Bill Stefaniak wades into the school yard

johnboy 17 April 2007 16

“Zero-tolerance”, like “paradigm” has become a term abused by morons seeking to mask their inadequacies to the point it has lost it’s original meaning and now serves merely to denote that an idiot is speaking.

Today Bill Stefaniak has called for a “zero tolerance” approach to bullying in schools.

Bill is trying to take the time immemorial rough and tumble of the schoolyard and inspire panic in the community.

In my own experience the more anti-bullying strategies come from higher up the tougher life becomes for the bullied.

Here’s a happy school yard memory: sitting on a stool in a lab getting flicked in the back of the neck with a tie containing a thumbtack on the back of it. The cunning bully can instantly hide all evidence and running to teacher is a bad move even when they can do something about it. Eventually I turned around and belted the bastard. For that I earned a detention. Under Bill’s plan I’d have been expelled or suspended and instead would have had to keep copping the abuse.

The only real solution is for the bullied to smash the prick in the face, take their lumps from the gang, and nurse the bruises in the knowledge that next time a softer target is going to be on the receiving end.

It’s better to learn these lessons in school than be sent out into the world without them.

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16 Responses to Bill Stefaniak wades into the school yard
GnT GnT 7:14 pm 18 Apr 07

Thankyou for your insight, D L W Mother. Getting into some of the reasons behind why bullies do it may provide part of a solution.

DarkLadyWolfMother DarkLadyWolfMother 9:01 am 18 Apr 07

I remember arguing the point with our Headmaster (in the 1970’s) that it was all well and good for me to go to a teacher when there was one around; but that didn’t help me after school.

I put it far less eloquently of course (if you can imagine less eloquently) and was told that in that case I should find a responsible adult. Given half the adults I know now, that may have been a tough call, assuming I could find any kind of adult at all.

I started out being bullied, then learned not only to defend myself, but to become a bully. It wasn’t until well into High School that I got the idea that maybe this wasn’t a good lifestyle choice.

What kept me bullying? The feeling of power. the fact that other bullies left me alone because I was ‘one of them’. The fact I was rarely caught, or when I was, I was such a ‘nice person’ I was usually let off. It was pretty easy to bully when the teacher wasn’t looking, and we had pretty much 100% playground coverage. However, a person doesn’t have 360 degree vision.

What would have stopped me? Actually getting in trouble would have done it, but then I was the classic ‘coward’ bully. Many of the other bullies really didn’t give a damn, and even when one was expelled it made both him and the others more bitter and worse. It was all the school’s fault you see.

Maybe a culling program a’la kangaroos?

The point of my reminiscings and ravings is that anti-bullying can work in school, but in my experience that doesn’t translate well to ‘out of school’.

VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt 8:59 am 18 Apr 07

Bullying is going to happen whenever there are humans, especially children.

Helping the bullied with physical and mental training is the only real solution.

schmerica_ schmerica_ 8:21 am 18 Apr 07

I thought that the ‘zero approach’ had been in place for a while now? Well, I remember it being in high schools when I was there and in the primary school I was at for prac last year? Or is this something new and exciting ?

nyssa76 nyssa76 10:31 pm 17 Apr 07

Does this include teachers bullying teachers?

Because it bloody well should.

johnboy johnboy 10:24 pm 17 Apr 07

Zero tolerance *can* work.

But it requires a massive increase in resources to enforce.

It’s not a policy setting that can be tweaked without committing massive resources to it.

And at the end of the day things have to be very bad to be worth the costs.

As for the dangers to standing up to bullies I’d recommend Loadedog’s Letters from Prison. Standing up to thugs is worthwhile on the real mean streets and remains so in high school.

terubo terubo 9:57 pm 17 Apr 07

GnT, do what they did at my school: teachers took their tucker with the pupils.

That way, everyone got a proper lunchtime feed.

GnT GnT 8:08 pm 17 Apr 07

The best way to tackle bullying (in my opinion) is to instil self esteem in the victim and arm them with strategies to stand up for themselves (using non-violence). Bullies know how to pick a target.

I have to disagree with his proposal to have a higher teacher/student ratio in the playground. As a teacher in a large school, I lose approximately half my ‘break’ (non-teaching) time to playground duty. I know in smaller schools teachers are on duty all the time. Many teachers I know eat their lunch at 3 pm; they just don’t get a lunch break most days.

adeptacheese adeptacheese 7:18 pm 17 Apr 07

is he ******* serious? Has he not noticed that zero tolerance policies simply don’t work?

simbo simbo 6:18 pm 17 Apr 07


Yeah, the Liberals ain’t exactly been liberal for a while, but then again, Labour ain’t exactly been about labour for a while either.

bugalugs bugalugs 5:24 pm 17 Apr 07

Can someone explain to me why exactly the “ACT Liberals” are called Liberals?

Mess Mess 5:18 pm 17 Apr 07

he wasnt murdered he was badly hurt. and they didnt leave him alone after that either. You make a decent point, but in todays climate it probably wont work in high school.

Mr_Shab Mr_Shab 5:12 pm 17 Apr 07

Amen JB. Worked in primary school for me. As for high school, after taking a poke at said bully, I copped a hiding – but was henceforth left alone (thus learning two valuable lessons in one).

futto futto 5:04 pm 17 Apr 07

Nice call, johnboy.

If kids don’t learn how to socially interact with others for themselves, including bullies, how will they ever be able deal with adult problems. This proposal would breed a generation of people who would expect “someone” else to solve all their problems.

I’m sure Bill has seen first hand, people standing up to bullies, mostly through the staff he has tormented. Perhaps he would rather they report the abuse rather than just quit?

johnboy johnboy 5:02 pm 17 Apr 07

We don’t get a lot of murders even in high school.

Mess Mess 5:00 pm 17 Apr 07

Are we talking bullying in primary school or high school? Because in primary school that might work, but now in high school, if you smash them back, they wait till after school and the person and 50 of their mates come after you with a knife. It never happened to me but it did happen to some close friends of mine.

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