearance made her a sitting duck for more assertive classmates. The revelations come ahead of a book which claims to lift the lid on why Miss Middleton’s parents withdrew her from Downe House, where fees are £10,000 a term,” the Daily Mail and the new book “Kate” report.
“But more lurid claims that female tormentors smeared the 13-year-old’s bed with excrement as part of a targeted hate campaign were denied by close friends of Kate Middleton,” the Daily Mail reported.
“She (Kate) said that there was a group of girls that called her names and they stole her books and stuff – little things like that. They rounded up on her a bit because she was quite a soft and nice person.”
Last month, the Mail revealed the significance of Miss Middleton’s decision to select an anti-bullying charity as a cause that ‘resonates’ with her and Prince William. The inclusion of London-based Beatbullying in the couple’s new charitable foundation was understood to be a subtle admission that she, like two out of three pupils, suffered at the hands of bullies. One 29-year-old, who was in Miss Middleton’s year at Downe House, said this week: ‘Tall and shy – those were her most memorable attributes.”
“I think it’s fair to say she was unsettled and not particularly happy. Maybe in Kate’s case she just kind of went quiet and didn’t say anything,” the Daily Mail report added.
Anti-bullying law attempts to address a “character flaw” in today’s youth
In New Jersey, each school must designate an anti-bullying specialist to investigate complaints; each district must, in turn, have an anti-bullying coordinator; and the State Education Department will evaluate every effort, posting grades on its Web site. Superintendents said that educators who failed to comply could lose their licenses,” the New York Times reported.
“I think this has gone well overboard,” Richard G. Bozza, executive director of the New Jersey Association of School Administrators, said. “Now we have to police the community 24 hours a day. Where are the people and the resources to do this?”
“In most cases, schools are tapping guidance counselors and social workers as the new anti-bullying specialists, raising questions of whether they have the time or experience to look into every complaint of harassment or intimidation and write the detailed reports required. Some administrators are also worried that making schools legally responsible for bullying on a wider scale will lead to more complaints and open the door to lawsuits from students and parents dissatisfied with the outcome,” the New York Times report added.
However, supporters of the new law that started at the beginning of September in all New Jersey schools, said there needs to be more done as bullying in America’s elementary, middle and high school is growing more intense even in a time of recent national reflection about the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
“Mr. Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge after his college roommate secretly used a webcam to capture an intimate encounter between Mr. Clementi and another man and stream it over the Internet, according to the police,” the New York Times reported stated, while interviewing school officials about what must be done to stop these youth who focus harm on their fellow students.
“It’s not the traditional bullying: the big kid in the schoolyard saying, ‘You’re going to do what I say,’ ” Richard Bergacs, an assistant principal at North Hunterdon High, said.
“The whole push is to incorporate the anti-bullying process into the culture,” Lucila Hernandez, a school psychologist, said. “We’re empowering children to use the term ‘bullying’ and to speak up for themselves and for others.”
“Even districts that have long made anti-bullying programs a priority are preparing to step up their efforts, in response to the greater reporting demands. ‘This gives a definite timeline,’ the Westfield superintendent, Margaret Dolan, said, noting the new one-day requirement. “Before, our rule was you need to do it as quickly as possible.’ But Dr. Dolan cautioned that an unintended consequence of the new law could be that students, or their parents, will find it easier to label minor squabbles bullying than to find ways to work out their differences. ‘Kids have to learn to deal with conflict,’ she said. ‘What a shame if they don’t know how to effectively interact with their peers when they have a disagreement,’” reported the New York Times.
Bullies across the nation warned that the New Jersey law is coming their way
Overall, New Jersey’s new anti-bullying law focuses attention on “accountability,” state New Jersey school officials who point to the actions the state will take to stop these bullies:
• Principal must investigate incidents within one school day of witnessing or receiving a report of bullying
• Investigation must be completed within ten school days
• Results of the investigation must be sent to superintendent within two school days of completion
• Results must be reported to the board of education at the next scheduled meeting
• Parents need to be informed of investigation within five school days of board notification
• Parents may request a hearing of the board, which must be held within 10 days
Overall, experts say bullying is a character flaw that’s now exhibited both in adults and their children who are “hell bent” on harming other kids for the sheer twisted pleasure of causing pain from those who hurt, and then want to hurt others.