Le Québécois Libre, February 15, 2012, No 297.
The Government of Quebec recently announced a media campaign to end the growing problem of school bullying. Several other provincial and state governments have previously initiated programs to curtail school bullying, but programs such as “zero tolerance” often resulted in the victim being suspended from school. Bullies are often smart enough to manipulate the system to their advantage. They are usually popular amongst peers who will affirm their alleged innocence to school authorities, making the victim appear to be the aggressor.
Bullying behaviour revolves around peers and significant other people and is about popularity, acceptance, recognition, validation and affirmation. The behaviour crosses species, as is the case with the wolf enclosure at a large zoo or with a large wolf pack at a nature reserve. The alpha female will often bully subordinate females into submission as a means to maintain her special status with the alpha male. At times, overly bullied junior females will actually leave the pack. A similar scenario plays out in the state schools involving both same gender and cross gender bullying.
A father from Hawkesbury, Ontario, recently went public to express his concern over the safety of his 9-year-old daughter, who had repeatedly been beaten by a 9-year-old boy who attended the same class and rode on the same school bus. School authorities were aware of the problem and the boy had repeatedly been suspended from school, but had resumed his bullying behaviour upon his return to school. This scenario has been repeated in many other school districts.
There is much to suggest that childhood bullying is more common today than 50 and 60 years ago, when most of the students in a school lived in two-parent families and even extended families with three generations living in a single residence. During that period and earlier times, religious authorities expounded on the essential need for two-parent families with a father and mother raising the children. At the present day, alarge proportion of students in most classrooms live in a single parent family, usually with the mother.
There is only one agency that could ever have brought about the transformation that resulted such numbers of school-aged children living in single parent, mostly mother-only families. Government assistance provides for part or all of the income of such families. While government planners may never have purposefully planned to replace the traditional self-supportive two-parent family with state-assisted one-parent households, such has been the result of state social policies.
Authors such as Dr Sam Osherson (Finding Our Fathers) and Dr Barry Gordon (Your Father – Your Self ) suggest that the relationship between a man and his children has a major influence on their lives. They and many others who have researched the field, suggest that boys and even girls crave some form of status, affirmation, approval, acceptance and validation from their fathers or from significant older male figure in their lives. Outside of school, most male gang leaders are keenly aware that boys who live in mother-only homes have that need, then aim their gang recruiting campaigns at them as prospective future gang members.
Successful gang leaders are also aware that in order to maintain their leadership status, they need to regularly provide their individual members with affirmation, status, approval, recognition and acceptance. The divisional leaders of the Ku Klux Klan were also aware of that need and would sometimes raid a black community for some minor alleged offense that had been blown up into a big issue. Hooded Klansmen would ride into a black community and set buildings on fire and even lynch a few black men. The exercise bonded the Klansmen with each participating member being able to look good in front of his peers.
The Klansmen were often leaders in their communities and served as role models to a younger generation. Most modern school bullying that involves school cliques follows a similar theme to the raids by the Klansmen, that is, participating gang members were able to look good in front of their peers at the expense of a non-gang member. They earned the acceptance, recognition, status and approval of their peers by having participated in acts that some individual members may have otherwise been ashamed of. Gangs and cliques engage in bullying for similar reasons.
The attention that most school-aged bullies seek today was often provided to them during an earlier era in a traditional functional two-parent family or an extended family. Grandparents, uncles and aunts were an integral part of a young person’s early life. The family provided the emotional need of the younger generation. There was little, if any need to compete with peers for attention outside the family. During earlier times, the peer bonding activities may have included participation in some productive activity that involved a group of men, often working with tools. The younger males who participated in such activity earned the recognition, validation, status and approval of older significant males and a deep emotional need had been met. There was no need to engage in bullying with peers to meet that need.
Successive state social policies have undermined traditional two-parent and extended families and also undermined the influence of religious leadership in the community. Traditional schools run by religious authorities often separated classes by gender. Male teachers taught all-boys classes and women taught all-girls classes. There is much circumstantial evidence to suggest that boys from two-parent and extended families who were taught exclusively by men were peaceful and sociable, with few incidents of peer bullying. Successive state educational policies have all but destroyed independent schools, politicians and educational bureaucrats pandering to various lobby groups wishing to push their own agendas.
The epidemic of rampant school bullying is the result of shortsighted state social and educational policies. State undermining of the religious community may also have taken a toll on modern men. The absence of empowering spiritual guidance from traditional religious authorities limits men in providing emotionally and spiritually for themselves, their partners and their children. An online short story entitled “Little Messages in Little Frames” reveals one method in that regard.
While elected officials may be dismayed over the impact that school bullying has on some of its targets, including suicide, the problem continues despite various policy initiatives by numerous governments. No elected official dares identify the main underlying cause of the problem, which is successive government policies that undermined the traditional family and the traditional role of religion in a community. While political initiatives in regard to school bullying will attract media attention, such initiatives will achieve little over the long term. Private initiatives such as home schooling could achieve far more in terms of providing children with a safer learning environment.
* Harry Valentine is a free-marketeer living in Eastern Ontario.