Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Case Against the Bullies.

The parents of a 9 year-old boy are suing the Lewisville School District in Lewisville, Texas. I should say the parents of a deceased 9 year-old boy are suing the Lewisville School District.  The parents allege that the school district did not properly protect the boy from bullying.

The child was not murdered.

Young Montana Lance (pictured) hung himself in a bathroom at Stewart's Creek Elementary School, you see.  I find it interesting that the school district found no correlation between the suicide of Montana and bullying.

If I were a parent, I would see that as self-serving bullshit, kinda like the fox guarding the henhouse.  If the school district admitted finding a link, then that would set them up for potential liability.  Hence the lawsuit, and a conflict for me.

On the one hand, I hate lawsuits filed when something goes wrong, including, and maybe especially, when a loved one dies and no criminal liability exists intentional or unintentional.  It just smacks of greed or vengeance, neither an admirable quality.

I’ll leave that for another day.

On the other hand, bullying is a subversive, persistent, criminal behavior that has been tolerated forever with nothing more than lip service paid to it.  It is the bane of childhood for many, and is often met with disappointed looks from some parents who are secretly ashamed of having a wimp for a child, or aggressive parents stepping in to protect their child without teaching coping skills.  I came from both camps.  Name me a parent who wouldn’t secretly prefer to have a Super Bowl winning quarterback for a son than a bestselling romance novelist, particularly the dads out there.  If you can name one or two, do they really mean it, or are they paying lip service?

I have to ask.

We as a society secretly admire bad boy behavior, even when we condemn the violence and criminal activity often associated with it.  Look at Big Ben Roethlisberger and his Big Ben.  Even if half of what was reported about his exploits with women is true, then he deserves complete and total censure. Women should never have to be subjected to that.  But because he’s a multi-Super Bowl winning quarterback, we look the other way after a paltry four game suspension.  Actually, do we look the other way, or do we forget about it completely? Gents out there?  If you or I did just what Big Ben admitted to doing with his Big Ben in a restaurant restroom, would we escape with a little suspension? Unlikely.  Most of us would probably be fired if word got out.

We would then be properly ostracized.

Might be a little tough to get another job, you think?

But Big Ben is still making millions of dollars, and no one boos him, not even opposing fans.  He still has a shot of winning another Super Bowl this year, and three wins in the big one is Hall of Fame time.  Doesn’t quite seem right putting him next to Roger Staubach and John Unitas, does it?  Those men kept their wicks dry, or, I assure you, we would have heard about it, even post mortem in the case of Johnny U.

Then again, Lawrence Taylor is in the Hall of Fame.

Character doesn’t really matter, does it?

In my childhood, I didn’t have as much trouble with bullies as some of my friends. They tried to fit in, and paid a price, usually in the form of sucker punches and blackmail. I tried slipping away, keeping out of their path.  Sometimes I would hide in the bushes until the bully passed by. Other times, I took a different route home.

Oh, I had my share of trouble, and even a couple of fights.  Well, I can’t say they were really fights, but I tried.  I’ll spare the details, but suffice it to say that I learned to stay below the sightline of the big bad bullies.

Some laughed at me.  I cared, but not that badly.  I had a keen sense of self-preservation.

I wish the Lance family every success in giving Montana a voice in the horrors of bullying, and hope the lawsuit succeeds to that extent.  Alas, I think I know what will happen.

We’ll all raise our fists crying, “Yes, bullying is bad. Bullying is horrible.  No one should be subjected to bullies.”  We’ll rattle our sabers for a month or two, but when the smoke clears we’ll still be cheering for the assholes of the world.

What do y’all think?


  1. Rock, I very much agree with you. I believe strongly in forgiveness, but I have always thought bullying was a crime. Yet, most parents and authority figures condoned it, looked the other way, or many times, cheered it outright.