Anti-bullying laws have recently been popping up all over America. They allow children to report their classmates to the police if they feel they are being bullied. However, in my opinion, these laws are stupid.
I have always said that if another kid lays a hand on your child, tell your kid to drop them down and hurt them. If a kid lays a hand on someone else's child, tell your kid to drop them down and hurt them. You have a responsibility to teach your children to stand up for themselves and other people. Put them in jujitsu classes so they know how to do it without any blood or broken bones.
Of course these days, bullying is not only limited to the playground. It happens outside of school on the Internet (in my day, the equivalent was spreading notes and gossiping). I am well aware of how people can be damaged and hurt on the Internet, but I also grew up with the motto, "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." We have totally given that up and told our children that the second their feelings are hurt, it's all over. Nobody has a right to not be offended, and no kid has the right to not have hurt feelings. You need to teach your kids how to stand up for themselves and respond to bullying.
Now, these anti-bullying laws are largely based on anecdotal circumstances. Sadly, some children and young adults have committed suicide over being harassed. However, there haven't been scores of children killing themselves. There have been unique incidences of suicide, and we've always seen those. Every kid who gets picked on doesn't kill him or herself. It has a lot more to do with their mental constitution and family dynamics than the bullying. These experiences are horrible, but they aren't the norm, and making laws based on the exceptions is ridiculous.
I can't imagine the pain of being a parent whose child has terminated his or her own life. It's impossible to understand and appreciate, and I am in no way minimizing it. All I'm saying is that these are isolated cases of individual people and their inability to cope.
Do I have a definitive solution to all of this? Not in our society anymore. When I was a kid, the school called your parents, they gave you crap, and you were disciplined at school. These days, if the school calls a parent, they give the school crap. We're becoming a disordered, self-defending society. I may not have a solution, but the solution is definitely not to involve the police because somebody is calling you names. Whatever happened to kids working out their own stuff?
Here's what I would do. If I had a kid right now who was being bullied on the Internet, I would link it to another page saying, "These are the kids who are using the Internet to hurt other kids." I wouldn't say anything mean or attack back. I would just list all the things they are doing. And at the bottom of the page I would also put, "Are these the kinds of kids you have come over and play with your kids?" That way you bring the problem to light. Embarrass the bullies and let their parents deal with them. Smear their reputations with facts. I think there should be websites that show facts about adults and kids who do bad things. FACTS! No exaggerations. No bad-mouthing. Just facts.
We live in a country where hurt feelings are the most important thing in the world. It's time to toughen up folks. Have your kids toughen up. It's really important to you teach your kids to stand up for themselves and be able to handle life.