Posts Tagged ‘bullying’

While walking home from Irving Middle School in Lincoln, Nebraska last year, 14-year-old Frida Aguilera was ambushed and attacked by a classmate while other kids circled around and videotaped the incident.

“My face was full of blood and at that point I guess they just thought that was enough,” said Aguilera.

Frida’s attacker got a week suspension and was prosecuted in juvenile court. But the passive bystanders taping the entire incident were not punished.

Unfortunately, Frida’s story isn’t the only one. In December, 9th grader Jared Williamson was leaving school when he was involved in a brutal and unprovoked attack that left him with a concussion and cervical sprain. Students watched and filmed the incident, egging the attacker on. Within minutes the fight was posted to Facebook. After Jared’s attack, he was diagnosed with PTSD and now has to be home schooled because of it.

After Frida’s attack, Frida’s mother contracted Thomas Inkelaar of Inkelaar Law Firm. Inkelaar says Nebraska has no cyberbullying or bullying laws on the books. Nebraska only has an anti-bullying law stating that schools must put policies and procedures in place. “To actually say hey it’s illegal for someone to bully someone, there is actually not a public policy on the record,” he said.

Inkelaar Law is petitioning for stronger state legislation against bullying what is being called ‘Frida’s Law’. If passed, this law would include criminalizing bullying behavior as acts of violence and hold kids videotaping the incidents accountable. “The goal is to stop this, put it in place where we can have safety in our schools,” said Inkelaar. “At minimum, the goal for Frida’s Law is that the aggressor’s sentence includes counseling and community service.”

But what is happening in our schools now goes beyond bullying. It is assault, plain and simple!

Students who engage in violent assaults are more often suspended for a short time when they should be expelled from a school or district, as well as face criminal penalties, including jail time. School districts should also face civil law penalties, in the form of hefty monetary fines, if it is proven that they failed to prevent or punish certain types of behavior by students within their district.

When a teacher is threatened with violence or suffers the same type of attack from a student, the student responsible for the attack is expelled and quickly arrested and charged with assault. Should not students be allowed the same protection under the law?

Research has shown that violent assaults on students can end up causing lasting damage to its victims. I too was bullied as a kid, and I found the experience to be pretty ugly. I’m in my 60s now; and although it’s been years since I experienced getting beat up by three bullies after school for two weeks, that experience has never left me.

I don’t think about it much these days, but I know that that experience has affected me as an adult—and not for the better. Because no one was willing to protect me I felt I had no choice but to quit school in my junior year. As an adult I suffered from depression, low self-esteem and experienced many failed relationships. Even after I surrendered my life to Jesus, it was still years before I was able to see my own worth as a person.

I know that I am not alone in this. Our world is filled with people who continue to suffer from emotional problems because they were victims of physical attacks in school.

How did we come to this point? What causes our children to become such uncontrollable beasts who brutally assault each other without conscience?

The apostle Paul warns us that whatever a person sows, they will also reap the same. (Galatians 6:7-8)

Look at what we have sown: We’ve exchanged the security of family values with immoral ideas and attitudes. Sanctity of life is no longer fought for, and more often is legislated against. We’ve replaced the Bible and prayer in our public schools with metal detectors and police security….Welcome to the harvest!

Addressing these problems with positive parenting and by teaching problem solving skills and anger management may help to reduce violence among some teens, but until we repent as a nation and turn back to God and teach our children to do the same, I’m afraid that nothing will change.

Remember God’s warning through the prophet Isaiah: “Woe to the sinful nation, a people whose guilt is great, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the LORD; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on Him… Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. Come now, let us settle the matter, says the LORD. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (Isaiah 1:4; 16-20)

A new study from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) revealed that “cool” kids in middle school had a tendency to participate in bullying more than others. Bullying defined as “either starting fights or pushing other kids around or spreading nasty rumors about other kids”, the UCLA psychology study found that bullying could help improve an individual’s social status and popularity among middle school students. In addition, students who were already considered popular utilized these forms of bullying. The study’s lead author Jaana Juvonen, a professor of psychology at UCLA, discovered that, “The ones who bully more are seen as cool.”

In the project, the researchers observed 1,895 ethnically diverse students from 11 Los Angeles middle schools. The students were dispersed across 99 different classes, with investigators conducting surveys at the start of the seventh grade, the fall of eighth grade, and the spring of eighth grade. During each of the three surveys, the students filled out questionnaires asking them to name the students who were thought to be the “coolest”.  Students who were considered “coolest” at some time during the study were also found to be the most aggressive, and individuals who were named the most aggressive had a higher likelihood of being considered the coolest. So it seems that the simple message of “Bullying is not tolerated” is not likely to be very effective.

Are some students naturally aggressive ?

I do not believe that children are naturally aggressive or ‘born to bully’. Human beings are not ruled by instincts like animals. Aggressive impulses come mainly from responses learned during upbringing. Parents that express anger through physical aggression will likely produce children who tend to express anger the same way. Children from homes where there is domestic violence tend to over or under-estimate violence, which often affects their relationships with others and later with their own children. Unfortunately, adults often unknowingly set a bad example to their children.

What can the Church do?

The United States is one of the most religious nations in the developed world yet it has the highest murder rate. When the greatest amount of violence is found in a country that was founded on biblical principles, it is no wonder that the unbelieving world is asking, “What kind of influence is Christianity having?”

I know that violence will continue to be a problem until Jesus returns and sets all things right. And although we can’t eliminate violence in this age, God has called us to influence the world as “salt” and “light”. (Matthew 5:13-16) But if we lose our saltiness; our Christianity isn’t good for anything. And if we hide our light; the world will remain in darkness. The time is now for the Church to repent from our wickedness and pray for God to send revival!

The great modern revivalist Leonard Ravenhill in his book, ‘Today’s Sleeping Giant’ wrote:

Solemnly and slowly, with his index finger extended, Napoleon Bonaparte outlined a great stretch of country on a map of the world. “There,” he growled, “is a sleeping giant. Let him sleep! If he wakes, he will shake the world.” That sleeping giant was China. Today, Bonaparte’s prophecy of some one hundred and fifty years ago makes sense.

Today Lucifer is probably surveying the Church just as Bonaparte did China. One can almost behold the fear in his eyes as he thinks of the Church’s unmeasured potential and growls, “Let the Church sleep! If she wakes, she will shake the world.” Is not the Church the sleeping giant of today?

I pray that she will wake before it’s too late.

I have heard of a lot of people who have found themselves in abusive relationships. Sometimes it begins very subtly. But there are always red flags for people if they only pay attention to them. Although abusers are commonly men, it is not uncommon for an abuser to be a woman.

Below are some tips to help you recognize the red flags that you may be in an abusive relationship:

1. They want you all to themselves and make an effort to keep it that way. They do not understand that you have a life outside of the relationship and work to keep you from family and friends.

2. They call you derogatory names then say they are joking. Abusers sometimes cover themselves by blaming you, saying that you need to lighten up or that you are too sensitive.

3. They throw tantrums or attack you verbally and blame everything on someone else, namely you.

4. They try to intimidate you with violence, dominance or power tactics.

5. They punish you if you do go somewhere or do something without them even if others are also there.

6. They feel entitled to be treated like royalty and expect you to be a willing servant, doing everything they ask.

7. They are often jealous of you, other people and even your dreams and goals.

8. They are manipulators and will sulk, threaten to leave, and emotionally punish you for not going along with his or her idea of how things should be.

9. They will try to make you feel guilty any time you exert your will and what is right for you.

10. At times the abuser may appear to be apologetic and loving but their “remorse” doesn’t last long; the abuse begins again when the abuser feels he or she has you back.

If you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, there is a good chance that eventually things may get physical.  At first, the abuser might pull your hair, push you, or grab you so hard that you bruise; these may only be warning signs that things can escalate further. A partner with an explosive temper who has reacted with violence before (breaking things, punching the wall, getting into altercations with others) may very likely physically abuse you.

Scripture plainly lays out what type of people we can have a healthy relationship with.

For women seeking a man:

They should be above reproach, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap. He should be man worthy of respect, sincere, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. Don’t be afraid to test them; and then if they possess most of these qualities it is safe to pursue a relationship with them. (From1 Timothy 3:1-10)

For men seeking a woman:

She should bring good and not harm. She should eagerly work with her hands to provide food for her family. She works vigorously and her lamp does not go out at night. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are well clothed. She has strength and dignity so she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Remember guys, charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Seek after a woman with most of these qualities and you will save yourself much grief in the future. (From Proverbs 31:10-31

The most important thing for believers to remember is that no matter how attractive, wealthy, or witty someone may appear to be DO NOT become romantically involved with an unbeliever.

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” – 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 –

I have had my share of bad relationships because I didn’t pay attention to the red flags and what Scripture plainly teaches about it. Today, God has blessed me with a beautiful godly wife; but it took nearly 40 years! We knew each other in high school but at the time I was too self-absorbed to realize that the best thing in my life was right in front of me! Don’t make the same mistake I made and waste 40 years in unhealthy relationships. Get the very best that God has for you.